Russell Group Universities BME Pay Gap

10th December 2018

Pay gaps between BME staff and others in Russell Group Universities are widening, according to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent by the BBC, with ethnic minority academics earning less than white colleagues.

The average pay of white academics across the Russell Group is £55,000, whereas the figures for academics from Black and Arab backgrounds are £38,000 and £37,000 respectively.

Across the 22 Russell Group Universities that responded to the BBC’s request, the distribution of ethnicities of academic staff is as follows:

  1. 3,000 Chinese and East Asian
  2. 3,000 Indian and South Asian
  3. 600 Black
  4. 250 Arab

There are also over 49,000 white academics. However, staff are not obliged to disclosed ethnicity and therefore those who chose not to are not reported in the figures above.

On average, compared with white men:

  • white women got 15% less
  • Asian women, 22% less
  • black women, 39% less

Black and Arab academics paid a quarter less

Akwugo Emejulu, a black woman professor in the Sociology department at the University of Warwick, told the BBC:

“One of the reasons for the gap is that black women in particular tend to be on temporary teaching-only contracts that trap them in low waged work with few opportunities to move on to permanent positions.”

Since 2003 there has been a progressive move by universities to go beyond compliance in relation to equality and diversity to actively form organisational culture.

The statistics with regard to pay gaps can demonstrate that universities need to continue the good work that they have already taken in equality and diversity to make even more progress in becoming inclusive organisations.

Understanding and embracing diversity for the benefit of the organisation is important and not doing this impacts across employment issues. For example, the underlying reasons for BME pay gaps need to be understood, including issues such as entry points, working patterns, type of employment contract, number of employees and more.

Marshall E-Learning are here to support universities by developing new training and development that provides awareness and practical information in areas such as unconscious bias, inclusive organisations and inclusive recruitment.

For example, our diversity course for universities, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, is one of Marshall’s original e-learning courses. The course remains one of the most widely used courses on the subject today and we’ve  been open about why we updated our diversity course for universities.

Universities have got to build on the awareness that has been incorporated within organisations since the Equality Act 2010, to enable people to feel comfortable and have the skills and abilities needed to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is a reality for everyone.

This will mean an even greater focus within learning and development to give everyone the appropriate levels of skills to be effective in their roles.

This will mean a greater implementation of blended learning so that learning and development in this area will not be seen as a separate delivery mechanism. It will become fully integrated in everything that happens within an organisation.

We believe our new Diversity in the Workplace for Higher Education course reflects this and we are confident our clients – both old and new – will find this too.

For more information and a free demo of the Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education course please contact David Marshall on 0845 123 3909 or, or visit


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