Our gender pay gap is decreasing, and has been for some time, but we need to keep working hard to reduce it further.
We aim to build gender equality monitoring into everything we do. For this reason, although the Government announced that organisations didn’t need to report on their gender pay gap for 2019/20, and that for 2020/21 reporting deadlines have been extended to October 5th (due to Covid-19) we have chosen to report in March both years, as usual. This decision allows us to retain our in-depth focus on gender equality and continue measuring our progress, despite the changes in the wider landscape.
We continuously look for ways of making a positive change and strive to learn from each and every opportunity that we identify. Just some of our areas of focus include:
Supporting our female Academics
We aim to do everything we can to enable all academic colleagues to work to their full potential. As part of this, we continually review contributing factors, to ensure that our female academics, in particular, feel confident to apply for academic promotion.
We do still have an underrepresentation of females at professor level in particular, which negatively impacts our gender pay gap, but we are working to improve this and have seen some positive improvements.
Our data shows a 42% increase in the total number of female academics promoted across all levels, from Lecturer through to Professor, between 2015 and 2020. This is an outstanding achievement. We’ve also seen a significant increase in the overall percentage of female professors in our total colleague composition; rising from 13% in 2014 to 23% in 2019/20.
In addition to investing in our Academic Career Pathways, we continuously benchmark our approach to fairness in pay. As a result, in 2019 we increased our professorial base rate of pay. The increase benefitted 40% of our female professors and 13% of our male professors at the time. This increase continues to benefit academics who join our organisation at, or are promoted to, that level.
Development & Personal Progression
Our sector leading Professional Development Review (PDR) system enables staff to formally have a meaningful conversation regarding their personal development. PDR’s are in addition to our other development initiatives, such as our mentoring program, and for the last 8 years 99% of staff have completed their annual PDR.
Working alongside PDRs, our established 360 feedback process recognises the critical role our leaders play in achieving outcomes through our people. This plays a part in our bigger initiatives to support female colleagues working at grade 9 and above. Since 2012 the number of females working at grade 9 and above, in Professional Services, has more than doubled, representing 52% of this group in 2020.
We also invest in career development and training programs, to specifically assist in closing the gender pay gap. For example, we proudly offer the Aurora Leadership program to our female colleagues. Aurora provides an opportunity for women to influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills, which in turn supports them to progress to higher graded roles.
We are one of just 18 UK universities, and the only Welsh University, to hold an Athena Swan Silver Institutional Award. The accreditation recognises advancements of gender equality in terms of representation, progression and success for all.
During the 2019/20 reporting period we sustained our Athena Swan achievements by renewing our silver departmental award for Medicine, and progressing our Engineering bronze to a silver award. These achievements joined our other existing departmental awards; two silver in Human and Health Sciences, and Bioscience; two bronze in Physics and Management.
Our Athena Swan action plans reinforce our commitment to equality in pay, including improving our gender pay gap.
Mentoring, Networking & Events
Alongside our formal development programmes and schemes, the University places great importance on building women's confidence in the workplace. Whether that be through facilitating networking opportunities; providing mentorship; running annual series, such as our Inspiring Women series Inspiring Women Series 2020; or encouraging staff-led support groups, we encourage everyone to get involved.
Our Academic Mentors continue to provide valuable support to fellow colleagues, and we’ve seen voluntary participation increase from 44 in 2017 to 160 in 2020, with female mentors representing 53% of this group in 2020.
2019/20 also saw a number of exciting events take place across the University. Not least, the welcoming of Hillary Rodham Clinton, as guest of honour at the high-profile panel discussion entitled ‘Gutsy Welsh Women’. The event, chaired by Sky News journalist Anna Jones, had a 600-strong audience at the Great Hall on our state-of the-art Bay Campus. Mrs Clinton paid tribute to the women who have inspired her throughout her career, followed by members of the panel discussing the women who influenced their own careers.
We proudly support International Women’s Day and hold a number of activities each year in relation to this, but we also work hard to embed equality for all - including for women - in everything we do.
We want all colleagues to have the right work-life balance. We invest in our benefits and wellbeing package, which includes our flexible working and family-friendly leave arrangements.
In August 2019, we proudly became the first Welsh HEI to join the Employers for Carers membership programme. This offers access to a range of resources to help us support our staff who juggle work alongside caring responsibilities.
By continuing our commitment to ensuring staff have access to tools and resources to support their work-life balance, we hope to remove any barriers that might otherwise prevent people from reaching their full potential, regardless of their gender and life commitments.