UCL publishes its 2024 report on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps

A group of staff sit around a conference table working collaboratively, with lap
A group of staff sit around a conference table working collaboratively, with laptops and coffee

The data from 2023 shows that we continue to make progress on our gender pay gap, while our overall ethnicity gap reduces by the median and increases by the mean. The report also outlines our declared disability pay gap for the second year.

Donna Dalrymple, UCL’s Chief People Officer, said: 

"While it’s encouraging to see that we are continuing to make progress on pay gaps, it remains a fact that there is decreased diversity at UCL as job grade increases. This is reflective of the position across the Russell Group of universities and the UK labour market in general.

We are pleased that there is increased diversity by gender, ethnicity and disability amongst our senior grades (Grades 8-10) from the same position last year. We are also pleased that our gender pay gap remains among the lowest in the Russell Group and is now less than half of the UK-wide median pay gap. However, we are aware that there is much work to be done before equality is reached - in particular on our ethnicity and disability gaps. We are also aware that there are significant gaps in the completeness of our staff equality monitoring information which we will address to ensure our ethnicity and disability gap figures (in particular) are reliable.

While some of the reasons for pay gaps remain systematic within the UK and not easily solved, we know it is vitally important that we continue to take action and remain an employer of choice. We have introduced, and continue to introduce, proactive initiatives to help ensure that all staff at UCL can reach their full potential; for example, our Accelerate to Leadership scheme remains pioneering within the Higher Education sector and senior promotions outcomes have increased diversity in senior academic grades since the launch of the Academic Careers Framework in 2017.

We remain committed to transparency in reporting, and addressing our pay gaps. We are currently  undertaking a strategic review of EDI at UCL, in advance of developing an ambitious EDI strategy next year with the aim of  fostering an inclusive, diverse and equitable environment for all’at its heart." 

Gender pay gap 

  • Mean gender pay gap = 11.5% (decreased from 11.7% in 2022) 
  • Median gender pay gap = 6.2% (decreased from 7.7% in 2022) 

Since 2022 the proportion of female staff has increased overall across UCL, with a greater increase in the number of female staff at grades 8-10 although female staff continue to be underrepresented at this level. Both the mean and median gender pay gaps at UCL have decreased significantly since 2022 and are below averages in wider society (for example, the ONS reported 2023 median gap for UK staff is 14.3%).  

Ethnicity pay gap 

  • Mean ethnicity pay gap = 15% (increased from 13.9% in 2022) 
  • Median ethnicity pay gap = 10% (decreased from 10.4% in 2022) 

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff are also underrepresented at senior levels, which continues to be the main contributor for our ethnicity pay gaps. There has been a marginal increase in the proportion of staff at grades 8-10 who are BAME, which is encouraging. However, improving the completeness of our staff ethnicity data would help to make this analysis more reliable and help us to ascertain whether initiatives to address the ethnicity pay gap are effective. 

Disability pay gap 

  • Mean disability pay gap = 20.2% (decreased from 20.8% in 2022) 
  • Median disability pay gap = 16.8% (decreased from 17.2% in 2022) 

UCL is one of the few organisations to report on its disability pay gap, which makes benchmarking difficult; however, the gap is clearly a substantial one and we are keen to continue the downward trajectory seen since last year’s report. At present, disabled staff are much more likely to be within grades 1-6, and are underrepresented at higher grades. Again, better reporting on the number of staff at UCL with a declared disability (or not) would help to improve the reliability of this analysis. 

Notes on the report 

As noted above, the comprehensiveness of UCL’s equality monitoring information needs to be improved and for more of our staff to share their ethnicity or disability status in particular. This is something we will be addressing this term, with the imminent launch of a new and easier way to check and complete equality monitoring information using Inside UCL. Please do look out for announcements about this. 

It should also be noted that this report is based on information as of 31 March 2023, which means there will be a lag between this data and the effect of ongoing initiatives such as changes to our recruitment processes, our increase to London allowance , and the effect of our senior promotion round in 2023 increasing the diversity of senior academic roles. We are also monitoring the implementation of UCL’s new reward strategy , announced in July 2023.  The progressive measure of the increases to London allowance in 2023 should also help to narrow pay gaps and the effect of these will be reflected in the 2024 data, to be reported on in 2025. 

You can find more detailed analysis and information about each pay gap, a summary of positive actions that UCL is taking, and actions for the future, in the full report. 

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