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The University of Chester is committed to reducing the gender pay gap by recruiting, developing, promoting, and rewarding staff fairly regardless of gender and supporting initiatives that mitigate against the underlying causes of the gender pay gap. The purpose of the Gender Pay Gap Report is to identify the gender pay gaps across the organisation as at the snapshot date of 31st March 2020.

According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE, 2020) the average gender pay gap among all UK employees was 15.5% in 2020, down from 17.4% in 2019. These figures may not be a true reflection of the gender pay gap nationally as according to the Financial Times less than half of eligible employers published their figures in 2020 due the Coronavirus pandemic.

In this report, we provide the statutory gender pay gap data that we are required to publish under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017. The data included in this report relate to the 12-month period up to 31 March 2020.

Figure 1: The six measures of the gender pay gap

A Gender Pay Gap measures the difference between men and women’s pay across the University, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. A positive gender pay gap indicates that the pay of male staff is higher than the pay of female staff.

Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay both deal with disparity of pay in the workplace, but they relate to two different issues:

  • Equal Pay deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs, similar jobs or work of equal value. This relates to an individual’s pay.
  • Gender Pay Gap shows the difference between the hourly rate of pay for all men and all women. This relates to the overall distribution of men and women in the workforce.

The University of Chester has a legal obligation, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, to ensure that men and women carrying out work of equal value receive equal pay. This is monitored through Equal Pay Reviews.

All data presented in this report have been calculated using the statutory reporting requirements. Further details of the statutory reporting requirements are provided on the Gov.UK Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Overview webpage (

The 3 year rolling figures below (Figure 2) show that the Mean Gender Pay Gap for the University of Chester has fallen to 14.5% in 2020 while the Median Gender Pay has increased to 18.9%.

Figure 2: Mean and Median Gender Pay Gaps 2018-2020

Mean and Median Gender Pay Gaps

A gender pay gap is the difference between the hourly rate of pay for all men and all women. Two types of gender pay gap are reported on:

  • Mean hourly pay gap: the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and the average hourly earnings of women
  • Median hourly pay gap: the difference between the midpoint in the range of hourly earnings of men and the midpoint in the range of hourly earnings of women

Ordinary pay, expressed as an hourly rate, is used to calculate the mean and median gender pay gaps. Ordinary pay includes basic pay, allowances, and any bonus payments made in March 2020. Overtime payments are not included. The mean (average) gender pay gap decreased from 15.4% 2019 to 14.5% in 2020. The reduction in the mean gender pay gap is due to a narrowing of the variances in pay in the Upper Middle and Upper quartiles (Figure 3).

Quartile Pay Bands Lower Lower Upper Upper Middle Upper Staff Profile
Mean Female Pay £10.08 £13.45 £18.97 £27.44 £16.75
Mean Male Pay £10.07 £13.90 £19.04 £29.94 £19.59
Mean Gender Pay Gap -0.11% 3.26% 0.36% 8.35% 14.5%
Median Female Pay £10.05 £12.89 £18.34 £26.02 £14.87
Median Male Pay £10.05 £14.03 £18.34 £26.79 £18.34
Median Gender Pay Gap 0.00% 8.13% 0.00% 2.87% 18.9%

Figure 3: Gender Pay Gap Summary

The pay gaps above are due to a combination of the number of female new starters in those quartiles and the internal progression of existing employees as a result of academic promotions, regrading of posts and successful appointment to advertised vacancies.

Figure 4: New starters in period by grade

While the overall staff profile rate remains unchanged from 2019 at 2:1 female to male employees, the proportions across the quartiles have shifted with a 3% reduction in the proportion of women in the lower quartile and a further 3% decrease in the Lower Upper quartile. The appointment of men to part-time roles in the lower and lower upper grades coupled with appointment of women to roles in the higher half of the pay scale has positively impacted the Mean Gender Pay Gap.

The median is obtained by listing hourly pay rates for all women and men in numerical order, from the lowest hourly pay to the highest; the median is the middle or central hourly rates. The median gives you an indication of what the ‘typical’ hourly rate is as it is not affected by a small number of highly paid staff. The difference between these two rates increased from 13.9 per cent in 2019 to 18.9 per cent as the median gender pay in 2020.

There are a higher percentage of males in the higher grades within the lower upper quartile than females. The median pay for women has fallen from £15.50 per hour to £14.87per hour, whilst the median pay for men has risen from £18.01 to £18.34. This may be explained by the University possibly recruiting more men above the previous male median bringing the rate up, or males below the median may have left, or vice versa for females. It can also be attributed to changes in the profile of Visiting Lecturing staff, which is a very transient section of the workforce.

Mean and Median Gender Bonus pay gaps

Bonus Pay is defined as any form of money, vouchers, securities, securities options, or interests received by an employee which is awarded as a result of profit-sharing arrangements, productivity, performance, incentives or commission. Where a part-time employee receives a pro-rated bonus, the actual bonus paid is used, not the full-time equivalent. Non-consolidated bonuses are included.

Two types of bonus pay gap are reported on:

  • Mean Bonus Pay Gap is the difference between the average bonus pay of men and the average bonus pay of women
  • Median Bonus Pay Gap is the difference between the midpoint in the range of bonus pay of men and the midpoint in the range of bonus pay of women.

The Mean Gender Bonus Pay Gap was 44.5% in 2020 and the Median Gender Bonus Pay Gap was 10.4%. Bonus pay does not include pay related to redundancy or termination of employment or pay in lieu of annual leave. A small percentage of staff received bonus pay during the 12-month period to 31st March 2020. The proportion of relevant women receiving bonus pay was 0.54% while 1.37% of relevant men received a bonus payment.

Quartile Pay Bands

Quartile Pay Bands Lower Lower Upper Upper Middle Upper Staff Profile
Headcount Females 365 327 312 264 1268
Heacount Males 148 186 201 249 784
Total in Quartile 513 513 513 513 2052
% Female 71% 64% 61% 51% 62%
% Male 29% 36% 39% 49% 38%

Figure 5: Quartile Pay Bands

This is the percentage of men and women in each hourly pay quartile, calculated by ranking all full pay relevant employees (Headcount 2052) in order of hourly pay and splitting them into 4 equal parts (513 staff per quartile). Figure 6 indicates that the lower and lower middle quartiles have a higher proportion of female staff, who operate in roles such as Domestic Assistants, Catering Assistants, and Administrative Roles mainly across grades OS2 to OS4. Quartile 3 is largely made up of visiting lecturers on TSR3 so there is minimal difference between the Mean and Median gender pay gaps.

Figure 6: Headcount by grade/quartile

Ethnicity pay gap

Although reporting on ethnicity pay gaps is not a requirement of the current regulations it is interesting to note that comparing average hourly earnings of Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees as a percentage of non-BAME employees highlights a negative ethnicity pay gap of -2.5 per cent. The median ethnicity pay gap was also negative at -16.3 per cent.  The number of ‘unknown’ ethnicity returns may affect this pay gap and explains the difference in headcount numbers between the ethnicity and gender data.

Hourly Pay Quartiles Staff Profile
BAME 118
Non-BAME 1858
Total in Quartile 1976
Non-BAME 94%
Median BAME £18.31
Meadian Non-BAME £17.86
Mean Pay Gap per Quartile -2.5%
Median Female Pay Gap £18.34
Median Male Pay Gap £15.77
Media Pay Gap per Quartile -16.3%

Figure 7: Ethnicity Pay Gap

Tackling the Gender Pay Gap

The University of Chester takes addressing the gender pay gap, along with equality, diversity and inclusion very seriously and we are committed to taking steps to improve this through a number of initiatives and actions. We recognise that sustainable and meaningful change will take time and needs to be embedded within our culture, policies and practices. We are working on range of actions to improve gender equality and reduce our gender pay gap.

In order to impact the gender pay differences it is necessary to diagnose exactly what is driving the gaps. The Government’s Equalities Office recommends employers review processes where employees might ‘get stuck’ at certain levels within the organisation as a way of identifying potential cause of the gender pay gap. Evidence shows that the cause can vary greatly, even between employers in the same sector.

The University of Chester holds the Advance HE Athena SWAN Charter at Institutional Bronze level. The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research.

Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment, the Charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

At a result, the following diagnosis and action is undertaken to tackle the gender pay gap.


The University has a clear, fair, transparent processes for recruitment and all Chairs of recruitment panels must attend mandatory training which outlines how to tackle discrimination and bias in the process. In addition, from April 2021 to Sept 2021, every member of staff will be required to attend race equality, unconscious bias and microaggression training.

The University has a clear positive action guide and all managers are supported by HR to consider positive action initiatives to reduce gender segregation in roles and ensure that, for example, that it is not just women who are appointed to the lower paid roles.

As part of Athena Swan HR record the reasons why starting salaries are sometimes approved above the lowest point of the grade and this is regularly analysed for gender differences.

As part of Athena Swan, recruitment data is analysed to review applied, shortlisted and appointed statistics by gender.


Annually, statistics from each Promotions Committee, held in July each year, are scrutinized to look at the staff by gender who are eligible, apply for promotion and are successfully promoted. In addition, the Athena Swan survey analysed perceptions of success criteria and found the following perceptions:

Table 5.1.12 - I understand the promotion process and criteria: Female Male
  Agree + strongly agree 56.39% (75) 72.73% (48)
  Disagree + strongly disagree 39.85% (53) 27.73% (15)
  I think the promotion process is fair and transparent: Female Male
  Agree + strongly agree 35.34% (47) 43.94% (29)
  Disagree + strongly disagree 51.88% (69) 45.46% (30)

As a result, processes were reviewed and improved and additional briefing information was available to staff wishing to apply in order to explain the process.

Interview panels are provided with training which outlines how to tackle discrimination and bias in the process. In addition, from April 2021 to Sept 2021, every member of staff will be required to attend race equality, unconscious bias and microaggression training.

Exit rates by gender

All staff who leave are offered an exit interview with their line manager once removed or with HR. Exit interview data within the Athena Swan reporting period relating to career development indicated 17 (13%) leavers who had an exit interview cited lack of career progression as their reason for leaving. Of these, 12 (71%) were female; 3 (18%) were academic staff and all 3 (100%) of these academic staff were female. The University has identified better use of exit data is needed and exit data and trends are now being reported to the University’s Strategic Executive Team twice yearly. Further details on career progression is provided below.

Development opportunities

As well as an annual calendar of staff development opportunities to improve the ‘soft skills’ of all staff, including those frequently cited by women as affecting them more, such as Assertiveness Training, Imposter Syndrome and Decision Making, the University provides a number of in-house accredited development programmes. The University delivers the Level 4 Certificate in Supervisory Leadership and Management in Higher Education (WBIS) and Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management in Higher Education (WBIS).

Both provide academic credit in addition to the great learning experience that these 2-year programmes offer. Since 2019, 31 females and 11 males have enrolled on the programme and work is currently in progress to formally assess the impact on career progression of this initiative.

In addition, the Senior Leaders Masters Degree Apprenticeship and Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship also offer academic credit and are available to all staff.

Via the University’s Learning and Teaching Institute (LTI), the following are available free of charge to all eligible members of staff, whether academic or professional services, throughout their period of employment at the University: Teaching and Learning Essentials for New Teachers; Chester's Enhancement and Recognition Scheme, to enable staff to successfully apply for professional recognition of their practice from the Higher Education Academy; PG Cert/PG Dip/MA Learning and Teaching in HE; PG Cert/PG Dip/MA Higher Education Studies. In addition, staff can access freestanding modules from the above programmes and have full access to the LTI workshop programme.

The University also provides funding and support for female staff to access Aurora, Advance HE's leadership development initiative for women. To date 54 female staff have accessed the programme and many have been promoted and reported increased confidence as a result.

The University also participates in the North West Action Learning programme for women with other north west Higher Education Institutions.

All the above initiatives are available to part time workers as well as those on fixed term contracts (providing they complete the relevant programmes within their period of employment.)

The University has a Women’s Network to identify specific initiatives and development opportunities. The University’s Diversity Festival holds a conference annually aimed at inspiring developing women, amongst a range of other events, seminars and lectures.

Family and caring responsibilities

The University has a Parents Network and Carers Network to support those who balance work with these roles and as a result, changes and improvements have been made to those returning from maternity leave, including the offer of returner coaching; improved guidance and manager checklists.

Access to apprenticeships

The University has an Apprenticeship team who are currently developing a range of academic and research apprenticeship programmes. The University’s Provost (Deputy Vice Chancellor) is promoting more widespread use of apprenticeships for the recruitment and development of staff in order to, amongst other things, increase access to apprenticeships to encourage non-traditional career choices.


The University of Chester confirms that all calculations have been carried out in line with the guidance and regulations. Methodology reviewed and approved by

Professor Neville Ford, Pro Vice Chancellor Research