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The University of Chester was established by the Church of England in 1839, and is characterised by a positive, open, inclusive and supportive working and learning environment. Our mission is to provide students and staff with the education, skills, support and motivation to enable them to develop as confident world citizens and to successfully serve and improve the global communities in which they live and work.

Our longevity in the City of Chester and our geographical expansion in recent years to other campuses and sites across Cheshire, the Wirral and Shrewsbury enable us to provide a wide range of employment opportunities for people from local, national and international communities. The University is recognised as an Employer of Choice – we have low staff turnover rates and high staff engagement scores in our Staff Opinion Survey.

The University is committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and has well developed policies, procedures and practices to ensure equality of opportunity and equal pay across the workforce. We endeavour to identify and develop talent, regardless of gender or any other protected characteristic.

Legal Equality duties require the University to publish calculations on 31st March annually showing the extent of the gender pay gap between male and female employees, and explain the reasons for the results and the steps being taken to reduce or close the gap.

Gender pay reporting is not the same as equal pay. Equal pay is about whether men and women are paid equally for carrying out the same or similar roles or work of equal value. The Gender Pay Gap describes differences between the average pay of all women and men across the University. The Gender Pay Gap therefore reflects a number of factors, especially the relative lack of women in better-paid roles. An organisation may pay women and men equally at every grade in compliance with equal pay law, but still have a gender pay gap.

To ensure that our staff are rewarded fairly for their contribution regardless of gender or any other protected characteristic we have a single pay spine divided into pay bands with all roles except the Senior Management Team being evaluated by trained analysts using an objective role evaluation scheme. The University also has an Equal Pay Policy and conducts periodic Equal Pay Reviews.

Our last Equal Pay Review was conducted in May 2017 using data covering the period April 2016 to March 2017. Overall the Median Gender Pay Gap was 11% which is a positive reduction from the previous figure in 2015 of 14.7%.

For the purposes of this report the data capture snapshot date was 31st March 2017. The six key gender pay gap metrics we are required to report on are:

(1) Mean Gender Pay Gap.  This is the difference between the mean (average) hourly pay for male employees (£18.25) and the mean hourly pay for female employees (£15.68), expressed as a percentage of the mean hourly pay for males. By taking into account the full earnings distribution, the mean takes into account the low and high earners in the institution. The University of Chester’s Mean Gender Pay Gap is 14.1% in favour of males.

(2)Median Gender Pay Gap.  To calculate this figure each employee’s hourly rate is ranked from lowest to highest in order to identify the median (middle) hourly rate for males (£17.36) and the median hourly rate for females (£14.14). The difference between the two median rates expressed as a percentage of the male median hourly rate show the University’s Median Gender Pay Gap to be 18.5%.

(3) Mean and (4) Median Gender Bonus Pay Gap.  These calculations look at any bonus payments in the 12 month period April 2016 to March 2017. Only one male employee received a bonus payment, hence the Mean and Median Gender Bonus Pay Gap are both 100%.

(5) Proportion of males and females receiving bonus pay. The proportion of females receiving a bonus expressed as a percentage of all female employees was 0.00% while the proportion of males receiving a bonus compared to the total number of male employees was 0.08%.

(6) Proportion of men and women by quartile pay bands. The final set of figures are calculated by ranking all employees by their hourly rate of pay from lowest to highest and dividing them into four even groups. The percentages of male and female employees per quartile, at 31st March 2017, were:

Overall the composition of the University’s workforce is 60% female and 40% male. There are proportionally more female than male staff in the lower quartile which is attributable partly to the type of roles at this level, such as domestic and hospitality assistants, and partly to the fact that these roles tend to be part time and are therefore attractive to parents and carers who plan their working their hours around childcare arrangements. We will seek to extend the flexibility which this apparently demonstrates to more senior roles across the institution. The lower quartile also includes roles such as apprenticeships, gardeners and grounds staff, and reception, clerical and administrative assistants. 

Taking the analysis further we can see that there is no median pay gap in the lower quartile however there is a negative mean gender pay gap of -2% which indicates that the average hourly rate for male staff is less than the average hourly rate for female staff in this quartile.

The proportion of male and female staff in the lower middle and upper middle quartiles is broadly reflective of the composition of the overall workforce and includes a range of administrative, technical and junior management professional services roles, together with lecturing roles.  There is a 7% median pay gap in the lower middle quartile and no mean or median pay gap in the upper middle quartile. 

In the upper quartile the proportion of female staff marginally outweighs the proportion of male staff and while there is an 8% mean pay gap there is no median pay gap.  Included in the upper quartile are senior professional services staff, senior lecturing staff, managers, professors and members of the Senior Management Team.  However, it is recognised that the more senior roles within the upper quartile tend to be occupied by men, therefore we acknowledge that more needs to be done to improve diversity at this most senior level.

Research has shown that when a diverse group of individuals work collaboratively, its collective intelligence is richer, stronger, smarter and more agile. In order to address the gender pay gap the University has devised and implemented a variety of supportive measures. Our aim is to attract women into senior academic and management posts to ensure that we retain and develop talent that will contribute to the strategic aims and future success of the University. Some of the key actions have been:

  • Analysing the numbers of male and female academic staff by full and part-time status applying for promotion. As a result we provide additional preparatory support to staff in the year before they become eligible for promotion; we have reviewed how applications from part-time staff are assessed and staff from our HR department deliver advisory sessions on applying for promotion.
  • Offering a number of annual funded places on the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s women-only Aurora leadership programme. Since we launched the programme in 2013, 49% of those who completed the programme have been successful in gaining internal promotion to more senior posts.
  • Establishing a mentoring programme which trains and matches mentors to mentees to support personal and professional career development.
  • Developing a bespoke, accredited Level 4 Certificate in Supervisory Leadership and Management in Higher Education, with 73% of completers being female.

Going forward we will:

  • Introduce an Associate Professorship role with transparent promotion criteria, with workshops to provide support for those who wish to progress their career from Senior Lecturer.  The expectation is that this will in turn improve the pipeline for appointments to the Professoriate.   
  • Renew our institutional Athena Swan Charter, first awarded to the University in 2015. The Athena Swan Charter recognises the University’s commitment to addressing equality for staff and students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) and Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) in academic, research, professional and support roles.  As part of the assessment for Athena Swan the University has conducted targeted employee surveys, focus groups and consultation meetings to examine where barriers exist and the initiatives that may be implemented to address them.  The resulting action plan will inform changes to practices across the University.
  • Implement and embed the EHRC’s Working Forward pledge to make our workplace the best it can be for pregnant women and new mothers.
  • Review our recruitment processes, making greater use of positive action statements in our advertisements, and review the training provided to recruiters with renewed focus on unconscious bias in decision making.
  • Further improve our family-friendly policies.
  • Continue to deliver the University’s annual Diversity Festival with a series of thought provoking projects and events which aim to challenge and develop our collective understanding of equality, diversity and multiculturalism. The theme of the 2018 Festival, which will take place from 5th March to 15th March 2018, is "No limits".  All events are free and are open to staff, students and members of the public.
  • Promote events organised by our Institute of Gender Studies which supports inclusivity and interdisciplinarity by providing not only a platform for established researchers and practitioners working in the field, but also for undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of disciplines. This year, to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018, they will host ‘three remarkable speakers (who) will challenge your perceptions, motivate you to push boundaries, and inspire you to reach your full potential’.
  • Work with the Equality Challenge Unit on its “Increasing diversity: recruiting students from underrepresented groups” project through undertaking action research on underrepresentation from particular groups.
  • Promote the adoption of positive action as identified in the research work of the Forum for Research into Equality and Diversity (FRED) which is based at the University, specialising in research and knowledge transfer activities in the area of diversity and equality in the workplace and within higher education. 

The University intends to adopt the outcomes of this report as its starting point from which it will continue to develop policy and monitor consistency in practices that positively promote equality of opportunity for all employees.

Further information on our diversity and inclusivity actions can be found on our website:

March 2018