A one-off salary hike will be given to female professors at the University of Essex, in order to level out the average gender pay gap amongst academics.

Female professors will be moved up to three newly created pay levels, which will, as a result erase the wage disparities across the University. The Vice chancellor of Essex, Anthony Forster, said this change was motivated by “impatience” over the issue of gender inequality as a whole, in the workplace.

The gender pay gap, made evident by the UK pay data analysis that was conducted by the ‘Times higher education,’ shows that full-time male academics have 11% higher salaries than their female colleagues.

Forster believes that steps to improve the promotional chances of women in the past were unsuccessful in closing the gender pay gap. Hence, the Vice Chancellor seeks to treat all staff members with “respect and dignity” in order to create a “diverse and inclusive community.”

“This decision ensures we reward people in a fair way, based upon their contribution to our community, regardless of their personal characteristics.”

According to the Higher Education Statistic Agency, when considering all full-time academics in the UK, women are paid an average of £45,704, whilst men holding the same positions are paid £5,629 more, pushing their salaries to an average of £51,333.

full-time male academics have 11% higher salaries than their female colleagues

Queen’s University Belfast has the highest salary gap amongst professors, by up to 14%. According to Times Higher Education, female chairs are underpaid by £11,257. When asked about the salary disparities, a Queen’s spokeswoman said that the institution acknowledged the differences and had taken “immediate steps to address this.”

Over the past decade, there has been a notable fall in the gender pay gap, from 14.1% in 2005-06, to 11.3% in 2013-14. The University and College union (UCU) conducted these figures at the time, reflecting Forster’s concerns regarding the progress of gender equality in the workplace.

Similarly, Sally Hunt, the UCU’s general secretary said that these figures represent “little progress,” a claim that were highlighted in the recent strikes over academic salaries.

In light of attempts made by the University of Essex to decrease the gender pay gap, they’re now placed in the bottom fifth for professorial pay gaps. Essex’s gap is now just over 3%, as male professors receive an average of £2.400 more than their female counterparts.

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