Pay gaps at the University of Leeds

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As a large employer, the University must annually report its gender pay gap. The University also chooses to go beyond legal requirements and to publish its ethnicity and disability pay gaps, as part of a commitment to good Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practice.

On this page, you can find information about pay gaps, why they exist and most importantly – what the University is doing to address them.

What are pay gaps?

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Pay gaps are the percentage difference between the average hourly rates of pay for different groups. For example, if the average hourly pay for women in an organisation was £13 and for men was £15, then the difference would be £2, a 13% gender pay gap.

Both the mean (from the average) and median (from the middle value) pay gaps are calculated. Mean pay gaps tend to be higher as they’re influenced by extremes, such as a smaller number of people with very large salaries.

Pay gaps are different to equal pay. Equal pay is legislation that stipulates men and women in the same employment performing equal work must receive equal pay. Pay gaps look at average pay across an organisation.

The Universitys pay gaps

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Gender pay gap

In 2023, the mean gender pay gap at the University was 18.2%. This is the lowest mean pay gap since the University started reporting in 2017 when the mean gender pay gap was 22.5%. The 2023 median gender pay gap was 15.4%.

The University’s gender pay gap is consistent with the Russell Group average (mean: 18.2%, median: 14.9%), but above sector averages (mean: 14.8%, median: 12.3%, UCEA analysis 2023).

Ethnicity pay gap

The ethnicity pay gap is the percentage difference between the average hourly rates of pay for Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic staff, and white staff.

In 2023, the mean ethnicity pay gap at the University was 10.2%. The mean ethnicity pay gap has been around 10% since reporting began in 2021. The median ethnicity pay gap was 4.9%.

The University’s ethnicity pay gap is consistent with the Russell Group average (mean: 10.0%, median: 7.3%), but above sector averages (mean: 4.7%, median: 2.6%, UCEA analysis 2023).

Disability pay gap

The disability pay gap is the percentage difference between the average hourly rates of pay for disabled staff and non-disabled staff.

In 2023, the mean disability pay gap at the University was 8.0%. This is a significant decrease from 12.6% in 2022. The median disability pay gap was 5.6%.

This compares to a sector mean of 10.4% and median of 8.7% (Advance HE Staff Statistical Report 2023).

Explore the data

In the following graphs, you can see hourly pay and the University pay gaps by year. The filters allow you to swap between characteristics and the mean/median pay gaps. Hover over the graph lines and bars for more information.

Download an accessible Microsoft Word version of the data.

Why do pay gaps exist?

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Pay gaps exist because of the unequal distribution of women, minoritised ethnic and disabled staff across grades.

For example, in 2023, 69% of professors in the University were men. This increases the average male hourly rate (as professors are the highest paid staff in the University) and so contributes to the gender pay gap.

Analysing pay distribution

To look at pay distribution, staff are divided into four equal sized groups – or quartiles – based on their hourly pay. This shows which groups make up the lowest, two middle and highest paid quartiles of the University.

The following graphic shows the 2023 pay quartiles, and the approximate spread of grades across each quartile:

 2023 pay quartiles, pay per hour and the approximate spread of grades across each quartile. Full details in the body of the page.

The lower quartile represents staff earning between £8.96 and £13.71 per hour, and covers approximately grades 2 to 4, and a small portion of grade 5.

The lower middle quartile represents staff earning between £13.71 and £17.74 per hour, and covers the majority of grades 5, 6 and a small portion of grade 7.

The upper middle quartile represents staff earning between £17.74 and £23.39 per hour, and covers most of grade 7 and nearly half of grade 8.

The upper quartile represents staff earning over £23.39 per hour, and covers just over half of grade 8, and all of grades 9, 10 and the Professorial Zones.

Analysing pay quartiles helps explain why pay gaps exist and supports the identification of evidence-based actions/initiatives to tackle them.

Pay distribution by gender

The data shows that women are overrepresented in lower paid roles – 68.2% of the lower quartile are women (this is approximately grades 2 to 4 on the University pay scales).

In contrast, women are underrepresented in higher paid roles – 42.2% of the upper quartile are women (approximately grades 8 to Professor).

In 2023, of the highest earners at the University (salary over £100,000), 73% were men.

Pay distribution by ethnicity

There are roughly equal proportions of minoritised ethnic staff across quartiles which makes the ethnicity pay gap smaller than the gender pay gap – but the proportion of staff who have not recorded their ethnicity make analysis less reliable.

The proportion of minoritised ethnic staff decreases from 10% in the Professorial Zone 1 (lowest paid professors) to 7% in Professorial Zone 3 (highest paid professors).

In 2023, of the highest earners at the University (salary over £100,000), 6% were minoritised ethnic staff.

Pay distribution by disability

The proportion of staff who have not recorded whether they’re disabled makes disability pay gap analysis less reliable, however the change in proportions of disabled staff across pay quartiles has lowered the disability pay gap.

Between 2022 and 2023, there has been a small drop in the proportion of disabled staff in the lower quartile (-1.3%) and small increases in other quartiles (lower middle +0.5%, upper middle +1.2%, upper +0.2%).

In 2023, of the highest earners at the University (salary over £100,000), 3% were disabled.

Explore the data

In the following graph, you can explore the pay quartiles and grade distribution of the University by gender, ethnicity and disability.

Download an accessible Microsoft Word version of the data.

Bonus gaps

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In addition to pay gaps, the University is required to publish its bonus gaps – the difference between the average bonus amounts received by different groups of staff. Disability bonus gaps are not calculated as the sample size is too small to produce reliable data.

The University of Leeds offers discretionary bonuses but not contractual ones. These include one-off payments (for outstanding contributions), reward vouchers from the University Recognition Scheme and Clinical Excellence Awards.

Clinical Excellence Awards (CEAs) are mandated, decided upon and funded by the NHS, and given to outstanding clinical staff. CEAs significantly skew the University’s overall bonus gaps as the amounts awarded can be much higher than the University’s typical bonuses.

Men are more likely to be awarded – in 2023, 61 men and 18 women were awarded CEAs.

In 2024, further analysis of bonus gaps will take place and appropriate actions developed.

Gender bonus gap

In 2023, 9.1% of female staff received a bonus, compared to 8.3% of male staff.

The mean gender bonus gap including CEAs was 76.9% and excluding CEAs was 33.7%. The median gender bonus gap (including and excluding CEAs) was 42.9%.

Ethnicity bonus gap

In 2023, 5.9% of minoritised ethnic staff received a bonus compared with 12.1% of white staff.

The mean ethnicity bonus gap including CEAs was 27.8% and excluding CEAs was -4.3%. The median ethnicity bonus gap including CEAs was 42.9% and excluding CEAs was 20.0%.

Explore the data

In the following graph, you can explore the University’s gender and ethnicity bonus gaps over the years.

Download an accessible Microsoft Word version of the data.

What is the University doing about pay gaps?

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Updates on the actions and work the University is doing to tackle pay gaps will be posted on this page.

The EDI Strategy and Implementation Plan

The EDI strategy, underpinned and supported by the EDI Implementation Plan (PDF), aims to tackle many of the underlying structural inequalities that produce pay gaps. They focus on addressing underrepresentation through positive action and other EDI interventions.

Positive action framework and programmes

A Positive Action Framework is currently being finalised which will set out the University’s approach to developing and running positive action programmes – ensuring consistent and impactful work.

The Equality and Inclusion Unit (EIU) will work with relevant faculties and services to develop and deliver a series of positive action initiatives.

Career pathways review

The University is seeking to positively impact the distribution of staff from underrepresented groups across grades through a review of career pathways for all staff, ensuring supportive and transparent mechanisms for progression.

This will explore potential barriers to progression to ensure all staff, and particularly those from underrepresented groups, can evidence their contribution and are recognised for the right things at the right time.

Developing the promotions process

A task and finish group was launched in Autumn 2023 to examine the academic promotions process in relation to EDI. The group was chaired by Professor Julia Bennell, Executive Dean of Leeds University Business School.

This group has concluded its work and has made a series of recommendations to help remove systemic barriers to academic promotions for women and minoritised ethnic colleagues. The recommendations will help shape the wider, forthcoming review of career pathways at the University.

Developing the recruitment process

In 2024 the EIU, in collaboration with HR, will design an EDI Recruitment Review – developing and embedding new inclusive recruitment practices.

Salary uplift for grades 2 to 4

In January 2024, it was announced that staff in grades 2 to 4 will receive a salary uplift of one increment. 59% of those eligible for the pay increase are women. The impact of this change on pay gaps will be monitored.

Improving data

In 2024, the EIU will lead a data completion campaign across the University. This will encourage staff to record their equality information in the HR system (such as ethnicity and disability) to increase confidence in analysis and assumptions about pay and bonus gaps.

About the data

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The University is required to include all employees and casual workers in its calculations (referred to as ‘staff’ on this page). Casual workers are engaged by the University to support educational activity and short-term temporary assignments.

The data used in the calculations counts all staff on 31 March each year.

Within gender data, non-binary staff are removed from analysis. The small sample size for this group makes analysis unreliable.

In the ethnicity and disability data, there is a field titled ‘Unknown staff’ – this includes staff who have not recorded their ethnicity or whether they are disabled. Many of these staff are casual workers.

Having large numbers of ‘Unknown staff’ in the data makes it less reliable and means drawn conclusions are less certain. In the coming year, the University will be working to increase completion rates as set out in the EDI Implementation Plan.