Cambridge University Reporter

Equal Pay Review, 2008: Notice

16 February 2009


1.1 An equal pay audit was commissioned by the University to take place in 2008 as part of the proposals in the Second Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on new pay and grading arrangements for non-clinical staff (Reporter, 2004-05, p. 745). This is the first report from the Equal Pay Review Group which comprises members of the Human Resources Division, trade union representatives, and representatives from institutions and which is analysing and reporting on pay patterns across the institution. This is a transitional report that links the old and new grade structures but in future reports will be based solely on the new grade structure. The report examines the stipend1 by gender and by occupational group and the preliminary identification of areas, where further analysis and appropriate remedial action may need to be taken. It is based on data as at 1 July 2008. Future equal pay reviews will, in time, extend in scope to the consideration of 'total pay', full-time and part-time working patterns, permanent and fixed term contracts, and race, age, and disability.

1.2 The approach taken to the equal pay review process is in line with the relevant JNCHES guidance (see Appendix A) and utilizes the Equality and Human Rights Commission advice that where a pay differential related to gender is less than 3%, no action is necessary. Where the difference is greater than 3% but less than 5%, the position should be regularly monitored. For gender pay gaps of more than 5%, action is needed to address the issue and close the gap.

1.3 Equal pay reviews are covered by the Data Protection Act (1998) in terms of the processing of the raw data, the disclosure of data to third parties involved in the review, and the publication of the results.

2. Staff profile - by gender

2.1 As at 1 July 2008 the University employed 8,539 people,2 of whom 4,119 (48.24%) were female.

2.2 A comparison of the average stipend of women with that of men, across all the grades and staff groups appears in Table 1.

Table 1: Average stipend by gender
 Average stipend
Average stipend
% DifferenceStandard
Total £28,247 £37,157 31.54% £11,581 £18,358

These figures reflect the imbalance in the gender distribution within the overall staff profile, that is proportionately more women are employed on lower grades and more men on higher grades; and within grades more men appear at the high end of the pay scale as they have longer service with the University. This data is not a measure of equal pay but provides the wider context within which the analysis is conducted.

2.3 In order to establish a basis for measuring the inequalities in pay at the University it is necessary to compare the pay of staff carrying out work that is regarded as equal. This review compares the pay of men and women carrying out work of equal value as determined by job evaluation (HERA). Appendices B, C, and C1-C6 include standard deviations from average stipends for males and females, and the significance of this is discussed in paragraph 4.10.

3. Gender pay analysis by grade

3.1 Appendix B shows that the pay differential between men and women on the same pay grade regardless of occupational group is, with one exception, below the 3% threshold. This finding is not surprising in view of the recent and extensive job evaluation exercise undertaken in the implementation of the single salary spine that underpins the grade distribution. The one exception is grade 12 where the gender pay differential is 5.20% (3.02% when market pay supplements and other pensionable and non pensionable payments are excluded) (see also paragraphs 3.3 and 4.7 below). It is therefore concluded that in line with the Equality and Human Rights Commission no action is needed. However it is important to avoid complacency and to continue to monitor gender pay differentials by grade.

3.2 The distribution within the contribution points of each grade does invite closer examination as to whether the award of contribution points demonstrates a disproportionate award of these points to either gender. This observation, whilst specific to this appendix, applies equally to all grades. In grade 4 there are over twice as many women as men and yet there are a significantly smaller proportion of women than men in the contribution points. One reason for this may well be the assimilation process which brought together technicians on grade T4 (predominantly male) with clerical staff on grade CS4 (predominantly female). Grade T4 had a longer range of points than grade CS4 with the starting point effectively two points higher when the assimilation took place. A second factor could be the differential in interpretation of criteria in the requesting and granting of contribution increments over time. The contribution increments exercise for 2009 requires institutions to identify the success rates by gender and should enable a more detailed commentary to be included in subsequent equal pay reviews.

3.3 Grade 12 data highlights the already known disparity in gender distribution at the top of the organization: there are almost seven men for every woman paid on grade 12. Statistics from the Senior Academic Promotions indicate that we receive fewer applications from women than from men for such senior positions.

4. Gender pay analysis by occupation

4.1 Appendix C gives a summary of the gender pay analysis by occupational group across the University; accompanying appendices (C1-C6) provide supporting detail per occupational group.

4.2 The overall picture (i.e. Appendix C) reveals significant differences in the average stipend paid to men and women in the same staff group. Even so comparisons with national statistics for Higher Education Institutions show that the pay gap for academic and research staff taken together is greater across the sector when compared to Cambridge and this difference is even more pronounced for assistant staff. However a more meaningful focus is provided in the supporting tables.

4.3 Exceptions to 4.2 are Assistant CS staff and Assistant M staff (at Appendix C1 and C2 respectively). The gender pay differential for CS Division staff is greatest at grade 6 (females earn 2.51% more than males) and for T Division staff at grade 4 (male staff earn 2.63% more than female staff) which in each case is below the 3% trigger for monitoring.

4.4 The group Assistant T (Appendix C3 refers) has contrasting pay differentials in excess of 3%, but less than 5%, at the minimum - grade 1 - and maximum - grade 8 - of the span. The numbers of staff involved are small. Further pay related analysis may not be appropriate, but it is noted that women outnumber men on grade 1 while the position is entirely reversed in favour of men at grade 8. The analysis shows a gender pay differential in excess of 3% at grade 4 and the group recommends that this data is monitored in 12 months' time to ensure active monitoring takes place for this occupational grouping. Normal incremental progression may reduce the % difference.

4.5 Data relating to the academic staff grouping (Appendix C4 refers) confirms the significantly higher numbers of men throughout the senior academic career grades. Of the 464 staff in grade 9, 36.85% are women but the percentage of women in grades 10-12 drops thereafter to 12.47% in grade 12.

4.6 The gender pay gap for academic staff in grade 12 is 3.10% and 4.48% in grade 8 (only 5 staff are in grade 8). All other grades are below the 3% threshold.

4.7 Appendix C5 (academic-related staff) indicates grades 5, 8, and 12 as areas for further investigation. In the case of grade 8, the assimilation process brought together computer officers (predominantly male) and administrators (predominantly female). Grades 5 and 12 produce the only examples in this data set of a gender pay differential in excess of 5% and therefore, despite the small staff numbers involved, further investigation is recommended with consequent action being taken as appropriate.

4.8 Appendix C5 identifies that whilst there are notably more female staff in each of the grades 5-6, the balance shifts to male staff in each of the grades 8-12. Further investigation is needed into why this imbalance occurs and could be co-ordinated with the issues raised in paragraph 3.2 (i.e. differential gender behaviours in applying for contribution increments).

4.9 The core grades for non-clinical research staff are 5, 7, and 9. The analysis of average stipend by gender indicates very low percentage differences in pay in these grades (see Appendix C6).

4.10 The standard deviations in Appendices C1-C6 identify that there is very little difference in the spread of salaries around the average stipend by gender. In some cases where the spread is greater, the number of staff by gender in a grade or occupational category is relatively small, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.

4.11 Table 2 summarizes standard deviations in salary by gender in selected grades.

Table 2: Significant standard deviations
Appendix Average stipend
Average stipend
Standard Deviation
Standard Deviation
C1 grade 6
Clerical Staff
£27,740 £27,045 £3,008 £1,722
C4 grade 9
Academic Staff
£41,254 £41,842 £3,786 £3,279
C5 grade 9
Academic-related Staff
£43,567 £44,549 £4,051 £3,318
C5 grade 11
Academic-related Staff
£57,021 £55,798 £6,131 £4,411
C5 grade 12
Academic-related Staff
£70,684 £90,392 £9,913 £26,265

Whilst not examined in this report, the number of staff immediately below or above a cut off point for a grade could be a cause for concern if it indicated a gender bias where the cut off point could be related to natural progression. Future equal pay reviews will include analysis of this point.

5. Conclusions

5.1 This early work of the Equal Pay Review Group on average stipends, has identified that the gender pay differential between men and women on the same pay grade, regardless of occupational group (Appendix B), is below the 3% threshold except for grade 12 (5.20%).

5.2 Despite the conclusion of paragraph 5.1, the analysis of gender pay differentials and staff numbers identifies a number of areas requiring more detailed investigation. These include:
  • the proportion of women on contribution points in grade 4 (paragraph 3.2 refers)
  • the distribution of women in grades 9-12 and the low numbers in grade 12 (paragraphs 3.3 and 4.5 refer)
  • higher representation of women at grade 9 when compared against other grades
  • the gender pay differential in excess of 3% for Assistant T staff on grade 4 (paragraph 4.4 refers)
  • the changing proportion of women to men for Assistant T staff between grades 1-8 (paragraph 4.4 refers)
  • gender pay differentials in grades 5 and 12 for academic-related staff exceed 5% (paragraph 4.7 refers)
  • the predominance of academic-related female staff in grades 5-6 and of male staff in grades 8-12 (paragraph 4.8 refers)
  • the distribution of male/female staff around grade cut off points.

6. Recommendation

The Review Group has recommended that the Human Resources Committee:

(i) note the contents of this report and endorse the identified actions to be taken forward in paragraph 5.2;
(ii) support the broader engagement and development of the Equal Pay Review process within the work of the Human Resources Division during 2009. This would include an analysis of the impact of part-time working, permanent and fixed-term contracts, and extend pay considerations to include overtime payments;
(iii) note that the results of the actions identified in this report will be reported to the Human Resources Committee in six months;
(iv) agree that a further report should be submitted in one year.

1 Stipend is the pay including market supplements and other pensionable and non pensionable payments.

2 Figure taken from CHRIS i.e. excludes 'casual' staff.

Appendix A: Equal Pay Audit Methodology

The Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff has published useful guidance on how Higher Education Institutions should conduct an equal pay review; the Human Resources Committee, in June 2008, endorsed this guidance as the basis for the work of the Equal Pay Review Group. The guidance advocates a three-step approach namely: Analysis, Diagnosis, and Action.


The first step is to conduct an analysis of the workforce composition in terms of staff groupings and contractual arrangements. In particular the review will consider and analyse data in the following areas:


After the initial analysis has been compiled the second stage will be to establish the nature of any inequities and their causes and this may involve the gathering of further data to support (or not) the initial findings. The diagnosis stage will be carried out by the equal pay review group who will make recommendations to the HR Committee.

The following terms contained in the equal pay legislation are used in respect of equivalent work:


This stage involves the specification, planning, and completion of remedial action designed to remove unjustified pay gaps that have been identified. The action plan should incorporate arrangements for monitoring the implementation of the plan and for evaluating outcomes.