Royal Holloway, Brunel and LSE have the worst gender pay gaps among London universities

Royal Holloway, Brunel University and the London School of Economics are among the London universities with the largest gender pay gaps, according to government figures published yesterday.

Under legislation brought in last year any organisation that has 250 or more employees must publish specific figures about their gender pay gap or face legal action.

Royal Holloway reported the highest median and mean pay gaps, with a 27.2% mean and a 33.8% median gap. This means that for every £1 a typical male employee earns, a woman would earn 66p.

Across all London universities, the average mean pay gap is 13.06% and the average median pay gap is 11.48%. Median figures often portrays a better understanding of the data because it shows what the situation is for the average man or woman who works there.

A spokesperson for Royal Holloway University said: “Unlike many other universities Royal Holloway directly employs a large number of students, of whom a significant proportion are female.

“The reverse is true in senior grades, where there are more permanent employees and a greater proportion are male.

“The combination of these two factors, at extreme ends of the pay range, results in the gender pay gap which we have reported.”

The spokesperson added: “We need to continue to put effort into initiatives that will create a more equal gender distribution across our workforce, particularly in the representation of women in senior roles.”

The London School of Economics has a similarly high mean pay gap of 25.8%, but a lower median pay gap of 14.9%, possibly due to the overrepresentation of men in high-paying roles.

Among the top earning employees at the LSE, just 34% are women, compared with 56% at the lowest end of the scale.

Notably, while the same number of women and men received bonus pay, women’s mean bonus pay was 49.2% lower than men’s, and the median 25.4% lower.

A spokesperson for Brunel said: “We know this isn’t good enough

A spokesperson for the LSE said in a statement: “We believe that any overall gap in pay between women and men is unfair and we remain fully committed to tackling it.”

According to the statement, these measures include a majority female School Management Committee, changes to shortlisting practices for academic staff and anonymised applications for professional services staff.

Brunel University London was also among the worst offenders, reporting a 20.0% mean pay gap and a median pay gap.

Brunel is an engineering-focused university, a subject where women are notoriously under-represented.

A spokesperson for Brunel said: “We know this isn’t good enough, and that the best way to address the issue is by encouraging girls from the moment they start school.

“It’s something we try to do by delivering outreach programmes encouraging girls into STEM subjects, providing industry mentors for our female students and delivering leadership programmes for our female staff.

“There is still a long way to go, but we are committed to improving the representation of women in STEM generally, which would also help to address the specific issue we face at Brunel.”

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published last year, the UK has a national median pay gap of 18.4%. The national mean gap is lower at 14.1%.

Data sourced from UK Gov Gender Pay Gap Service

At the other end of the scale, Goldsmiths and University of the Arts London both reported the lowest mean pay gaps of 5.6%, and median pay gaps of 7.5% and 7.1% respectively, while the University of West London reported the lowest median pay gap of 2.7%.

Goldsmiths also paid out no bonuses to its staff and notably called attention to the challenge of being required to submit data under binary ‘male’ and ‘female’ categories.

In its report published alongside the figures, the university said: “Goldsmiths recognises that gender is not a binary concept. In future we will consider the best way to include information for staff who identify as non-binary.”

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths University said: “We are not complacent, and are fully committed to seeing the gender pay gap reduce still further, with the ambition of eliminating it completely.”

UAL tends to hire students in the university’s lowest-paying jobs. At UAL, their gender pay gap is likely due to the predominance of women among the student recruits, since 51.1% of the highest-paying jobs are held by women.

A spokesperson for the university said: “UAL is committed to providing a fair and equal working environment for all staff and we are working towards achieving a zero pay gap.

“While we are pleased with the impact our programmes have had we fully recognise that there’s more to be done to address the gender pay gap here.”

The University of West London declined to comment.

Getting your head round means and medians

Over 10,000 UK companies have published figures including their ‘mean’ gender pay gap, their ‘median’ pay gap and ‘quartile’ pay bands. These measures can tell us different things about a company.

The mean pay gap measures the average pay for men and women across the whole company. This means that one very highly paid man – a Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson, for example – can massively skew the pay gap in favour of men. For this reason, a typical company’s mean pay gap is generally higher than the median.

A very high mean pay gap can tell us that the top jobs at a company are dominated by men, or that there are a disproportionate number of lower-paid women.

The median pay gap ranks all the men and all the women of the company according to how much they are paid – half the employees earn more than the median salary and half earn less.

This takes care of the Mark Zuckerbergs and Richard Bransons, and measures the difference in pay between the middle man and the middle woman.

Although equal pay – paying women and men the same amount for the same work – has been in the law since the 1970s, a high median pay gap does tell us that, in general, women employees are being paid less than men.

Quartile pay bands tell us the proportion of women and men in different ‘bands’, from the lowest-paid 25% to the highest paid 25%.

This shows us whether a company has a large proportion of men in the top-paying jobs, for example.

In our analysis we have used all three measures to look more closely into the gender pay gap at different London universities.


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