Not so equal pay at Cambridge University

Cambridge – bastion of male dominance – still! So- I’ve referred the buggers to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for investigation.

It’s because of the appallingly wide gap between what the university pays men and women. The university’s own Equal Pay Report shows that men are paid on average nearly a third more than women – £37,157 compared to £28,247.

There are two reasons for the gap – if you compare people on each pay grade, then for two-thirds of the grades, women on that grade get paid less than men – and also the higher the grade, the higher the proportion of men. At the most senior level, there are seven men for every woman – but even for those women who have reached the very top, they are still being paid less than men in the same position.

So there are some real questions for the university to answer – but there seems to be too much complacency around, particularly in the half-baked attempted explanation that men get paid more because they tend to be pay on a higher pay grade. Well, duh! But why is that the case? And why, even when people are on the same grade, men usually get paid more?

There are some professions where change in pay and equal opportunities has been slow and a long time coming. I have a smidgen of sympathy for those where you have to have many years of service in order to get to the very top – and there is at least an argument that those years are needed to gain the necessary experience. The Law Lords might be a case in point.

But academia – despite its rather fusty image at times – is not one of those. Look at what happens to the youngest and brightest new academic stars – they are often snapped up and become professors at a young age. Decades of service are not needed.

The gap at grade 12 (the top pay grade) is over 5%, which is the threshold where, under the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidelines action should be taken. The university is trying to wriggle out of this by saying the gap is under 5% – if you exclude “market pay supplements and other pensionable and non pensionable payments”. In other words – the gap is smaller, if you ignore bits of it. Not got enough. Pay is pay. So – over to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission!

0 thoughts on “Not so equal pay at Cambridge University

  1. I believe at Liberal Democrat HQ there are 6 Directors, only 1 of whom is a woman, the pay gap between your highest paid man and the woman is about 80%. Most of the reason for that is long service. Surgeon… heal thyself…

  2. Anonymous is not correct.There are currently six members of staff paid at Director level in the party and three are men – three are women. The suggestion of a pay gap is completely wrong and the women have no disadvantage in pay terms.Chris RennardChief Executive, Liberal Democrats

  3. Are you sure Chris…?This is your own website link: Rennard – CEO – manBen Stoneham – Director – manNigel Bliss – Director – manDavid Loxton – Director – man+Chris Fox (not yet in link) – Director – man Stephenson – Director – womanWho are the other two Directors who are female? Or is there something rather suprising and wonderful you’re revealing to us about two of the ‘men’?

  4. The other posts paid at Director level within the organisation are Director of Media/Leader’s Press Secretary (Lena Pietsch) and Elections Planning Manager/Deputy Chief of Staff (Alison Suttie).

  5. Interesting, although factually I make that 4 or 5 (including you) men at senior level, to 3 women (or just 1 if looking at HQ alone rather than including the Leader’s office), and I’m going to guess that the pay gradient between Miss Pietsch and either yourself or your top-paid man (depending on whether these pay audits consider the CEO role a Director) is somewhat greater than the 5% threshold Lynne raised concern about in her article…Still I’m sure Lena, Alison, and Hilary will be delighted to learn you will be raising their pay and benefits dramatically if such a gap exists… Perhaps Lynne could do her own independent Equal Pay Report for the Federal Executive?Also, given the better gender balance in the Leader’s Office it would surely be prudent for you to put Nick’s staff on the website alongside your own. At the moment I count 16 men to 6 women in the Chris Rennard Boys Club; a better ratio than the Parliamentary Party, but not entirely following your Leader’s fine example.

  6. I might have more time for such discussions if you weren’t anonymous. As it is your arguments are not founded on anything. You have provided no identity, no facts and no evidence of any discrimination whatsoever. The Chief Exec has had the courtesy to come on here personally to answer the falsehoods you are trying to peddle. And lastly – it is perfectly fine to have different pay for different roles – what is wrong is when there is unequal pay for the same roles.

  7. A strongly-worded reaction Lynne, but let’s look at what you wrote – your article attacked Cambridge University for differences of pay ‘within the same grade’:I quote: “The gap at grade 12 (the top pay grade) is over 5%, which is the threshold where, under the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidelines action should be taken.”You didn’t extend to Cambridge the benefit of the doubt that many of those top grade roles may be different roles or that they might, like the Liberal Democrats have to pay very different market rates to attract or retain talent. I’m sure the issue here then is how fair you were on Cambridge. As for ‘peddling falsehoods’, you run a moderated blog. If you receive comments that are not true, you must surely reject them, rather than publish, or remove them later if published in error. It would be reasonable to conclude from your decision to retain these items that they are factually correct, the anonymous ones at least, it appears your Chief Executive has some difficulty with numbers.

  8. No – that’s not my moderation policy. If someone makes a claim – then they can, as long as it isn’t libelous etc – and the debate or correction can flow on in the comments. As you can see from many other threads I often disagree with what people claim in comments!

  9. It seems your Chief Executive’s problem with numbers continues abated. me Lynne, why is it that when a Labour MP has been suspended, a Tory has resigned, both for second home fiddles, your party has done nothing, issued no statement about Lord Rennard, and not requested him to pay the money back?To paraphrase ‘the fees office let me get away with it’ is not a defence or a denial. Are you complicit or happy with your most senior member of staff taking over £41,000 from the taxpaper to which they are not entitled? If not, what are you doing about it.

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