Equality and Pay

Equal pay

It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex and this includes paying people of one sex less than the other for comparable work.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap reflects ongoing societal discrimination and occupational segregation in the labour market which, in practice, mainly affect women. Its causes are complex and interrelated.

Incremental pay scales and sex and age discrimination

The significant precedent came from the ECJ ruling in 2006 in Cadman v Health and Safety Executive. The ruling was not entirely straightforward but this UCEA Update explains why it is important to review pay grades that are longer than six incremental points (five years' service) and provides advice on the design of pay structures in this context.

Incremental pay scales and sex discrimination

Gender pay gap infographics and briefing

Often the gender pay gap is mistakenly equated with equal pay. UCEA has therefore produced a colourful three-page infographics titled 'Examining the gender pay gap in Higher Education' and an accompanying briefing paper to explain the topic.

Examining the gender pay gap in HE January 2017

UCEA Communications Briefing on Gender Pay Gap issues in HE


UCEA has done several joint pieces of research on Equal Pay and the Gender Pay Gap with the sector trade unions (JNCHES). The most recent report, published in September 2016, is available to download here:

New JNCHES Higher Education gender pay gap data
This report included recommendations to publish five sector gender pay gap metrics annually to assist with monitoring progress. The updated metrics, which have been agreed with UCEA members, can be explored through this interactive Tableau interface.

Some of our earlier work on gender pay is also available to download: 

Gender Pay Working Group Report

Equal Pay Review survey results

Equal Pay Review Case Studies

The Gender Pay Gap - A Literature Review

Results of the 2013 survey of equal pay reviews

New JNCHES Equality Working Group - Overview Report


Joint UCEA JNCHES guidance on conducting equal pay reviews

Reporting on the gender pay gap

There are strict requirements set out within the specific duties of the public sector equality duty of the Equality Act for England, Wales and Scotland regarding the reporting of Gender Pay Gap data. The relevant regulations are:

  • England: Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017
  • Scotland: Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012
  • Wales: Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011

In addition, HE institutions are strongly encouraged to review and analyse their gender pay gap data with a view to taking steps to improve this; in Wales an action plan is mandatory.

The New JNCHES Equal Pay Reviews Guidance for Higher Education Institutions is currently being updated and revised in conjunction with the trade unions, with publication expected by late 2017. UCEA will inform members as soon as it is available.


More information

To access further detail and information relating to the HE sector and gender pay please go to UCEA’s gender pay gap ‘toolkit’ pages

Page last updated December 2017