Our Work

UCEA provides its member institutions with timely advice and guidance on all employment and reward matters relevant to the HE sector and here we outline the nature our work under five areas. 

Representing HE employers’ interests

Our policy expertise enables us to influence decision makers through our responses to proposed legislative changes and other policy consultations. We engage with an extensive range of stakeholders, including in the devolved jurisdictions. Recent responses to national-level consultations have been on future ethnicity pay reporting, the new NHS workforce implementation plan 2019 and on HE participation in the LGPS. UCEA is also the representative organisation for HE employers at a national level on the Teachers' Pension Scheme and the Local Government Pension Scheme. We work closely with Universities UK as the body that represents employers in the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Negotiations and supporting employee relations

We support and deliver collective negotiations on behalf of some 146 HE institutions, through the collective New Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) processes. Current pay negotiations hosts the latest developments in the annual collective national pay spine negotiation and the outcomes from previous years. We regularly engage with representatives of the main HE trade unions, working jointly on certain projects, and we work to support effective employee relations in HE institutions.

Analysis and knowledge sharing

Our research and analytical expertise is used to gather and share information among our members and to provide data and analysis on the HE workforce and employment practices. We regularly publish the Higher education workforce survey providing analysis of key data, including trends in recruitment and retention. We regularly analyse pay data to understand how the HE sector compares with the wider economy and how different occupations fare against their counterparts in other sectors. We also provide stimuli and opportunities, mainly for our members, in which sector-wide issues are explored through our networks and our Events programme.

Employment policy and advice

We provide advice and support to our members on a range of employment policy matters, from immigration to conditions of employment. We work on Health, Safety and Wellbeing at sector-level though a Health & Safety Committee involving key partners. We produce an annual Health and Safety Plan and Report and we publish annual sector-level sickness absence analysis.

Total reward

We support our members on their total reward approaches, including the important area of pensions. This includes the ability to participate in our comprehensive salary benchmarking surveys. We have advice and resources on the Gender pay gap and reports such as Caught at the crossroads? addressing the complex issues in the intersection of ethnicity and gender pay gaps. We provide expertise, support and guidance on HE pension provision and the statutory pensions frameworks for employers; this is across all the main sector schemes and on different types of scheme. We also undertake sector wide research and benchmarking which includes HE institution policies on pension tax and alternative remuneration.