This section outlines GCU's commitment to equal pay.

GCU Statement on equal pay

This section outlines GCU's commitment to equal pay.

We are committed to working jointly with our trade unions, staff and stakeholders to continue to promote the principles of, and effectively implement, equal pay. We recognise that in order to achieve equal pay for staff doing equal work we should operate a pay system which is transparent and based on objective criteria.

We are also aware of the importance of ensuring that our pay system is in line with our wider Equality Act 2010 obligations to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity, so our pay system must be free from bias on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation; and must not discriminate between those on different contractual arrangements.

To put our commitment to equal pay into practice we will:

  • Monitor the application and impact of our current pay practices through periodic equal pay reviews (see Figure 1: GCU Framework for Equal Pay Reviews)
  • Identify where biases, and therefore unequal pay, may occur in relation to protected characteristics, with a specific focus on gender, disability and race
  • Identify where occupational segregation, both vertical (i.e. by grade) and horizontal (i.e. by job family) may occur in relation to protected characteristics, with a specific focus on gender, disability and race
  • Report findings of equal pay reviews (see Table 1: Equal Pay at GCU - Summary of reporting framework), develop and implement actions to address and eliminate causes of unequal pay
  • Provide training and advice on job evaluation, the principles of delivering equal pay and unconscious bias for staff involved in recruiting staff and determining pay
Drivers and rationale for equal pay

This section describes why the work on equal pay is important to the University.

Pay inequalities exist across society, particularly for women, disabled people and people from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) background, and this is also evident in the higher education sector. We recognise that these inequalities place people at a disadvantage and have a negative impact on families, employers, the economy, and society more generally.

GCU’s commitment to the principle of equal pay is part of our Common Good mission, and wider commitment to equality and diversity, which is focused on being inclusive of all sections of society, responsive to the needs of individuals and tackling discrimination.

This is reflected in our Strategy 2020, our Inclusive Societies research theme, and our involvement in the United Nations Global Compact through PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education).

Equality and diversity are embedded into the GCU Values, and our People Strategy makes a commitment to developing our talent pool, recognising and rewarding achievement and contributions of our staff. We recognise that equal pay is a fundamental part of what we stand for as a University.

As well as part of our institutional ethos, we recognise that the principle of equal pay is enshrined in legislation. Therefore, we aim to ensure that our pay system is free of bias by continuing to take a proactive approach to build on the foundations established under the national Framework Agreement for Modernisation of HE Pay Structures. A prime aim of the Agreement was to support the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value, with staff salaries being determined on a basis that is transparent, consistent and fair. At GCU, roles are jointly evaluated with Trade Union representatives, using the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) scheme.

Equal pay and the Equality Act

This section describes the legislative context of equal pay.

The equal pay provisions in the Equality Act 2010 provides for equal pay between women and men undertaking equal work, that is:

  • like work – where employees are doing work that is the same or broadly similar, and any differences that do exist are not of any practical importance
  • work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation system – where jobs have been rated under an analytical non-discriminatory job evaluation scheme as being equivalent; that is, they have been rated as having the same number of points, or falling within the same job evaluation grade range of points
  • work of equal value – where the work done is different but considered to be of equal value or worth; this can be measured by comparing the jobs under headings such as effort, skill and decision-making

Equal pay and equality Act 2010

Equal pay review

An equal pay review is the analysis of an organisation’s pay structure in order to identify and eliminate any gaps that cannot satisfactorily be explained on objective grounds. It involves comparing the pay of women and men doing equal work and identifying significant pay gaps in basic pay. 

In terms of significant pay gaps, there are two types: ‘difference’ and ‘pattern’. A ‘difference’ is a disparity between the average basic pay of men and women performing equal work within a specific grade. A ‘pattern’ is where, for example, it is found that women consistently earn less than men for equal work. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) equal pay review model states that any differences of 5% or more, or patterns of 3% or more, will require explanation.

As part of our Equality Outcomes Framework commitments, we conducted an Equal Pay Review April 2014.

We continued to fufill our commitment by engaging with campus Trade Unions and other key stakeholders on a wider equal pay audit project examining wider pay and benefits, guided by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) Equal Pay Reviews: Guidance for Higher Education Institutions: JNCHES Equal Pay Review Guidance.

This guidance has since been updated and GCU hosted the launch event in January 2018. The new guidance can be accessed at the follwoing link: New JNCHES Equal Pay Reviews and Gender Pay Gap Reporting Guidance - January 2018.

GCU's work on equal pay and reducing the gender pay gap has been featured as a case study on the UCEA website.

Further information on the findings of our equal pay work can be found in the following reports:

Equal Pay audit 2015-2016 summary

GCU Equal Pay Audit - May 2018

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference in average hourly earnings between men and women. Research by Close The Gap shows that on average, women in Scotland earn 15% less per hour than men. The pay gap is the key indicator of the inequalities and differences that still exist in men’s and women’s working lives, and is caused by three main factors, occupational segregation, inflexible working practices, and pay discrimination. Although there will be differences between different organisations, these three causes are common across all workplaces and sectors.

As part of the Public Sector Equality duty reporting requirements, the University's gender pay gap information was calculated in 2013 and published as part of our equal pay statement, gender pay gap and information on occupational segregation document. Our gender pay gap has continually reduced - the pay gap calculation in April 2015 showed that our mean pay gap was 15.4%. As reported in our Public Sector Equality Duty Report 2017 our gender pay gap has continued to decrease and as at at 1 April 2017 is 14.5%.

The GCU Public Sector Equality Duty Report 2019 shows that our gender pay gap remains below the Scottish and UK average at 12.8% as at 31 July 2018. For academic staff the gap has reduced to 4.2% (from 8.2% in 2015), attributable, in part, to the increase to over 40% female professors, compared to the sector average of 23%.




Scotland HEIs















12.8% [10]

19.2% [11]

17.2% [12]


[1] As at April 2013

[2] Equality in higher education: statistical report 2014 Part 1: staff – based on 2012/13 data, and salary census date of 31 July 2013

[3] Ibid.

[4] As at April 2015

[5] Equality in higher education: statistical report 2016 Part 1: staff – based on 2014/15 data, and salary census date of 31 July 2015

[6] Ibid.

[7] As at April 2017

[8] Equality in higher education: staff statistical report 2017 - based on 2015/2016 data, and salary census date of 31 July 2016

[9] Ibid.

[10] As at July 2018

[11] Equality+ Higher Education: Staff statistical report 2018 - based on 2016/2017 data, and salary census date of 31 July 2017

[12] Ibid.