Academics' gender pay gap 'will not close for 40 years at current rate'

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The gender pay gap among academic staff will not be closed for 40 years at the current rate of progress, a new study shows.

The difference in pay between male and female academics in UK universities has only closed slightly from 12.6% to 12% in the past two years, said the University and College Union (UCU).

Its report said significant pay gaps at senior level coupled with under-representation of women in top posts pushed up the difference in wages in higher education.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "At this rate it will take 40 years to close the academic gender pay gap.

"The fact that women are under-represented in the higher management grades is contributing to the overall 12% gender pay gap for academic staff.

"Universities need to analyse their gender pay gaps by carrying out equal pay audits. We are now submitting local equal pay audits at universities and want institutions to analyse and address their gender pay gaps."

As seniority and pay increases, the percentage of women falls, the union said, adding that fewer than one in four professors are female.