Gender pay gap

The University of Hertfordshire places the highest importance on attracting, developing and retaining outstanding staff. Our Strategic Plan focuses on transforming lives, and ensures our staff flourish in the work they do and that their career development is recognised and rewarded. The reasons for pay differentials are complex and we are taking a number of actions and initiatives to reduce these differences.

Each year we report on pay differentials within our staff community by reference to gender. For 2021 the gender pay gap findings report gaps in favour of male staff compared to female staff, other than for mean bonus pay (a subset of total pay). This year, we are setting out the latest results and comparing them to previous years where that information is available. We are also reporting on the progress we are making to eradicate these differences where it is possible to do so. These actions and initiatives are implemented through university-wide and more local departmental plans.

We remain committed to make progress to address differences in pay.

2021 report

Our staff profile

This latest report is based on pay data for the month ending 31 March 2020 and comprises 1,941 (59%) female and 1,372 (41%) male staff. There is a 2% increase in male staff reported here.

The total population of 3,313 individuals reflects the diverse range of employment options recorded for individuals in March 2020, with 1,980 (60%) holding substantive appointments and 1,333 (40%) holding a mix of substantive and atypical (visiting lecturer, casual) appointments. Therefore, to better understand what actions will help us reduce gaps within the University, we also calculate our findings by individual School of Study or professional services department.

When we report on gender pay gaps it is important to note there are differences to reporting equal pay. The former calculates rates of pay and bonus within quartile pay bands, whereas the latter analyses the equality of pay in relation to the same or similar work. We are in the process of compiling a separate report on equal pay which is scheduled to be published later this year.

In the previous three years of reporting, the total proportions of female and male staff have remained the same, with some fluctuations in the quartile bands. Compared to 2020, this report includes a higher proportion of male staff (35%, +6%) in the lowest band but also increases in upper middle (45%, +1%) and upper (49%, +2%) pay quartiles. Male staff continue to be more likely to hold the highest graded posts.

Due to the reporting period, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of staffing will be considered in the next annual report.

Breakdown by quartile band

Quartile bandFemaleMaleTotal
Lower538 (65%)291 (35%)829
Lower Middle521 (63%)306 (37%)827
Upper Middle459 (55%)369 (45%)826
Upper423 (51%)406 (49%)829
Grand total1,941 (59%)1,372 (41%)3,313
Quartile bandFemaleMaleTotal
Lower573 (71%)232 (29%)805
Lower Middle503 (62%)304 (38%)807
Upper Middle451 (56%)353 (44%)804
Upper425 (53%)379 (47%)804
Grand total1,952 (61%)1,268 (39%)3,220
Quartile bandFemaleMaleTotal
Lower571 (69%)256 (31%)827
Lower Middle524 (63%)302 (37%)826
Upper Middle478 (58%)348 (42%)826
Upper435 (53%)391 (47%)826
Grand total2,008 (61%1,297 (39%)3,305
Quartile bandFemaleMaleTotal
Lower516 (69%)232 (31%)748
Lower Middle482 (64%)266 (36%)748
Upper Middle431 (58%)317 (42%)748
Upper384 (51%)363 (49%)747
Grand total1,813 (61%)1,178 (39%)2,991

Our gender pay data

The difference between female and male staff average rates of pay

Rate of pay2021
Mean (average)
Median (middle)
Hourly rate of pay 10.45% 14.33%
Bonus pay paid -6.63% 0.00%

Proportion of males and females paid a bonus

Gender20212020 20192018
Female 65.20%66.66%63.60%68.30%
Male 61.20%66.27%63.10%69.90%

The results demonstrate pay gaps in favour of male staff, other than for mean bonus pay which is higher on average for female staff.

When compared to 2020, the report for 2021 sets out reductions in the total mean (10.45%, -2.29%) and median (14.33%, -1.86%) pay gaps, thus narrowing the respective differences to 90p and 86p for females for every £1 of male staff earnings. The mean hourly rate of pay for female staff is £21.87, whereas it is £24.42 for male staff – a difference of £2.55. The median hourly rate of pay for female staff is £19.21, whereas it is £22.42 for male staff – a difference of £3.21. These differences reflect the posts and pay grades held by individuals.

Due primarily to changes in the performance bonus payment scheme for senior staff, we are reporting, for the first time, a gap in favour of female staff of 94p for males for every £1 for female staff bonus pay. This is a change of 23.9% in favour of female staff compared to 2020. The mean average bonus pay for female staff is £204.52, whereas it is £191.80 for male staff. The median for bonus pay remains at 0% due to the voucher payment to staff made in December.

This report also records a reduction of 1.46% of the proportion of females receiving bonus pay with the difference at 5.1% being a more significant reduction for males.

Closing the gap

The reasons for pay gaps can be linked to past practices, and reducing these requires complex strategies. Nevertheless, we continue to make progress towards closing those gaps.

We also report on ethnicity pay gaps, and although these are addressed separately, we recognise the value in detailed intersectional analyses when instigating actions and initiatives to address gaps overall.

We understand that of the 3,313 individuals included in this dataset, white males are most likely to receive the highest average rates of pay. There are 409 individuals recorded as both BAME and female. They are most likely to receive the lowest average rates of pay. For this latter group, 73 are recorded as paid at national minimum wage where there are 11 recorded as paid at senior managerial/academic manager rates of pay. The group comprises 53% professional services and 47% academic, including research staff. We know we must examine staff profiles in the jobs we provide and structures we operate. This will help us address differentials across all areas and at all levels in the University. To increase numbers of senior female academic staff the pay gap will be addressed through our key performance indicators.

Detailed results are calculated for each School of Study and professional services department, and reported locally so they can be considered when acting on staffing strategies to meet our key performance indicators.

In the reporting period for 2021, those actions included individual strategic business units (often working in conjunction with their equality, diversity and inclusion teams) to progressing initiatives, including tailored positive action statements when advertising vacancies, anonymised shortlisting and increased diversity of interview panels. We survey staff regularly to understand the staff experience and to enable us to improve our many practices, including through appraisals. Both regular and bespoke development opportunities are available, including mandatory equality, diversity and inclusion training for everyone. Progression schemes have been introduced and we have been increasing access to mentoring and coaching.

Some selected examples include:

  • Academic Registry reported reviewing job content and advertising more widely to encourage more male applicants
  • Hertfordshire Business School publicise all vacancies internally to encourage interest in applying, and have invested in additional equality diversity and inclusion training for senior managers
  • School of Creative Arts are promoting progression discussions in appraisal and are encouraging job applications from diverse sources, including visiting lecturers
  • Dean of Students Office are recruiting applicants who are representative of the student body
  • Estates are promoting flexible working opportunities in their job advertisements because female staff are often underrepresented in these professions
  • School of Humanities are continuing to provide the option of increasing working hours for two years following return from maternity/paternity leave
  • Library and Computing Services are reviewing job descriptions and person specifications to ensure they do not discriminate
  • School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science are providing academic progression workshops where female staff in particular are encouraged to attend, as well as providing pre-pandemic international travel opportunities.

2020 report

Our staff profile

The data in this report is based on a snapshot of information from the month ending 31 March 2019. This year’s report includes a total of 3,220 staff, comprising of 1,952 (60.6%) female and 1,268 (39.4%) male staff.

There are differences between the gender pay gap and equal pay. The former calculates rates of pay and bonus within quartile pay bands, whereas the latter analyses the equality of pay in relation to the same or similar work. Differences in gender pay should be addressed where it is appropriate, and we will be publishing a separate report on equal pay later this year.

As in previous years, there are more female staff than male staff in total at the University and in each of the quartile bands. The number of female staff in the upper quartile pay band has decreased since 2018, but the proportion of female (53%) staff to male (47%) has remained the same. A higher proportion of male staff hold senior roles when compared to female.

Breakdown by quartile band

Quartile bandFemale%Male%Total
Lower Middle5036230438807
Upper Middle4515635344804
Grand total1,952611,268393,220
Quartile bandFemale%Male%Total
Lower Middle5246330237826
Upper Middle4785834842826
Grand total2,008611,297393,305
Quartile bandFemale%Male%Total
Lower Middle4826426636748
Upper Middle4315831742748
Grand total1,813611,178392,991

Our gender pay data

The difference between male and female staff pay

Rate of pay2018-19
Mean (average)
Median (middle)
Hourly rate of pay12.74%16.19%
Bonus pay paid17.24%0.00%
Proportion of males and females paid a bonus2018-19

As of March 2019, our mean gender pay pap for hourly rates of pay is 12.74% and the median gender pay gap is 16.19%, maintaining a downward trend and reducing the gender pay gap since 2017. There has been a significant reduction in the mean bonus pay gap by 9.12%, which has been achieved in part by a thorough review of how we award bonuses. The proportion of eligible staff receiving a bonus has increased from last year, with marginally more female staff receiving a bonus than male.

The reasons for our gender pay gap are complex, often impacted by multiple historical factors. This year’s report includes 85 fewer staff compared to last year, of which 65.88% were female. We follow recruiting best practice and recruit new staff at the start of the pay scale which can have an impact on our pay gap. A higher reduction of female staff numbers and turnover of female staff onto a lower starting pay scale are contributing factors.

The mean hourly rate for male staff is £24.02 and £20.96 for females. This is a difference of £3.06, which represents 12.74% mean pay gap. The median hourly rate for male staff is £22.41 and £18.78 for females. This is a difference of £3.63 which represents a 16.19% median pay gap. The mean bonus pay amount for male staff is £297.97 and £246.59 for female. The difference of £51.38 represents 17.24% mean pay gap.

Closing the gap

We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community at the University, recognising the contribution of staff fairly. To tackle the pay gap effectively, we are focused on driving improvements within our individual strategic business units. These initiatives include:

Business intelligence and monitoring

Our aim for how we conduct and monitor our business, include:

  • Better segmented reporting and analysis of staff and pay by gender.

Recruitment and retention

Our aims for how we recruit and retention employees, include:

  • annual and monthly reporting and analysis of application, shortlisting and appointment data
  • monitoring how we use recruitment websites and agencies to ensure applications are diverse
  • improving how we integrate new employees into the organisation
  • promoting work-life balance
  • making changes to how we reward staff to make the process fairer
  • making best use of our flexible working and family friendly policies.

Continuous professional development

Our aims for continuous professional development, include:

  • provide development opportunities that enable career progression, such as Aurora, Diversity in Leadership, Fellowships and Continuing Professional Academic Development
  • increase the number of equality, diversity and inclusion workshops held
  • improve the awareness of unconscious bias online training.

Staff networks

Our aim for staff networks, include:

  • continue to prompt and support staff networks and mentoring schemes.
As part of launching the University's Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, our people and values strand to transform lives reaffirmed our commitment to our student and staff community by: providing opportunities to attract, retain and develop individuals, building a diverse and inclusive community, and responding with flexibility to the challenges of the changing world. I am therefore pleased to receive these latest pay gap reports which demonstrate the progress we are making in supporting our diverse staff community to develop and progress their careers.

Professor Quintin McKellar CBE

Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive


The report has been approved by the Chief Executive Group and the Board of Governors.

The report date reflects when the information is published, but the dataset used for reporting is taken from the previous year. For example, we are releasing our 2021 pay gap reports based on data captured in March 2020 covering the preceding 12 months. This reporting schedule is determined by the requirement to properly report all relevant pay.