Data claims the lazy move by UK Universities on Equality

To senior positions, British universities have made little progress in promoting black and other minority ethnic staff according to the analysis of equality data. Only a small fraction of professors in UK universities were from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, with women especially poorly represented in regards to the Statistics collated by Advance HE formerly known as the Equality Challenge Unit charity, last year.

Out of about 19,000 professors in total, in the 2016-17 academic year, just 25 black women were recorded as working as professors. While just 90 black men held positions of the same status More than 14,000 white men were recorded as professors.

Rather than permanent contracts, the data collected from official sources also showed that BME staff remained more likely than their white peers to be in junior positions, to be less well paid and to be employed on fixed-term. But the report registered some improvements, including a doubling of the number of BME staff in the course of a decade.


“In a number of equality areas, over the past 11 years of producing these reports we have seen small but consistent improvements such as gradual reductions in the average gender and ethnicity pay gaps among academic staff and the narrowing of the BME attainment gap,” said Gary Loke, an Advance HE director.

“Though this is encouraging, the recurring attempts of these issues and those related to other protected characteristics such as disability, gender reassignment and sexual orientation remind us that there is still a great deal of room for improvement”


For studying in London, black and minority ethnic students showed a marked preference at more than double the rate of white British students. In fact, 33% of black students, 30% of Asian students and more than 40% of Arab ethnicity students studied in the capital while just 12% of white British students enrolled in London institutions.

In final degree results between white and BME students, data on 2017 graduates showed a marked closing of the gap. Overall, compared with more than 66% of BME students nearly 80% of white students were awarded a first class or 2:1 degree. Then the 15-point gap seen in the previous year, the gap of 13 percentage points was smaller.

However, the gaps varied between ethnic groups, ranging from about five percentage points for Chinese and Indian students compared to white students, to a more than the 20-point gap for black students.

BME students avoid courses such as history and philosophy and were more likely to take professional subjects. They were more likely to take science and technology courses than white students and comprised about one in three students studying law and business.

The proportion of disabled and special-needs students continues to rise. 12% of students in the UK were disclosed as disabled in 2016-17, with one in five of those reporting a mental health condition. The report noted that the proportion of higher education staff disclosing that they had a disability had more than doubled, from 2.2% in 2003-04 to 4.9% in 2016.

But disparities in gender, race and ethnicity still loom large in university staff rooms. Only one in four professors were women, and of those nearly 92% were white. Among all academic staff, a little more than one out of five women earned more than £50,000, compared with more than one in three of their male counterparts.

Leave a Comment