UK Markets closed

Black and ethnic minority academics in UK earn less than white colleagues

St Johns College, part of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK. Photo: Peter Kindersley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Black and Asian academics in the UK earn less that their white colleagues, according to new data.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the BBC found that the average salary of white academics at the UK’s 24 leading public research universities, is significantly higher than that for black, Asian and mixed-race academics.

At Russell Group universities, including Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham, the average pay is £52,000 for white, £38,000 for black and £37,000 for Arab academics. Black and Arab academics make on average 28% less than their white counterparts.

The data obtained by the BBC also showed a smaller pay gap for other Asian and mixed-race academics.

The pay gap is even higher for ethnic minority women at Russell group universities, who face both ethnicity and gender pay gaps. On average, white women make 15% less than white men, while Asian women earn 22% less and black women make almost 40% less.

The Russell Group declined to comment, but Leeds University told BBC: “This is why we are committed to ensuring that black and minority ethnic staff are employed at all levels and to reducing any pay gap arising from our current representation across the grades.”

While illegal unequal pay can be the cause of pay gaps, the BBC found that women and ethnic minority academics at Russell Group universities tend to be in lower-paid jobs and are less likely to be promoted.

Earlier this year, the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat found that the gender pay gap in the UK was 21% – the fourth highest in the EU – and has been increasing since 2011, while earnings in black British families are about a fifth less than white families.