Credit: Unsplash

Report shows that UK faculty lack diversity – and Glasgow is no exception

Credit: Unsplash

Kelton Holsen

The Advance HE report shows that UK universities are making slow process in promoting professors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds

A new report by equality advocacy organisation Advance HE (Higher Education Academy) reveals that diversity among university professors has made relatively little progress in recent years, with only 115 black professors among 19,000 professors in the UK and only 9.4% of UK staff identifying as BME (black and minority ethnic). At the University of Glasgow, that proportion falls to 7.8%. In comparison, recent census data shows that 12.8% of UK citizens are BME.

According to the study, BME professors were also less likely to receive raises, promotions, or long-term contracts. While the study shows that overall the proportion of BME staff increased since the last survey in 2004, vast differences in representation were also noted between different academic fields.

According to the report, “subject areas with the highest proportions of UK BME staff were chemical engineering (20.2%), clinical dentistry (19.9%) and electrical, electronic and computer engineering (18.6%)…[while] just 1.6% of those who worked in archaeology and 3.3% of those who worked in earth, marine and environmental sciences were BME.”

At the University of Glasgow, representation shows similar rates of variance, with science and engineering taking the lead with 11.6% representation while the College of Arts and the department of University Services reporting BME percentages of 3.6% and 4.5%, respectively. The data also shows that BME applicants are proportionally less likely to be hired than their white peers, a trend that the University has noticed is consistent across many years.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said:We are wholly committed to ensuring that all colleagues have the opportunity for career advancement regardless of their ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation or gender.

“We actively encourage recruitment from a diverse pool of applicants and provide mentoring and development opportunities to assist those with talent and ability to succeed. Between 2011/12 and 2016/17 the percentage of senior staff on Grade 10 from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds rose from 2.3% to 5.7%.”

One area in which the University of Glasgow is significantly ahead of the curve is on gender equality – while overall statistics show that only one in four professors is female, at the University of Glasgow, women actually slightly outnumber men among faculty. However, it should be noted that the University of Glasgow also has a significant gender pay gap of 18.2%, nearly twice the national median of 9.7% as reported by the Guardian. In their report, the University noted that “the University recognises the gender pay gap is significant and has established a Gender Pay Working Group which report to Human Resources Committee to address this.”


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