Female professors at a university are paid £8,000 less a year on average than their male counterparts.

The University of Brighton has one of the highest pay gaps between male and female professors in the country according to a new study.

The report also reveals that a disproportionately low number of female academics at both the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex are promoted to professor.

The University and College Union urged universities to set targets to improve the number of female professors and professors from a different ethnic background.

Both institutions were among the top 30 with the biggest difference between female professors and non-professorial academic staff, while the University of Brighton was also in the top ten for the biggest difference between academic staff from an ethnic background and professors.

It was also revealed that four out of five of the 155 University of Sussex professors are male, even though almost half of their non-professorial academic staff are women.

At the University of Brighton, nearly three-quarters of the university’s 70 professors are male compared to less than half of all non-professorial staff.

Lower wages

Female professors are paid £8,000 less than the £69,684 average wage paid to male professors at the University of Brighton, while University of Sussex female professors were paid £3,000 less than the £73,211 earned by male professors.

The union claim industry guidelines recommend a gender pay gap no larger than 5%, which is below the national 6.3% average and the 11.9% at University of Brighton.

A University of Brighton spokesman said the university was signed up to a charter encouraging “good practice” in the employment of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

He added: “We have a clear grading structure for professors.

'Welcome report'

“The university welcomes the UCU report and we will be studying the findings carefully to see whether there are improvements we can make in our employment policies.”

“It is important to exercise caution with statistics because they can be so easily skewed by a relatively small change in the numbers.”

A University of Sussex spokeswoman said the university had an above average proportion of female professors and in the past two years had seen a 21% increase in the number of female academic professors.

She added: “We recognise, however, that women remain under-represented in senior academic posts.”

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