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Small group of staff stand chatting outside the Palatine Building. It's a sunny day and they are dressed casually

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has released a report that explores the gender pay gap in higher education in which Durham’s progressive family-friendly policies are highlighted for being sector-leading.

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien, emphasises the importance of closing the gender pay gap in the foreword of the report. She also acknowledges that while, as a University, we are pleased to have been making steady progress with a long-standing and structural gender pay gap, we still have a way to go.

Sector-leading policies 

Our maternity leave policy is featured as an example of best practice when it comes to family-friendly policies that have an impact on the gender pay gap.    

The report explores how our offer of 26 weeks full maternity pay from day one of employment can have a positive impact on a woman’s career.  

In her foreword for the report, Professor O’Brien also highlights some of the other sector-leading policies and initiatives we have put in place for the benefit of our staff. 

These include paying visa costs for all new international staff members, regardless of their contract length, and paying the full Immigration Health Surcharge for new staff for the first year.  

We have also introduced voluntary enhanced reporting to include other protected characteristics such as ethnicity and disability so that our action plan addresses pay diversity in its wider sense. 

University student
We recognise that barriers to achieving pay diversity are complex and multi-faceted, and not only linked to gender.

Professor Karen O'Brien
Vice-Chancellor of Durham University

Bringing about systematic change  

Mandatory gender pay gap reporting has successfully drawn attention to the importance of reducing pay gaps and we are pleased to have made year-on-year improvements in this area. 

The gender pay gap remains one of our strategic priorities. We know that real progress will require long term strategies and action plans to address inequalities and bring about systemic change. We are committed to this approach, and, working in partnership with our staff networks and trade unions, strive to make further improvements in the coming years.  

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