Gender Pay Gap 2023

Addressing the gender pay gap at the Cancer Research UK Scotland Institute

In this report you will find:

  • A summary of our gender pay gap
  • A summary of the challenges, which contribute to our gender pay gap
  • Our commitments and actions to narrowing our gender pay gap

What is the gender pay gap at the CRUK Scotland Institute?

To determine the gender pay gap, the Government requires companies to measure the average earnings of all male and female employees, regardless of role and working hours, and show the percentage difference between the two. Table 1 shows that compared to 2022, the mean hourly pay gap between females and males increased by 0.16% but the median hourly pay gap decreased by 4.96% in 2023.

Table 1  Pay Gender from April 2020 to April 2022*

  Female Male 2023 2022 2021
Mean (£/hour) 18.03 20.39  11.60%  11.44% 10.24%
Median (£/hour) 18.55 20.01  7.28%  12.24% 10.08%

 *The figures shown here do not include Group Leaders who are employed by the University of Glasgow and who will feature in their Gender Pay Data.

Gender pay gap vs equal pay

Equal pay has been a legal requirement in the UK for nearly 50 years; the gender pay gap is not the same as this. At the CRUK Scotland Institute, we ensure our people are paid equally for equivalent work, subject to experience and individual contribution, and regardless of gender.

What is behind our gender pay gap?

Our gender pay gap has improved over the past year. There was a slight increase in the mean difference between female and male salaries, by 0.16%, however the median decreased by 4.96%. This reflects our efforts in both recruitment and internal processes of salary review.

In year 2022/23, 69% of new starts were female. In research roles 75% of new starts were female. There is still, however, a disproportionate number of women in the lower paid roles.

In 2023, our workforce was 38% male and 62% female. When we rank the pay of our staff into 4 quartiles, we can see that there is a majority of females in the first 3 quartiles. Whilst it is encouraging to see more women in the upper middle quartile, the majority of our newly appointed female staff have been recruited to the lower and lower middle quartiles (66% of all staff recruited within these quartiles). However there has been a high percentage of females recruited into the upper middle quartile (76% of those recruited at this level were female) resulting in a 6% increase in females in this quartile.

We continue to review our grades to identify variance in pay between males and females and make adjustments to salaries accordingly. In 2023, 50% of all promotions were women and 75% of advancements in grades (salary increases above our cost-of-living increase) were also women.

It is important to note that our senior research faculty, e.g. Group Leaders, are not reflected in our gender pay gap analysis. This is because they are employed on hybrid contracts and are technically employed by the University of Glasgow. 

Table 2. Comparison of Quartiles 2021 to 2023

  M-2021 F-2021 M-2022 F-2022 M-2023 F-2023
Lower Quartile 34% 66% 30% 70% 32% 68%
Lower Middle Quartile 37% 63% 33% 67% 29% 71%
Upper Middle Quartile 48% 52% 45% 55% 39% 61%
Upper Quartile 59% 41% 54% 46% 53% 47%

What are we doing to close our gender pay gap?

The CRUK Scotland Institute is committed to reducing its gender pay gap through actions identified in our gender pay gap action plan, which is regularly reviewed by our Board of Directors.

Understanding the issues

The CRUK Scotland Institute operates in a sector that relies heavily on highly skilled scientific researchers and those wishing to train in this area. In the UK, the number of women now working as Science Professionals has dropped from 51.5% in 2022 to 43.7% in 2023 (WISE Campaign Report September 2023).

We have previously noted that of those women who start out in a scientific research career as a Postdoc, many subsequently fail to transition into an independent Principal Investigator (PI) position. Almost, two thirds (65.45%) of our postdocs are female and whilst this is encouraging, we recognise that we need to translate this higher percentage of female postdocs pursuing a scientific research career into more senior positions such as a Group Leader.

To improve our gender pay gap we have taken the following actions

  • Adapted our recruitment practices to ensure more gender balanced interview panels and applicant shortlists. 
  • Captured EDI data during recruitment. 
  • Offered flexible work patterns. 
  • Provided maternity cover of up to 18 months to enable continuation of research careers. For example, cover was provided for 8 positions under this policy over the last 3 years. 
  • Reviewed grades to identify and address any gender pay gap issues. 
  • Promoted development opportunities for women, including coaching, mentoring and leadership training. For example, this year our first cohort of women technicians join the Hershel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership.
  • Maintained strong links with the School of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow VOICE (Athena Swan) Committee.
  • Ensured equal representation in our seminar series and at our scientific conferences.

We will aim for continuous improvement in these areas as well as introduce other actions to reduce our gender pay gap. This will include seeking to understand the career development challenges of our female staff. For postdocs, we will endeavour to support their transition to an independent research position. This will include support with fellowship applications, mentoring and funding to attend leadership development.

In summary

Whilst we acknowledge a gender pay gap and market challenges relating to recruitment of females in science, we are encouraged by the number of female researchers that have joined our Institute.

To retain women in science, we will continue to review our data, policies and processes to make improvements and promote development opportunities to support women to realise their full potential.

Improving equity is the right thing to do. It is a fundamental aspect of encouraging equal opportunities for all. Through increased diversity we will be better able to conduct innovative and world-leading cancer research in support of Cancer Research UK's ambition of 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.