Women leaders with low pay in UK universities, is job-sharing the solution?

Surveys prove that women leaders increase productivity and innovation in the sector. However, in spite of increases in recent years, only 27 percent of varsity vice-chancellors and heads of the academic institution governing bodies are women.

The gender pay gap also compounds the alarming issues across the educational system. Although, the issue of the gender pay gap exists among different sectors education is among the worst. Women reportedly receive pay of 25.9 percent as compared to the national average of 17.9 percent. This means that the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (95 days) and has to wait until the 4 April 2019 before she starts earning the same as the average man. 

This revealed that female in academic institutions are underrepresented in the top tier, and clearly are not being paid enough.

Another study analysed that a woman working in the academic sector works 95 days, annually with no pay.

Reasons for the inequality in women roles

Notable amongst the reasons why the gender pay gap and women inequality is high in the UK university sector is the fact they are mostly saddled with parental responsibilities.

Women are left to care for the kids and this leads them to take lower-paid positions mostly on a part-time basis. Presently female fills more than 74 percent of part-time jobs in the UK.

The higher sector of universities is dominated by men discouraging women’s interest in senior roles.

Also, research shows that women would only submit an application for a job if they meet up all of the requested criteria. This also limits the number of women at the senior level.

Solution to the gender pay gap in UK Universities

It remains a case that female’s working patterns and therefore, careers are hugely affected by the transition to motherhood. 38 percent of mothers work part-time (compared to 33 percent who work full-time), while only 7 percent of fathers do.

Job sharing is seen as the most viable solution. It’s an alternative work schedule in which two employees voluntarily share the responsibilities of one full-time job, and receive salary and benefits on a pro-rata basis. Job sharing creates regular part-time (half days, alternative days, alternative weeks, etc.) where there was one full-time position, and thus avoids a total loss of employment in a layoff.

This should be encouraged because research has shown that an increasing amount of women in senior roles would multiply and improve productivity and innovation.

Engaging in more leadership job-sharing will be a valuable way of curbing gender and pay gap issues. Job sharing will allow organizations to hold on to gifted and talented staff and still be able to employ new staff.

Job sharing will also impact positively for an organization in many areas such as sharing positive ideas with each other, collectively responsible for a particular task leading to a better result. This will prevent university staff from seeking other careers and encourage growth in the industry.