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Staff Support

The University is taking strategic measures and actions to address any gender imbalances in the workplace.

  • The University Executive Group reviews the latest equality, diversity and inclusion data each term, providing a framework for executive action to be taken immediately any issues are identified. The Executive Group will hold senior managers to account for developing and delivering their equality action plans.
  • We have developed a new equality dashboard to provide managers in Colleges and Services with “real-time” demographic information on demographics to better inform their decision making and equality-related action plans.
  • We have commissioned research from academic colleagues specialising in gender equality to provide a deeper understanding of the University’s data and the causes of gender inequality and ensure that our action plans are “evidence-led”.
  • This research has identified the need to review our recruitment practices and procedures for starting salaries. Research into our recruitment over recent years indicates that, in general, we are appointing more women to roles where women are already overrepresented and more men to senior academic roles.
  • We are reviewing the Executive Performance Reward Scheme for members of College Executives and senior managers in Professional Services with a view to changing this from performance awards, which are a percentage of an office holder’s salary, to a (maximum) fixed amount. This will help to reduce the Gender Bonus Gap.
  • We introduced improved pay during maternity, adoption and shared parental leave and a University-wide framework for planning the return to work of academic staff taking family-friendly leave. In addition, we will conduct a further survey of staff on the support which the University provides to working parents in the next academic year.
  • Our Parents’ and Carers’ network will continue to support colleagues who are balancing their caring responsibilities with their careers.
  • We have already introduced guidance for staff and managers to support staff experiencing menopause symptoms and successfully piloted training and support programmes. Further training and support arrangements will be made available to staff and managers in 2020/21.
  • We will also be providing guidance and training for managers and staff on domestic abuse and facilitating a network of Domestic Abuse Awareness champions.
  • We are reviewing our special leave arrangements, including emergency leave arrangements for Parents and Carers.
  • We are developing a new Wellbeing Strategy and progressing Positive Working Environment initiatives (taking account of what our staff have told us through our biennial Employee Engagement Survey). The next Employee Engagement Survey will take place in Autumn 2020, with results in Spring 2021.
  • Our Fair Employment For All initiative will deliver improvements for colleagues working on an occasional basis or on fixed-term contracts from the start of the 2020/21 University year. Two-thirds of the casual workers included in our 2019 gender pay analysis were women.

As part of our Athena SWAN commitment, we have been working on programmes to develop women’s careers for several years and each year, we add additional programmes based on feedback from our employees on what would help to support them to progress in their career.

We will continue to implement the actions set out in our Athena SWAN action plans and to promote female-focused leadership development initiatives, including Women of Influence and the Aurora development programme. We will continue to run promotion workshops which have been very successful in facilitating the promotion of female academics. These workshops clarify the promotion process for academic staff preparing for promotion, including hearing the experiences of recently promoted staff.

Academic Women Group – a forum for women to come together to discuss their latest research, teaching and experiences. Women of Influence – a network for alumni and others affiliated with the University to discuss the latest sector and industry thinking on gender equality, careers and promotion and to create links with partners who can offer experiences and job shadowing opportunities to our employees.

Building on the success of the “One Step Beyond” mentoring scheme in two STEMM Colleges, this scheme has been expanded in 2018/19 and is now active in all Colleges. In addition, a mentoring scheme for all Professional Services staff is due to be launched in 2019. 

Greater promotion of job sharing and part-time working to increase the number of opportunities advertised on this basis. Following the success of an initial trial, we will run an extended trial of blind shortlisting for Professional Services recruitment.

Creating additional opportunities for women to gain experience in senior-level decision making both within the University;

  • through representation on interview panels, committees and working groups
  • externally through membership of governing bodies and generating links with industry to provide shadowing and work placement opportunities at a senior level.

We are committed to providing a workplace that is family-friendly and is further developing our support for academic staff returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, to enable them to invest time in their research, by adjusting other elements of their academic workload.

Our Parents and Carers Networks offers a space for discussion, support and a voice to influence the shape of future initiatives. We have made significant improvements to our support to staff taking maternity, adoption and shared parental leave, extending the paid leave to 26 weeks from the first day of employment.

The University is a member of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, a leading national charity in this field. We have worked with the EIDA on the development of guidance to support staff on issues related to domestic abuse, as well as associated training for internal stakeholders and line managers.

A range of services have been put into place to help colleagues and more information can be found here.