Gender Pay Gap 2021

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

Creating a diverse working culture where everyone can be themselves and reach their full potential as individuals is hugely important to us at the CRUK Beatson Institute. Not only does it enable us to conduct cutting edge cancer research, but it encourages new ideas and creativity, which will help us achieve our full potential as an organisation.

In this report you will find:

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

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

To determine the Pay Differential Relative to Gender (PDR2G), 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. Compared to 2020, the mean hourly pay gap between females and males decreased by 2.96% points and the median hourly pay gap decreased by 1.02% points in 2021, though disappointing that our PDR2G has increased since 2019.

The figures shown here do not include Group Leaders who are employed by the University of Glasgow and who will feature in their PDR2G.

PDR2G     Calculations    
  Female Male Apr 2021 Apr 2020 Apr 2019
Mean 17.04  18.98  10.24%  13.20%  9.90%
Median 16.66  18.53  10.08%  11.10%  7.10%

Gender pay gap vs equal pay

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

What is behind our gender pay gap?

In 2021, our gender pay gap improved slightly with the mean difference between female and male salaries reducing 2.96 percentage points and the median reducing 1.02 percentage point. To understand this improvement, it's important to reflect on our recruitment activities over that period. In the past 2 years, we have continued to recruit to key positions and we recruited 61% females compared to 39% males. The females we recruited were offered a starting salary of on average 3% more than newly appointed males. In addition, we also undertook a deep dive into our grades to review any discrepancies in pay between males and females and made a small number of adjustments to female salaries. This exercise was limited in 2021 by the impact of COVID on our core funding and budgets, though it is our intention to continue comparing male/female salaries by grade as part of our annual review process.

It is important to note that our most senior managers are not reflected in our PDR2G analysis. This is because they are employed on hybrid contracts and are technically employed by the University of Glasgow. However, the CRUK Beatson Institute determines their pay and grading, and we think it's important to highlight our pay gender ratios with them included. You will find these below. We will track and report on this data going forward.

PDR2G inc senior researchers on hybrid contracts April 21

  Female Male Apr 2021
Mean 17.69 21.29 16.88%
Median 16.95 18.98 10.68%

In 2021, our workforce is 46% male and 54% female. When we rank the pay of our staff into 4 quartiles, we can see that there is a majority of females in the lower and lower middle quartiles – 66% and 63% respectively, though compared to 2020 the number of females in the lower quartile has decreased by 6% points. Interestingly the number of females in the upper middle quartile has increased – by 5% points - suggesting that there is a shift from the lower quartile to the lower middle quartile for some females. The number of females in the upper middle quartile has remained the same and there has been only a slight change in the number of females in the upper quartile – 1% point





Comparison of quartiles over past 3 years – 2021 to 2019

   F-2021  M-2021  F-2020  M-2020  F-2019 M-2019
 Lower Quartile  66%  34%  72%  28%  71% 29%
 Lower Middle Quartile  63%  37%  58%  42%  49% 51%
 Upper Middle Quartile  52%  48%  52%  48%  46% 54%
 Upper Quartile  41%  59%  39%  61%  42% 58%

What are we doing to close our pay differential relative to gender?

The CRUK Beatson Institute is committed to reducing its PDR2G through actions identified in our pay gender action plan, which is regularly reviewed by our Board of Directors.

Understanding the issues

The CRUK Beatson 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 working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations has risen by 2% points in the past year to 24% of the STEM workforce, that is just over 1 million women working in STEM roles (WISE Annual Report 2019/20).

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 and either leave science completely or do not continue to pursue a research career. In 2020 and 2021, two thirds of newly appointed postdocs were female and whilst this is encouraging, we recognise that we need to translate the higher percentage of female postdocs pursuing a scientific research career into more senior positions such as Group Leader.

In recent years, an increasing number of female Postdoctoral Researchers at the Institute have taken maternity leave and we have been able to support their return to work through extension of their temporary contracts. This has provided them with more time to develop their scientific track record and potentially seek a PI position

In the past there was a reluctance to request more flexible or part-time working arrangements but one of the consequences of the COVID pandemic is that attitudes to more flexible and hybrid working arrangements have started to change and we have anecdotal evidence of more flexibility between lab, office and home working and we have recently introduced a hybrid working policy.

Review of areas for improvement

We will conduct another detailed review of our grades to identify where any PDR2G issues exist and take what financial and other measures we can to address these.

  • We have been limited in this action due to budget constraints and very flat pay increase in 2021, though we do intend to keep reviewing this on an annual basis as part of our pay review.

We will continue to breakdown attitudes to flexible working patterns for more senior scientific researchers.

  • We have introduced a hybrid working policy and one of the impacts of the COVID pandemic is that attitudes to more flexible working are changing with opportunities for staff to work from home, in the lab or office on an informal or more formal basis.

We will continue to review our senior level recruitment practices and aim for 50% female applicant shortlists.

  • We compiled our first search committee for a senior faculty position towards the end of 2021 to ensure that we were spreading our net as widely as possible and aiming for a 50/50 split in male/female applicants. More will follow on this in our 2022 report.

We will report more widely with respect to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion by collating the necessary data, identifying gaps and initiating an action plan to ensure equity in our recruitment, retention and development practices. We believe this will be part of a cultural shift at this Institute, which will encompass bridging our gender pay gap.

  • 87% of staff have inputted their EDI information to allow us to collate data and identify where the gaps are and inform our ongoing action plan
  • We have also conducted an EDI Survey towards the end of 2021 and will report on this soon
  • We have also introduced EDI Champions across the Institute to help embed good practice and behaviours towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce

In summary

We are starting to see an improvement in our PDR2G and it's good to see that salaries for females in the lower quartile are starting to increase when compared to their male counterparts, however there is still work to be done to achieve greater equity in the lower quartiles. Whilst we have a good equilibrium in male and female pay in the Upper Middle Quartile, again we see very little improvement in the Upper Quartile where 60% are male. More work needs to be done to continue to address this such as encouraging more senior women to apply for senior positions.

Improving equality 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.


Research Mahnoor 290x200

Read more about the Research Groups working at the Beatson Institute.



Seminars 2021

Find out more about our seminars including our Distinguished Seminar Programme.