Ethnic pay gap amongst staff in Ireland’s third level institutions

A new study by the Health Education Authority ( HEA) has found that an ethnic pay gap exists amongst staff in third level education in Ireland.

Staff from minority ethnic groups are also more likely to be on temporary contracts and have experienced some form of racial or ethnic discrimination, according to the report.

The study, which took place over 2020 and 2021 found that 66% of those from minority ethnic groups earned less than €60,000, which was 17% less than those who identified as ‘white other’ and 28% less than those who identified as ‘white Irish’.

Dr Alan Wall, the chief executive of the HEA said the report provides an opportunity for key senior figures to “take on a leadership role in the sector and act as exemplars as we begin to discuss these issues as a nation”.

The study found that while policies did exist across universities, they were not visible nor widely known and there was “no real implementation of them”.

“The university sector is keen to better understand the challenges” Professor Colin Scott, chair of the Irish University Associations Equality, Diversity & Inclusion group said in a statement. He also said that the report had highlighted the systemic issues and it was now time to “take action in terms of policies and practises”.

DCU, along with seven other universities in Ireland have launched an online programme for staff called, ‘Lets Talk About Race in the Higher Education Sector”. The move comes following the IUA’s announcement that the universities would take on board the advice from the HEA report and use it as a basis for which to improve on its “policies, processes and practises’ regarding race.

Jessica Woodlock