Improving staff diversity
Certain equality groups are under-represented in HE employment or face barriers to progression in their HE careers. This means that HEIs do not always benefit fully from the skills and expertise of all their staff, or potential staff. See the staff inequalities section for further details of challenges in staff representations and progression.
Removing barriers, and adjusting institutional policies and improving support can lead to the development of an inclusive environment in which all staff can advance their careers in the HEI and contribute fully to the success of the organisation.
Contributing to research excellence
For an institution to achieve research excellence, it must enable all its research staff to succeed in their careers. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the process for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. A range of equality and diversity requirements were included as part of the last REF exercise in 2014. These prompted institutions to increase the numbers of women, early careers researchers and those with equality-related circumstances to be submitted to the REF. However, there continue to be disparities in submission rates by different protected groups. Institutions will need to continue to embed equality into research careers in order to nurture the potential of all its research staff, and for these staff to contribute fully to the institution’s success in any future REF exercise.
Enabling institutional change
ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter and race equality charter help the higher education sector address the continuing under-representation of minority ethnic staff in higher education and of women at senior levels of management. The charters aim to drive forward the cultural and systemic changes needed if institutions are to remain competitive and attractive to talented staff and potential students in a global market. These outcome-focused programmes are catalysts for change – encouraging higher education institutions, research institutes and others to transform their cultures in order to make a real impact on the lives of staff and students.