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Home Article First of its kind equality report for Scotland colleges launched

First of its kind equality report for Scotland colleges launched

Published: 15/05/2018

Advance HE has published the ‘first of its kind’ equality report looking at the experiences of Scottish college staff.

The Equality in Colleges in Scotland: results from the 2017 staff survey and focus groups, provides an equality analysis of various aspects of the work environment of staff at colleges in Scotland.

The report is based on a survey distributed to all colleges in Scotland asking questions measuring perceptions and experiences of equality across all protected characteristics (age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy, race/ethnicity, religion/belief, sex and sexual orientation) in certain aspects of working life.

Focus groups were also held to further discuss some of the key themes arising from the survey.

Gary Loke from Advance HE said: “This report is the first of its kind to consider the experiences of college staff in Scotland around college culture, leadership and management, recruitment, disclosure of equality data, life-work balance/leave, and career development.

The findings from the report will help inform Advance HE’s future equality, diversity and inclusion work with Scottish colleges.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • Disabled staff experienced greater levels of inequality across all aspects of working life and had the highest proportion of staff who did not feel treated fairly in the work place (22.5%).
  • Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff were more likely than white staff to report that their race or ethnicity affected fair treatment in areas such as recruitment and selection, allocation of desirable or sought-after tasks or roles, support from management, representation in senior positions, and promotion decisions.
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff, staff in the over 60 age group, and disabled staff tended to rate the support that they received from management particularly low.
  • Disability, age and sexual orientation were the protected characteristics staff felt least confident in disclosing to their college.
  • The level of information about colleges’ promotion processes and criteria was generally poor among all staff, and varied significantly by gender, disability and age: female staff, disabled staff, and staff in the youngest age group were significantly less informed than male staff, non-disabled staff, and staff in the older age groups.
  • Female survey respondents were, overall, more positive about all aspects of working life than male respondents. However, in focus groups, female participants more willingly shared experiences where they had felt discriminated against based on their gender and/or age than male participants. More broadly, female participants spoke about equality in terms of lived experience, whereas male participants discussed policies and procedures related to equality.

The report, a suite of infographics highlighting the report’s key issues, and a short, animated video designed to be shared with staff, is available via our website.

Note to editors:

The response rate of 17.8% as stated on some pages in the report was derived from FTE staff data (n= 10,804).

Based on the headcount of college staff in Scotland (n=14,537), the response rate was 13.3%.

Advance HE is a not-for-profit organisation created from the merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in March 2018. Our purpose is to advance the professional practice of higher education to improve outcomes for the benefit of students, staff and society.