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Our commitment to diversity

Embracing diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of the University of Reading.

We want to be the place where everyone can fulfil their full potential. And we believe that supporting diversity and inclusion leads to an ability to attract and retain high-quality staff and students, as well as higher achievements in students from a broader range of backgrounds.

When this is coupled with the simple moral argument that no one should experience inequality as a result of who they are, the case for supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion becomes imperative.

We know that real change does not happen overnight. It requires cultural and operational change, and takes all of us working together.

A lot of this is about making small changes that deliver a big impact. Changes to the way we identify and advertise vacancies. Changes to how we shortlist and interview candidates. Changes to how we develop individuals and manage their pathways to career progression in the University. Changes to our ways of working so that we promote creativity, flexibility and innovation.

To this end, the University has introduced a number of initiatives. For example, we support flexible working, job sharing and parental leave, and offer a transparent and inclusive recognition and reward process.

Our senior leadership has also committed to a number of equality targets for staff and students.

2020 targets for staff


  • have at least 30% of either gender in all key University committees and boards, including the University Executive Board (UEB).
  • maintain the current baseline of at least 45% of either gender in the overall University Leadership Group - including UEB, Deans, Assistant Deans, Heads of School and Heads of Function.
  • have a gender-balanced professoriate, with at least 40% of professors of either gender. Current baseline is 30%.
  • reduce the pay gap that exists at senior (professorial and Grade 9) levels. Current baseline is 11% (there is no significant pay gap at other levels currently).
  • achieve University-wide Athena SWAN Gender Charter Mark Silver level recognition, with all STEM Schools holding awards and all other Schools working towards Gender Equality Charter Mark recognition.

Race and ethnicity

  • all key University committees to match academic staff BAME representation by 2020.
  • Council and its sub-committees to set targets for BAME representation on their committees consistent with national census baseline for BAME.
  • a minimum of 15% in each of grades 1-5 non-academic staff and 12% in grades 6-9 non-academic staff to be BAME by 2020. Current baseline across all non-academic staff is 8% - levels set by local and national census data respectively.
  • a minimum of 14% of academic staff in grades 7 and above to be BAME by 2020. Current baseline is 11%.
  • the University to attain Bronze Race Equality Charter Mark before 2018 and be working towards silver by 2021.

Sexual orientation

  • more than 70% of UK-based staff to have declared their sexual orientation through Employee Self-Service by 2018 and 95% by 2020. In 2013-14, the figure was 32%.
  • to improve the position on the Stonewall Workplace Index, aspiring to be in top 50 by 2020. Current position is 204.

Targets to enable student success


  • Reduction of the attainment gap (proportion of first and upper second class degrees achieved) between BAME and white undergraduate students from 16.5 percentage points (2014/15) to 12 points by 2020. Aiming for <10 percentage points by 2026.
  • Reduction of the postgraduate BAME student failure rate from 6% (2014/15) to 4% by 2020. Aiming for parity (c.3.5%) by 2026.
  • The University should achieve a Bronze Race Equality Charter Mark before the end of 2018 and be working towards silver level for 2021.


  • A minimum gender balance of 30:70 across 75% of our subject areas.
  • Reduction in the attainment gap (proportion of first and upper second class degrees) between women and men undergraduate students from 10.5 percentage points (2014/15) to 6 points by 2020. Aiming for parity by 2026 (c. 79%).
  • Reduction of the gap between the proportion of undergraduate men and women in full-time employment six months after graduation who are in professional/managerial employment from a 10 percentage point gap (2014/15) to 7 percentage points by 2020. Aiming for <3 percentage points gap by 2026 (c. 80%).


  • Maintain an attainment gap of less than 3 percentage points between the proportion of disabled and non-disabled undergraduate students who achieve first class degrees by 2026.
  • Reduction of the gap between the proportion of disabled and non-disabled students assumed to be unemployed six months after graduation from 3.5 percentage points (2013/14) to parity by 2020 (c. 4.5%).