Measuring up: Benchmarking in the UK medical research charity sector

In May 2018 we circulated a survey of 50 questions to our member charity CEOs and formal representatives. This resulting report is the first of its kind, providing UK medical research charities with crucial benchmarking data to inform the management of their organisations and staff.

Any organisation can only be as good as the people it recruits. Staffing decisions are among the most important that charities make. Over recent years, employment law has become increasingly wide-ranging and ever more complex - subject to constant change. Consequently, our member charities need to take a proactive approach to managing their employees and the working environment.

For a PDF version of this report please contact our Communications Officer, Leo.

If you have any questions please contact our Impact Analyst, Jocelyn.

With thanks to the RSA group and participating charities.

Key findings

  • Only 38% of charities gather data on diversity and inclusion and only 23% run relevant trainings. There is an opportunity here to learn from those who are doing work in this space and share insights.
  • Only 1/3 of AMRC charities have assessed their gender pay gap.
  • Among those who have assessed their gender pay gap, there is substantial variability (varies from 0 to 40% with an average of 12%). It is important to note that this calculation may not be appropriate for smaller charities because of low staff numbers and high turnover.


Do you gather and analyse data on diversity and inclusion?

Do you run diversity and inclusion trainings, such as unconscious bias training?

Do you do anything else on diversity and inclusion?

If yes for any of the above, please describe:

Responses included:

  • Collect stats on recruitment and on employees. Face-to-face training with ACAS. Online equality & diversity modules
  • Educare training
  • Provide guidance in employee handbook
  • Equal opportunities forms are completed for all job applications
  • Looking at new avenues to attract employees from minority groups
  • Surveys, partnering with other organisations, interest groups
  • Collect age and gender data only at present
  • Endeavour annually to have training on diversity either internally or through one of our legal partners
  • Have a Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) committee
  • Have a team that lead this and run an audit every 18 months
  • Have support groups, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) champions and an EDI Manager

Gender pay gap questions

Several questions related to gender pay gap were included in the survey and the responses are summarised below. Employers with 250 or more employees are now required by the UK government to publish gender pay gap information. There is specific guidance on how to calculate the required information.

Based on employee number, this requirement only applies to the “very large” and some “large” charities in this survey. However, charities of varying sizes reported having assessed their gender pay gap in this survey, accounting for 1/3 of all responding charities.

Have you assessed your organisation's gender pay gap?

Questions asked about bonuses:

  • What proportion of men receive bonuses (%)?
  • What proportion of women receive bonuses (%)?
  • What is your gender bonus pay gap (%)?

The responses to these questions are not shown here because this question was usually not applicable or was often 0%. This is because most charities do not offer bonuses.

Questions about gender pay gap and pay structure:

  • What is your gender pay gap (%)?
  • What is the proportion of men and women in the different quartiles of your organisation’s pay structure? (Percentages should sum to 100%)

Because the size of charities who answered these questions varied and the responses varied greatly as well, each individual charity’s responses to these questions is included in the table below. After reviewing the data, it is clear that this method of assessing gender equality is not particularly meaningful for smaller sized charities because they have so few staff members. This is a topic that merits further discussion and exploration.