Maori and Pacific academics are paid and promoted less than their colleagues _ with the inequalities even worse for women, a new study has found.
The research by Dr Tara McAllister, a postdoctoral fellow at Te Punaha Matatini, found a substantial pay gap that could not be explained by factors other than ethnicity.
The study looked at 17,174 academics from all eight New Zealand universities and took into account earnings and promotions between 2003 and 2018.
The research found that even when the differences were taken into account, Māori and Pacific women academics earned on average $7713 less in 2018 than non-Māori and non-Pacific men.
Maori and Pacific academics were also significantly less likely to be promoted to associate professor or professor.
"These gaps were not explained by research performance, age, or field of study."
McAllister said the inequalities persisted over time, particularly for women.
"Ethnic inequities were particularly stark for Māori and Pacific women," she said.
Even after taking into account research performance, age, and field, Māori and Pacific women had 65 per cent lower odds of being promoted into the professoriate than non-Māori and non-Pacific male academics.
"This is something the institutions need to address," McAllister said.
"I hope they pick this paper up as a challenge we are laying down for them, that they will consider where sexism and racism are in the academy.
"I would like to see the Government, seeing they are government-funded institutions, put some outside pressure on."
Other academics supported the findings and called for change.
Dr Tyron Love, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Auckland, said the inequalities were "disturbing".
Love said the universities were currently rewriting strategies and policies and making hard calls around remuneration and changing job descriptions post Covid-19.
"Universities will either embrace some of the changes the authors suggest or they'll hunker down and dismiss them as fanciful pursuits in a time of economic uncertainty which is sure to last," he said.
Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, Department of Physics, University of Auckland, said the findings of the new study were not surprising.
"But they are shocking, and they are important."
Gaston has long been a strong voice for closing the gender pay gap and has spoken about the sexism in her faculty of science.
In response to McAllister's work, she called for "serious reform of our promotional processes in universities in New Zealand" as an immediate priority.
McAllister said the findings support her previous research which found Maori and Pacific academics were severely under-represented in New Zealand universities - making up 5 per cent and 1 per cent of all academics respectively.
"This present research shows that they are also less likely to be promoted, and are paid substantially less than other university academics irrespective of their research performance.
"Universities need to urgently address the racial disparities in promotion, retention and recruitment of Māori and Pacific academics," she said.
University of Auckland Pro Vice-Chancellor, Māori, Professor Cindy Kiro said the university "is looking seriously at how we can increase the number and ratio of Māori staff in both academic and professional positions".
"While we have the largest numbers of Māori students and Māori staff, we are also mindful of the need to be deliberate in our efforts to recruit, retain and promote Māori staff to better meet the needs of tauira Māori and also all students, as well as to meet responsibilities under Te Tiriti.
"The university is working on a Māori staffing strategy that will complement the work being done around the new Strategy Taumata Teitei. This will be further enabled by a staff capability development programme, Te Taumata Ngaio, which seeks to implement our Te Reo policy."