Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity monitoring information

The University asks all employees about their personal characteristics so that we can

This is known as ‘diversity monitoring’ and it has become standard practice for many employers and service providers in the UK.

The information that you provide supports the University to deliver its equality, diversity and inclusion mission to ‘create an inclusive university community’ where you feel welcomed for who you are, you feel included and supported, and that as a community, we take step to understand the impact of our actions and behaviours. It also supports us in our legal duties under the Equality Act 2010: to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups

We share some of the information you provide in an anonymised form through internal and public reports . We also share pseudonymised information with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to support the development of national policy for Higher Education and resource planning

How does the University collect diversity monitoring data?

We ask diversity monitoring questions of all employees at several stages of the employment lifecycle. This helps us to build a diversity profile of our current employees, and to understand the impact that various processes have on equality.

Recruitment (eRecruit)

When you apply for a job in the University through our online eRecruit system, we ask questions about your protected characteristics . None of your answers are shared with the recruiting manager or interview panel. They are stored securely so that we can compare the profile of people who apply to work at the University with our current staff profile, sector and national workforce data, and population data, to understand who we are attracting to apply to work for us. We also use this data to analyse the recruitment process and identify if there is any evidence of discriminatory practice, behaviour or decision making in the way we recruit new staff to work for us. If we find any evidence for this, then we will take action to ensure that the process cannot discriminate

If you are successful in your application, then you will be asked these questions again when we issue your contract. These responses will be stored in our HR database and support the University to evaluate our staff diversity profile and processes affecting your employment.

We ask these questions again because we understand that even with our reassurance of data privacy and confidentiality, some people do not want to answer these questions at the point of applying for a job. We hope that once you have received a job offer, and you have had more time to review our data privacy protections, you will feel more comfortable completing these questions so that we can better support you during your employment.

Annual equality data refresh (MyView)

The diversity monitoring questions we ask when we issue your employment contract are securely recorded on your HR record. Only select teams in HR can access this information on your record.

To ensure that the data we hold is accurate, and to be transparent with you about the data that we hold, you can access and change your responses to these questions at any time through MyView . Under Personal Details > Equal Opportunities you will find the questions we use to understand our staff diversity profile .

We will remind you annually to check all your personal details in MyView to make sure the information we hold about you is up to date, as we recognise that some of your responses may change during employment (e.g. you may acquire a disability or health condition).


From time to time during your employment, you may be asked to complete a survey. Each survey has its own purpose, which will be fully explained when you are asked to complete it. In general, the surveys we run help us to understand how well staff are engaging with the University as an employer, to evaluate our strategy, to check on the wellbeing of our staff or to evaluate the impact of a specific policy or process.

Many of these surveys will ask diversity monitoring questions, so that we can identify if there is any correlation between the survey results and the diversity profile of the respondents. We will never examine your individual responses to the survey alongside your answers to the diversity questions, and we will never share your individual responses with anyone outside of the team conducting the survey.

If a survey asks you diversity monitoring questions, it means that the team conducting the survey cannot access the diversity responses on your HR record. Your responses to the survey questions are the only information we can use to identify equality lessons from the survey responses.

Occasionally, the University will circulate short surveys where diversity monitoring information has been pre-populated from your HR record. We do this to make the survey quicker and easier for you to respond to, and the survey will make it clear when this has happened

How does the University use the information you provide?

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the reports and projects where we use your responses to the diversity monitoring questions:

Does the University share this information with anyone else?

The University must share most of the data we hold about our staff and workers with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). We do this annually as a pseudonymous download of our records in a format specified by HESA .

HESA uses this data to compile statistical reports that support government organisations to make resourcing and policy decisions that affect higher education in the UK. HESA also shares this information in various forms with other government and non-profit organisations, including higher education institutions, for a range of purpose relating to understanding the higher education sector and workforce in the UK. HESA goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of individuals and prevent data breaches.

Full details of how HESA uses and protects your data is provided in their data collection notice .

As well as sharing our own data with HESA, we use the data shared by HESA about the rest of the sector. This helps us to benchmark our activities and understand how we compare with other universities and higher education institutions in the UK.

How do we protect your data privacy?

Collecting data about people must be carried out in line with relevant Data Protection laws. For institutional reporting purposes, we primarily report on data held in the HR database, which can be updated by colleagues via MyView.  Equality and diversity questions may also be asked on other platforms (e.g. Report and Support) but is not transferrable to the HR database (or vice versa), in order to ensure an individual’s anonymity.

We are actively seeking to improve the proportion of our staff who provide identifying responses to our diversity monitoring questions. However, we recognise that you may not want to provide us with this personal information. We respect that decision and value all staff who share this information and those who do not. To that end, all of our diversity monitoring questions include the option ‘Prefer not to answer’. If you choose to select this response for any question, we will never assume what your protected characteristics may be nor be or make assumptions about the reasons why you have selected this response.

For more details about how we maintain your data privacy and protect your data, please refer to our data protection guidance .

The questions

We wish to recognise the expansive range of identities that exist beyond those explicitly addressed by our diversity monitoring. If you do not see yourself represented in the options provided, then we encourage you to make use of the ‘Prefer to self-describe’ option and tell us how you identify in your own words. This will help us to identify areas that require individual categories in the future.

Some of our systems have a technical limitation, which means that we cannot always offer a ‘Prefer to self-describe’ option. In those cases, please make use of the ‘Other’ option.

MyView Equal Opportunities

MyView limits the length of the questions and responses that we can provide. For that reason, the information below gives a full explanation of each question on the Equal Opportunities screen of MyView and the meaning of each response (where necessary). MyView will also list all response options in alphabetical order; options are listed here as logical grouping.

Note (Dec 2023): due to recent changes introduced by HESA, some of the responses to the following questions have changed. There are explained in the following sections.

What is your gender identity?

Sex and ‘gender reassignment’ are protected characteristics in the Equality Act, which in combination can provide recognition of and protection against discrimination by gender identity.

Gender identity reflects the internal perception of oneself. For most situations, Advance HE recommends asking a question about gender rather than asking a question about sex, which is a physiological attribute. This ensures equality efforts are mindful of the different ways gendered norms and marginalisation can occur, and is inclusive of a diverse range of gender identities.

Note that we also record your sex (male or female) as it is shown on your ID documents. We only use this for statutory purposes (e.g. HMRC identification) and it must match your ID. Please contact AskHR if you need to update this.


  • Female
  • Male
  • Non-binary
  • Prefer to self-describe (gives you the option to provide your own description)
  • Prefer not to answer

Shared with HESA?

No, HESA does not have a field for gender descriptor. Instead, they ask for sex (as shown on your ID), and if your gender identity is the same as your sex registered at birth . The University will use this response in preference to your legal sex in all internal reports. If you have not answered this question, then we will use your legal sex where there is a legitimate and proportionate need to understand or report on gender. If you select 'Prefer not to answer', then we will respect this in internal reports about gender.

Is your gender identity the same as your sex registered at birth?

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristics in the Equality Act. This question is about trans history/identity, to understand if an individual’s gender identity is different to the sex they were assigned at birth.


  • Yes (meaning gender identity and sex registered at birth are the same)
  • No (meaning gender identity is different to sex registered at birth)
  • Prefer not to answer

Shared with HESA?


What is your ethnicity or ethnic group?

Race is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act, and refers to a group of people defined by their colour, nationality, and/or ethnic or national origins (which may not be the same as their current or legal nationality). We ask about ‘ethnicity or ethnic group’, which is inclusive of racial (e.g. Black, white) and national identities (e.g. African, British, Caribbean, etc.). You should answer this question based on how you personally identify yourself, regardless of your legal nationality or citizenship.

The options below are aligned with the UK census, and reflect the ethnic groups that are most represented in the UK. If you do not identify with one of these specific options, then please choose the closest option or ‘Other ethnic background’.

Note (Dec 2024): these options have changed to reflect changes in the 2021 Census and HESA data return. To facilitate this change, some responses were mapped to the closest equivalent. Please check this field and update it to reflect the closest option for you .

  • Asian/Asian British - Filipino is a new option. If you previously selected ethnicity Asian - Other and nationality Philippines , then we have changed your ethnicity to this option.
  • White - Polish is a recent addition. If you previously selected ethnicity White - Other and nationality Poland , then we have changed your ethnicity to this option.
  • White without any nationality designation has been removed. If you were previously recorded as ethnicity White , then we have changed your ethnicity based on your nationality as follows. Please check your ethnicity on MyView and correct the response if this is incorrect.
Nationality New ethnicity
Ireland White - Irish
Poland White - Polish
United Kingdom White - English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish/British
Any other nationality White - Other


MyView does not allow a 'Prefer to self-describe' option for ethnicity. Please choose the option that most closely described your ethnicity.

The ethnic groups shown here are how the University will group responses for our reports and dashboards. We do this to make the information easier to interpret, and to maintain confidentiality where the number of responses in a specific group is too low to show that group on its own. The options visible in MyView are shown alphabetically (regardless of the groups shown below) and in some cases abbreviated.

Ethnic groups MyView option (listed alphabetically in MyView) Changed Dec 2023?
Arab or Arab British Arab/Arab British
Asian Asian/Asian British - Bangladeshi
Chinese/Chinese British
Asian/Asian British - Filipino New
Asian/Asian British - Indian
Asian/Asian British - Pakistani
Asian/Asian British - Other
Black Black/Black British - African
Black/Black British - Caribbean
Black/Black British - Other
Mixed or multiple ethnic groups Mixed - White and Asian
Mixed - White and Black African
Mixed - White and Black Caribbean
Mixed - Other
White White - English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish/British Changed
White - Irish New
White - Gypsy or Irish Traveller
White - Roma New
White - Polish
White - Other (including non-British White identities)
Others Prefer not to say
Other ethnic background
I don't know my ethnicity

Shared with HESA?

Yes, but HESA restricts which ethnic groups we can return as a provider based in England. We will map your response as follows when completing the HESA data return. We will always use your choice for our internal reports.

Your choice in MyView Returned to HESA Reason
Asian/Asian British - Filipino Asian/Asian British - Other HESA only accepts Filipino data from providers in Northern Ireland
White - Polish White - Other HESA only accepts Polish data from providers in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Do you have a religion or belief?

Religion or belief is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act. We use this information to identify and understand if there are any barriers to participation and progression experienced by particular religious groups.


Agnostic Humanist Other
Atheist Jewish None
Buddhist Muslim Prefer not to answer
Christian Sikh
Hindu Spiritual

Shared with HESA?

Yes, but HESA does not support the following options, which will be returned to HESA as follows:

  • Agnostic returned as Other
  • Atheist returned as None
  • Humanist returned as Other

What is your sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act. We recognise that sexual orientation can be an important factor in an individual’s life experience beyond sexual attraction. We encourage staff to complete this question in confidence so that we can identify any barriers to participation and progression experienced by people who identify with different sexual orientations.


  • Bisexual
  • Gay or Lesbian (same sex)
  • Heterosexual (opposite sex)
  • Other
  • Prefer to self-describe
  • Prefer not to say

Shared with HESA?

Yes, except HESA does not support self-described options. If you select 'Prefer to self-describe', then we will return data to HESA as 'Other'.

Do you have caring responsibilities for any children and/or adults?

Caring responsibility is not a protected characteristic in the Equality Act, but you may be protected from discrimination by your association with the person that you care for.

MyHR only allows the following options, so please select ‘Yes’ if you are the primary, joint or secondary carer for anyone, whether they are a child or adult dependent.


  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to answer

Shared with HESA?


Do you identify as disabled?

Disability is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act. Regardless of the legal definition of disability or medical diagnoses, an individual may or may not identify as Disabled. This question is only concerned with how you identify.


  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to say

Shared with HESA?


Primary/secondary impairment, health condition or learning difference

A ‘physical or mental impairment with a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities’ is defined as a disability and protected as such in the Equality Act. Regardless of whether you identify with the term Disabled, if you have a physical or mental impairment or health condition that is likely to last for at least 12 months, then you are protected from discrimination and have a right to reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.

If you have more than one impairment, health condition or learning difference, then you should select the condition that has the most impact on your day-to-day activities first. Then, in MyView, you will have the option to select a second impairment, health condition or learning difference. If you have more than two conditions, then select the second most impactful option.

If you only tell us about a disability via this question, then your manager will not be informed about your disability . When you started with the University, you will have completed a health screening questionnaire, which is shared with Occupational Health and supports them to discuss any reasonable adjustments you may need. You also now have the option to record any reasonable adjustments agreed with your manager in MyView, so that these are maintained in the event that your line manager changes. If you acquire a disability or health condition during employment, then you should discuss this and any reasonable adjustments needed with your manager as the earliest opportunity, so that they can provide the support you need.


The options provided here match those used by HESA. Due to system limitations, they are significantly shortened in MyView. Please use the table below to help identify the most appropriate option.

Full description As shown in MyView
No known impairment, health condition or learning difference None
Blind or have a visual impairment uncorrected by glasses Blind or uncorrected visual impairment
D/deaf or have a hearing impairment D/deaf or hearing impairment
Development condition that you have had since childhood which affects motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills, and speech and language Development condition from childhood
Learning difference such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or AD(H)D Learning difference
Long-term illness or health condition such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, chronic heart disease or epilepsy Long-term illness or health condition
Mental health condition, challenge or disorder, such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety Mental health condition or disorder
Physical impairment that substantially limits one of more basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting or carrying Physical impairment
Social/communication conditions such as speech and language impairment or an autistic spectrum condition Social/communication condition
An impairment, health condition or learning difference not listed above Other impairment or condition not listed
Prefer not to answer Prefer not to answer

Shared with HESA?


Privacy Settings