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See latest overall numbers

Overall numbers

The overall numbers of academic staff employed at English HEIs has increased from 104,620 in 2003-04 to 137,695 in 2014-15.  

Job type breakdowns

The English higher education sector has 139 vice-chancellors, 615 members of the institutional strategic leadership and 1,705 members of the senior management team in 2014-15. 

89 per cent of vice-chancellors are on permanent contracts compared with 93 per cent of the senior management team in 2014-15.

For academic staff, 94 per cent of professors and 93 per cent of senior lecturers are on permanent contracts in contrast to just 23 per cent of research assistants.

2014-15 numbers

137,695 academic staff

39,885 international academic staff

Over 90 per cent of senior academic staff are permanent

81 per cent of vice-chancellors are male

62 per cent of senior management are male

For professional and support staff, 95 per cent of those working in skilled trades are permanent compared with 83 per cent among professional occupations.

Gender distribution varies greatly between job roles.  For senior management, 81 per cent of vice-chancellors are male compared with 62 per cent of the senior management team and 67 per cent of the institutional strategic leadership. 

For academic staff, a greater proportion of staff in academic leadership roles or working as professors or senior lecturers are male than those in less senior academic positions. 

More women than men work as administrative staff and the same is true for all professional and support staff, except among skilled trades.  

Atypical numbers

Atypical professional and support staff data ceased to be collected from 2012-13. 

Between 2004-05 and 2011-12 there has been a decrease of 2,750 (3 per cent) in the number of atypical academic staff. 

This was followed by a 13 per cent decrease in the number of atypical academic staff between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Since 2012-13 the number of academic atypical staff remained at around 70,000.

The decrease was mainly concentrated in a few institutions and so could be due to changes in reporting at these institutions.  

International staff

The overall number of international academic staff employed at English HEIs increased from 25,030 in 2006-07 to 39,885 in 2014-15.

Of those staff for whom nationality is known 70.5 per cent are UK nationals, 17 per cent are other EU nationals and 12.5 per cent are from non-EU countries.

Excluding the UK, more academic staff at English HEIs come from Germany than any other country.

Staff trends technical document

‌‌‌Download the Staff trends technical document as PDF (252 KB)

Contact us

If you have any problems with the graphs or any feedback, please email or Rebecca Titchiner at

Page last updated 9 February 2016