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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

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Executive summary


1. This is the seventh in a series of HEFCE reports which provide an overview of trends in staff employed at HEFCE-funded higher education institutions (HEIs). It includes information on staff in academic years 1995-96 to 2010-11.

Key points


2. The total number of staff on standard contracts was 314,860 in 2010-11. This represents a fall of 1 per cent from 2009-10 (319,300) and no change to the number in 2008-09 (314,960). Between 2009-10 and 2010-11, numbers of academic staff increased by 1,455, professional and support staff decreased by 2,775 and very low activity staff decreased by 2,735.


3. In 2010-11, 79 per cent of academic staff were on full-time contracts, and 72 per cent on permanent contracts. The number of academic staff on permanent contracts has been steadily rising since 2002-03 (a total increase of 28,105), while the number on non-permanent contracts has decreased (from 41,035 in 2002-03 to 34,170 in 2010-11).

4. A quarter of professional and support staff were on part-time contracts (compared to 16 per cent for academics), while 88 per cent were on permanent contracts.

Type of institution

5. The three types of institution (pre-1992, post-1992 and specialist) had similar proportions of the academic and professional/support populations. Approximately 55 per cent of staff were in pre-1992 institutions, 35 per cent in post-1992 institutions and 10 per cent in general/specialist institutions.

Age profile

6. The academic population saw proportions of staff aged 60 and over increasing from 5 per cent to 9 per cent between 1995-96 and 2010-11. Staff aged over 60 were concentrated at more senior levels, in modes of work with lower than full-time equivalent (FTE) hours, and in humanities, languages and social, political and economic studies.

7. Professional and support staff were more skewed towards younger age groups: 16 per cent were under 30 compared to 8 per cent of academics in 2010-11. The proportion of these staff aged 60 and over also increased between 2003-04 and 2010-11, from 6 per cent to 8 per cent.


8. Proportions of disabled staff were low, but increasing, in both populations. The proportion of academic staff who were declared disabled increased from 2.3 per cent to 2.9 per cent between 2003-04 and 2010-11. Among professional and support staff, the  proportion increased from 2.9 per cent to 4 per cent over the same period.


9. In 2010-11 most academics were male (57 per cent), and most professional and support staff were female (62 per cent).

10. Female academics were concentrated in lower FTE modes and less senior roles. However, between 2008-09 and 2010-11, the proportion of female professors increased from 20 to 21 per cent.

11. Female professional and support staff were concentrated in administrator roles: in 2010-11 80 per cent of staff in these roles were female.


12. In 2010-11, one in four academics had a non-UK nationality, compared to approximately one in ten professional and support staff.

13. Academics with non-UK nationalities were concentrated in roles which were non-permanent, less senior or in engineering and mathematics departments. Further, in 2010-11 the proportion of new starters with non-UK nationality was 12 percentage points higher than that seen for the whole academic population: 37 per cent compared to 25 per cent.

14. The highest proportion of non-UK nationals among professional and support staff were in ‘other’ functions, at 12 per cent, and the lowest proportion were managers, at 6 per cent.


15. The proportion of staff from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background varied significantly depending on the nationality of the population. In 2010-11, the UK academic population had 8 per cent of staff from a BME background compared to 28 per cent of non-UK academics. The professional and support population had proportions of 8 per cent and 37 per cent from BME backgrounds for UK and non-UK nationality staff respectively.

16. UK academic staff with BME backgrounds were more concentrated in the subject areas of medicine and dentistry and engineering, technology, building and architecture.

17. UK professional and support staff with BME backgrounds were quite evenly spread across the different primary functions; the lowest proportion was 6 per cent for managers and the highest was 9 per cent for technicians and administrators.


18. In 2010-11 the modal category of salary for academics was higher than that of professional and support staff: £40,001 to £50,000, compared to £20,001 to £30,000.

19. The mean salary for academics increased between 2003-04 and 2008-09, from £33,850 to £44,500, but remained at around £44,700 between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

20. The professional and support mean salary saw year-on-year increases of around 6 per cent between 2003-04 and 2008-09. This increase reduced to around 1.5 per cent between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Action required

21. No action is required in response to this document.

Date: 12 July 2012

Ref: 2012/14

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Staff data, Planning, Human resources management

Enquiries should be directed to:

Hannah White, tel 0117 931 7063, e-mail