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England’s academic workforce an increasingly global stage

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), presents valuable research and latest developments on the composition and trends persisting in UK’s academic workforceThe data reveals key facts about the higher education workforce, between 2004-05 and 2014-15, in HEFEC funded institutions. 

The analytical research and data platform shows the diverse and international make up of England’s university workforce, with Non-UK nationals comprising 30 per cent of the total academic staff. New posts in the past decade have been filled in an equal split of each 40 per cent UK and 40 per cent EU nationals.

  • Nationals from the larger European countries are well represented, with Germany claiming the leading position in the international staff base.
  • An increase in staff from the Mediterranean regions is visible, also considering austerity for research resources, where Italy, Greece and Spain place at the top.
  • International Staff originating from outside the EU, mainly represent USA, China, Australia and Canada.

UK’s academic environments embody a wide international staff base, but there are differences in the share occupied by world wide scholars in different contexts. International staff was found to be clustered in London, many following a research excellency framework, well represented in high tariff universities and working in the subject field of STEM.

With English universities employing 2014-15 around 40,000 staff originating from 140 different nations, undoubtedly UK’s scholarly workforce is experiencing diversification particularly in cultural and national backgrounds, but what about gender and ethnicity dimensions of diversity? Looking beyond cultural diversification, ethnic minorities are at all levels underrepresented, a mere 9 percent represented in the lecturer and 8 percent in senior/professorship level. Promisingly there is a fairly balanced ratio of male to female lectureship, but the glass ceiling emerges where women comprise 39 percent of senior lectureship and 24 percent of the professorship work force, also classically missing in academic leadership positions.

With England’s universities branching out in their search for talent to the international stage, working environments will become increasingly multicultural hubs of knowledge, with a underlying call for high quality staff to represent all levels of diversity.  

HEFCE- Higher education workforce
Growth in academic staff by country 
Higher education workforce survey 2015