Definitions - Staff in Higher Education 2015/16
The HESA Staff record provides data in respect of the characteristics of staff employed under a contract of employment at a reporting higher education provider (HEP) in the UK. For 2018/19 and earlier years the Staff record includes all publicly funded HE providers in the UK and the University of Buckingham. From 2019/20, coverage expanded to include all English providers registered with the Office for Students’ (OfS) in the Approved (fee cap) category and all publicly funded HE providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Further information relating to the OfS registration categories can be found in section III of Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England.
The reporting period for the HESA Staff record is 1 August to 31 July.
Inclusion of an individual in the Staff record depends upon the existence of one or more contracts of employment between the HEP and the individual and/or the liability of the HEP to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions for that individual (see the HM Revenue and Customs website for further guidance). An individual's employment with a higher education provider (HEP) will be governed by one or more legally binding contracts. The Staff record collects attributes of the HE provider, person, contract of employment, and activities within each contract. Each person will have one or more contracts; each contract will have one or more activities. A member of staff may be employed under a single contract of employment or a number of separate contracts: this will depend on the HEP's employment practices.
The range of data required about an individual and the contract(s) that they hold will depend on the nature of those contracts and also the classification of the activity for which the contract exists.
Data is required for all academic staff. For non-academic staff (where the contract is not atypical), data is required from HE providers in Wales and Scotland, and before 2019/20 was required from HE providers in England and Northern Ireland.
From 2019/20 it is not mandatory for HE providers in England and Northern Ireland to return information about non-academic staff (with the exception of information about non-academic contracts held by vice-chancellors/heads of institutions or governors which is mandatory). For 2007/08 - 2014/15, non-academic atypical staff were returned on an optional basis. From 2015/16 onwards, non-academic atypical staff are excluded from the coverage of the record. Data also need not be returned for:
- agency staff,
- self-employed staff,
- honorary contracts where the contract is not deemed to be a contract of employment,
- staff employed not by the HEP, but by a company consolidated into the HEP's accounts,
- staff working for a provider through an intermediary, such as a personal service company, where the provider will be liable for secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions.
If the organisation consolidated into the HEP's accounts is considered to be a campus of the HEP where the primary purpose of the organisation is the delivery of HE or FE, the campus previously existed in its own right, and the organisation is now part of the HEP as a result of a merger or takeover, then if the contract of employment is with the organisation and/or the organisation has liability to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions, the staff of that organisation should be included in the Staff record as if they are employed by the HEP and are therefore outside the list of exclusions.
Atypical staff are those members of staff whose contracts involve working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider. For atypical staff only a minimum data set is required. Further information is given under the definition for Terms of employment.
Staff (excluding atypical) are those members of staff where one or more of the contracts held during the reporting period cannot be defined as atypical, and includes open-ended/permanent and fixed-term contracts. For these staff there is a requirement to return a wider range of data (which may include salary information and start and end dates of employment and contracts).
Academic staff are defined as staff at least one of whose contracts of employment was for an academic function and whose contract activity can be categorised as 'Managers, directors and senior officials', 'Professional occupations' or 'Associate professional and technical occupations' as defined by the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major groups 1, 2 or 3. This may therefore include vice-chancellors and other senior academic managers, medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals whose contract of employment includes an academic function.
The academic employment function may be teaching, research, teaching and research or neither teaching nor research (where an academic professional that has taken up a senior administrative responsibility but there is no change to the academic function in their contract of employment).
Prior to 2012/13 Academic staff are defined as academic professionals who are responsible for planning, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research within higher education provider (HEPs). They also include vice-chancellors, medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals who undertake lecturing or research activities.
Non-academic staff are defined as those that do not have an academic employment function. They include managers, non-academic professionals, student welfare workers, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners. Note that from 2019/20 it is not mandatory for HE providers in England and Northern Ireland to return information about non-academic staff.
The HESA staff atypical population is an indicator of those individuals who have only atypical contracts within the reporting period.
The HESA staff atypical population is used in analyses of atypical staff person attributes by full-person equivalents (FPE).
The HESA staff contract population is an indicator of those contracts that were active on 1 December within the reporting period. Atypical staff contracts are not counted in this population. Other staff with a default (or unknown) contract start date, a default (or unknown) contract end date and a contract full-time equivalent (FTE) of zero, are also not counted in this population.
The HESA staff contract population is used in analyses of staff contract attributes by full-person equivalents (FPE).
The HESA staff contract session population is an indicator of those contracts that were active during the reporting period. Atypical staff contracts are counted in this population.
The HESA staff contract session population is only used in analyses of staff cost centre activity, or when summing full-time equivalents (FTE) from the contract table, during the reporting period.
For data protection reasons we implement a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest multiple of 5 and suppressing percentages and averages based on small populations.
HESA Standard Rounding Methodology:
- All numbers are rounded to the nearest multiple of 5
- Any number lower than 2.5 is rounded to 0
- Halves are always rounded upwards (e.g. 2.5 is rounded to 5)
- Percentages based on fewer than 22.5 individuals are suppressed
- Averages based on 7 or fewer individuals are suppressed
- The above requirements apply to headcounts, FPE and FTE data
- Financial data is not rounded
- Median figures (e.g. salary) based on 14 or fewer individuals are suppressed
Total figures are also subject to this rounding methodology after calculation; so the sum of numbers in each row or column may not match the total shown. Suppressed values are normally represented as '..' in published tables.
This methodology is sometimes also referred to as the Heidi Plus Rounding Methodology or the HESA Rounding Methodology depending on context. These names all refer to the same methodology described here.
For more information on the rounding methodology, including worked examples and instructions on how to apply rounding, please see Rounding and suppression to anonymise statistics.
Staff full-time equivalent (FTE) is defined by the contract(s) of employment and is proportioned to each activity's cost centre. FTE indicates the proportion of a full-time year being undertaken over the course of the reporting period 1 August to 31 July. The FTE is therefore counted using a population of staff who were active during the reporting period, not just on a given snapshot date, and uses the HESA staff contract session population.
Individuals can hold more than one contract with a provider and each contract may involve more than one activity. In analyses staff counts have been divided amongst the activities in proportion to the declared FTE for each activity. This results in counts of full person equivalents (FPE). Staff FPE counts are calculated on the basis of contract activities that were active on 1 December of the reporting period (using the HESA staff contract population).
Individuals can hold atypical contracts with a provider and each contract may involve more than one activity. In analyses staff counts have been divided amongst the activities in proportion to the declared FTE for each activity. This results in counts of full person equivalents (FPE). Atypical staff FPE counts are calculated on the basis of those individuals who have only atypical contracts that were active during the reporting period (using the HESA atypical staff population).
Full-time staff are those whose contracts state that their mode of employment is full-time. This includes staff who work full-time for part of a year and term-time only staff who work full-time during the term.
Part-time staff are those whose contracts state that their mode of employment is part-time.
Mode of employment is an attribute of the contract, not the person. Therefore, a person will be counted as wholly part-time, even if they hold a number of part-time contracts that sum to one FTE. The FPE allocated to the full-time category will only reflect the people that hold a full-time contract. This is consistent with the treatment of other attributes of the contract.
Terms of employment describe the type of contract(s) a member of staff has with the higher education provider (HEP) at the date the data is returned to HESA, or date of leaving if earlier.
Open-ended/permanent staff are those who are employed on a contract of employment that states the member of staff as permanent or on an open-ended contract. This includes term-time only staff who are employed on an open-ended contract.
Fixed-term contract staff are those employed for a fixed period of time or with an end date on their contract of employment. This includes staff on rolling fixed-term contracts.
Atypical staff are those whose working arrangements are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider. These may be characterised by a high degree of flexibility for both the work provider and the working person, and may involve a triangular relationship that includes an agent. Source: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Discussion Document on Employment Status, July 2003, paragraph 23.
In addition to this definition from the DTI, some HE specific guidance has been devised by HESA in consultation with HEIs. Atypical contracts meet one or more of the following conditions:
- are for less than four consecutive weeks - meaning that no statement of terms and conditions needs to be issued,
- are for one-off/short-term tasks - for example answering phones during clearing, staging an exhibition, organising a conference. There is no mutual obligation between the work provider and working person beyond the given period of work or project. In some cases individuals will be paid a fixed fee for the piece of work unrelated to hours/time spent,
- involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider - but not as part of teaching company schemes or for teaching and research supervision associated with the provision of distance learning education,
- involve a high degree of flexibility often in a contract to work as and when required - for example conference catering, student ambassadors, student demonstrators.
Source of basic salary indicates whether contract salaries are paid wholly or in part from funds other than general HE provider (HEP) funds. Whether income can be regarded as general HEP funds or not depends on the distinction between general and specific income as defined in the Statement of recommended practice: accounting for further and higher education (SORP), published by Universities UK (www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/SORP_2007.pdf). Specific income is that which can only be applied to a specific purpose or activity so designated by the grantor or donor.
Wholly general financed by the higher education provider staff contracts are those paid wholly from general (unrestricted) HE provider funds.
Partly financed by the higher education provider contracts are those that include some measure of higher education provider funding.
Multiple sources of salary includes staff returned with multiple sources of basic salary, where these sources do not include either Wholly general financed by the higher education provider or Partly financed by the higher education provider.
All other sources of basic salary listed are the sole source of salary for that contract.
The academic employment function of a member of staff relates to the academic contract of employment and not the actual work undertaken.
- Teaching only staff are those whose contracts of employment state that they are employed only to undertake teaching.
- Teaching and research staff are those whose contracts of employment state that they are employed to undertake both teaching and research.
- Research only staff are those whose contracts of employment state that the primary academic employment function is research only, even though the contract may include a limited number of hours teaching (up to 6 hours per week or pro-rata for part-time staff).
- Neither teaching nor research staff are those whose contracted academic employment function is neither teaching nor research, e.g. Vice-Chancellor.
The highest qualification held indicates the highest qualification held by the member of staff.
- Doctorate includes doctorate degrees.
- Other higher degree includes other higher degrees (including masters degrees).
- Other postgraduate qualification includes other postgraduate qualifications (including professional qualifications) and Postgraduate and Professional Graduate Certificates in Education (PGCE).
- First degree includes first degrees (including those with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)).
- Other undergraduate qualification includes other qualifications at first-degree level (including professional qualifications), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC) and all other undergraduate qualifications (including professional qualifications).
- Other includes A level, Scottish Higher or equivalent (NVQ/SVQ Level 3); O level/GCSE or equivalent (NVQ/SVQ Level 2); other qualifications and no qualifications.
- Unknown includes those staff whose highest qualification held was unknown.
The movement of academic staff provides analysis of the nature of the previous employment of staff before appointment at the current higher education provider and the destination after leaving employment of the reporting provider. Where previous employment was reported as another UK HE provider, the HESA provider code of the provider at which the member of staff worked is also reported.
- Starters are members of staff who did not hold an academic contract of employment on 1 December in the previous reporting period but held one on 1 December in the current reporting period.
- Inflow - where a starter whose contract of employment in the previous reporting period was neither the current provider nor another UK higher education provider (Other UK higher education provider), they are deemed to be new to the UK HE academic staff sector.
- Leavers are members of staff who held an academic contract on 1 December in the previous reporting period and did not hold one on 1 December in the current reporting period.
- Outflow - where a leaver whose destination on leaving was neither the current provider nor another UK higher education provider (Other UK higher education provider), they are deemed to have left the UK HE academic staff sector.
From the 2021/22 release the methodology for defining starters and leavers has been refined. The list of providers, or constituency list, changes each year impacting the starters and leavers values and potentially over-inflating the totals. Providers who are new to the sector or are returning data to HESA for the first time will not show as having any ‘starters’ and their value will be 0. The same methodology follows for providers who leave the sector or no longer return data to HESA with ‘leavers’ shown as 0. Provider mergers and demergers within the HE sector are applied to the dataset to correctly count starters/leavers. Where providers merge or demerge with providers outside of the HE sector and it is not possible to track staff they will also be shown as 0. More information can be found on our provider changes and mergers page.
Contract levels (available for 2012/13 onwards) records the UCEA or XpertHR defined level of the contract. More information about this field can be found here.
When supplied, this field includes groupings of the top categories, A-C and D-E, all others are shown separately.
- A0 to C2 Senior management
- D and E Head of Schools/Senior Function head
- F1 Professor
- F2 Function head
- I0 Non-Academic section manager, Senior/principal lecturer, Reader, Principal Research fellow
- J0 Team Leader(Professional, Technical, Administrative), Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Senior Research Fellow
- K0 Senior Professional(Technical), Lecturer, Research fellow, Researcher (senior research assistant), Teaching fellow
- L0 Senior Administrative staff ( Professional/technical) Research assistant, Teaching assistant
- M0 Assistant professional staff, Administrative staff
- N0 Junior Administrative Staff, Clerical Staff, Technician/Craftsmen, Operative
- O0 Routine task provider
- P0 Simple task provider
From 2012/13 onwards, the way that professors are identified in the staff record changed and is not comparable with previous professorial data. The latest methodology identifies a staff members level of contract and one of these levels is specified as professor. However it is likely that this is an undercount of all professors because many will fall into more senior levels i.e. Heads of department. Please take this into account when analysing professorial and contract level data.
Salary is based on the contract salary for members of staff at each HE provider where applicable, at 31 July in the reporting period, or the end date of the contract if earlier.
For analysis purposes the contract salaries are grouped into six salary ranges, the upper and lower of each range aligned with salary spine points used in the JNCHES Pay Spine (previously referred to as the Final Salary Spine), as detailed in the HESA document Single_pay_spine.xlsx (Salary from 1 August 2022 column).
Contract salary not applicable includes members of staff for whom the concept of a per annum contractual salary does not apply e.g. hourly paid staff, staff with zero hour contracts etc.
Contract salaries reported to HESA based on the reporting of the JNCHES Pay Spine, the JNCHES Clinical Spine, plus salaries not set against a nationally negotiated pay spine are included in this analysis. Where HESA is provided with both a salary point (within the JNCHES Pay Spine or JNCHES Clinical Spine) and an enhanced salary figure (e.g. London weighting), the actual enhanced salary is used.
Staff with atypical contracts are not included in the salary range analysis.
Note: Staff salary relates to the entire contract and not the individual activities that may be associated with that contract. Therefore, whilst a staff contract may be assigned to more than one activity group, the salary displayed will reflect the entire contract.
Average salary data excludes those members of staff whose salary is zero or unknown.
For calculations of average salary, salaries are apportioned to contract activities according to the proportion of each contract associated with each activity.
In accordance with the rounding strategy, averages based on 7 or fewer staff are suppressed.
Cost centre is a financial concept which groups staff members to specific related cost centres which enables analysis between the Student, Staff and Finance streams. The cost centre groups are separate to the JACS/HESA codes due to the groupings and are therefore non-comparable. The reason for the incomparability and the breadth of the elements in this field is to replicate the way in which resources (including staff) can be split over a variety of similar courses and the differences in the way individual HE providers allocate them. For example, all language courses offered at a HE provider may utilise the same resources (staff may teach more than one subject) making definitive allocation of individual resources to specific subjects impossible. The cost centre groups reflect this.
The cost centres listed below relate to where the resources deployed to teach the student are located.
A mapping of old HESA Cost Centres to new HESA cost centres can be found here: Cost_centres_mapping.pdf
Age is as at 31 August in the reporting period.
This field records the sex of the member of staff, as opposed to the gender with which they identify.
Other is included for staff whose sex aligns with terms such as intersex, androgyne, intergender, ambigender, gender fluid, polygender and gender queer.
The specification of this field is based on the Recommendations on monitoring from ECU (Equality Challenge Unit). HESA does not, however, include a 'prefer not to say' option.
Prior to 2017/18, the legal sex of the member of staff was used. Due to the requirement to return this information to HM Revenue & Customs, legal sex information will be known for all staff.
Prior to 2022/23 the sex field was based on a person's choice of gender. In the 2022/23 return, this field is now based on a person's legal gender, as indicated by documents such as a birth certificate, Gender Recognition Certificate, or passport.
Starting from 2022/23, the definition of 'Other' has been updated. 'Other' now refers to a third sex that is legally recognized by another country. Additionally, a 'Not known' value has been introduced. This category applies to staff who explicitly state that they do not wish to provide the information or in cases where it is not possible to supply the information, such as following the event of a cyber-attack.
It is HESA's practice to adopt national classifications where they exist and are appropriate. The use of Census 2011 ethnicity coding in the Staff record is an example of this. The coding frame was recommended by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for UK-wide data collection. However, there are variations to the Census 2011 ethnicity coding adopted in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ethnic category groupings are:
- White includes White, White - Scottish, Irish Traveller, Gypsy or Traveller, plus Other White background.
- Black includes Black or Black British - Caribbean, Black or Black British - African, and other Black background.
- Asian includes Asian or Asian British - Indian, Asian or Asian British - Pakistani, Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi, Chinese, and other Asian background.
- Mixed includes mixed - White and Black Caribbean, mixed - White and Black African, mixed - White and Asian, other mixed background.
- Other includes Arab and other ethnic background.
Where staff of known ethnicity appears in analyses, this includes all staff returned as White, Black, Asian or Other (including mixed).
Where ethnic minority staff appears in analyses, this includes all staff returned as Black, Asian or Other (including mixed).
- Not known includes Not known, Not Available and Information refused.
Staff may choose not to reveal their ethnicity and therefore HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total staff population.
Following introduction of the Disability Equality Duty, information is required about the nature of disability. From 2008/09 HESA has, on the recommendation of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), adopted a version of the coding frame developed by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) which includes additional detail specifically relevant in education.
Disability indicates whether a member of staff is disabled and the type of disability on the basis of their own self-assessment. Staff are not obliged to report a disability, and therefore HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total staff population.
The full label descriptions for each disability are available in the HESA Staff record coding manual.
In certain analysis disability may be grouped as follows:
- Known to be disabled includes those members of staff that reported a disability.
- No known disability includes those members of staff that reported they have no known disability.
- Known disability status includes those members of staff that reported they have no known disability, plus those that reported a disability.
- Unknown includes those members of staff that were reported as Information refused or Not available, for example if the staff member did not respond to the request for information.
Nationality defines the country of legal nationality. This is not necessarily the domicile. The code list is determined by the National Statistics Country Classification 2006 (NSCC).
Further information and a list of the HESA nationality valid entries are available in the HESA Staff record coding manual.
UK nationality includes staff whose nationality was the UK, and for the purposes of analysis includes Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU. Guernsey and Jersey in this context refer to the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, which includes their smaller islands.
Non-UK nationality includes staff whose nationality was a country other than that defined as UK nationality.
Where shown separately, Cyprus (European Union) includes staff whose nationality was reported as Cyprus (European Union) or Cyprus not otherwise specified. Staff reported as Cyprus (Non-European Union) are included in all other Non-EU countries.
European Union not otherwise specified includes staff whose nationality was reported as Czechoslovakia not otherwise specified. Obsolete nationalities may be returned by staff who emigrated at a time when the nationality was current and they have never acquired any other nationality.
All other Non-EU countries includes staff whose country of legal nationality is not shown separately under Non-EU countries, plus those reported as stateless.
Unknown includes staff whose nationality was not known or it was impossible from the available documentation to assign a nationality from the code list.
Each higher education provider is allocated two different unique identifiers:
Higher education provider identifier (INSTID) is the unique identifier allocated to a provider by HESA.
UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN) is the unique identifier allocated to a provider by the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP).
For a list of the HE provider mergers and changes from the 1994/95 academic year onwards see Provider mergers and changes.
The allocation of a HE provider (HEP) to a geographical region is done by reference to the administrative centre of that provider. There may be staff employed in regions other than that of the administrative centre of the HE provider.
HESA allocates HEPs to regions as follows:
North East (NEAS), North West (NWES), Yorkshire and The Humber (YORH), East Midlands (EMID), West Midlands (WMID), East of England (EAST), London (LOND), South East (SEAS), South West (SWES), Scotland (SCOT), Wales (WALE) and Northern Ireland (NIRE).
Although the Open University teaches throughout the UK, its administrative centre is located in South East England, and it is counted as a wholly English provider.
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) provides a national standard for categorising occupational information. SOC forms the basis of occupational classification in a variety of national surveys that collect statistical information such as the Labour Force Survey and Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). The use of SOC for classifying occupations within the HE sector therefore both allows for the variety of occupations that exist and enables comparisons to be made with other sectors of the economy and from a variety of data sources.
From 2012/13, HESA has used the SOC2010 variant of the SOC coding framework. This version maintains the same nine Major Groups used in previous versions of SOC, but it is no longer possible to replicate the variant previously used by HESA for staff in the HE sector, which permitted staff to be grouped into thirteen broad occupational activities. In addition, the association of academic and non-academic activities solely with SOC Major Groups is no longer possible, due to the incorporation of both types of activities at the sub-Major level. Consequently, staff may be pursuing an academic or non-academic activity within a given SOC Major Group, whereas previously certain SOC Groups were held to be entirely academic or non-academic in their own right.
The publication of staff activities by SOC Major Group may therefore now occur with or without reference to the academic nature of that activity, whereas previously this was implicit in the titles of the activities published: care should be taken when comparing data across years.
Activity SOC Major Group
- Managers, directors and senior officials
- Professional occupations
- Associate professional and technical occupations
- Administrative and secretarial occupations
- Skilled trades occupations
- Caring, leisure and other service occupations
- Sales and customer service occupations
- Process, plant and machine operatives
- Elementary occupations
In certain analyses, Activity SOC Major Groups may grouped as follows:
- Managerial, professional and technical staff are those with a contract activity in SOC Major Groups 1, 2 or 3.
- Clerical staff are those with a contract activity in SOC Major Group 4.
- Manual staff are those with a contract activity in SOC Major Groups 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9.
Please note that in 2014/15, the number of activities that could be returned for some Staff was increased from three to six when any of the following criteria are met:
Contract Levels is returned as:
- A0 'Vice-Chancellor/Principal/Head of Institution'
- B1 'UCEA level 2A'
- B2 'UCEA level 2B'
- C1 'UCEA level 3A'
- C2 'UCEA level 3B'
- D1 'UCEA level 3/4A1'
- D2 'UCEA level 3/4A2'
- Academic employment function is returned as 'Not an academic contract'
- All activities returned are in the SOC2010 Major Groups 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9.
In certain analyses the staff activities may also be split by academic contract and non-academic contract:
Academic contract staff are defined as professionals holding a contract for planning, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research within HE providers. Examples of such contracts include those for vice-chancellors, medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals who undertake lecturing or research activities.
Non-academic contract staff are defined as members of staff who are not holders of an academic contract, including managers, non-academic professionals, student welfare workers, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners.
Clinical academic staff includes doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives (registered with the relevant professional council) who normally undertake clinical duties in addition to teaching and/or research; doctors and dentists who, as part of their training, undertake a period of dedicated research; registered clinical academic health professionals, plus other academic staff involved in the delivery of patient care as well as teaching and/or research.
Note: Clinical academic staff are not necessarily paid on a clinical academic pay scale.
Non-clinical academic staff are those members of staff who do not meet the conditions of clinical academic above.