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Who's working in HE?

HE Staff Data Who's working in HE?

On this page: Time series of staff numbers | Academic teaching and research | Staff numbers by HE provider | Full-time equivalent

The tables and charts on this page provide a summary of academic and non-academic staff numbers including the number employed at each higher education provider. Some information is taken from our Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2017/18 statistical bulletin which contains further analysis.

All tables and charts include a link underneath allowing you to download the data you see on screen, including filters. Many tables also include a link to download the complete source data as a machine-readable csv file.

Time series of staff numbers

Chart 1 - Academic and non-academic staff in UK Higher Education

Academic years 2004/05 to 2017/18

What are academic and non-academic staff contracts?

Academic staff contracts are for planning, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research. This includes lecturers and researchers, but also Vice chancellors, and medical professionals who undertake research.

Non-academic staff contracts include managers, professionals in non-academic jobs, student welfare workers, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners.

See the Academic employment marker definition for more detail.


Figure 1 - Staff at HE providers by mode of employment and academic contract marker

Academic years 2013/14 to 2017/18



Academic teaching and research

Chart 4 - Academic staff by academic employment function

Academic years 2016/17 to 2017/18



Staff numbers by HE provider

Table 1 - HE staff by HE provider and activity standard occupational classification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2017/18


 This is a large table and will take a moment to load...
How are HE staff counted by HESA?

Higher Education Providers send data to HESA about all their staff who are employed under a contract of employment at any time during the academic year (1 August to 31 July). To prevent over-counting of staff resource HESA only publishes data about staff employed on an active contract on a single reference date of 1 December.

Exceptions to the 1 December census date rule are staff on atypical contracts who are counted regardless of their start and finish dates. Atypical staff figures are always shown separately and should not be added to non-atypical figures.

Most counts of staff numbers are full-person equivalent. This means that a staff member with more than one contract or activity is divided between those activities in the data tables. For example someone who works 3 days a week as a professor and 1 day a week as a gardener will be counted as 0.75 professors and 0.25 gardeners.

See the definitions for Coverage and Staff full-person equivalent or more detail.


Table 8 - HE academic staff by HE provider and highest qualification held

Academic years 2014/15 to 2017/18

What do we mean by HE provider?

HESA collects data from universities, higher education colleges and other specialist providers of higher education. Collectively, we refer to these organisations as higher education (HE) providers. Most tables of HESA data count students at publicly funded higher education institutions plus the University of Buckingham.

Full-time equivalent

Full-time equivalent (FTE) indicates the proportion of a full-time year being undertaken over the course of the academic year 1 August to 31 July. This is different from the FPE tables above, which count staff employed on a snapshot date of 1 December. 

Note: Staff FTE data were labelled incorrectly by HESA in DT025 Table 6 and DT025 Table 11 of this release. This meant that FTE data labelled as excluding atypical staff were incorrectly including atypical staff. DT025 Table 6 and DT025 Table 11 were corrected and updated on 9 April 2019.

Table 6 - HE Staff FTE by HE provider and activity standard occupational classification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2017/18



View more detailed tables on personal characteristics