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2003/04 First staff data analysis

From the 2003/04 academic year the Higher Education Statistics Agency has introduced a new record of staff data that combines and replaces the several staff data streams that were collected previously.

The new HESA Staff Record 2003/04 covers all academic and non-academic staff who have a contract of employment with a higher education institution (HEI) in the UK. Within this record, academic staff include academic professionals who are responsible for preparing, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research within HE institutions and also medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals who undertake lecturing or research activities. Non-academic staff include managers, non-academic professionals, student welfare workers, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners.

A key feature of the new HESA Staff Record is the format of collection. For the first time data can be analysed in terms of both people and employment contracts. The record consists of two tables. The person table contains one record for each person employed by an institution during the reporting period and contains attributes of the individual such as birth date, gender and ethnicity. Each person's employment with an institution will be governed by one or more legally-binding contracts and each contract that exists is recorded on the contract table. If a person has a single contract with the institution there will be one record on the person table and one record on the contract table. If a person has three contracts with an institution there will be one record on the person table and three records on the contract table.

Staff employed under consultancy contracts, or on the basis of payment of fees for services, without a contract of employment, are not included in the record.

The implementation of the HESA Staff Record is the result of a review of the staff data collections and consultation with the sector. It is hoped the new record will benefit HEIs by reducing the number of data collections from three to one, providing a more comprehensive set of data and enabling enhanced analysis. It also reflects changes in race relations and equal opportunities legislation.

Early analysis of the HESA Staff Record 2003/04 shows that there were 150,230 academic staff of which 106,900 (71.2 per cent) were employed full-time and 43,330 (28.8 per cent) were employed part-time. Females made up 40 per cent (60,145) of academic staff and males 60 per cent (90,085).

The table below shows the distribution of full-time academic staff by grade and gender in 2003/04.

  Female Male Total % female
Professors 1850 10470 12325 15.0
Senior lecturers & researchers 5950 15975 21925 27.1
Lecturers 15080 22370 37450 40.3
Researchers 11510 16080 27590 41.7
Other grades 3140 4475 7615 41.2
Total 37525 69370 106900 35.1

There were 187,875 non-academic staff, 64.2 per cent (120,625) of whom were employed full-time and 35.8 per cent (67,245) part-time.

Time series

Caution should be exercised when comparing 2003/04 staff data with that published from the old staff records. Prior to 2003/04 the main HESA Staff Record only included academic staff with a full-time equivalence (FTE) greater than 25%. Staff with an FTE of less than 25% are now included in the data and this has had an impact on the number of part-time academic staff being reported. Analyses from the old record were based on a population that included staff active at any point during the year. This led to an element of over counting in cases where staff joined or left an institution during the year.

As the implementation of the new Staff Record in any case causes some discontinuity in time series, it was decided to coincide the implementation of a new staff population with the new record in 2003/04. The standard population for the new record only includes contracts that were active on 1 December.

It is, however, possible to carry out some analysis of the old staff record based upon the new population definition. The estimated result of the new population definitions on the 2002/03 data is shown in the comparator figures detailed below. These figures will differ from those previously published elsewhere. Comparisons can only be made for full-time staff and the differences between the records should still be borne in mind when comparing this data.

The number of full-time academic staff in 2002/03 using the new definition was 105,550.

The table below shows the distribution of full-time academic staff by grade and gender in 2002/03.

  Female Male Total % female
Professors 1745 10635 12380 14.1
Senior lecturers & researchers 5805 16155 21960 26.4
Lecturers 14675 22505 37180 39.5
Researchers 11340 16085 27425 41.4
Other grades 2650 3965 6610 40.1
Total 36210 69340 105550 34.3

Detailed analysis of the HESA Staff Record will be available in the reference volume Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2003/04 due out in May 2005.

Notes to editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. The three records replaced by the Staff Record in 2003/04 are:
    • Individualised Staff Record – covered academic staff involved in teaching only, teaching & research or research only whose individual academic appointments were at least 25% of a full-time equivalent member of staff
    • Aggregate Staff Record – indicated the proportion of time as full-time equivalents spent on academic functions
    • New Aggregate Staff Record – provided limited data in respect of the characteristics of members of all academic and non-academic staff who had a contract of employment with a HE institution 
  3. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  4. Definitions of the terms used in this press release follow:

    Full-person equivalent (FPE)

    Individuals can hold more than one contract with an institution and each contract may involve more than one different activity. In published analyses staff counts have been divided amongst their 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).

    Mode of Employment

    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 staff that work anything less than full-time. This includes the atypical category where institutions were unable to assign staff contracts to either the full-time or the part-time category.

    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 1 full-time equivalent (FTE). The full-person equivalent (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.

    Rounding strategy

    Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:

    • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
    • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.

    So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.


    The grade structure indicates a staff member’s grade for a particular contract of employment. Groups of grades have been devised with regard to the different grading scales used within different institutions. Grades have not, however, been linked to salary information.

    Professors includes heads of departments, professors, former UAP scale researchers (grade IV), clinical professors and those appointed professors on a locally determined scale.

    Senior lecturers & researchers includes principal lecturers, senior lecturers (former UAP/CSCFC scales), former UAP scale researchers (grade III), clinical senior lecturers and those appointed senior or principal lecturers on a locally determined scale.

    Lecturers includes lecturers, senior lecturers (former PCEF scale), clinical lecturers and those appointed lecturers on a locally determined scale.

    Researchers includes all research grades not listed above and those researchers appointed on a locally determined scale.

    Other grades includes other grades of academic staff not listed above.

    Analysis by ‘staff grade’ is only meaningful where institutions have reported their staff within nationally recognised grade structures or within internal grade structures, which facilitate differentiation on a similar basis.

    Several institutions, including some large post-1992 universities, report their academic staff on a single grade structure, which does not have an independent category for the professor grade. Hence staff on the professor grade at institutions using the single grade scale cannot be distinguished from the senior lecturer grade, leading to the number of professors being under-counted for these institutions and for the sector as a whole. This under-counting will have a consequential effect on the proportions of professors within particular subject areas, cost centres and by gender.

    No attempt has been made to collect grade information for non-academic staff as the wide range of grade structures used up to now in institutions could not straightforwardly or meaningfully be mapped to a set of national grades.

    Additionally, with the implementation of the JINCHES agreement, institutions will be negotiating grade structures for all staff locally against a nationally agreed pay spine. An increasing number of institutions will therefore be moving away from nationally recognised grade structures from 2004 onwards. New methods for recording and monitoring grade nationally will have to be developed, but these will need to reflect a yet unknown reality. Consequently in the short term recording of grade will not be possible in all institutions even for academic staff. The Agency therefore advises caution in analysis of staff by grade.


Press Release

Press Officer