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Higher Education Staff Data 2020/21

Detailed open data released by HESA reveals further details about academic staff in the higher education workforce.

View Higher Education Staff Data

In 2020/21 31% of UK academic staff were aged 51 years or over. Today’s data show a wide variation in age profiles between employers with over half of academic staff at some HE providers aged 51 or over. Only 13% of academic staff were aged 30 years or under, with figures for HE providers ranging from zero to a third of academic staff.

68% of academic staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland whose contracts involved teaching students held a teaching qualification. This figure has risen from 64% in 2015/16 but excludes 18,870 staff for whom the information was not known. Teaching qualification figures for HE providers ranged from 100% to less than 10%

Salary data in the HESA release is published in bands. The data shows that 57% of full-time academic staff had an annual salary of £46,718 or higher in 2020/21. 21% had a salary in the highest band of £62,727 or over.

In Clinical dentistry 53% of full-time academic staff had an annual salary in the highest band. Other cost centres with a high proportion of staff in the highest salary band included Classics (35%) and Economics (32%). 10% of full-time academic staff in Nursing & allied health professions had annual salaries in the highest band.

Today’s open data Official Statistics release Higher Education Staff Data includes detailed breakdowns of staff demographic and contract characteristics in five topics:

Most data tables include seven years of data, with older data available through HESA’s publications archive.

If you have comments or suggestions about today’s release please give feedback via the form on each page of the release.


  • All figures have been subjected to our standard rounding and suppression methodology. Counts of staff are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
  • Percentage calculations exclude unknown values.
  • Headline statistics in this press release exclude ‘atypical’ staff. Atypical contracts are generally non-permanent contracts for short, one-off, or as-and-when tasks. Atypical staff figures are counted differently and shown separately and should not be added to non-atypical figures. See the Terms of employment definition for more detail.
  • See Definitions: Staff for definitions of terms used in the release and explanation of the coverage of statistics.
  • See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA, including Statistical Bulletins, Performance Indicators, and full open data releases.
  • HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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