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Higher Education Staff Statistics 2019/20 released

The first release of HESA staff data for the 2019/20 academic year reveals the demographic make-up of staff in UK higher education, and the details of their employment contracts.

View Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK 2019/20

The data released today relates to staff employed on 1 December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The data was collected from HE providers in Autumn 2020, during the pandemic.  

The 2019/20 release includes data from additional English HE providers registered as Approved (fee cap) with the Office for Students. From 2019/20 it is not mandatory for HE providers in England and Northern Ireland to return information about non-academic staff.

Headline statistics from today’s Statistical Bulletin include:

  • There were 223,525 academic staff employed at higher education providers on 1 December 2019 excluding atypical1 staff.
  • Out of 22,810 Professors2, 6,345 (28%) were women. This proportion has increased by one percentage point each year since 2013/14.
  • 155 Professors2 (1%) were Black, 7% were Asian and 89% were White3.
  • 17% of academic staff were EU nationals and 14% of academic staff were non-UK nationals from non-EU countries3.
  • 33% of academic staff were employed on fixed-term contracts.
  • 2% of academic staff were employed on zero hours contracts (excluding atypical1 staff).

For more detail on all of these headlines, please see today’s Statistical Bulletin Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2019/20. The bulletin is an Official Statistics release published as open data which includes interactive tables of demographic and contract statistics.

A further open data publication, Higher Education Staff Data, will be released on 18 February. This will include more detailed breakdowns from the 2019/20 HESA Staff record.

If you have comments or suggestions about today’s release please give feedback via the form in the bulletin.


  1. 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.
  2. Professors are defined as “Senior Academic appointments which may carry the title of Professor but which do not have departmental line management responsibilities”. Other senior contracts including leadership and management roles may also be held by people who hold the Professor title. See the Contract levels definition for more detail. 
  3. Percentages exclude unknown values.
  4. See Definitions: Staff for definitions of terms used in the release and explanation of the coverage of statistics.
  5. See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA.
  6. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
Press Release

Press Officer