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Staff at higher education institutions in the United Kingdom 2009/10

Statistical First Release news_sfr154

This is the first release of data from the 2009/10 HESA staff record.

Key Points - All staff

  • On 1 December 2009 there were 387,430 staff employed in the HE sector, showing an increase of 1% from 1 December 2008. 181,595 (46.9%) were academic professionals compared to 179,040 (46.8%) in 2008.
  • 253,970 staff were employed on full-time contracts (252,520 in 2008) and 133,460 on part-time contracts (130,240 in 2008).
  • 46.8% of full-time staff and 67.1% of part-time staff were female in 2009 compared to 46.5% full-time and 67.3% part-time in the previous year.
  • In addition, a further 183,155 atypical staff, were employed by HEIs over the 2009/10 academic year.

Key Points - Academic staff

  • 79,900 (44.0%) of academic staff on 1 December 2009 were female compared to 77,745 (43.4%) in 2008.
  • 17,375 academic staff were employed as Professors in 2009 showing a decrease of 1% from the previous year.
  • 3,320 (19.1%) of academic staff employed as professors in 2009 were female compared to 18.7% in the previous year .
  • 120,225 (66.2 %) of academic staff were employed on open-ended or permanent contracts in 2009 compared to 115,945 (64.8 %) in 2008. 33.8 % were employed on fixed term contracts in 2009 compared to 35.2% in the previous year.


Table 1 shows the number of staff employed at UK HE institutions in 2009/10 by activity, mode of employment and gender.

Table 2 provides a summary of academic staff (excluding atypical staff) employed by HE institutions on 1 December 2009.

Tables showing 2008/09 data can be found here.

Detailed analysis of the HESA Staff record will be available in the reference volume Staff in Higher Education Institutions 2009/10 due out in March 2011.

Table 1 - All staff in UK HE institutions by activity, mode of employment and gender(#4) 2009/10
  Full-time   Part-time   Atypical(#3)
  Female Male Total   Female Male Total   Female Male Total
Managers 6950 7340 14290   1420 360 1775   140 205 345
Academic professionals 45195 72735 117930   34705 28955 63665   36390 40580 77080
Non-academic professionals 12240 10850 23090   4590 1325 5915   6590 7260 13850
Laboratory, engineering, building, IT & medical technicians (including nurses) 6695 16300 23000   3030 1475 4505   2535 3635 6175
Student welfare workers, careers advisors, vocational training instructors, personnel & planning officers 4580 2060 6640   3175 770 3945   5820 3395 9230
Artistic, media, public relations, marketing & sports occupations 2480 1935 4415   1170 450 1625   3220 2320 5540
Library assistants, clerks & general administrative assistants 26085 8005 34090   18890 4450 23340   28240 19155 47505
Secretaries, typists, receptionists & telephonists 9280 760 10045   5700 455 6155   2560 1830 4390
Chefs, gardeners, electrical & construction trades, mechanical fitters & printers 570 4210 4780   260 155 415   295 265 555
Caretakers, residential wardens, sports & leisure attendants, nursery nurses & care occupations 1250 1630 2880   1500 895 2395   1500 1385 2885
Retail & customer service occupations 400 240 640   505 145 650   1785 1045 2830
Drivers, maintenance supervisors & plant operatives 145 1115 1255   105 110 215   90 165 255
Cleaners, catering assistants, security officers, porters & maintenance workers 2900 8020 10920   14555 4305 18860   6855 5665 12520
All activities 118775 135195 253970   89615 43840 133460   96020 86895 183155
In this table 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
# see Notes to editors.
Table 2 - Summary of academic staff (excluding atypical) in UK HE institutions 2009/10
  Full-time Part-time Total
Female 45195 34705 79900
Male 72735 28955 101690
Source of salary
Wholly institutionally financed 84735 56680 141415
Other sources of finance 33190 6990 40180
Academic employment function
Teaching only 8360 38115 46475
Teaching & research 75220 18665 93885
Research only 33700 6770 40470
Neither teaching nor research 650 120 770
Professorial status
Professor 15320 2055 17375
Not a professor 102605 61610 164220
Terms of employment
Open-ended/permanent 87420 32800 120225
Fixed-term contract 30505 30865 61375
Total academic staff(#4) 117930 63665 181595
In this table 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
# see Notes to editors.

Notes to editors

  1. HESA data is collected from all publicly funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, plus the University of Buckingham, which is a non-publicly-funded institution. The 2009/10 data covers 166 HEIs (131 in England, 12 in Wales, 19 in Scotland and 4 in Northern Ireland).
  2. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  3. Atypical staff contracts are those with working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider, only a minimum data set is required. Please note, these contracts are recorded based on a different population definition from non-atypical contracts, see definitions below for more details.
  4. Staff whose gender is ‘not known' have been included in totals but are not shown separately. Staff whose gender is ‘not known' have been excluded from percentage calculations. ‘Not known' includes staff whose gender have been coded ‘unknown' plus those coded ‘indeterminate'.
  5. In 2008/09, an institution over-reported the number of their atypical staff by 10,445. The magnitude of this error has had an affect on the UK percentage change in atypical staff from 2008/09 to 2009/10 so this figure is not included in the text of this SFR. Excluding this institution from the data results in a 0% change in atypical staff numbers from 2008/09 to 2009/10.
  6. Definitions of the terms used in this press release follow.



The HESA staff record provides data in respect of the characteristics of members of all academic and non-academic staff employed under a contract of employment by a higher education institution (HEI) in the UK.

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 person population is used in analysis of staff person attributes by full-person equivalents (FPE).

The HESA staff atypical population is an indicator of those individuals who have only atypical contracts within the reporting period.

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).

SOC - Occupational coding for higher education staff

Academic staff are defined as academic professionals who are responsible for planning, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research within HE institutions. They also include vice-chancellors, medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals who undertake lecturing or research activities. All academic staff fall into group 2A of the SOC classification, regardless of their discipline (e.g. science, engineering, social sciences, humanities, languages).

Non-academic staff are defined as members of staff who fall into one of the remaining 12 occupational activities such as managers, non-academic professionals, student welfare workers, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners.

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 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.


From 2008/09 the specification for staff gender falls within the scope of the Aligned Data Definitions adopted by the Information Standards Board (ISB) for education, skills and children's services (escs).

Indeterminate gender means unable to be classified as either male or female, and intended to identify students who are intersex, and not trans-gender nor as a proxy for not-known.

Professorial role

Professor indicates whether the contract confers the title of professor to the holder, regardless of whether an institution's local grade structure contains a professor grade.

Terms of employment

Terms of employment describes the type of contract(s) a member of staff has with the institution 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 have 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: 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 institutions. 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

Source of basic salary indicates whether contract salaries are paid wholly or in part from funds other than general institution funds. Whether income can be regarded as general institution funds or not depends on the distinction between unrestricted and restricted income as defined in the 'Statement of Recommended Practice: Accounting in Higher Education Institutions' (SORP). Restricted income is that which can only be applied to a specific purpose or activity so designated by the grantor or donor.

Wholly institutionally financed staff contracts are those paid wholly from general institution funds.

All other sources of finance includes staff contracts partly (but principally) financed by the institution (where the proportion financed by the institution equals, or is greater than, 50% of the basic salary), plus staff contracts paid mainly or wholly from sources other than general institution funds (where the proportion financed by other sources is greater than 50%). These other sources include include the HESA valid entries: NHS/General Medical or General Dental practice or Department of Health; BIS Research Councils (including research councils - not specified); UK central government bodies and local authorities; UK industry, commerce and public corporations; charities (including Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, other Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and other charitable foundations); EU government bodies; EU other; other overseas sources plus other sources not listed.

Academic employment function

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.

Neither teaching nor research staff are those whose contracted academic employment function is neither teaching nor research, e.g. Vice-Chancellor.

Rounding strategy

In the text and tables the figures presented are rounded, 0, 1 and 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down, to the nearest 5.


Enquiries should be directed to the Press office at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ, telephone: 01242 211120.



20 January 2011, 9:30




Children, education and skills

Issued by

HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ

Press enquiries

01242 211120

Public enquiries

01242 211133


James McLaren


[email protected]