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HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2007/08 reveals average age of academic staff increasing

Data from the newly released HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2007/08 publication shows that the average age of UK academics is increasing. Over the last four years the proportion of academic staff employed at UK HE institutions aged 55 and over has increased from 18.9% to 20.5%. Meanwhile the proportion of academics aged under 35 has decreased from 25.9% to 25.2%. The average age of all academic staff has increased from 43.2 years to 43.7 years.

Academic staff by age 2004/05 to 2007/08

Year

Average age

% under 35

% 55 and over

All academic staff

2004/05

43.2

25.9%

18.9%

160655

2005/06

43.3

26.0%

19.4%

164875

2006/07

43.5

25.5%

20.0%

169995

2007/08

43.7

25.2%

20.5%

174945

Source: HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2004/05 - 2007/08

Over the same four years the pattern of employment of academic staff has also changed. The proportion of academic staff on part-time contracts has increased from 31.8% in 2004/05 to 33.4% in 2007/08. The proportion of female staff working part-time is higher than the proportion of male staff.

Academic staff by gender and mode of employment 2004/05 to 2007/08

Year

Female

% Part-time

Male

% Part-time

All academic staff

% Part-time

2004/05

66220

40.2%

94435

25.9%

160655

31.8%

2005/06

69125

41.1%

95750

26.2%

164875

32.4%

2006/07

71920

41.8%

98075

26.8%

169995

33.1%

2007/08

74590

42.1%

100355

27.0%

174945

33.4%

Source: HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2004/05 - 2007/08

While more staff have part-time contracts, the use of fixed-term, rather than permanent or open-ended, contracts has decreased, from 43.2% of contracts in 2004/05 to 35.6% in 2007/08. The proportion of female staff on fixed-term contracts is higher than the proportion of male staff.

Academic staff by gender and terms of employment 2004/05 to 2007/08

Year

Female

% on fixed-term contract

Male

% on fixed-term contract

All academic staff

% on fixed-term contract

2004/05

66220

48.3%

94435

39.6%

160655

43.2%

2005/06

69125

45.3%

95750

37.6%

164875

40.8%

2006/07

71920

41.3%

98075

34.7%

169995

37.5%

2007/08

74590

39.1%

100355

33.0%

174945

35.6%

Source: HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2004/05 - 2007/08

The HESA Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2007/08 reference volume includes comprehensive coverage of HE staff and finance data. Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2006/07 is available to purchase from our website or by calling +44 (0) 1242 211155. Back issues of this publication are also available for purchase.

Notes for Editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
    • Simon Kemp
    • HESA Press Officer
    • +44 (0) 1242 211120
    • [email protected]
    • 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ.
  2. In the above data 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
  3. Staff with unknown age are excluded from averages and percentage calculations, but they are included in the total figures.
  4. Atypical staff are not included in the data tables. See ‘Terms of employment' below for the definition of atypical staff.
  5. 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 2007/08 data covers 166 HEIs (131 in England, 12 in Wales, 19 in Scotland and 4 in Northern Ireland).
  6. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  7. Definitions of the terms used in this press release follow:

    Staff definitions

    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).

    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.

    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 categories 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 atypical (unless shown separately) 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.

    Terms of employment

    The data above are restricted to non-atypical staff

    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.

    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.

Ends

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