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HESA data shows increase in proportion of female professors

The first analysis of the HESA Staff Record for 2007/08 shows that 18.7% of professors in higher education institutions are female, up from 17.5% in 2006/07.

The proportion of female academic staff in all grades has increased over the same period, from 42.3% in 2006/07 to 42.6% in 2007/08.

The data, collected from all UK higher education institutions by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, also shows an overall increase in the number of academic staff in the UK. There were a total of 174,945 academic staff in 2007/08 compared with 169,995 in 2006/07, an increase of 2.9%.

42.4% of female academics worked part-time in 2007/08, compared with 23.1% of male academics.

The numbers of non-academic staff (including managers and support staff) in UK higher education institutions are also up on the previous year. There were 197,515 non-academic staff in 2007/08 compared with 194,170 in 2006/07, an increase of 1.7%. Of these non-academic staff, 62.6% were female.

The table below shows the distribution of all HE staff by academic grade and gender in 2007/08:





% Female






Senior Lecturers & Researchers















Other Grades





Total academic staff





Non-academic staff





All staff





Source: HESA Staff Record 2007/08





Detailed analysis of the HESA Staff Record will be available in the reference volume Resources of Higher Education Institutions 2007/08 due out in May 2009.

Notes for Editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
    • Simon Kemp
    • HESA Press Officer
    • +44 (0) 1242 211135
    • [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. 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).
  4. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  5. 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 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.

    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.


    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.

    Grade (academic staff only)

    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.

    It is recognised that there have been significant changes and developments in higher education employment conditions in recent years. Central to this is the Framework Agreement on Pay Modernisation in Higher Education that was agreed in 2004. The Agreement provides a framework to modernise pay arrangements with the specific aim of promoting equality, transparency and harmonisation to ensure equal pay is delivered for work of equal value. Institutions negotiated grade structures for all staff locally against a nationally agreed pay spine. An increasing number of institutions have therefore moved away from nationally recognised grade structures. Since implementation of the Framework Agreement was completed by the sector in August 2006, the existing coding frame in the HESA Staff Record has become somewhat outmoded. However, a decision is awaited as to how best to reflect the Agreement in terms of institutions reporting grade statistics at a national level.

    The Agency therefore advises caution in analysis of staff by grade.

    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.


Press Release

Press Officer