Academics from BME backgrounds squeezed out at the top

A graph shows acutely how the representation of black and minority ethnic scholars drops away with the increasing seniority of academic posts

June 25, 2015
A black academic in a lecture hall
Source: iStock

Despite the fact that 10 per cent of research assistants are from BME backgrounds, only 6 per cent of those in academic leadership positions are from such groups.

The data, published last month by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, show that the proportion of BME academics drops by one percentage point for each step of the career ladder. By contrast, for the most part, the proportion of white academics steadily increases by more than one percentage point with each career step.

In the 2013‑14 academic year, 8 to 9 per cent of lecturers and senior lecturers and 7 per cent of professors were black or minority ethnic, according to the data. This compares with 84 to 87 per cent of lecturers and senior lecturers and 86 per cent of professors who were white.

holly.else@tesglobal.com

Infographic 25 June 2015

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POSTSCRIPT:

Article originally published as: In the minority: academics from BME backgrounds squeezed out at the top (25 June 2015)

Reader's comments (1)

Actually, what this table shows is that BME representation in academia is tracking national demographics. The UK is around 85% white (which matches with the research assistant level). However, nationally the proportion of whites in the over-45 age group (ie the group making up academic leadership) is higher, over 90%. So we have academic staff matching national population statistics. Why is this a problem?

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