Bright old things: The ageing academic population

January 31, 2013

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency

Academics whose age is unknown are not pictured on graph. Figures are from top of candle rather than top of flame.

Over the past eight years, the profile of the academic workforce has become increasingly skewed towards higher age categories

The number of academic staff aged 66 and over was 171 per cent higher in 2011-12 than it was in 2003-04, data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show. The number between 61 and 65 also more than doubled during this period, while the number of academics aged 25 and under shrank by 20 per cent.

According to the Universities UK report Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education 2012, which referred to figures from 2010-11 showing the same trend, the shift may reflect the changing demographics in the UK population and the phasing out of the default retirement age. However, it may “represent more fundamental shifts within the sector which may warrant further investigation”, it added.

The data show that age profiles also vary greatly by subject. While 39 per cent of academic staff in biological, mathematical and physical sciences were 35 years and under in 2011-12, this was the case for just 15 per cent of academics in education and 21 per cent in design and creative arts.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald