University manager numbers rising 'twice as fast as academics'

March 2, 2012

The percentage increase in the number of managers in higher education in recent years is more than twice that for academics, an analysis of new figures has suggested.

Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal there were 15,795 managers in higher education in December 2010 – up by almost 40 per cent on the 11,305 employed in the 2003-04 academic year.

That was compared to the 19.2 per cent increase in academics since 2003-04. It means there is now a manager for every 9.2 academics compared with a ratio of one to 10.8 seven years earlier.

Sally Hunt, University and College Union general secretary, said: “Despite the fact that there has been a large increase in the number of students in recent years, there has been a larger increase in the number of managers than academics.

“We have raised fears about the changing nature of universities as the market in higher education continues to grow. However, institutions and government must never lose sight of universities’ key roles in teaching and challenging students."

Meanwhile, statistics released by Hesa on 1 March showed staffing levels at universities fell by 1.5 per cent last year.

The figures showed there were 381,790 people working at UK higher education institutions in 2010-11, down by 5,640 from 2009-10.

The sharpest fall in university posts was for non-academic posts, which fell by 2.5 per cent last year, down from 205,835 in 2009-10 to 200,605 in the following year.

The number of academic posts remained largely unaffected by budget difficulties in 2010-11, with just 410 fewer posts in December 2010 (181,185 in total) compared with 181,595 at the same point in 2009.

But staffing levels for 2010-11 remain significantly higher than five years ago, with a 7.4 per cent increase in university staff numbers since 2005-06.

In that year, there were 164,875 academics at Britain’s 166 publicly-funded higher education institutions, plus the University of Buckingham, the UK’s only private university, and 190,535 non-academic posts.

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