Just 1% of UK professors are Black, new figures reveal

Just 160 out of 22,855 professors in 2020/21 are Black.

The proportion of black professors at UK universities has stalled at just 1 per cent, new Government data has revealed.

Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) on Tuesday show that just 160 out of 22,855 professors in 2020/21 were Black.

Overall in 2020/21, 11 per cent, or 2,425 out of 22,855 professors, were from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds, while 82 per cent were white.

Hesa said the percentage of female professors increased by one percentage point year on year from 2013/14 to 2019/20, and remained at 28% for 2020/21.

The news follows growing calls to diversify university campuses.

Last year, University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady described the pace of change as “glacial”.

The data shows that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of full-time academic staff were employed on a fixed-term contract in 2020/21, while 48 per cent of part-time academic staff were employed on fixed-term contracts.

Last week, the UCU announced that students at 68 institutions will see their lecturers walk out in disputes over “beyond disgraceful” pay, conditions and pensions.

The union has cited insecure working conditions as one of the factors involved in strikes planned for this month.

Olivette Otele

Ms Grady said: “Staff need a proper pay rise, action to tackle insecure contracts, unsafe workloads and pay inequality, and for devastating pension cuts to be revoked.”

Black graduates are less likely to say they are satisfied with their careers after leaving university than their white peers, a report suggests.

Hesa data shows that, of young people leaving university in 2010/11 and 2012/13, UK black graduates are 2.6 percentage points less likely to express career satisfaction compared with white graduates.

Meanwhile, less than one in five British postgraduate research university students are from ethnic minorities - with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all UK students were from ethnic minorities in 2019/2.

At least 24 per cent of ethnic minority students have experienced racial harassment at UK universities, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published in 2019.

During an interview in 2018 the UK’s first Black woman history professor Olivette Otele said: “In academia it’s very hard for everybody. But for people of colour and black women, in particular, it’s even harder.”

Britain’s first Black Studies professor Professor Kehinde Andrews labelled his university institutionally racist, The Independent revealed last year.

The academic said Birmingham City University failed to address his complaint of racism against a senior colleague, and alleged that he was “frozen out” of decision-making after voicing concerns about potentially discriminatory recruitment practices.

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