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'Zero' Black Academics Employed By UK Universities For Top Management Roles, Figures Reveal

More black staff employed as labourers than academics.

20/01/2017 13:18 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 13:41 GMT

There is not a single black academic working in senior management at any British university, according to new employment records that reveal a shocking lack of representation in the sector.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) suggest there are currently no black managers, directors or senior officials at UK universities - and that there haven’t been for the past three years.

Of the 565 academics working in top management roles during 2015/16, 90% were white. Only 15 were Asian, while 10 identified as “other including mixed” and 30 chose not to reveal their ethnicity.  

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Employment records have exposed a shocking lack of representation at the top of the university sector 

Further analysis by the Guardian has shown that universities currently employ more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors. 

While there are 3,205 black academics, 3,215 black people work in manual or secretarial jobs at higher education institutions. 

Among white university staff academics outnumber clerical and manual employees more than 2:1. 

The last time HESA documented black staff in senior positions at UK universities was between 2012 and 2013, when five officials were recorded. Rounding means the true figure could have been as low as three.

However, HESA says its policy of rounding their data means the zero figure recorded this year could represent up to two black academics. 

Valerie Amos, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), potentially represents 100% of black academics working in senior management. 

Denis Balibouse / Reuters
SOAS director Valerie Amos is one of the only black academics working in senior management 

The figures follow calls made earlier this week by the SOAS student union for more black lecturers to be hired to help tackle the race attainment gap. 

A 2012 report by race equality charity the Runnymede Trust found that 66.4% of white undergraduates receive a first or second class degree, compared to just 48.1% of BME students.

SOAS students claim that white tutors have lower expectations of black students due to “racist stereotypes of people of colour as less capable or lazy” and that they offer less help and support as a result.  

Chief executive of Universities UK Nicola Dandridge said the lack of black representation among senior staff was “ a serious issue”.

While the organisation supports the Equality Challenge Unit, which works to advance diversity in universities, Dandridge said institutions need to “acknowledge and nurture the talent of our BME academics, and encourage those who have left to return”. 

A Department for Education spokesperson added: “Our higher education sector is already going further than the UK labour market average on BME representation in its staff. 

“Under the Equality Act 2010, universities have a duty to ensure equal opportunities for those who may be discriminated against or under represented.”