Education is in a state: exploration of in/equalities shown in statistical data of academic staffing in higher education (invited paper, AERA)

Dina Zoe Belluigi*, Jason Arday, Joanne O'Keeffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The study was informed by an analysis of existing statistical data on academic staffing collected by higher education institutions. Conducted in the interests of addressing inequalities, as researchers we paid attention to where the markers of sameness and difference of staff – in terms of age, sex, ethnicity/ race, disability, religious belief and nationality – seem to have impacted on staff employment within the discipline of Education in the period from 2015-2020 in each devolved nation of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and how this compared with statistics of UK higher education in general. Analysis of the numbers, percentages, proportions and changes captured in the HESA data, enabled some identification of the differential and, where possible to ascertain, intersectional impacts on staff access, positioning, attainment, progression and attrition. In this presentation, highlighted findings will be shared about specific aspects of the composition of the heterogeneity of Education’s academic staff members, in addition to their employment conditions. Approaching the data through the specific ‘entry points’ of sex, ethnicity, and nationality, findings about each grouping, intersectional impacts and related employment conditions will be shared using data visualisation.

The study evidences the homogenous state of Education in the United Kingdom; the marginalisation of academic staff recorded as Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME); the exclusion of academics from the majority world (or Global South); continued inequalities when it came to the flourishing of female staff; and concerns about the conditions for younger staff. Questions are raised about areas of insufficient and problematic growth in Education generally and in relation to certain social groups. While some of the patterns were consistent across the UK, differences were observed between the devolved nations which suggests care should be exercised in representations made by scholars of higher education in the United Kingdom.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 12 Apr 2023
EventAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2023 - USA, Chicago, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 202317 Apr 2023


ConferenceAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2023
Abbreviated titleAERA 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • education
  • discipline
  • inequality
  • staff composition
  • quantitative


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