Get the data: ‘atypical’ staffing in Midlands universities

The University and Colleges Union (UCU) recently revealed that more than half of higher education institutions in the UK use controversial zero hour contracts.

The story was based on comparing FOI responses on zero hour staffing with official overall staffing figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). However, some figures showed some institutions as having more zero hour staff than staff overall, so we called up HESA to find out why those numbers weren’t adding up.

The answer may lie in how staffing is counted by HESA. The ‘definitions‘ link on that staffing data above specifies that:

“Atypical staff are those members of staff whose contracts involve working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider. For atypical staff only a minimum data set is required.”

In some cases zero hour staff may come under this category. On the same topic:

“Staff employed under consultancy contracts, or on the basis of payment of fees for services without a contract of employment are not included in the record.”

We were told, however, that zero hour contracts would not come under those categories.

So we requested the data for atypical staff in the Midlands – and here they are (look out for the notes at the end – zero doesn’t necessarily mean none):

Institution Academic Non-academic Total
0108 Aston University 305 885 1190
0052 Birmingham City University 420 0 420
0110 The University of Birmingham 5075 2925 8000
0056 Coventry University 1555 865 2415
0018 Harper Adams University College 10 0 10
0121 The University of Keele 590 695 1285
0028 Newman University College 145 10 155
0077 Staffordshire University 365 5 370
0163 The University of Warwick 3180 955 4135
0085 The University of Wolverhampton 960 505 1465
0046 The University of Worcester 0 0 0

Some notes:

  • All figures have been subjected to HESA’s standard rounding methodology (0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5).
  • Definitions for the Staff Record can be found here.
  • University College Birmingham (insitution code 0200) has asked that their individual level data not be released at this time.
  • The data above provides a breakdown of the totals published online here.

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