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The University of Manchester Photo: Johsua Poh@Flickr

Minister: Lack of senior black academics ‘unacceptable’

The lack of senior black academics in UK universities has been slammed as “unacceptable” by a government minister.

The Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore, blasted the higher education sector for failing to recruit and promote black and minority ethnic professors after figures show no black staff held senior positions.

The new data, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), showed that out of 535 staff employed as “managers, directors or senior officials” across British universities, none were black.

In 2018-19 there were 535 staff employed as “managers, directors or senior officials” across British universities, of which 475 identified as white, 25 as Asian, or mixed. The ethnicity of the remaining 35 was unknown.

HESA’s workforce figures showed that 16% of the total UK academic staff identified as black but the figures appear to show that none were making inroads into management.

The agency rounds its statistic to the nearest five, this means that one or two black senior staff would be rounded down to nil.

Skidmore said: “It is unacceptable that the number of black academic staff in senior positions has fallen, as this does not represent our British society.

“Universities need to make more progress and I urge all vice-chancellors to address the barriers that are holding back black and ethnic minority staff from senior positions.”

He added: “A true representation of Britain at the top levels of our universities will support the progression of [black and minority ethnic] staff, as well as improving students’ experience.”

In total, around 440,000 staff were employed at British universities, a rise of 2% compared with 2017-18.

Tags: academic, Manchester, manchester academics, university

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