Only 155 out of 23,000 university professors are black

This is the fifth year in a row where black professors have made up less than one per cent

Only 155 out of over 23,000 university professors are black, meaning that black professors make up less than one per cent of total professorships in the UK.

The figures, published annually by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, are unsurprising – the number of black professors has been less than one per cent for the past five years.

Jo Grady, the head of universities and lecturer’s union UCU, said of the figures: “The pace of change is glacial.”

Halima Begum, head of the Runnymede Trust race equality thinktank, notes that these figures aren’t in line with the number of black and minority ethnic postgraduate students. “Around a quarter of British postgraduates are from ethnic minorities,” she told the BBC, “there is clearly no shortage of qualified black and minority academics seeking elevation to senior teaching and research roles in our universities.”

Moreover, in the five years during which the figure has sat at less than one per cent, the number of professorships has risen by over 3,000. In that time period, the number of black professors only rose by 55.

As well as the small number of black professors, there is still a gender gap on campus too. Women make up only 28 per cent of professors – but 46 per cent of all academic staff.

Universities UK has said “the evidence is clear that black and minority ethnic staff continue to be under-represented” and that “more needs to be done to address this inequality which exists within higher education, which mirrors inequalities evident in wider UK society and which will require an unequivocal commitment to change.”

Halima Begum put it simply, calling on uni heads to fix a problem at that they can “literally discern with their own eyes every single day they are on campus”.

Featured image by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash

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