HESA data reveals that only 1.6% of King’s academic staff are Black

There are zero Black senior academics, despite the university’s 50% BAME student body.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), only 4.1% of staff at King’s self-identify as Black. King’s had previously made a statement that 24% of staff are BAME, without offering a breakdown of that percentage. According to HESA, KCL staff are: 4.1% black, 12.2% Asian, 3.4% mixed, 2.9% other and 72.6% white (data is from 2018/2019). Whilst the ‘24% BAME’ statistic may not be false, it is misleading as it claims a certain level of progress, which has not been achieved, by grouping Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities together.

HESA provides data for 165 higher education systems in the UK. The website provides a full breakdown of staff and students in relation to ethnicity, sex, age and ability. This 4% total figure conceals some even lower numbers within specific areas, as in includes all staff at King’s, including ‘behind the scenes’ roles such as administration. Of the academic staff, only 1.6% are black, despite King’s 50% BAME student body. Within the senior academics, there is not a single black employee. 

Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) representation in the workplace has been a prominent topic of conversation following the brutal murder of George Floyd and the subsequent surge of the Black Lives Matter movement. Institutions of higher education have been under increased pressure to be transparent about their current racial inequalities as well as to produce attainable goals and initiatives to overcome these inequalities.

In response to a demand to address institutional racism, the Senior Leadership Team at King’s issued a statement on June 12th. The ‘Call for KCL to act to address institutional racism’ was coordinated by KCL Intersectional Feminist Society, Decolonise KCL, Working Class KCL and KCL Action Palestine. The statement released by King’s to both students and staff, acknowledged that they need to do ‘much more’ to ‘combat racism and its consequences’. Additionally, they admitted that the 50% BAME undergraduate student body needed to be better reflected amongst the staff where only 24% are BAME.

The statistics clearly show that in both academic and non-academic positions, on every level, black staff are severely under-represented. Notably, as we examine more stable contracts and higher seniority levels, the already-low percentage of black staff continues to reduce until 0. Ultimately, these statistics highlight the fundamental issue with the term ‘BAME’ as an umbrella term to describe representation and as a measure of achieving racial equality. BAME, with regards to King’s refers predominantly to other ethnic minorities, giving a false sense of black representation at King’s.

The King’s press office were contacted for comment but have not yet responded.


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Sources :

KCL Race equality, racism and King’s statement : https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/race-equality-racism-kings

HESA : https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/staff/introduction