HE national disputes 2021

Boycott Leicester

Budget cuts will cost 22,500 university jobs

8 July 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

If the government pushes ahead with plans for 25% funding cuts then there will be a loss of 22,584 university jobs in England alone, according to new figures released today by UCU.

The union warned that a significant impact of the planned cuts would be university students in some of the largest class sizes in the developed world.
UCU further warned that slashing university funding would have a devastating effect on the overall quality of students' experience at university as another knock-on effect would be a huge reduction in vital support services, such as libraries and student counselling.
UCU said that its figures were conservative estimates* and that the impact of cuts on jobs and class sizes could be even worse. The union said its analysis raised serious questions about the country's future role as a leading player in the global knowledge economy. The union pointed to the example of America, where Barack Obama has pledged that by 2020 the US will have the highest proportion of university graduates in the world (see Bloomberg story here).
The UK is currently the second most popular destination in the world for foreign students after the US. However, UCU warned that increased class sizes and less contact time with lecturers would make it a far less attractive place to study for overseas learners, who currently contribute £8.5 billion to the economy a year.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The scale of the cuts that we are facing is unprecedented and will have an undeniable impact on the student experience. Student to staff ratios, which are already high, will become some of the highest in the developed world.
'Lecturers that survive the cull will have less time to give individual students as they pick up the workloads of former colleagues and there will be fewer support services for students. The government will effectively be asking students to pay for more for less at a time when our international competitors are investing in higher education.
'Do we really want to be left behind and risk being shunned by foreign students who will go to study elsewhere? We have a proud international reputation, but we realistically cannot expect to remain a major force in the global knowledge economy in the face of these cuts.'
* UCU's analysis assumes that any cuts would be spread proportionately across staff and non-staff costs. However, it may well be that variable costs, such as staff costs, take a bigger proportional hit than fixed costs, such as heating and electricity.

UCU analysis (relates to England)

ASHE – Annual survey of hours and earnings
FTE – Full-time equivalents
HE – Higher education
HEFCE – Higher Education Funding Council for England
HESA – Higher Education Statistics Agency
OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
SSR – Student:staff ratio
T&R acads – Teaching and research academics
T-only – Teaching only
UCU – University and College Union

Job losses (UCU calculation)

Full-time equivalent job losses from 25% cut in recurrent funding22,584
25% funding cut in England will mean total academic job losses full-time equivalents (FTE)10,163
25% funding cut in England will mean teaching-only (t-only) and teaching & research (T&R) academic job losses FTE7,053

Impact on SSRs (UCU calculation)

SSR FTE 2008-9 England: total not affected by job losses18.4:1
SSR after 25% cut in teaching-only (t-only) and teaching & research (T&R) academics 2008-920.2:1


HEFCE  2010-11 recurrent funding T&R
(Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills grant letter- December 2009)
25% of grant £1,661,250,000
57% (ie element of staff costs) of 25% grant cut £946,912,500
ASHE full-time mean gross all HE employees, April 2009£35,836ASHE table 16.7a
on-costs @ 17%£6,092
Full-time avge pay + on-costs£41,928
Full-time job losses from 25% cut in recurrent funding22,584
England total HE staff FTE261,917HESA Resources of HEIs 2008-9 table 26
England academic staff FTE117,057HESA Resources of HEIs 2008-9 table 26
England academic staff FTE as % total staff FTE45%HESA 2008-9 staff record
T-only & T&R academics as % total academic FTE, UK 2008-969.4%HESA 2008-9 staff record
England t-only & T&R FTE academics81,238UCU estimate
England students FTE 2008-91,497,064HESA Students in HEIs table 0b
SSR FTE 2008-9 England18.4UCU calculation
25% cut in England academics10,163UCU calculation
25% cut in England t-only & T&R academics7,053UCU calculation
SSR after 25% cut in t-only & T&R academics 2008-920.2: 1UCU calculation

OECD ratio of students to teaching staff in tertiary educational institutions*

OECD country mean15.3:114.7:116.5:115.4:114.9:115.5:115.8:115.3:115.3:1

Based on full-time equivalents

* All tertiary education: includes Type A 3+ year mainly theoretical degrees & advanced research programmes, and Type B shorter more practical courses

Source OECD Education at a Glance, series, Table D2.2