Skip to SearchSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Home > News and blog > Survey reveals impact of Brexit vote on EU university workforce

Survey reveals impact of Brexit vote on EU university workforce

​A new report on the university workforce suggests that, while the EU referendum has, to date, had a limited impact on universities' ability to recruit and retain international staff, uncertainty about the future status of EU staff has been damaging to morale.

The new Higher Education Workforce Survey 2017 from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) reveals that two-thirds of universities have said that the EU referendum had had no impact, to date, on their ability to recruit staff from the EU.

Currently, 17% (33,735) of academic staff at UK universities are from other EU countries.

Responding to the survey, Alistair Jarvis, Acting Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: 

"This survey highlights the need to provide certainty on work and residency rights for all EU staff currently working in UK universities. The government's initial offer did not go far enough in providing the certainty and welcome that our European staff deserve. We need to see an improved offer as negotiations develop.

"The UK Government must ensure that the UK continues to welcome, with minimal barriers, talented EU staff and students. EU students and staff make an enormously important contribution to UK universities. We have to make them feel welcome here, or risk losing them to competitor countries."


  1. More information on the Higher Education Workforce Survey 2017 is available from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) website.

  1. At the start of the exit negotiations, Universities UK published a set of five priorities for the negotiations. Fuller details of these priorities can be found in the Universities UK briefing What should be the government's priorities for exit negotiations and policy development to maximise the contribution of British universities to a successful and global UK?

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


Brexit day is here; but where next for the UK's immigration system?

31 January 2020
On the day that the UK leaves the European Union, UUK's Karmjit Kaur sets out what immigration reforms are needed to ensure the system is fit for purpose.

General election 2019: what the parties say on higher education

27 November 2019
UUK's Karmjit Kaur takes a look at the policy commitments on higher education in party manifestos ahead of the general election.


UUK response to government's higher education restructuring plan

16 July 2020
Universities UK has responded to the government's announcement on the higher education restructuring plan

UUK response to National Student Survey 2020

15 July 2020
Universities UK responds to the National Student Survey 2020