What does the data tell us about how things have changed since 2019?
There’s been progress on reducing awarding gaps
- The gap between the percentage of white students and BAME students awarded a First or a 2:1 for their degree has reduced by 4.4 percentage points, from 13.2% for 2018 graduates to 8.8% for 2021 graduates.
- While the number of First and 2:1 degrees awarded has increased for all students, it has increased more substantially for BAME students, leading to a reduced gap.
- Reduced awarding gaps are evident across all ethnic groups, but the gap between white and Black students has seen the most substantial reduction, from 23.5% to 18.4%.
- In the academic year 2020/21, nearly 1 in 5 UK universities (18%) had an awarding gap of less than 5%, compared with just under 1 in 10 in 2017/18 (8%).
But there’s still a concerning awarding gap
- The gap between white and BAME students awarded a First for their degree is especially concerning at 9.5%, rising to 19.3% for Black students specifically.
- White students are still more likely to be awarded higher grades for their degrees than students of all other ethnicities, even when prior attainment is controlled for.
Teaching staff are less likely to be BAME
- In the academic year 2020/21, 19% of all academic staff with a known ethnicity were BAME. Looking at staff who were UK nationals specifically, the figure is lower, at 12%.
- In 2020/21, only 16.7% of staff with a ‘teaching only’ or ‘teaching and research’ role (i.e. those most likely to be student-facing) were BAME.
- There has been some progress in increasing the proportion of BAME academic staff at different levels, although this has been limited. In 2020/21, 11.5% of professors and 8.9% of senior management were BAME, up from 10% and 6.9% respectively in 2017/18. Looking at Black staff specifically, in 2020/21 there were just 160 Black professors and 60 Black senior managers.
- The proportion of all postgraduate students – the most obvious pipeline for academic posts – who identify as BAME has seen a slight increase since 2017/18, from 21.6% to 23%. Within this, postgraduate research (PGR) students were even less likely to be BAME (19.9% in 2020/21).