Frontier analysis shows Further Education staff numbers in England declining by 3% per year

Frontier analysis shows Further Education staff numbers in England declining by 3% per year

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) today published several reports commissioned from Frontier (Europe) analysing the composition of the workforce in Further Education (FE) colleges in England. According to Frontier’s analysis, the best estimates are that the total size of the workforce in English FE colleges is declining at an annual rate of 3%.

The reports draw on 80,000 employment contracts contained in the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) for the 2014-15 teaching year. SIR is the most comprehensive data available on the FE college workforce.

Frontier’s analysis also assesses changes in the workforce from a year earlier and looks at pay and progression in the FE sector. Some key findings are that:

  • Almost 60% of contracts in the FE college workforce are part-time. Part-time working is much more common in FE than the wider economy: only around one in four people in the UK workforce are part-time.
  • Close to two-thirds of contracts are held by women. Women make up a larger proportion of the FE workforce than the general workforce, but a smaller proportion than in schools.
  • Average annual full-time teacher pay in FE is £29,000, significantly below the average for school teachers.
  • Frontier’s work also looks at pay variation across different staff types. Among teaching staff, the analysis finds no evidence of a gender, disability or ethnicity pay gap when relevant factors are controlled for. In particular, much of the pay gap for women is explained by women more often teaching in subject areas, such as retailing, customer service and transportation that are less well-paid than those more often taught by men. By contrast, some evidence of a pay gap was found for non-teaching staff, where women are on average paid £1,000 less than men once relevant factors are controlled for.

Frontier regularly advises clients in the public sector on issues related to education and training.

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