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Published: 24/04/2017

A free resource highlighting ECU’s equalities research.

As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. ECU’s research team is illustrating this maxim by launching a suite of visuals that present some of the key data from our most recent staff and student statistical reports on equality in higher education.

While the full statistical reports are available only to ECU subscribing institutions and those supported through collective agreements in Scotland and Wales, these sets of infographics can be downloaded, used and disseminated freely by anyone.

Our 2016 reports uncovered major inequalities. For instance, among UK-domiciled first degree undergraduates, 77.1% of white students qualified with a first or 2:1 degree, compared to only 50.8% of black students.

#ECUstats figure 1
Equally worrying gaps exist among academic staff. For example, among UK professors, 76.9% were men and 23.1% were women.

#ECUstats figure 2
In order to accelerate progress and address persistent inequalities, we need to increase awareness and strengthen the conviction that change is necessary. We are providing these free visuals to help those working with and in the sector to amplify this message through conference presentations, social media dissemination, advocacy materials and so on. They also provide a useful, intuitive tool for disseminating statistical findings and monitoring progress over time.

The slide packs contain 15 infographics on staff and 15 infographics on students. This free resource is intended for equality and diversity practitioners, university staff, researchers, students and anyone else with an interest in equalities in higher education.

Data presented in these infographics comes from the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) and covers 2,266,075 students and 403,835 staff in higher education institutions in the UK in the academic year 2014-15.

ECU’s statistical reports present this data according to the protected characteristics of age, disability, ethnicity and gender, as well as intersections of these categories. The full reports also include information on institutional collection and return rates for categories of gender identity, religion and belief, and sexual orientation. Our next comprehensive statistical reports, covering staff and students in the 2015-16 academic year, will be published in the autumn of 2017 alongside a new suite of key visuals.

ECU’s research team consists of four researchers, Dr Amanda Aldercotte, Ashlee Christoffersen, Dr Kevin Guyan and Dr Julia Halej, and a research manager, Dr Florentina Taylor, based in London and Edinburgh.

We undertake quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method research projects that explore equalities in higher education across the UK and further education in Scotland. ECU’s work is evidence-based, using research to identify and address practices that unfairly exclude, marginalise or disadvantage people.

Projects we have recently completed include examining experiences of gender equality in STEMM academia and their intersections with ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and age, for the 2016 Athena Survey of Science, Engineering and Technology (ASSET). Follow the conversation on Twitter: #AthenaSTEMM16.

Recent commissioned work we have undertaken includes a study of the underrepresentation of BME students in paramedic science in the East Midlands and East of England (for Health Education England).

We also disseminate quarterly research and data briefings on subjects relevant to equality and diversity practitioners. Our most recent briefing focuses on intersectional approaches to equality research and data.

To keep updated on our work and receive snapshots of equality data from ECU on Twitter, follow @EqualityinHE and use the hashtag #ECUstats. If you want to contact ECU’s research team directly please email


Click here to download the new #ECUstats infographics as a PDF collection or high-resolution image archive.

Dr Kevin Guyan
Researcher, ECU