Workforce data and SIR Data Insights

Understanding trends and patterns within the FE sector workforce is important for providers, for policy makers, and for sector bodies. Common themes, such as average salary, average age, gender balance, and percentage of qualified staff, help to inform decision making and strategic activity.

Now in its 25th year, the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) Data Insights is the most robust and independent source of data on the latest trends in demographics, staffing numbers and pay across all provider types in the Further Education (FE) and Training sector. It has been run by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) for the past five years and forms a key pillar of the workforce development support the ETF provides.

Please use the links below to download reports:

2016/17 Summary

This year, information was gathered from 198 providers (compared to 175 last year) who provided returns on 72,104 staff contracts. As well as FE, sixth form and specialist colleges, the dataset comprises local authorities, independent training providers and the third sector.

In addition, for the first time, the annual workforce data report captures the gender pay gap across all staff and providers, and includes a specific analysis of learning support staff, both of which are vital to understanding, improving and championing the sector’s teaching and training profession.

The key findings include:

  • 79% of learning support staff work part-time compared to 49% of all staff. However, the percentage of learning support staff working full-time has increased from 16.6% to 20.5%.
  • The gender pay gap across all staff and providers is in favour of men by 9.7%. As this is an aggregate gap, it does not take into account the job roles and qualifications of individual members of staff. For example, the SIR report in 2014-15 found that most of the difference in pay between genders – particularly for teaching staff – was related to differences in job roles held by men and women.
  • Median pay across all staff and providers has increased from £27,500 to £28,500 over the past five years. For colleges, the change in median pay has been similar – from £27,500 to £28,700.
  • Most occupations have seen a decline in staff numbers during 2016-17. Only apprentice and learner-facing technical staff numbers have risen (15% and 1% respectively). Senior managers have seen the largest decline (10%).

Data collection

Data has always been collected at individual staff contract level from colleges through the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) system, which includes anonymised staff contract data. Up to 2015/16, the data describing the workforce in private, statutory and third sector providers was  generated by surveys distributed through their respective networks and with the help of the relevant membership bodies.

In 2015/16, the ETF undertook a major refresh to consolidate all data collection and reporting activity into one new, user-friendly national service, SIR Data Insights. For the first time, the service collected anonymised data at individual staff contract level from all types of provider in the sector, not just colleges. The data set was also extended to include additional fields to make reporting more useful, including data on qualifications..

SIR Data Insights is now in its third year of operation after a successful pilot in 2015/16. The service has been designed to make data collection as easy as possible for providers and to offer additional benefits in return for contributing data, including powerful management dashboards and benchmark comparisons. The ETF is requesting all providers funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency to register on the service to receive information, access benefits and submit data.

For detailed information on SIR Data Insights, together with comments from existing users, visit the website.