The Growth Of The University Bureaucracy

Written by:
13 June 2024
The Growth Of The University Bureaucracy - Featured image

The number of bureaucrats employed by Australia’s universities has risen sharply in recent decades, with Australia’s most prominent universities—the Group of Eight (G8)— devoting resources to non-academic staff at a collective cost of over $3 billion each year in salary costs alone.

  • Of the 116,610 people employed at an Australian university in 2023, 43 per cent (50,033) were employed in teaching and research roles, while 57 per cent (66,577) were employed in non-academic roles (such as administrators).
  • Since 1996, the number of non-academic staff employed has increased by 72 per cent whilst the number of teaching and research staff employed has increased by 47 per cent. This means that the number of non-academic staff has grown 70 per cent faster than that of academic staff.
  • According to the latest data, non-academic staff outnumbered academic staff in six of the G8 universities, with the University of Queensland having the widest margin at 60 per cent of employees in non-academic roles.
  • In their latest reporting periods, Australia’s G8 universities spent $3.2 billion per annum on non-academic staff salaries.

Figure 1: Growth in full-time equivalent staff at Australian universities

Table 1: Number and salaries of academic and non-academic staff at G8 universities (latest publicly available data)

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