Academia and Higher Education

What is the academic and higher education industry?

The higher education or academic industry is also known as academia. It incorporates, students studying in tertiary education (post secondary school) on a journey to be awarded degrees, as well as the employees such as: professors, researchers and high-level administration staff. The industry can. Be public or private non-profit research organisations with a core objective of pursuing research or technological development. The industry also excels in world-class teaching - a thriving environment for knowledge transfer.

What are the current opportunities and risks in the academic and higher education industry?

According to Deloitte: “The higher education industry is changing rapidly and the status quo is being challenged. Deloitte’s research has identified seven key challenges facing the sector, ranging from increasing consumer expectations to workforce attraction and retention. More than ever, higher education institutions must think globally and develop a strong student and wider stakeholder value proposition which differentiates them from their competition. This will dramatically impact how universities operate into the medium and longer term.”

What are the trends in numbers for the academic and higher education industry?

The value of the industry is around $1.9 trillion globally, making it one of the largest single economic sectors worldwide. This is only set to continue to increase in line with the increase in world population. Using the European market as an example, there are over 19.5 million students, 1.5 million academics, 500,000 researchers - in the world top 200, Europe has 104 universities compared to the US which has 63, putting it second after Europe. Europe has over 4,000 higher education institutions of which the UK as an example has 162, employing 410,000 workers with a 50:50 ratio of academic to non-academic staff.

What are the top 10 higher education

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. California Institute of Technology
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. University of Cambridge
  6. Princeton University
  7. Yale University
  8. University of Oxford
  9. Columbia University
  10. University of Chicago)

What are the top 10 higher education institutions under 50 years old in 2020?

  1. Nanyang Technology University
  2. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technolog
  3. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
  4. City University of Hong Kong
  5. University PSL
  6. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  7. Pohang University of Science and Technology
  8. Sorbone University
  9. Aalto University
  10. Universiti Putra Malaysia

What skills and qualifications do I need to work in the academic and higher education industry?

The specific set of skills and qualifications you require will be based on the type of job you go for: academic or higher education administration and support. For academic roles the traditional entry point requires a PhD.

What Functions?


Academia can offer the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of knowledge in an area in which you are passionately interested. It can also give you a high degree of flexibility and autonomy, whilst working in an intellectually stimulating environment.

With each of the subfunctions, there are typically 4 types of jobs: research - 90% (with little or no teaching - 10%), research - 50% (and teaching - 50%), research - 10% (with more teaching - 90%) and no research (with teaching - 100%)

Main Roles: Research Assistant, Postdoc, Fellowships, Principal Investigator (PI), Professor and Lectureship

Higher Education Administration and Support

The primary objective of a university may be the advancement of knowledge, but in order to do this effectively universities need teams and individuals taking responsibility for aspects such as: academic planning, media and communications, student support and guidance, corporate relationships, commercialisation of research output, and learning support and IT. As well as this, universities also require functions typical of any large organisation, such as personnel, finance, and much more.

Academic and Research Support, Academic Services, Admissions, Careers Service, Conferences and Events, Development and Alumni Relations, Estates and Facilities, Human Resources, Professional and Education Development, IT, Finance, International Office, Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement, Library Services, Communications, Public Relations and Marketing and Student Services.

What is it like to work in this industry?

What is a a day in the life? What are the progression routes like? What are the average salaries?

How Marie Curie inspired my journey to being a principal lecturer in Chemistry?
How to become a senior lecturer in biology (animal science) and run a small business?
A Teaching Biologist with Investigative interests in Molecular Ecology
From Natural & Sport Science to Senior Lecturer in Ecology - All things Freshwater Invasive Species