Cambridge academics not part of ‘Brexodus’ of staff from European Universities

Will Bennett 13 January 2018

Over the past year Cambridge has increased the number of academics it employs from the EU while numbers at other British Universities have plummeted.  2,300 EU academics have left British universities elsewhere across the country as the numbers at Cambridge have slowly crept up. This reflects a 19% increase in the numbers of European staff leaving universities last year, compared with the figures from before the EU referendum.

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Layla Moran suggested there was an ‘alarming rise’ in departures but this has not been the case at Cambridge.  Cambridge University released the following statement boasting an increase in EU nationals.

“Though people have left, many more were offered and accepted jobs in the same period – 509 (non-UK) EU nationals started at Cambridge in 2016/17, following on from 434 joining in 2015/16 and 391 joining in 2014/15. Therefore, the number of new starters is more than double the numbers of non-UK EU academic staff resigning from their posts at Cambridge during the same periods.”

Clearly, as Cambridge’s statement points out later on, the number of staff “fluctuates naturally” and the University does not “attribute all departures to Brexit.”  It is too soon to draw too broad a consensus on EU nationals at British Universities. 

As the statement points out, the numbers joining far exceeds the EU nationals who resigned last year.  173 EU academics left Cambridge last year which was an increase from 153 the previous year and 141 in 2014-15.  This is a smaller increase in rate of departure than at other universities and is cancelled out by a growing influx of European staff.

Oxford whereas have the highest number of departures.   230 EU academics left last year compared with 171 in 2014-15.  The university has insisted that the total numbers remain steady following recruitment.  These findings are the product of a series of freedom of information requests sent by the Liberal Democrats to 105 different universities.