There are currently 200,000 people employed at higher education institutions in academic jobs in the UK. If you are aspiring to join that club, you might have already started looking for ‘lecturer jobs near me’. Even if your university job search starts at entry-level, here you can find some of the job descriptions, responsibilities, duties, skills, and requirements for university jobs in the UK.

The thing is:

Some 25% of lecturers and other teaching staff and faculty employed at the higher education institutions come from outside the UK. And if you are trying to find university jobs in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, this is an excellent place to start.

Most jobs at university, if not fixed-term, become full time and permanent after you have passed the probation period set by the university, which usually lasts a couple of years. 

Now:

Jobs in universities in the UK usually start at postdoc and teaching assistants level, and academics work their way up to research or lecturer positions. It will take another five to nine years until you become a senior lecturer and, ultimately, a professor. 

Let’s have a quick look at the current vacancies in the sector.

Popular Academic Jobs in the UK in 2020

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Job Description

A Graduate Teaching Assistant is tasked with assisting the staff and faculty, including other instructional staff in higher education institutions in teaching, preparing lessons and less demanding modules, preparing/attending exams, and teaching materials. They are administrative and research assistants to the professor, and instructors to selected groups of students. They may also lead seminars.

General Responsibilities

The usual responsibilities of a Graduate Teaching Assistant are:

  • Preparing lesson plans and lectures.
  • Teaching less demanding or lower-level modules.
  • Instructing small groups of students.
  • Preparing and attending exams.
  • Assisting the professor in marking work.
  • Preparing teaching materials.
  • Providing assistance in keeping track of student progress and assessments.
  • Helping the department, students, and professors in research. 
  • Library research and internet research.
  • Fieldwork research and data gathering.
  • Data analysis and experiments (where applicable).
  • Providing administrative help to professors.  
  • Organising events and supervising them.
  • Attending seminars.
  • Organising staff meetings.

Key Skills and Competencies

As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, you will be required to have:

  • Relevant undergraduate degree (ideally from the same university).
  • Relevant Master’s degree or enrollment in doctoral studies is an advantage.
  • Previous experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or similar college teaching jobs is an advantage.
  • A good academic record.
  • Proven in-depth knowledge of the subject and familiarity with the current curriculum.
  • Complete computer literacy and familiarity with the relevant software.
  • Online research skills.
  • Planning, presenting, and consulting skills.
  • Leadership mentality.
  • Excellent organisational skills and time management.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication.

Salary and Job Outlook

Starting out as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with one to four years of experience at academic jobs in the UK, you will earn around £15,409 on average. If you have more experience teaching at university you will be earning around £15,746 a year.

Postdoc

Job Description

A postdoctoral appointment is a temporary position, which gives a person the possibility to continue their education and training as a researcher after gaining their PhD. While the main duties of a postdoc are in research under the supervision of a professor, the position also includes mentoring and teaching. The training a PhD holder receives will both provide experience and advance their future academic career, while preparing younger researchers on their way to becoming junior faculty members. 

General Responsibilities

As a postdoc, your duties and responsibilities, depending on the subject, will include:

  • Training students and junior faculty members.
  • Advising students.
  • Conducting research on various projects.
  • Designing and conducting experiments.
  • Organising research according to protocols.
  • Conducting parts of the research independently. 
  • Supervising students and assistants/technicians.
  • Designing and implementing safety procedures where needed.
  • Supervising and overseeing the resources, materials, and equipment and their maintenance.
  • Collecting, preparing, analysing, and filling research data.
  • Recording and summarising experiments or collected data.
  • Summarising research findings.
  • Preparing the results for publishing.
  • Participating in departmental events and seminars.
  • Keeping a computer database up to date.
  • Writing and publishing peer-reviewed papers.
  • Assisting the professor in their research.
  • Preparing the research for presentations at conferences and seminars.
  • Library research.
  • Online research.

Key Skills and Competencies

Since postdoc is by definition one of the college jobs that one starts only after gaining their PhD in the relevant field, it is the first and main requirement. 

A successful candidate for a postdoc role is:

  • Organised and with good time management skills.
  • Ambitious and dedicated to furthering their research. 
  • Independent and able to lead the project without much guidance.
  • Familiar with all standards and protocols of the research they will be conducting.
  • Responsible and trustworthy.
  • Analytical and innovative.
  • Confident and comfortable with giving opinions and advice to those under their supervision.
  • Computer literate, familiar with the software used in their field.
  • Keeping up with new research and teaching methods in the related field.
  • Patient and communicative, comfortable delivering presentation and research results.

Salary and Job Outlook

The postdoctoral positions are sometimes funded by grants and fellowships. As with most academic jobs in the UK, the average salary depends on experience. On average, a postdoc in the UK earns anywhere from £25,000 to £31,000 a year. Many researchers complete several postdoc positions before they move to a permanent teaching or research position or other uni jobs in the UK.

Teaching Fellow

Job Description

The job of a Teaching Fellow is to deliver lessons and lecture tutorials within a module to the undergraduate and postgraduate students in higher education institutions. They are to define the needs, identify issues, plan and implement teaching strategies and methods agreed for their department and institution. They are in charge of supervising the students and may be involved in the pedagogic research of their department.

General Responsibilities

As a Teaching Fellow, you will be tasked with:

  • Lecturing within your subject field.
  • Leading modules and seminars. 
  • Conducting all forms of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. 
  • Developing modules.
  • Following, keeping up to date, and applying new teaching techniques. 
  • Following, delivering, and reviewing the curriculum yearly. 
  • Designing and choosing learning materials and equipment.
  • Carrying out administrative duties such as student admissions, attendance monitoring, quality assessments, etc.
  • Attending and overseeing examinations.
  • Marking coursework and exams.
  • Offering advice and support to students, providing mentoring.
  • Attending staff meetings at your department.
  • Providing feedback and progress reports to students and your supervisors.
  • Supervising student projects, undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, field trips, research.
  • Networking and collaborating with colleagues to ensuring the high standards of teaching are maintained and improvements are made.
  • Contributing to the research activities of your department.
  • Managing finances for class resources.
  • Collaborating with external partners.

Key Skills and Competencies

As a Teaching Fellow, you will be required to have:

  • Bachelors and Masters degree in the relevant field.
  • Experience in higher education jobs is an advantage
  • Willingness to pursue a PhD is an advantage.
  • In-depth knowledge of your subject and understanding of the curriculum.
  • The ability to spark interest in students.
  • The ability to promote understanding and enthusiasm and to create a thriving environment for the group and the individual.
  • Patience and compassion as well as good listening skills.
  • Great interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Great time management, prioritising skills, punctuality, and attention to detail.

Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary you will earn working as a Teaching Fellow in universities and HE institutions in the United Kingdom is around £28,000 per year. With experience, the average can rise. As with other academic jobs in the UK, working hours are between 9 am and 6 pm, with potential evening lectures and meetings.

Research Fellow

Job Description

A research fellowship is an academic research position similar to a postdoc. They might be independent or work as a part of the research team of a specific department. Some will take on additional teaching responsibilities, but their main focus is research work. A Research Fellow will be focusing on gathering, analysing, interpreting, and getting data ready for publication. A Research Fellow must have strong academic results and research skills along with peer-reviewed publications in the relevant field. 

General Responsibilities

Responsibilities and duties of this academic position will most often include:

  • Developing research standards and protocols.
  • Supervising the implementation of said standards. 
  • Acquiring information and interpreting data.
  • Analysing and improving established scientific practices and protocols and designing new ones.
  • Conducting online, library, and literature research, gathering and analysing data from surveys, polls, and interviews. 
  • Conducting fieldwork and tests.
  • Writing reports, reviews, and papers on the results and findings of studies.
  • Keeping up to date with new publications, trends, and findings in the relevant field.
  • Supervising assistants and preparing reports on progress and results.
  • Conducting surveys and interviews with participants of studies and experiments.
  • Recruiting and interviewing the participants in research studies and experiments.
  • Managing the finances and grants for specific projects.
  • Preparing submissions for grants.
  • Working on publications.
  • Actively peer-reviewing the work of other researchers.
  • Delivering presentations and lectures on your findings.
  • Forming, maintaining, updating, and protecting databases.
  • Interpreting other research and implementing new findings and methods, developing plans and procedures.
  • Anticipating research issues, discovering, and resolving them.
  • Writing proposals. 

Key Skills and Competencies

University research jobs such as Research Fellow will require the candidate to have:

  • A PhD in the relevant field.
  • Peer-reviewed and published papers and research.
  • Good knowledge of the relevant research methodologies.
  • Excellent critical thinking skills.
  • An innovative and analytical approach.
  • Excellent statistical skills and practical experience with collecting data.
  • Attention to detail and good problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to work independently.
  • Exceptional written communication skills.
  • Passion for the subject.
  • Ambition and resilience.
  • Solid leadership and project management skills.

Salary and Job Outlook

As a research fellow in the United Kingdom, you will be making anywhere from £31,000 to  £47,000 per year. The medium salary for this type of academic position is £36,784 a year.

You can expect your working hours to be from 9 am to 6 pm, with occasional evening meetings and lectures.

Lecturer

Job Description

A University Lecturer is an expert Lecturer of a specific subject teaching students in higher education institutions. The role consists mainly of teaching, although it might include some research. A Lecturer prepares and designs the course material and delivers lessons guiding students through the curriculum. Individuals in lecturer jobs also conduct research, attend conferences and other academic events in their field, sharing the results of their findings and keeping up to date with their chosen field.

General Responsibilities

You will be expected to take on various tasks as a Lecturer. The list of responsibilities for college lecturer jobs looks like this. You will need to: 

  • Design the modules and the material used in them.
  • Prepare and develop individual lectures.
  • Deliver lectures to large and small groups of students, anywhere from 20 to 200.
  • Lead seminars and workshops.
  • Develop and deliver tutorials for students and members of faculty.
  • Keep up to date with new research and improve the existing methods, developing them, and implementing new ways of teaching based on innovation in the field.
  • Collaborate with other experts in your field to improve teaching methods.
  • Prepare, attend, oversee, and mark exams.
  • Assess the students’ work during the year and keep records of their progress.
  • Oversee students’ research, activities, projects, and dissertations.
  • Oversee the research of the assigned group and your assistants, postdocs, PhD candidates, and Master students.
  • Take on an advisory role and provide pastoral support. 
  • Attend and participate in seminars and conferences.
  • Assist in the administrative tasks of your department.
  • Prepare research for publication.
  • Write papers, grants, proposals, articles, and books.
  • Take part in fundraising for your department’s future projects.
  • Conduct personal projects and publish your own work.
  • Manage the rest of the staff and provide training when necessary.

Key Skills and Competencies

Looking at lecturing jobs and their key requirements, you will need to have:

  • A PhD in the relevant subject, as well as a first or upper second class Bachelor’s degree.
  • A teaching qualification by your own university.
  • Published peer received work and university career teaching experience.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, must be a great listener with high intuition.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • High organisational and time management skills.
  • Resilience, determination, and passion for teaching and the subject.
  • Flexibility, willingness to travel, attend conferences, meetings, seminars, and deliver lectures to a wider audience.

Salary and Job Outlook

The base starting salary for university lecturer jobs in the UK usually ranges from £28,000 to £32,000. The positions may be fixed-term or permanent, full or part-time. Staff can join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the University and College Union. After a couple of years, a Lecturer can be promoted to a Senior Lecturer,  then Principal Lecturer, followed by Reader, and, finally, Professor.

Working hours dedicated to teaching are usually between 9 am and 6 pm, but sometimes classes might be scheduled in the evenings as well. You might be expected to attend conferences and seminars and partake in raising funds for the research of your department as well as represent the institution at academic gatherings and events.

Senior Lecturer

Job Description

Those with the academic career of a Senior Lecturer teach students in higher education institutions. Their duties and responsibilities are very similar to the general role of a Lecturer. Typically, they design and deliver the lectures of their chosen subject, attend conferences and seminars, conduct and oversee research, and engage in publishing the findings and the results of their studies. Often, they are focused on teaching senior undergraduate and postgraduate students. They are expected to partake in fundraising for their department and actively participate in planning and running the department.

General Responsibilities

As a Senior Lecturer, you will be in charge of:

  • Designing the lectures, classes, courses, and the materials for them.
  • Preparing and developing specific lectures and conducting one-on-one consultations with students and junior staff members. 
  • Delivering lectures to groups of students of various sizes, from 20 to 200 people.
  • Leading workshops and seminars. 
  • Developing and delivering tutorials and training courses for students and members of faculty.
  • Following new research developments in the field and improving the existing methods. Implementing new ways of teaching based on innovation in the field.
  • Collaborating with other subject experts to improve the teaching methods of the institution.
  • Preparing, attending, overseeing, and marking examination papers.
  • Tracking progress, assessing the students’ work during the course, and keeping a record of their achievements.
  • Overseeing research, projects, dissertations, and other student activities
  • Overseeing the research of your assistants, postdocs, PhD students, and Master students.
  • Providing pastoral support and advice to students.
  • Conducting interviews with student applicants.
  • Attending and participating in conferences and seminars. 
  • Conducting various administrative tasks for your department.
  • Preparing the results of research for publication in the form of articles, books, or papers.
  • Writing grants, bids, and proposals, as well as raising funds for research.
  • Managing other junior faculty and staff and providing training. 
  • Undertaking your own research projects and presenting them.
  • Attending cross-department meetings.
  • Managing research budget and resources.

Key Skills and Competencies

Most likely, a Senior Lecturer will be required to have a PhD as well as first or upper second class bachelor’s degree. They are expected to participate in continuing professional development activities at their university. 

As with most other academic careers, as a Senior Lecturer, you need to have:

  • Proven in-depth knowledge of your subject and expertise in your field. 
  • Extensive experience in teaching.
  • Various published works.
  • Excellence in teaching acknowledged by peer reviews.
  • Outstanding presentation and spokesmanship skills.
  • Independence and self-managing skills.
  • Excellent research skills.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills.
  • Motivation and ambition.
  • Resilience and determination.
  • Willingness to work long hours, travel, and work evenings. 

Salary and Job Outlook

Lecturers often pursue a career independent of teaching and focus on specific courses rather than on a full academic career when compared with professors. The starting salary in the UK usually ranges from £39,000 to £48,000. The position of a Senior Lecturer is often a permanent full time one, but part-time and temporary posts are still available on occasion. With some experience, the salary rises and ranges from £43,267 to £58,089. 

Sick pay, maternity, and paternity leave depends on the institution, and staff can join the Teachers Pension Scheme and the University and College Union. Working hours at universities are from 9 am and 6 pm, but senior lecturers often have evening classes and are required to travel for work when attending conferences, seminars, and events. 

Professor 

Job Description

Professors are employed by higher education institutions and divide their time between research, teaching, and academic services. As professors gain experience, they will devote more time to research and offer fewer lectures to students. Professors typically fill supervisory roles, attend conferences, publish articles, and assist colleagues.

General Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a Professor include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching a number of graduate and postgraduate classes and delivering course materials.
  • Developing curricula and assisting with the creation of course material.
  • Supervising postgraduate students.
  • Publishing research papers, articles, and books.
  • Attending seminars, conferences, and events.
  • Writing proposals, grants, and bids.
  • Allocating and managing resources.
  • Delivering presentations. 
  • Fulfilling administrative duties for their department.
  • Supervising junior staff and faculty members.
  • Serving on committees and collaborating with internal and external bodies, groups, and individual professionals in the field.
  • Conducting research and fieldwork.
  • Conducting and supervising interviews and recruiting of students.
  • Training and assisting junior lecturers and teaching staff.
  • Reviewing and improving teaching methods and practices. 

Key Skills and Competencies

To be able to become a Professor at a HE institution in the UK, you will need to have:

  • A PhD in the relevant field.
  • Five to ten years of experience at academia jobs.
  • Proven experience in the subject field and published articles, papers, and books.
  • Outstanding teaching and research skills.
  • Excellent mentoring skills.
  • Excellent presentation, written, and verbal communication skills.
  • Highly developed networking sills.
  • Willingness to engage in constant personal and professional development. 
  • Resilience, ambition, and willingness to work long hours and travel.
  • Good public speaking skills.
  • Great self-management, organisation, and time management skills.
  • Attention to detail. 

Salary and Job Outlook

Looking at university teaching jobs in the United Kingdom and the average salaries, in the role of Professor, you will be earning around £66,674 per year. The typical tenure lasts one to three years, and you can make as little as £28,000 on the lower end and up to £121,000 per year in the highest paying professor jobs in the UK.

Working hours at universities are typically from 9 am to 6 pm, with the expectation that the professors attend seminars, conferences, and events. They may have to travel frequently.

Head of Subject/Department

Job Description

Heads of Subject/Department are in charge of running the academic departments in higher education institutions. They manage the everyday activities of the department, oversee the staff and the faculty, and communicate with upper management. 

They are responsible for recruiting and hiring members of staff and take part in fundraising and financial management of their department. Heads of Subject/Department are tasked with planning activities, running activities, and making decisions for their department. They can be involved in research and teaching; as professors, their focus will be on teaching postgraduate students. 

General Responsibilities

As a Head of Subject/Department, your duties and responsibilities will consist of:

  • Planning and decision making for the department.
  • Overseeing and actively participating in course design.
  • Attending cross-departmental meetings.
  • Attending conferences, seminars, events, and meetings.
  • Presenting research and department achievements.
  • Implementing innovations in teaching and research.
  • Representing the department and the institution.
  • Managing the finances of the department.
  • Communicating the needs of the department to the management of the university. 
  • Supervising department staff and faculty.
  • Mentoring junior members of staff and faculty.
  • Initiating research programmes.
  • Writing proposals, grants, and bids for the department.

Key Skills and Competencies

Those in the role of Heads of Subject/Department in UK universities and HE institutions will have to have:

  • A PhD and a first or higher upper class bachelor’s degree.
  • Proven excellence in their relevant field.
  • Extensive academic jobs teaching and/or research experience.
  • A variety of peer-reviewed publications.
  • Outstanding management skills.
  • Excellent organisational, financial, and leadership skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Motivation, drive, and resilience.
  • Ability to multitask and prioritise.
  • Patience and empathy, ability to identify the needs of the collective and individuals.
  • Willingness to work long hours and travel often.
  • High integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Ambitious and innovative approach.

Salary and Job Outlook

The salary of a Head of Subject/Department starts at the level of professor salaries, around £45,000, but can go significantly higher in most cases with allowances. Heads of departments at London HE institution earn anywhere from £40,500​ to £54,657 plus allowances, in Manchester that number ranges from £25,000​ to ​£52,500, while the average in Birmingham is £39,003 plus allowances.

It is a permanent position, and those employed as Heads of Subject/Department can join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the University and College Union. Sick pay, maternity, and paternity leave depend on the institution. Working hours are mostly 9 am to 6 pm, excluding conferences, seminars, events, and travel.

Top UK Regions for University Teaching Jobs

academic jobs uk

As we mentioned earlier, there are currently over 200,000 academics and researchers in university teaching jobs and higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.

A single pay spine is set for teaching jobs in England and the rest of the UK by the University and College Union for academic salaries, but individual salaries still vary greatly based on the university, duties, experience, and achievements. The national average for a Postdoc researcher is £2,280, for a Lecturer £3,240, for a Senior Lecturer or Associate Professor £3,950, and for a Professor £4,690 a month. The pay scale for academic jobs in the UK varies from location to location and institution to institution, and some numbers might surprise you. 

Professors in teaching jobs in London will on average be making £77,451 per year, while that amount will be significantly lower in Glasgow, only £59,999 per year, and even lower in Bristol at £54,381 per year. Those teaching in Nottingham will earn £62,402 per year and in Guildford around £70,637 per year.

Looking at professors’ incomes, here are some of the institutions with salaries above the average. Many of them are academic jobs in London:

Working at Imperial College London as a Professor will have you earning around £89,151 per year, at Royal Holloway £82,111, at the London School of Economics & Political Science £89,236 per year, and £77,442 per year at King’s College.

Professors at the University of Sheffield earn around £77,848 per year, at Liverpool John Moores University £79,497 per year, at the University of Leeds £80,480 per year, and at De Montfort University £85,668 per year. Professors at Oxford are on average paid £65,686 per year, while teaching at the University of the West of England as a Professor, you will be earning £71,529 per year. 

If you are a professor at the Scottish Agricultural College, you will be making £77,611, and at Scotland’s Rural College Professor £77,611 per year. Working at the University of Aberdeen,  you will earn around £49,675 each year.

The average professorial salary at Queen’s University Belfast is around £81,301 per year.

The high end of the pay scale shows that around 4,000 university workers in the UK are currently earning over £100,000 a year. According to 2018 INOMICS Salary Reports, the most senior academics in the UK earn on average £90,000 in academia and around £100,000 in the private sector.

Researching jobs in the UK, we found that the University of Sheffield came up as the only university to be found on the list of best not-for-profit organisations that you can work for in the UK.

Conclusion

Job opportunities at the academic job market are not as plentiful as teaching jobs in other education categories, and the academia job market is highly competitive. It is not easy to land any of the academic jobs in the UK due to the fact that many academic positions aren’t permanent, and the race for funding is ongoing, but at Mark in Style, we’ll always show you the latest vacancies. Strong academic results and peer-reviewed publications, combined with outstanding networking skills, might still get you there! Postdoc positions are a great way to gain experience and move up the academic ladder.

What’s more:

University teaching jobs pay anywhere from £30,000 to over £100,000 and offer a stimulating and challenging working atmosphere, especially in research, where you can find yourself leading teams to breakthrough discoveries in your field. You will be required to constantly improve your expertise while teaching and helping others reach their full academic potential.

Additionally, you will be reviewing current teaching methods and developing new ones, improving teaching and research practices, and implementing new technologies.

Even if logic dictates that quality must come over quantity, the number of published works plays a significant role in getting hired. That’s why a focus on research and publishing early on is proving to be extremely important when applying for academic jobs in the UK.

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