Key points from our 2016 benchmarking exercise for university management

Key points from our 2016 benchmarking exercise for university management

Published on 21 July 2016

The ACU’s annual online benchmarking exercise for university management – ACU Measures – is now open for benchmarking.

Universities who contributed data earlier in the year can now benchmark their institutions’ performance in key areas of university management, including salaries and benefits, gender, and research management. Participants can compare and contrast their results against institutional averages or comparison groups of their choice – such as a particular region – and produce individualised reports to support senior management in decision-making and strategic planning.

ACU Measures also collects core institutional data, enabling comprehensive comparisons across its focus areas. This also allows benchmarking in its own right in areas such as income distribution, student-staff ratios, and proportions of staff with PhDs.

ACU Measures 2016 saw 190 institutions across 33 countries contribute data – almost double the response rate for 2014 – with a particular increase in input from Indian universities. The gender survey also saw a large increase in participation – up threefold on 2014. Data is also available from previous surveys undertaken by the ACU, with data stretching back to 2004. 

Key points from 2016 include:

  • Public funding (42%) and student fees (41.5%) represent the highest proportion of institutional income across participating institutions
  • African institutions receive a higher proportion of their income (overall and research) from international funders than other regions
  • Institutions in Australasia, Canada, and the UK have the highest average proportion of female staff
  • Institutions in Asia have the lowest proportion of female executive heads
  • South African institutions offer the highest average salaries at all academic job levels, with the exception of entry level positions where Australian institutions offer the highest salaries
  • Final salary schemes remain the most common type of pension scheme across participating institutions, with an increase in defined contribution or hybrid schemes being offered to new staff

Increased participation in the 2016 surveys will improve the accuracy and relevance of benchmarking exercise. As ever with ACU Measures, the more institutions who take part, the better the benchmarking.

Find out more about ACU Measures, and view selected findings from 2016, here.