Press Release

2020 Space Census Launches Today

The 2020 Space Census will, for the first time, establish the demographic make-up of UK space sector employees across industry, universities and government organisations.

Launching today to coincide with World Space Week, the 2020 Space Census is an activity conducted on behalf of the Space Growth Partnership which informs national policy and sector strategy, feeding directly into the Space Sector Council and UK Space Agency.

Nick Shave, Chair of UKspace, said:

Understanding the make-up of our space sector is critical to us collectively developing a clear and transparent approach about how best to support those individuals and groups throughout their careers. We already recognise that the BAME community is underrepresented in the sector, but we are determined to address this, working in partnership with other key industry stakeholders. This census will provide us with a vital benchmark of our sector, giving us the impetus to ensure there are equal opportunities for everyone and measure the success of our efforts to improve diversity over the next few years.

The Census will collect anonymous information from space sector professionals, quantifying the number of employees across a full range of characteristics: age, gender, education, race and ethnicity, disability, sexuality and social mobility.

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

The 2020 Space Census is just the first step. We will work closely with our industry and university partners to publish a range of actions that organisations should implement if they are committed to improving equity, diversity and inclusion. This will better equip the UK space industry with the skilled workforce it needs to meet our target of capturing 10% of the global space economy by 2030.

The Census, carried out by the Space Skills Alliance and sponsored by the University of Leicester, will run until the end of the year, and can be reached through this link: census.spaceskills.org

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said:

This first national survey of the UK space workforce is important for building up a national picture of diversity and inclusion – particularly around gender and ethnicity – in the sector.

It is only with such evidence that appropriate interventions can take place to make this an attractive space to recruit and retain individuals from all backgrounds. We welcome the 2020 Space Census and, as a leading university in this field, we are delighted to support it. It ties in with our own mission to become a flagship UK university for diversity and inclusion, providing fairer access and opportunities for all.

Heidi Thiemann, Director of the Space Skills Alliance, said:

The Space Skills Alliance is committed to make space careers as attractive and inclusive as possible. The data from the 2020 Space Census will help us do that by giving us crucial information about the experiences people have had in the space sector and what made them join in the first place. We're thrilled to be leading this work in partnership with government, industry, and academia.


Notes to editors

  • The 2020 Space Census logo is available for download here.
  • The Space Growth Partnership is a collaboration between industry, government and academia.
  • UKspace is the trade association of the British space industry.
  • The Space Skills Alliance is a think-tank working to address the skills shortage in the space sector.
  • It has published research on skills needs and advice on recruitment for space companies.
  • It was set up in September 2019 by Joseph Dudley and Heidi Thiemann, who previously created SpaceCareers.uk, an award-winning early careers jobs and advice website for the sector.