The rise of the ‘higher education professional’

Does anyone know of literature addressing the rise of this professional identity? From WONKHE’s Wonk Fest conference advertising:

Wonkfest is for UK higher education professionals: from the policy wonks and planners to comms, marketing and public affairs professionals plus everyone else with an interest in the future (and present) of UK HE. Joining them will be politicians, journalists, civil servants, business leaders and others from civil society with a stake in the future of our universities.

2 thoughts on “The rise of the ‘higher education professional’

  1. Hi Mark,

    Sorry for the late reply but you might find some background to this sort of services work in Robert Reich’s (1992) The Work of Nations: Chapter 14. Most people refer to the new services economy of the 1970s onwards as the beginning of the in-person services low wage economy – which links to work by Braverman (1974). But he outlines how at the same time as in-person services there was a new tranche of employment in what he calls symbolic-analysts services – all these services providers are the wonks you were reading about in the wonkhe announcement. They cross classes because a person managing a sport event may be from a working class background but knows how to provide an elite level event for corporates wanting it because of experience as an athlete. So the wonks are part of the cutting away of those in middle class employment as being seen as aspiring toward professions. His work is based on labour survey analysis of the US labour market so it would be interesting to see what you can find out about the UK market and wonks in general.


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