Glossary:Full-time equivalent (FTE)

From Statistics Explained

A full-time equivalent, sometimes abbreviated as FTE, is a unit to measure employed persons or students in a way that makes them comparable although they may work or study a different number of hours per week.

The unit is obtained by comparing an employee's or student's average number of hours worked to the average number of hours of a full-time worker or student. A full-time person is therefore counted as one FTE, while a part-time worker / student gets a score in proportion to the hours he or she works or studies. For example, a part-time worker employed for 20 hours a week where full-time work consists of 40 hours, is counted as 0.5 FTE.

The workforce of an enterprise, activity, or country etc. can then be added up and expressed as the number of full-time equivalents. In the context of education the FTE unit attempts to standardize a student's actual course load in comparison with the normal course load.

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