Whistle While You Work?

The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, February 4, 2016 | Go to article overview

Whistle While You Work?


The bulk of campus staff find their jobs rewarding and pay satisfactory, the Times Higher Education University Workplace Survey 2016 reveals. But our poll suggests a deep gulf between academics and professional and support staff in many areas of working life, and concerns over metrics-based performance management and standards remain. Jack Grove examines the results

UK academics and professional and support staff inhabit "two parallel universes that have little point of contact".

That is one of the major conclusions to be drawn from the third annual Times Higher Education University Workplace Survey, according to Yiannis Gabriel, chair in organisation studies at the University of Bath and one of the designers of our inaugural survey in 2014.

Over the course of several months in 2015, almost 2,900 higher education staff, of all ranks and roles, from nearly 150 institutions across the UK gave us their views on a wide range of employment issues.

As well as answering specific questions, respondents also submitted almost 4,000 comments to the online survey, providing further context to many of the important issues raised by the survey.

All survey participants were verified as working in UK higher education institutions, with 49 per cent identifying themselves as academics and 51 per cent stating that they held professional or support roles. As well as the deep gulf between the two categories of staff in many areas of working life, the survey also highlights that:

l Most university staff find their jobs rewarding, but most academics feel overworked, exploited and ignored by management

l A majority of staff feel satisfied with pay, conditions and professional development opportunities

l Half of academics are worried about redundancies related to metrics-based performance measures

l Half of academics think that their institutions have compromised undergraduate entry standards as competition for students has increased, and half feel under pressure to award higher marks.

Overall, the vast majority of higher education staff are happy in their jobs. Some 80 per cent of university employees state that their work is a source of satisfaction - roughly the same proportion as in our previous two surveys. In addition, 70 per cent agree that their job is "rewarding", while 87 per cent enjoy working with their immediate colleagues.

"In moments of tiredness or frustration being surrounded by 10,000 (mostly) young people who are optimistic and keen to learn is a pick-me-up and a privilege," remarks one senior administrator at a post-92 university. A female academic at a Russell Group university also appreciates the "good pay, holidays and working hours", adding that her institution is "supportive of staff with young families".

Job satisfaction levels are slightly lower among academics (77 per cent) than among professional or support staff (84 per cent). But the academic-administrative divide is particularly evident around questions related to pay and working conditions. Just 43 per cent of academics believe that they receive a fair deal in terms of pay, compared with 74 per cent of administrators. (Overall, 59 per cent of respondents are satisfied, against 26 per cent who are not.)

"I am constantly being asked to do more with less, which translates into longer and longer working hours. As a result, the level of compensation is completely incommensurate with the working hours reasonably needed in order to do everything that is demanded," says a lecturer at one Russell Group university.

On working conditions and other benefits, the chasm in opinion is even greater: only 40 per cent of academics are happy with what their university offers, compared with 80 per cent of professional and support staff.

But the overall figure of 60 per cent is markedly higher than the 42 per cent satisfaction rate found in the overall UK economy, a spokesman for the Universities and Colleges Employers Association points out: "It is encouraging once again to note that the majority of participants believe their institution offers them a fair deal in terms of pay, as well as the sometimes overlooked but very important conditions of service and other benefits. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Whistle While You Work?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.