Media Release: Government Must Respond to Declining Attractiveness of the University Academic Career
Less than one-third of Australian academics believe that their workload is manageable, and close to one half of the academic workforce intend to retire, move overseas or just leave the sector over the next five years, according to a new research report released by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE).
The new research report, The Australian Academic profession in transition by Emmaline Bexley, Richard James and Sophie Arkoudis, highlights that the future of Australian higher education is being threatened because young academics feel under pressure, unappreciated, underpaid and lack job security.
“The findings from this important report confirm issues that the NTEU has raised over many years,” Jeannie Rea, National President of NTEU said today.
“Escalating student to staff ratios, unmanageable workloads, and crumbling infrastructure at our universities together with issues raised in this report are making academic work less attractive.”
“The report highlights that many early-career academics are concerned about a lack of job security and the prevalence of casual and short-term contracts has undermined the sustainability of the academic profession,” Jeannie Rea added.
“NTEU fully concurs that; the casualisation of academic work needs to be reversed, and sessional and short-term contract staff load shifted to longer term and ongoing forms of employment. A national early-career academic scheme beyond existing arrangements is sorely needed, in the least to highlight the policy priorities of government.”
“NTEU members will be glad that the report highlights the complex nature of academic work and that it cannot and should not be broken down into separate specialist activities associated with teaching, research and community service. Academics need to be given the resources and opportunity to engage in all of these activities over the course of their careers.”
“To be sustainable in the longer term our universities will have to be able to offer staff rewarding and secure careers. For this they will need a substantial increase in public investment,” Ms Rea concluded.
Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President, 0434 609 531
Paul Kniest, Policy and Research Coordinator, 0418 170 622