A national survey of casual academic staff in Australian universities has revealed a workforce struggling to make a living and do their job with the resources they are given.
Nearly 1500 individuals responded to the NTEU’s survey conducted earlier this year and open to all casual academic and research staff regardless of union affiliation.
“The findings from this survey, one of the largest undertaken in Australia, are extremely alarming,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President.
“A large number of casual academics are struggling to put together an income, with many having had more than one appointment during the survey period and a significant number having as many as four separate jobs in multiple universities.”
“The majority of survey respondents work over and above what they are paid for. Many indicated they did not have access to the resources necessary to do their job properly.
“This is of particular concern given that more than half of all undergraduate teaching in our universities is carried out by casual academic staff. This has implications for the quality of undergraduate education.”
“The survey also explodes the myth constructed by many in university management, that staff appreciated casual working arrangements because it gives them flexibility,” said Rea.
“The majority of survey respondents aspire to a full time academic career. Many are trapped, however, in a succession of insecure, stressful, temporary work arrangements that have harmful financial and physical impacts.”
“I continually hear stories from talented young academics that have left the sector because they have had enough of the stress involved and feel there is no possibility of a stable career in higher education.”
“It’s a major waste of talent which cannot afford.”
A briefing paper on results of the NTEU’s Casual Teaching and Research Staff Survey 2012 is available for download here:
For further information and comment:
Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President: 0434 609 531
Andrew Nette, NTEU Media Officer: 0431 217 131