From education to employment

University teaching put into jeopardy

The results of a YouGov poll released today on behalf of the University and College Union (UCU) show that 43 per cent of university staff over 50 are unhappy in their job and would quit if possible.

The poll revealed the division between young and older staff is marked with only 18 percent under 35 declaring they would retire now. In contrast 39 per cent of staff over 50 describe their morale as poor or very poor with 30 per cent of staff in the 51 ““ 55 age group stating they felt discriminated against because of their age.

Commenting on the findings of the poll, UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “We have a group of incredibly devoted and hardworking lecturers in their 50s, many of who are clearly very unhappy. In a sector where age and wisdom have traditionally been synonymous I cannot understand why universities are failing to treat their staff with respect they deserve”.

“All too often it is this group that are the first to be considered for voluntary redundancy and little is done to consider their needs and how best to use their wealth of experience and knowledge.”

Speaking to trade unionists at the TUC Congress in Brighton that “age discrimination cuts across gender, race, sexuality and religious beliefs”, she clarifies that it is the older generation that is made to feel “demoralised, undervalued and ultimately superfluous”.

“Higher education is marked by low pay and serious recruitment and retention difficulties in many subject areas. It is a sector which already recruits proportionately more “older” staff than other industries and they must be treated better and their concerns acted upon”, she added.

“With student numbers set to increase the sector will have to recruit 3,300 extra lecturers a year just to cope with demand”.

Rehanon Mackenzie

In FE News tomorrow – Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams exclusive

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