Most university staff considering quitting in next five years – UCU

The University and College Union said its survey showed that staff were “demoralised and preparing to leave”

Three-fifths of university staff and postgraduate students are considering quitting the sector within the next five years, according to the University and College Union (UCU).

The union polled 7,000 staff via an email ballot between 25 February and 2 March. The results were published on 25 March.

Sixty percent of respondents said they were either likely or very likely to leave in the next five years in response to pay and working conditions.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “A decade of decline in working conditions, pay, and pensions has left staff feeling totally demoralised and preparing to leave the sector in their thousands. This report should shock employers and government ministers into getting a grip of the situation before it’s too late.

“By attacking their own staff repeatedly and ignoring their longstanding concerns, vice-chancellors have cultivated a toxic working culture that has resulted in the youngest members of staff being the most likely to leave the sector in the next five years. This is a ticking time bomb, which could do untold damage to teaching and research in what is held up to be a world-renowned sector.”

UCU members at 67 universities are on strike over pay, conditions, and pensions, the third wave of industrial action to hit the sector this academic year. The union is balloting members at 149 universities until 8 April to extend the legal window for continued strikes by six months.

The next round of national pay negotiations between UCU and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (Ucea) is due to start today (Wednesday 30 March). Ucea chief executive Raj Jethwa has previously called on UCU to end strikes over last year’s negotiations in order to focus on the 2022-23 negotiations.

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