Insecure academics feel the pressure

Job insecurity is the most significant source of stress among university
lecturers, tutors and others working in higher education, a study has
concluded.

The survey of 3,800 academic and non-academic staff in 14 higher education
institutions had found the decline of tenure positions and the increasing
prevalence of short-term or fixed-contract work had sent stress levels soaring.

Whereas the normal population reported a figure of 5.5 out of 10 when it
came to measuring stress, compared with a mean figure for higher education,
this rose to nine out of 10.

Michelle Tytherleigh, a research fellow at the University of Plymouth, who
carried out the study, said: "Higher education staff were much more
stressed by their working relationships, loss of control and lack of resources
and communication."

"They reported significantly lower levels of commitment both from and
to their organisation. Commitment is a good moderator of stress levels. They
were satisfied with their work environment, but they lacked commitment,"
she added.

Lecturers and other staff no longer felt valued or respected by their
organisations and felt they lack autonomy, she argued.

Universities needed to work at improving job security, valuing their staff
and providing better support where people were reporting they were highly
stressed, Tytherleigh suggested.

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