Colleges fail to collect useful data on staff recruitment

Many higher education institutions are unable to analyse recruitment and retention trends because of poor HR management information processes, researchers have warned.

A survey of almost 150 universities and colleges, commissioned by the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), found a wide variation in the extent and sophistication of monitoring initiatives.

Apart from equal opportunities monitoring, there is no real consistent checking of the recruitment process and its outcomes, the report said. It cited either a lack of resources, HR capacity or focus as reasons for this.

The report found that some institutions still relied on paper-based systems, and that any data captured was of limited use. In other cases, the data was not broken down in a way that would enable managers to identify problems and causes.

Geoff White, UCEA senior adviser for reward, said a lack of resources was holding back some institutions in developing the right HR systems.
“There are competing pressures for the money that is available [from the government],” he said. “Having consistent information available across the sector is vitally important to making informed decisions.”

In some cases, a lack of knowledge and skills among HR staff was proving a barrier to this, White said.

A 2005 report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England also found a lack of specific monitoring of the quality of staff that were being recruited and retained.

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