top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Staff increasingly anxious over pay and workload, UoA survey finds

Just 51% of University staff participated in biennial report

By Clive Davies

Photo Credit: Aedan Brennan

The University of Aberdeen has completed its 2022 Staff Survey, which it carries out every two years as a way of gauging culture, morale and satisfaction among staff.

1827 people completed the survey, which was conducted by HR firm Peachy Mondays. This figure constitutes a 51% completion rate, a decline in participation compared to the 60% achieved in the 2020 survey, but higher than the 38% rate in 2018. In a letter reviewed by The Gaudie, University administrators Karl Leydecker and Tracy Slaven told staff that they would explore the reasons behind this decline in an attempt to secure a higher response rate in 2024.

Results pertaining to job satisfaction were broadly positive, with 94% of staff saying that the University was a good place to work and 93% saying that they generally enjoy their work. Staff were more likely to recommend the University as a place to study than as a place to work, 93% compared to 87%.

88% of staff said that they felt valued by students and others they provide service to, significantly higher than the 70% who said they felt valued by the University itself.

Staff were highly divided on questions concerning workload. 46% said that they found their current workload too much and were struggling to cope. 59% said that they frequently worked more than their contracted hours to keep up with their workload.

Staff were slightly more positive when it comes to pay, with 57% saying they felt fairly paid, and 64% saying the University offers a good pay and reward package. However, these numbers represent a stark decline compared to those from 2020, 70% and 79% respectively.

Another area in which a decline was observed was health and mental health, with 73% of staff agreeing that the University cared for their health and wellbeing, including mental health, compared to 79% in 2020.

Every question pertaining to communication observed a decline when compared to 2020. Only 48% agreed that the different parts of the University communicate effectively with each other. 59% were confident that their ideas or suggestions will be listened to. 70% felt that there are opportunities for them to feed their views upwards in the University.

When it comes to management, 86% believed the University’s Senior Management Team manage and lead the University well, and 74% felt that they listen to and respond to the views of staff. However, these represent a 6% and 9% decline respectively.

Staff are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the University, with 69% believing things will improve within the University in the next 12 months, compared to 82% in 2020.

This increase in dissatisfaction among UoA staff coincides with sweeping industrial action that has occurred over the past year, which has seen over 70,000 UK academic staff in 150 universities strike due to disputes over pay, working conditions and cuts to pensions.

In the letter to staff, Leydecker and Slaven emphasised that while the results from the survey were slightly below the strong results from 2020, they nonetheless represented an improvement from the 2018 results. They also stressed the role that the national cost-of-living crisis has played in the increased concerns over pay.

Further discussion and analysis of the results will take place across the University in the coming months.


bottom of page