More than 50,000 British researchers are ready to leave academia in unprecedented science outflux
A new report from the University and College Union (UCU) warns that a vast majority of staff at high education institutions across Britain are demoralised and are considering to quite academia.
Unsolved disputes about working conditions, pay and pension, with a range of strikes in recent months, have led to tens of thousands of researchers considering to quit.
Most of Britain’s 70,000 academic staff are on insecure, fixed contracts with little or no pension or additional benefits, according to the report.
Two-thirds said they plan to leave higher education in the next five years, with three-quarters of those in research roles saying they are ‘likely or very likely’ to leave academia.
Nearly six in ten of all stuff UCU spoke to said they are “unhappy” about the prospect of working the rest of their career in higher education, while an even higher number, 9 in ten indicated they are “not optimistic” about the future of academia.
UCU spoke to close to 7,000 researchers across 100 research institutions in Britain.
Young vs old
Among younger staff, eight in ten said low pay and conditions were simply ‘forcing’ them to consider leaving the sector, while survey respondents aged over 60 were the most likely to leave their positions over recent pension cuts.
I think this should be of serious concern to those leading the sector,” UCU’s general secretary Jo Grady told a press briefing ahead of the report’s launch.
“They are simultaneously driving away people towards the end and the beginning of their careers in higher education. Without action, this could really cut the legs from under the entire higher education sector..”