Eurydice report Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Academic Staff – 2017 published in June 2017, reveals the current realities for academic educators and researchers within the context of recent significant changes in the higher education sector. The report covers higher education systems in 35 countries in Europe and focuses on the qualification requirements for academic staff, working conditions in the higher education institutions, the impact of external quality assurance, and top level strategies for internationalisation.

The report recognises many of the issues that ETUCE member organisations have reported for years:

  • academic staff is vital for the success of the higher education but it faces an increasing performance pressure in both teaching and research;
  • job security is no longer the norm in the academic world;
  • gender equality remains an aspiration rather than a reality for academic staff in most higher education systems;
  • an increasing proportion of academic staff are in externally funded positions where job security is especially low;

The report also points out that there is a lack of comparable data on working conditions in the higher education, including staff contract and the proportion of teachers working in externally funded positions. The important issue of fixed-term contracts is also addressed in the report.

Regarding the employment and working conditions, the report notes that making a career in academia in Europe requires an enormous investment of time and effort, but it is not clear whether the academic profession offers benefits to compensate for such personal commitment. According to the report, young academics face periods of contractual uncertainty even more often than their senior colleagues.

ETUCE emphasises that the Eurydice report on academic staff is an important document for lobbying for better working conditions in the higher education and research.

Read the report