New Recruitment Trends in the Industry

Although not actively looking for a job right now, I always try to keep up to date with market developments in the industry, just for my own reference. I recently noticed that university positions advertised on jobs.ac.uk this year are much different to previous years.

What are the differences?

Given that public spending has seen significant cuts this year and that universities are already feeling the pressure, there is a considerable shift in recruitment from purely administrative and operational roles to income-generating roles. Anything to do with alumni and development, research and services commercialization, business partnerships – in other words, anything with potential to bring in additional income in the near future – is on the rise. This is not to say that admin roles are not on offer anymore, but the current trend is to try and squeeze an administrator’s role into a broader, preferably income-generating, role. The reason is quite obvious: lower costs for the institution with the potential for some much needed extra cash.

What does this say about the industry?

In my opinion, higher education institutions are doing the same as private and other public organizations in their efforts to cope with the financial crisis and the consequent reductions in cash flow. The way I see things, the education industry is more successful than other industries in that they are generally trying to avoid mass redundancies and are cutting costs in a reasonable manner. At the end of the day, thinking about the shifts in recruitment patterns, the UK higher education industry seems to be showing flexibility, and quick adaptability to environmental changes. Instead of freezing new hires all together, as we have seen elsewhere, it is instead moving its focus towards roles that are thought to satisfy current financial needs. If nothing else, universities in the UK are challenging the assumption that public sector organizations are inflexible and slow to change.

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About Christina Tsirou

I work for Roehampton University in South West London as the Research and Business Engagement Officer. The Research and Business Development Office, which forms my department, was created recently, and therefore I am the first holder of the above mouthful-of-a-role. This is very exciting, as I get a lot of freedom in forming tasks and developing areas of responsibility for the post. At the same time, it is also very challenging, as how things will be organized and work in practice remains to be seen. Together with the rest of the team, I contribute to various aspects of the so-called “third stream income generation activity” on behalf of the University. Third stream income is a relatively new term, meaning revenue that comes from outside the traditional sources of government funding and tuition fees. Some sources of third stream income can be Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, IP Commercialization, business start-ups and spin-offs, Development and Innovation Grants, executive courses, and partnerships with the private and public sectors. I am also heavily involved in the team’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and work across campus by coordinating internal and inter-collegiate events and workshops for both students and academics. Finally, part of my work is devoted to fostering strong links with the local community, mainly through relationship-building events.

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