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Excessive workloads and lack of job security behind rise in stress at universities

23 May 2019

There was a 77% increase in the number of university staff accessing counselling services between 2009 and 2015, according to a report released today.

The report from the Higher Education Policy Institute says excessive workloads, a lack of job security and management demands are behind a surge in stress levels for staff.

UCU said universities had to think seriously about how they respond to the needs of staff seeking support and how to deal with the root causes of rising stress levels.

UCU acting general secretary Paul Cottrell said: 'Excessive workloads, a lack of job security and managers obsessed with league tables and rankings have blighted the sector for years, and this report lays bare the negative impact those working conditions have on the mental health of staff.

'Universities need to support their staff and ensure they can get the help they need, but, crucially, they have to tackle the root cause of these problems. Staff are at breaking point and unless there is a sea change in how government and university management treat staff, the number of people seeking help is unlikely to come down.'

UCU has launched a campaign called 'it's your time' to address this critical issue, developing a suite of resources to help branches challenge the current culture and secure agreements that protect staff.

Last updated: 4 June 2019