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Overworked and underpaid academics not acceptable says UCU in response to new research

10 April 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Academics are underpaid and overworked compared with other graduate professions, which is likely to have a knock-on effect on the quality of UK higher education warns new research to be presented to the Royal Economic Society's annual conference at the University of Warwick this week.

The study, by James Walker and colleagues, reveals that academics work longer hours than the average graduate, but earn around 3% less. On average, academics earn approximately 17% less than other similarly qualified individuals in the accountancy profession, 23% less than lawyers, 24% less than doctors and 49% less than dentists.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Academics do an incredible job, despite the long hours and comparatively low pay. Rising class and seminar sizes, increased bureaucracy and ever greater pressure to compete make a mockery of any work-life balance.

'For too long universities have relied on the goodwill of their staff as workloads have shot up and pay has declined in relative terms. This survey is further proof that this cannot continue and unless pay and workloads are urgently addressed the quality of higher education in the UK will be under threat.

'Vice-chancellors need to remember why Britain has such a respected international record and not put it at risk by refusing to pay their staff a fair rate. The drive to recruit more students from this country and abroad must be fully financed so staff are properly paid and students have the resources they so desperately need.'

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