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Australia Sees A 17% Rise In Casual Staff (part-time Employees)

14 Feb 2014


Immigration News

In the recent official count, the university campuses of Australia have seen a 17% rise in the number of part-time employees. Part-time instructors and other employees are called as ‘casuals’ in Australia and in 2013, the estimated number of ‘casuals’ increased 17.4% to 22,958 full-time-equivalent staff. This is the largest increase since 2010, when partial deregulation of student places started fuelling growth. Last year, out of the total staff, casuals accounted for over 18%.

Belinda Robinson, the chief executive of Universities Australia, said that the large-scale increase in Australian casual staff definitely showcases the demand-driven system. However, more generally, it mirrors the changing nature of the Australian work force and the budgetary pressure being experienced by universities. Robinson also added that, for many people who take a portfolio approach to their career, the casualization is very suitable; they mix and match academic work with consulting, work in industry, and so on.

She recognized there were prominent numbers of Australian casual staff who felt they were shut out from full-time Australian jobs. Robinson stated that funding is more uncertain than ever and universities need to be more adaptable to students’ demands than ever were. It even mirrors a broader move of the society towards casualization.

National Tertiary Education Union’s Assistant Secretary, Matt McGowan said that over a generation, the student-staff ratios have clearly doubled, and over half of the teaching at undergraduate level is being carried out by casuals.

He said that around 8 out of every 10 researchers are hired on short-term contracts, which is making research a not-so-attractive career for their brightest and best graduates. Just over 50% of the total staff were hired on a continuing basis, which is a drop from the 60% at the turn of the millennium, and the share of Australian casual staff has increased to 18.7% last year from 15% in 2000.

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