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Job vacancy

October 17, 2011

School of Thinking
University of Leeds

Ref: A60076
Salary: Grade 7 £31,798 – £35,788 per annum. That is to say from £11.12 per hour to £12.51 per hour if you do the expected 55 hours a week. We certainly think you should do at least that, and have told all heads of School as much recently, explaining to them that anything less could be considered ‘partial performance’. At least you will have a good pension.

The School of Thinking seeks to appoint a new Lecturer. You will possess a good Honours and Masters degree in a relevant subject as well as a completed PhD with demonstrable relevance to high-quality teaching and expertise. Your undergraduate degree will cost you around £100,000 over the course of your life now, and you will have added significant debt on top of that to do a research degree. Lord only knows how much the MA might cost on top of that, but let’s say you’ll spend most of your life paying back around £150,000. Apparently, they say, it won’t stop you getting a mortgage, so good luck with that, but you might want to get the bus in to start with.

You will undertake high-quality research and teaching. Your research will have such impact that you will make a real difference to society: perhaps developing new cures or something. But, remember, it’s still up to you to pay back the huge debt you get for this ‘advantage’ in life. And remember, the students are paying now, so everything has to be about the teaching, OK? You’ll find time for the research. In fact, we’ll drag you into a meeting in front of three senior staff once a year to make sure you do.

You will undertake administrative tasks as reasonably requested. When we say ‘reasonably’, we mean you’ll work evenings and weekends. And you’ll pay your own expenses to come in to work on weekends to be present at open-days. And you will smile at open days. (We’re thoughtful though. We will provide you with a creche for open days if you have to spend your only free hours in the week for the family working at an open day, but we only have £38 million in our savings account, so we’ll charge you £45 for using it. Thanks.)

You might be supported in some of your administrative tasks by clerical staff, whose contract limit them to 35 hours a week, unlike yours. But even at the very bottom of grade 6 they earn £13.39 an hour, which is more than you get per hour for the top of grade 7 (see above). They can earn more, too, because we pay them more when they volunteer to work over their contractual hours, but we just expect more hours of you by default. In fact, just you try to work only 37.5 hours a week and we are perfectly within our rights to call it ‘partial performance’ and stop paying you altogether. (Yes, we know that 37.5 hours is what we have listed as expected of you in the workload model, but that is simply a popular fictional work we show to ‘well-being’ groups). But don’t worry about the clerical staff: We keep them in their place at grade 6 by some rather impossible demands for promotion to grade 7. And so after ten years, by the time you’re a few points up grade 8, you’ll be earning the same hourly wage as them. Mind you, even for some of them the 35 hours is ‘notional’. Don’t ask.

All of this may sound a challenge, and yes you will have huge debts from preparing for the profession, and get paid at half the hourly rate of a plumber, but at least you will have a good pension. But at least you get the respect of your students.

Informal enquiries may be made to:

Professor (£18.93 per hour) R.E. Dun-Dancie


Closing date: 4th November. We anticipate interviewing all applicants for the position on 24th November. Hey, we’ll even give you travel expenses for that. Can’t say fairer.

The University is committed to equality of opportunity in employment. Yes we are. And we don’t tolerate bullying either. Unless it’s really just a ‘challenging management style’.


55 hours a week: source
Full cost of an undergraduate degree: source

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 17, 2011 12:16 PM

    Having scoured the entire Money Saving Expert article – twice – I fail to see anywhere where it is says that your UG degree will cost £100,000.

    Care to explain…?

  2. October 17, 2011 2:11 PM

    Scour again. Go to the table is section 17, click on £9,000 per year for a degree, and look down the ‘total amount paid’ column at the amount you’ll pay back in your lifetime for a degree at that cost with the given variable parameters. This is produced by Martin Lewis, the guy entrusted by the government to explain the tuition fees system, but even he is at odds in discussion boards to say he is not endorsing it, just explaining it.

    If you still can’t find it. Here’s a link to a screen grab of his table:

  3. October 17, 2011 2:12 PM

    Oh, and the assumptions here are for inflation at 3% per year. Inflation (CPI) is currently 4.5%

  4. An academic permalink
    October 17, 2011 2:50 PM

    If only Leeds UCU could tell us *EVERYTHING* they know about working at the university.

  5. October 17, 2011 2:51 PM

    Keep reading.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 17, 2011 2:52 PM

    At present the move seems to be to pressure administrative staff to work more ‘flexibly’ ie. longer with no hope of overtime, rather than bring down academic working hours to humane levels. Whilst I am sure the intention of paragraph three was not to set one group of staff against another it is worth remembering that the university survives upon both groups’ efforts. Many support staff put in extra hours and are as committed to the idea of the university as the academic staff – they recognise the incredible and unreasonable pressure academic staff are placed under and do an excellent, and often unrecognised job of supporting them. This attack on universities is attack on everyone that makes a university work, from cleaners to celebrity professors. The only way we can defend our jobs and our dignity is to stand together and fight – the ‘contractual arrangements’ of support staff (as fictional as the academic contracts, incidentally) should be a benchmark we should all be aiming for, not a stick with which to beat an entire and vital part of the university sector.

  7. October 17, 2011 2:55 PM

    Many Academic-related staff already work contracts with no fixed hours… but yes, we need to guard against pressure for longer hours on colleagues with fixed-hour contracts, and support our sister unions in that. That paragraph was intending to show that there is a disparity between workers in the same institution. UCU represents members in academic and ‘support’ positions from grade 6 upwards, so we certainly do not intend to set one part of our membership against another. The reference to the impossibility of getting onto grade 7 was intend to indicate our care for colleagues on lower grades. You are right that we need all to work together to improve conditions of work for everyone. The University recently set out its stall as regards academic staff and ‘partial performance’, and it was in this context that the satire here was set.

  8. Disgruntled Researcher permalink
    October 17, 2011 4:40 PM

    You’ve forgotten to say that several years’ post-doc experience is also required for a lectureship. If you’re a humanities post-doc that may have involved doing hourly paid teaching, which won’t have paid enough for you to have survived, or provided you with a pension. At the moment, the going rate for ACTUAL work done is about £4.00 an hour so you will probably have incurred a lot more debt, or done another job at the same time to support your university teaching ‘hobby’. We’d like to thank you for the contribution you’ve made to the HE sector by making sure you won’t qualify for a final salary pension any more; you’re too late, sorry!

    If you’re a humanities post-doc lucky enough to get an actual post doc position you will have had to spent all your free time getting an REF submission together because no one will employ you without one. You will then hand over to the first university that gives you a permanent job and it won’t have cost them anything. If you’ve done several post-docs prior to October 2011 you’ll be very happy that you’re on the final salary pension; phew! If you didn’t do those post-docs before October 2011 we’ll be very happy about all the money we’ll save when your comparatively low income at this stage in your career will balance out any advances you make later on.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2011 10:57 AM

    Please note that most administrators (not ‘clerical staff’, please) are on grades 3 to 5. Only senior administrators are on a grade 6, and they are expected to work a ‘notional’ 35-hour week, which in practice means nearer 50 hours.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2011 11:14 AM

    The majority of administrative staff are on Grades 3 – 5 and earn significantly less, obviously, than those on Grade 6 and above. Senior Administrative staff on Grade 6 are contracted to work a notional 35 hours but, in reality, like academics, they usually work a lot more than this. I am a faculty administrator and I am on Grade 4. I am a single parent and I struggle to support my family on what I earn. I fully support academics in the fight to protect their pensions and to improve their working conditions but please remember that the majority of administrative staff are earning a LOT less than academics.

  11. October 18, 2011 11:31 AM

    Thanks for this. Quite right, and very important to bring to people’s attention.

  12. October 18, 2011 11:33 AM

    Thanks for underlining this important reality in many people’s experience. We support our sister unions in supporting their members in improving their work-life balance.

  13. October 20, 2011 9:43 PM

    Do you accept postal apps as i cant stand computas?

  14. October 20, 2011 9:57 PM

    Yes. Send to the Dean of Thinking.

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