More Than Half of Higher Ed Workers Plan to Leave

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Many higher education employees are headed for the exits, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, which found that more than half of respondents said they were likely to look for other employment within the next 12 months.

According to the survey, released yesterday, 57.2 percent of respondents were somewhat likely (22.3 percent), likely (12.5 percent) or very likely (22.4 percent) to seek work elsewhere within the next year. That number jumped 14 percent since last year, when 43 percent reported that they planned to leave their jobs within the next 12 months.

“These results indicate that higher ed institutions are at risk of losing half of their current employees in the next year. In addition, the problem of retention appears to be getting worse rather than better,” the CUPA-HR 2022 Higher Education Employee Retention Survey found.

Survey findings indicate that 76 percent of respondents are seeking new work opportunities because they want increased pay, 43 percent want remote work options, 32 percent are seeking flexible work schedules, and another 30 percent want a promotion or additional work responsibilities.

While 63.1 percent of respondents reported working “completely or mostly on-site,” the vast majority—70.5 percent—believe that most of their work duties can be performed remotely.

“Higher ed in general is facing a crisis in retaining its talent,” the survey notes. Recommendations to boost retention include providing salary increases, offering more remote work options and flexible schedules, carefully managing employee workloads, and finding ways to recognize employee achievements, invest in career development, provide opportunities for advancement and enhance parental leave policies and childcare subsidies.

The survey, conducted in May, analyzed data from 3,814 higher education employees. Of that number 80 percent were white and 77 percent were female; 57 percent were supervisors.

These findings come on the heels of the National Association of College and University Business Officers conference, held this week, where recruiting and retention talks dominated discussions.

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