by Ben Davies
If you're new to the Higher Education sector, you might be wondering what it has to offer. There are numerous benefits to working at a university, including opportunities for personal development, generous annual leave, and the satisfaction of being involved in a progressive and diverse instituti
University employment is not just for academics. There are countless types of jobs available in universities, such as management positions, traditional academic research and teaching posts, catering jobs and everything in-between. jobs.ac.uk alone advertises more than 46,000 jobs each year based in locations across the UK and abroad, so there are plenty of options.
The benefits of university employment
Training - Where can you get better training than at a Higher Education Institution? Training is usually offered for both the skills needed for your job and to assist career and personal development.
Pensions - Throughout the UK Higher Education sector, optional pension schemes are standard. If you're in this for the long run, then a pension scheme is a wise way of planning for the future.
Working hours - Although university jobs are quite demanding, and overtime is sometimes required in most positions, part-time work, flexible working patterns and opportunities for job sharing are available.
Childcare - Universities endeavor to be family-friendly employers, as evidenced by their childcare policies. Nurseries are often run on-site, and subsidies and childcare vouchers are usually available.
Maternity and paternity leave - Most universities offer generous maternity leave and pay. Paternity leave is another benefit to university employment for male employees.
Holidays - University holiday allowances are normally very generous. 40 days a year is about the average for most institutions (including around 25 days of holiday entitlement - the rest being made up of national holidays and closure days).
University facilities - Staff can use on-campus facilities such as sports centres, cinemas, musical events and libraries at discounted rates. There are very few employers who can boast such a range of amenities.
Equality and diversity - Encompassing age, race, gender, culture and religion and a number of other areas, most universities have a very progressive stance on equality and diversity in terms of both recruitment and working environment.
Financial benefits - Equal pay schemes and university unions ensure that salaries are decent. Other industries might offer more in terms of up-front salary, but there are many extra benefits to working in a university, as outlined above. Academic salaries and high-grade non-academic posts are very well paid.
Benefits to academics - Research funding, top-class facilities and a strong academic environment are just some of the benefits to academics working in Higher Education Institutions.
Types of job
Over 280,000 full-time jobs are supported through Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK. Whether you want to be directly involved in teaching, or whether you want to pursue a career in administration and project management, universities have it all. Nowhere else will you find such a range of jobs under one roof.
Academic jobs - Universities are all about teaching and research. Without academic staff universities would not succeed. Research involves both study and implementation - the practical application in industry and society. Teaching is about lecturing, student care, and curriculum and course design, among other things.
Professional and administrative jobs - Administrative staff cater for student and customer services. This ranges from career advice services to student records. Other administrative positions are involved with finance, HR, and secretarial support to academics and senior staff. The day-to-day operations of departments and the university as a whole are taken care of by administrative staff.
Jobs at university facilities - University buildings and grounds require considerable maintenance, cleaning and development. Facilities staff, including porters, caterers and security staff, are responsible for this.
Technical jobs - Technicians support the research of academic staff. They are responsible for such things as laboratory equipment and information technology systems. Technicians provide skills and knowledge to assist teaching and research operations.
Other jobs - Each university has its own area of expertise which brings with it specific jobs. There may also be amenities, such as cinemas, cafes and concert halls, which require additional staff.
Research and teaching at Higher Education level is both rewarding and challenging. One of the most important benefits of university employment is the satisfaction of working in a field that has high ideals. Education, knowledge and culture are key themes for universities. Whether you are involved with this in a direct way through teaching or whether you are working ‘behind the scenes', in an administrative role for example, the progressive and ambitious atmosphere of university work can be an exciting environment.