- More than half of college employees reported they are likely to leave their jobs in the next year in a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, CUPA-HR.
- The most common reason workers gave for seeking new employment was the prospect of higher pay, followed by an opportunity to work remotely, and more flexible work hours.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported they’re working mostly or completely on campus, but almost 70% wanted to work remotely at least part time.
Worker retention and turnover has been top of mind for many colleges, as the higher education market follows the broader pandemic trend known as the Great Resignation — employees en masse leaving their jobs.
Often, these employees are pursuing better working conditions and higher salaries.
The new CUPA-HR survey offers a glimpse into why higher ed workers are looking elsewhere, in what the organization described as a “talent crisis.” The organization surveyed more than 3,800 higher education employees across nearly 950 institutions in May. Most of the respondents were White and women, and about half were in supervisory positions.
In total, 57.2% of survey participants said they were likely to leave their job in the next 12 months — 22.4% said they were very likely to do so, 12.5% said they were likely, and 22.3% said they were somewhat likely.
About two-thirds of the respondents report they’re generally satisfied with their jobs, and more than three-fourths believe their work has purpose. Roughly 80 percent were also satisfied with their retirement benefits and time off allowance.
However, roughly half of employees said they lacked opportunities to advance, and about the same share thought they were paid unfairly.
Almost 70% of potential job-seekers said they wanted to find work at another institution, and a slightly smaller share said they wanted to join a private, for-profit company. About half wanted to work with a nonprofit organization outside higher ed, and only 42% sought to remain at their current college.
Burnout also appears to still be a problem.
Roughly two-thirds of respondents said they worked more hours weekly than what is traditionally considered full time.
CUPA-HR offered suggestions for mitigating the worker exodus.
It recommended institutions give salary bumps “wherever possible,” adding that pay increases have not kept pace with inflation. The organization acknowledged, though, that institutions are grappling with short- and long-term budgetary issues that may limit large raises.
Colleges could also offer more flexible and remote work options, and enhance parental leave policies and child care subsidies, CUPA-HR said.
“The provision and enhancement of benefits that would mitigate this burden and address these gaps might help improve retention rates for women in the higher ed workforce,” a report on the survey said.