Tuesday, 17 May 2022

    17,000 university jobs lost

    More than 17,000 people have lost their jobs at Australian universities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with further job cuts expected this year, The Guardian reports.

    The job losses equate to 13% of Australia’s pre-Covid university workforce, and the chief executive of Universities Australia, Catriona Jackson, said more cuts were “probable” as the border remained closed.

    At least 17,300 people lost their jobs in universities last year – including permanent staff as well as casuals who did not have their contracts renewed – according to the latest data from Universities Australia. It’s an increase on the 12,500 job losses reported by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) in October.

    Dr Alison Barnes, the president of the NTEU, said the scale of the losses was “shocking” and would harm future generations of Australians.

    “These are people who should be in our classrooms, supporting our students, who should be designing cures for diseases like Covid-19, or creating the technological changes that will help our economy over decades,” Barnes said.

    Public universities and their staff were not able to access jobkeeper during 2020 or 2021, and Barnes said this had contributed to the scale of the layoffs, and caused financial stress for individuals.

    “We asked for jobkeeper and were denied on three occasions,” she said. “The government has actively worked against any rescue package or lifeline for what the sector desperately needs.”

    Jackson said the loss of each staff member was “bad for the university community, and Australia’s knowledge reservoir.”

    Universities Australia estimated the sector lost $1.8bn in revenue in 2020, and was projected to lose a further $2bn in 2021.

    Jackson said the revenue losses would continue for years, especially given international students stuck overseas had not been allowed into Australia yet.


    More than 17,000 jobs lost at Australian universities during Covid pandemic (The Guardian)