Job stress ‘serious threat’ at tertiary institutions

Posted By TEU on Nov 6, 2014 | 5 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 38

People working in tertiary education have significantly more workplace stress than the average New Zealander according to survey data from AUT’s Work Research Institute.

The survey, which TEU commissioned, was completed earlier this year and will be presented to the union’s annual conference next week. The survey identified the clearest source of stress was the quantity of work to be done and the time available to do it in.

Workplace stress is a significant health and safety risk that employers have a legal duty to deal with. Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act employers must identify any hazards that cause workplace stress and take all practical steps to prevent any harm occurring.

The survey of over 2000 tertiary education staff measured the mean stress level at 6.14 on a scale from 1 to 10. This compares to mean values of 4.97 and 5.48 for two representative New Zealand national population surveys conducted in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

Two thirds of survey respondents said their job stress is worse compared to when they first started working in tertiary education.

“Time pressure and work quantity are significant factors in the intensification of work. The influence of politics rather than performance on organisational decisions also serves as a significant stressor,” said the Work Research Institute report.

It said the findings showed a cluster of associations between higher stress, job dissatisfaction, fatigue, and work-life imbalance, which represented a serious threat to employee quality of life.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. TEU members save with benefits and discounts
  2. When to accept controversial research funding?
  3. Victoria quits fossil fuel investments
  4. Full-time academics dwindle
  5. More needed to help young workers into jobs

Other news

A total of 101 research projects have been allocated $56 million of funding in this year’s Marsden Fund grants, which support New Zealand’s best investigator-initiated research in the areas of science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities – Royal Society of NZ

Thousands of Kiwis are expected to take to the streets in 17 towns and cities across the country this Saturday to voice their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Trade ministers from the 12 participating countries, including New Zealand, will be meeting at the same time in Beijing to try to bring the secretive negotiations to a close after more than four years – CTU

For six months WITT has been the focus of high-level Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) investigations into how it enrols, delivers and assesses two of its courses – Taranaki Daily News 

The Tertiary Education Commission  and the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) Sector Reference Group have now released its second consultation paper along with a summary of the feedback received from the first consultation paper – TEC

Scientists who work for two of Victoria University’s laboratories have won the right to be considered academics, allowing them greater freedom to speak about their work – Radio New Zealand

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