How do research university staff experience work pressure and what affects this experience? SoFoKleS analysed work pressure at research universities, using the 2019 employee monitor (WERKmonitor 2019) from the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. A total of 2,442 research university employees participated in this survey. The Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R model) was used as a framework for this analysis. In order to prevent employees from succumbing to exhaustion due to their work, it is important not only to address the stressors but also to ensure that the work includes sufficient sources of energy. With regard to research universities, the following leads emerged.
A majority of research university employees experienced a great (39%) or very great deal (26%) of work pressure at the university. The work pressure experienced is the highest among academic staff with a permanent contract, among staff with a university degree and among staff with a long contractual working week (36 hours or more).
REGULATORY BURDEN AND ORGANISATIONAL CHANGES
In addition to work pressure, the stressors ‘regulatory burden’ and ‘organisational changes’ were examined. The regulatory burden seems to be less of an issue than the work pressure experienced. Otherwise, a quarter of the employees indicate that they had experienced one or more changes in the organisation (per location) over the last 12 months.
Work pressure is the strongest predictor of exhaustion: higher work pressure is accompanied by more exhaustion due to work. This fact applies to a higher regulatory burden as well. Employees who are more able to cope with changes at work and in the working environment experience less exhaustion due to work, while the same applies to employees who are more satisfied with the degree of independence they have when working.
In general, research university employees are positive about their professional competence, their professional expertise and their ability to cope with changes in their work and/or working environment. Employees are less positive about their deployability inside and outside their own organisation.
own knowledge and expertise score
94% worked on their professional development in the past year
A minority of employees is either satisfied or very satisfied with the organisation on such aspects as organisational vision, communication and the degree of influence within the organisation.
44% of employees are satisfied with the provision of information and communication
43% are satisfied with the degree of influence that they have within the organisation
46% feel that there is a clear picture of the direction in which the organisation would like to head and the way to achieve this aim
Most employees are either satisfied or very satisfied with the degree of independence that they experience in their work as well as about the aids and equipment that they have in order to carry out their work well. Making and discussing mistakes is ‘safe’ within the organisation, according to a small majority.
91% are satisfied or very satisfied with the degree of independence that they have within the organisation
A good majority of research university employees is satisfied or very satisfied with collaborating among colleagues. A small majority experiences support from their line manager or direct supervisor with regard to their personal development.
THE WAY IN WHICH WORK PRESSURE IS BEING DEALT WITH AT UNIVERSITIES IS A THEME THAT IS STILL VERY MUCH UNDER DEVELOPMENT. BY SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCES WITH ONE ANOTHER, WE WILL REMAIN ENGAGED IN DIALOGUE ABOUT WORK PRESSURE AND WILL BE ABLE TO ARRIVE AT FEASIBLE SOLUTIONS AS A SECTOR. SOFOKLES IS PROMOTING THIS DIALOGUE BY:
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