by The Australian Association of University Professors 

We read a lot about the loss of revenue and cost-cutting, but very little about the number of actual people working in the Australian higher education system and their loss of income.

In the name of public accountability, we call on the vice-chancellors of all Australian public universities to  disclose staff numbers, monthly from January 1 2020.

Currently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines an unemployed person as one who, during a specified reference period, is not employed for one hour or more, is actively seeking work and is currently available for work. Therefore, we seek a public disclosure on the number of people working one hour or more in the Australian university system. This number should include casual teachers, research assistants, PhD students, professional staff and academics.

The ABS definition of “unemployed” in Australia leaves thousands under-employed, and anyone who just gives up looking for work is not counted at all. Therefore, in universities, VCs “slash and burn”  strategies will leave many individuals working them unemployed.

Currently, the Australian public sector universities in Department of Education, Skills and Employment university staff data and university annual reports disclose a “full-time equivalent staff number”, but how this is calculated in the university setting is not discussed.

Thus, we have to look to the university reporting to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), the national regulator of charities and the individual universities Annual Information Statement 2018 to find out the number of casuals  Our database shows that as of 31 December 2018 there were just over 80,000 casual employees.

The total workforce of Australian public sector universities was as follows as at 31 December 2018:

FT employees:      97 346

PT employees:       24 711

Casuals (actual):   81 134

FT equivalents:   126 043

est volunteers:       22 880

per centage

casuals (ex

volunteers):         39.16 per cent

We found one university  with 4263 actual casual employees, making up 68 per cent of people on staff. In contrast the FTE figure is just 1729.


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