One in five university jobs were lost when COVID-19 border rules continue to sting

In the middle of this semester, Monash University tutor Kate Clark and a classmate were told that one of them had to leave. If no one volunteered, he would decide to toss coins.

Mrs. Clark had even turned down other jobs because of her job at the university.

“It’s really frustrating to get a job that you really love and that you’re passionate about and that you’re told overnight, totally completely, that you no longer have a job, it’s not your fault,” Ms. Clark said. .

Her friend volunteered to leave, saving on coin tossing and Mrs. Clark’s work.

Now, after six years of precarious, casual work as a college tutor specializing in virtual reality technology, Ms. Clark is willing to take risks in her workplace to talk about unsafe employment in universities.

Mrs. Clark was still working at the university this semester, but she said she had had enough of the occasional long-term job and called for it.

Kate Clark said she saw similar things happen with friends and colleagues.(

Supplied by: Kate Clark


Up to three-quarters of university staff may be temporary or hired on a short-term basis.

“I see this kind of thing happening all over the university,” he said.

“This affects my colleagues, my friends and the reason I have a job is because one of the other tutors doesn’t do it, which also makes me feel incredibly guilty.”

The ABC has verified Ms. Clark’s account.

In a statement, Monash University said it had relocated 500 casual and in-work workers to safer employment by 2020.

“Monash University employs all staff (including casual staff) on terms consistent with what has been agreed with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and established under the University’s Business Agreement of Monash, ”a spokesman said.

“Monash University continues to explore ways to approach unsafe work.”

One in five educational jobs disappeared in a year

A report released today by the Australian Institute’s Center for Future Employment uses data from the ABS workforce to show 40,000 tertiary education jobs (one in five jobs) that have been lost in the twelve months until May 2021.

The report estimates that 35,000 of the job losses occurred at public universities and a significant number of TAFE staff also lost their jobs.

“Job losses in the tertiary sector have been worse this year than any other non-agricultural sector in the economy,” said report author Jim Stanford.

“We’ve seen almost one in five higher education jobs disappear this year and that’s just a terrible blow to these institutions and the services they offer.”

The Australian Institute, which created the Center for Future Work, is a progressive think tank.

Stanford, the center’s director, said local universities didn’t have JobKeeper, while large foreign institutions like New York University rated the pain.

Young people are seen in the distance on the campus of Monash University.
The report estimates that 35,000 of the job losses were in public universities.(

Shutterstock: EQRoy


He called on the federal government to deepen and fund a $ 3.755 billion bailout package.

“If universities received $ 3.75 million a year, it would allow them to re-hire the 40,000 people they have let go,” Stanford said.

“We know we will need these people, we will need higher education, international students will come back at some point, we are not sure when.”

Job cuts “compromise learning and research”

In a statement, Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said universities had received “significant” support since the pandemic began and would continue to be supported.

“Most universities entered a relatively strong financial situation this calendar year, with 25 surpluses reported in 2020 and significant assets and investments were reported,” Tudge said.

“Universities were not denied access to JobKeeper, but given their relatively strong financial situation, there were no qualified ones.”

The president of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Alison Barnes, noted the fear caused by the job cuts on campuses and said she was concerned about the quality of education students will receive in the future. .

“I think what really worries me is obviously the impact on staff who have lost their jobs, but the effect it can have on future generations in terms of the commitment to learning and research at our universities. “Dr. Barnes said.

Dr Barnes also wanted to see a rescue package, but said university management needed to make staff retention a higher priority and reduce the use of casual people.

“We really need vice-chancellors and university management to intensify and ensure that their institutions can perform their basic teaching and research functions, and this is critical to ensure that you do not use this pandemic to further casualize your staff.” she said.

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