In almost every respect, Erasmus University’s employees enjoy greater job satisfaction than they did two years ago. This was made evident in a survey of 1,230 academic and support staff carried out by survey agency Effectory.
Only the theme ‘efficiency’ failed to show any improvement: EUR scored a 6.2 for this, which was the same as the score achieved in 2014; moreover, it was the lowest score awarded for the eight themes surveyed. The employees gave the highest scores to questions related to the themes ‘loyalty’ and ‘the ability to retain staff’ – on average both themes scored 7.8.
ABD fell, ESHCC rose
Looking at individual departments, it is possible to see broader trends (see the table). These show the General Management Directorate (ABD) scored 6.7 for satisfaction, which was almost one whole point lower than in 2014. “A worrying picture!” wrote ABD director Ann O’Brien in an email to all the ABD employees. The score for the Philosophy Faculty also fell from 7.6 to 7.1. However, the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) fared considerably better: the faculty’s score rose by one whole point from 6.4 to 7.4.
Within EUR, undesirable behaviour on the part of both colleagues and students appears to be a serious problem. No less than 12 percent of the respondents indicated they had been the target of undesirable behaviour. Almost half the incidents related to verbal violence, but discrimination and harassment were also mentioned regularly (see the following graph).
Workload and diversity
The majority of the employees’ complaints related to their workload. Almost half of all respondents considered their workload was too high (39 percent) or far too high (9 percent). Within ESHCC, the picture was even worse; 70 percent of their employees felt that their workload was too high, or far too high.
Respondents were also offered the chance to give anonymous tips on how to improve the organisation. Frequently cited was the lack diversity within the university, and one contributor left the following tip: “More career opportunities for women in academic positions. Currently, 90 percent of the professors are male. That shouldn’t be possible in the year 2016.” Several of the employees surveyed also complained about sexism on the work floor.
Another topic which raises strong feelings is the travel allowance. In particular, having paid parking in the garages a constant irritant to many. “It’s difficult to reach EUR using either public transport or your own transport (whether you use trains, trams or your own car). A better travel allowance would help,” wrote one of the University Library’s employees. “Making employees pay to park doesn’t exactly make them feel appreciated. Part-timers are especially affected by this,” wrote another employee from the Erasmus School of Law (ESL).
However, there were also positive reactions: one iBMG employee wrote: “Now that the campus is so attractive, working at EUR is much more pleasant.” If the university wishes to achieve an even higher satisfaction score in two years’ time, then it should follow one golden tip given by an employee from the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE): “Triple all the salaries.”