Higher Ed Job Seekers Want Career Advancement, Work-Life Satisfaction, and DEI Policies and Practices

 Marketing Director   September 7, 2021  News

New Report on Changing Attitudes and Expectations about Higher Education Careers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Continued concerns about workplace health and safety, combined with challenges in finding candidates for job openings, have put pressure on higher education employers to address the changing needs and expectations of job seekers and current staff and faculty. A new report from the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) shares highlights from its annual survey of job seekers to understand their job search experience and to identify how employers can best support them during the process of finding, landing, and keeping their ideal position.  [The full report is available to HERC members. If you are interested in accessing the report, please contact Marcia Silva – see info at the bottom.]

The new publication, “2021 HERC Job Seeker Survey Report: DEI and the Changing Perspectives in the Higher Ed Workplace,” provides data-informed considerations for HR, academic affairs, and diversity leaders in developing inclusive and equitable recruitment and retention policies.

“This report includes timely information for higher education institutions as they recruit and retain faculty and staff,” said Derek Smith, HERC Executive Director. “Now more than ever, job seekers are looking closely at an institution’s demonstrated commitment to programs and policies that support professional growth, work-life satisfaction, and diversity.”

The report addresses four topics: job searching now, job advancement, expectations of employers, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many of the shifts in thoughts and expectations in these areas are driving workforce policy changes and will have long-term impacts on what attracts and keeps staff and faculty at higher education institutions.

Of survey respondents reporting that they were searching for a new job, the top reasons for doing so were career advancement (31%), seeking higher salary (31%), and work-life satisfaction (20%). Higher education staff and faculty reported the same top three reasons, but with differing prioritization.

When asked where they expected to advance in their careers, more than half of survey respondents reported at a new institution (56%) and the next largest group of respondents were unsure (33%). This result indicates that most survey respondents were not interested in or did not see opportunities for internal growth and promotion within their current institutions.

Survey respondents reported confidence in some of the support provided by employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as clear communications about policies related to the pandemic and prioritization of employees’ physical health and safety. Confidence fell when rating their employer’s support of employee needs and dipped even more when considering their employer’s prioritization of employees’ mental health.

The increased attention on diversity, equity, and inclusion in workforce policies was reflected by our survey respondents: 85% of Non-White and 81% of White survey respondents noted that an employer’s diversity and inclusion policies and practices were very and somewhat important to them.

“HERC members are at the forefront of building diverse and inclusive workplaces in higher education,” said Ruth Molina, HERC Governance Board Chair. “Learning about what prospective job candidates need and want is crucial to our members, especially now as they develop and implement return-to-campus policies.”

ABOUT THE HIGHER EDUCATION RECRUITMENT CONSORTIUM: The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) is a nonprofit consortium committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the higher education workforce. With over 700 colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, and related organizations, HERC works to ensure member institutions are sites of belonging, where all faculty and staff can thrive. HERC provides resources, networking, and outreach programs to attract, hire, and retain a diverse and qualified workforce.

CONTACT: Marcia Silva, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, marcia@hercjobs.org, 650-417-3193