British higher education "under threat"

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British higher education is likely to suffer from the poor pay of its academics, the University and College Union (UCU) has warned.

The UCU cites research conducted by members of the University of Reading which compares the working conditions of academics with those of the average graduate.

Its study found that academics earn roughly three per cent less than the average graduate but work longer hours. "Similarly qualified individuals" in the accountancy profession earn 17 per cent less while lawyers (23 per cent) and doctors (24 per cent) earn even more.

Sally Hunt, joint general secretary of the UCU, said the situation faced by British academics "make[s] a mockery of any work-life balance".

"For too long universities have relied on the goodwill of their staff as workloads have shot up and pay has declined in relative terms," she said.

"This survey is further proof that this cannot continue and unless pay and workloads are urgently addressed the quality of higher education in the UK will be under threat."

Ms Hunt claimed that rising bureaucracy, increased class sizes and increasing pressures to "compete" with others was seriously threatening Britain's strong academic record.

"The drive to recruit more students from this country and abroad must be fully financed so staff are properly paid and students have the resources they so desperately need," she concluded.

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