Hit by low pay and Hodge-podge

May 17, 2002

Low pay may be causing a staff recruitment crisis (News, THES, May 10), but there is a more disturbing trend. My research students are increasingly abandoning the notion of pursuing a career in the UK's understaffed and overworked universities.

They have seen probationary lecturers under so much pressure to deliver excellence in research and teaching that they are burnt out by their mid-30s. They have seen professors/heads of department retire early because of chronic stress, ill health or intolerable conditions. All this in a 5* department that, presumably, is better resourced than most. Even if lecturers' salaries were higher, research students would be put off.

Steve Giles

Reader in German studies and critical theory

University of Nottingham

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