Exeter to cut 200 jobs as part of ambition to go global

More than 200 jobs could go at the University of Exeter as part of plans to save £25 million

May 20, 2015

The “vast majority” of the posts would be lost through voluntary redundancies offered to all academic and support staff.

The university, which has about 4,400 staff, says that it wants to save money in order to employ more academic staff and attract more international students.

“This is all about consolidating Exeter’s position as a top 10 UK university but increasingly moving to becoming one of the absolutely leading global players,” Sir Steve Smith, Exeter’s vice-chancellor, told the BBC.

In a statement released to Times Higher Education, Exeter said that it had “offered the opportunity to all staff to apply for a generous voluntary severance scheme”.

“This scheme is 100 per cent voluntary and designed to allow some of our employees to pursue other interests outside the university,” the university said.

The university said that it had enjoyed “a sustained and successful period of growth” and “now is the right time to make sure we have people working in the right areas, to help us achieve our next ambition to become one of the best universities not just in the UK, but globally”.

“The university will continue to make significant investments to achieve this ambition, and the recruitment of additional academic staff is a fundamental aspect of this,” it added.

The job cuts come despite Exeter’s rapid growth in undergraduate student numbers. It is one of the fastest growing Russell Group universities, with student admissions increasing by 35 per cent in the first two years since £9,000 tuition fees were introduced.

However, its latest annual financial statement shows that it had an operating deficit of £2.5 million in 2013-14, which came after a £3.8 million deficit the previous year.

The statement says that Exeter had “invested heavily in research in recent years”, as well as spending about £40 million in 2013-14 on capital investment. It had begun a plan to build its surplus to finance its “ambitious investment plans”, it adds.

Last year, the university announced that it would begin a consultation on job losses, after a period of “unprecedented growth”.

jack.grove@tesglobal.com

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