Australian brain drain

Australian brain drain

A new report has shown that young academics in Australia feel unappreciated, underpaid and lacking in job security. Just under half of the under 30s surveyed in this recent research say they plan to leave the country or the profession as a result.

The statistics are shocking and indicate a serious growing problem in Australia. Overall, when both short and long-term intentions are taken into consideration, close to half of the academic workforce intend to retire, move to an overseas university or leave Australian higher education at some time in the next ten years.

Younger academics are especially dissatisfied and most likely to be considering leaving. They find themselves stuck in short term contracts and unable to land a permanent position. If Australia cannot commit to long-term employment and job security for early career academics, they will be facing a serious crisis. Most academic staff under 40 are on contracts of 2-years or less. But with many of the academics who occupy the permanent posts coming up for retirement, the question remains whether Australian universities will change their ways to retain their younger staff who will compose the next generation of leaders before they leave the country.

The study, which was funded by the government and surveyed 20 universities, found that nearly half of Australian academics feel their workload is unmanageable. With the additional pressure of publishing and winning scarce funding, it is no surprise many are considering opportunities abroad.

Is Australia facing a worse brain drain than some European countries?

Featured image credit: EQRoy via Shutterstock

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Leila Sattary

Leila is a freelance science writer specialising in science funding and research policy. She is a former editor of EuroScientist. She writes for a variety of online and print journals including news and features for Chemistry World, her Lab Rant column for Laboratory News and many more. In her day job she works as a Project Officer at the University of Oxford with particular interest in research policy, knowledge exchange and impact.
Leila Sattary

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