photograph Positive news from staff opinion survey

Newcastle University is a good place to work, according to 93 per cent of the staff who responded to the 2010 Employee Opinion Survey.

Some 2,923 staff – or 54 per cent of the total workforce - responded to the survey, a six per cent increase on 2007.

Executive Director of Human Resources, Veryan Johnston, said: "The response rate this time has been excellent for an institution of this size. The survey represents the views of almost 3,000 staff which means that we can be confident that the results are very reliable as an indicator of how people feel about working for the University."

Overall, an initial analysis of the results by Capita, the independent research unit who conducted the survey, shows a marked improvement over the 2007 survey. The University has increased its scores in 59 of the issues about which staff were questioned, while only 10 issues recorded lower scores. Of the 59 improved scores, 43 were judged to be 'statistically significant' – i.e. not likely to have been caused by a fluke – compared to only 4 of the 10 lower scores.

In most cases, the University’s results were better than the national average for a UK higher education institution. Sixty-three per cent of respondents said that they felt valued by the University, against a sector norm of 55 per cent, while 71 per cent said they felt fairly paid for the work they do (norm 61 per cent). Other significant results included (HE norm figures in brackets):

  • 86% of respondents agreed that the Executive Board manages and leads the University well (69%)
  • 83% would recommend the University to a friend as a place to work (75%)
  • 92% said they felt proud to work for the University (89%)
  • 92% said the University delivers a good quality service to students and other customers (87%)
  • 69% said that on the whole, communication in the University is effective (63%)

The results of the survey indicate that the University has also made some progress in areas identified as problems in the 2007 survey, with fewer staff now saying that they feel unduly stressed at work, and only four per cent of respondents experiencing some form of bullying or harassment in the workplace.

"The results indicate that these are areas where progress has been made, but obviously there is still room for improvement," said Mrs Johnston. "However, it is encouraging that our 'problem area' results are still below the national norm, and in some cases well below, so we are seeing a gradual improvement."

Other areas of concern for staff included bureaucracy, with 57 per cent expressing the opinion that often too many approvals are needed for routine decisions, and workload, with 54 per cent saying they had to put in a lot of extra time to meet the demands of their job.

•    A newsletter produced by Capita giving further information about the results of the 2010 Employee Opinion Survey will shortly be circulated University-wide. Academic schools and service units will also receive a detailed analysis of the results for their particular area, which heads of school and service will present to their staff over the coming months.  

published on: 14th July 2010