IFUT Report cover

This report aims to inform current thinking regarding the issues of precarious employment in Irish higher education, i.e., to investigate and better understand the lived experiences of university staff who are employed on non-permanent contracts in Irish higher education institutions. This encompassed specific objectives:

  • Outline what is already known about the extent of the problem of precarious work within Irish universities and beyond.
  • Gather insights from all IFUT members regarding the prevalence and impact of precarious work within Irish universities.
  • Collate first-hand accounts of the impact of precarity on those affected.
  • Make recommendations for change, including those that might inform future labour union activism.

Using a mixed-methods approach, this study incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Initial respondent data were gathered from various academic roles across multiple third-level institutions in Ireland, with diverse job titles ranging from 'Lecturer' to 'Learning Designer' (550 university employees completed the survey in early 2023). The majority (68% of respondents) were on permanent contracts, but a significant portion (32%) were fixed-term or hourly paid contracts. Most respondents identified as female (56%) and 42% identified as male. The majority of respondents were categorised as either aged 35 – 44 (32%), 45 – 54 (28%), or 55–64 (24%).

The results of the survey data are complemented by purposeful focus groups and interviews to provide deeper, personal stories.
Together, the quantitative and qualitative approaches provide a comprehensive view of the employment landscape and the impact of precarity across the higher education landscape.

Find more information and the full report on the IFUT website here.

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