In some cities, such as Edinburgh, the university may be one of the largest tech employers in the city. At Edinburgh we have around 600 staff in IT roles. That makes us a big player in tech employment. We also get the benefit of having an even bigger sister standing right beside us. The University of Edinburgh as a whole is a huge employer and a huge part of the public sector workforce. The terms, conditions and perks which we as information services are able to offer to our potential employees are made possible by virtue of being a small part of a huge organisation.
As well as a range of flexible working options and attention paid to being family-friendly most universities offer generous maternity and parental leave and arrangements for sick-pay. Although many universities do not offer as much on-site childcare facilities as some would like, I suspect it is still way ahead of some tech employers.
University holiday allowances are pretty good. 40 days a year is about the average for most institutions (including national holidays and closure days). Equal pay schemes and university unions ensure that salaries and pensions are decent. Universities are also able to offer permanent or open-ended contracts for IT staff. Other industries might offer more in terms of up-front salary, but there are many extra benefits to working in a university . We have information about staff benefits and reward calculator which we use to show the real value of our arrangements.
Universities are learning organisations, if you need to grow and develop in your job training is usually offered for both the skills needed for your job and to assist career and personal development. There are mentoring schemes and career development and promotion tracks.
The climate for equality and diversity is also generally good, most universities have a very progressive stance on equality and diversity in terms of both recruitment and working environment. The very fact that there are high profile initiatives underway in higher education for students and academics contributes to the social environment or culture constructed in universities in which the professional staff work. That is to say, IT professionals working in universities benefit from large initiatives such as Athena SWAN which are given resource and investment by the university.
There is a range of less talked about perks which I think make universities great places to work.
1) Universities have sport facilities, theatres, staff clubs, art galleries, museums, music venues and shops which are there to be enjoyed by staff at discounted rates, often for free. There are very few employers who can boast such a range of amenities.
2) You get to working on a filmset. I worked for several years at Oxford and you couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into a film crew, catering vans and extras dressed in medieval outfits. Or inspector Morse. Or a boy wizard.
3) Culture and collegiality abound. Every evening all across campus there are research seminars, events, book launches, receptions, openings, exhibitions to go to which are open to all staff and anyone interested. Its a lovely way to meet people and network.
4) The festival city is on your doorstep. Literally. Your office may be requisitioned at short notice for a comedy show .
5) Your children and the children of all your friends will have access to the extensive cultural capital at your fingertips when they need to find work experience for school.
6) Eduroam wireless will be provided to you free of charge as you move around the world. You can sidle up to any university, library, hospital or museum building in any city and pick up free wifi.
7) We are fighting the good fight for truth, facts and against news. You get to be part of this.