UCL Human Resources


Faculty of Population Health Sciences

Job security - “I am satisfied with my job security’

What we were doing: Career support for research staff is managed locally with responsibility for evaluation of problems and appropriate action planning devolved to institute management and Athena SWAN planning teams. There was little discussion of issues about perceptions of job security, or what might be done, at a faculty level.


You said: an overwhelming 47% of research staff responded negatively to the question ‘I am satisfied with my job security’. We felt this was too high to be unexplored.


We did: The aim is to provide honest and supportive careers advice from senior colleagues working in the same field of research. Each Institute was asked to coordinate local ‘career surgeries’ for their early career research staff. Institutes were also asked to run an event open to PhDs and early career researchers from across the faculty on alternative career pathways to academia, including, for example, talks from pharma, industry, government etc.

We explored the issue and prevalent assumptions within the Faculty Equality Steering Group with representations from each Institute and Athena SWAN planning team. To help counteract the perception that UCL is using grant monies to fund central initiatives we delivered a series of lunchtime roadshows to over 150 members of staff to ensure transparency about our financial flow of income from research grants and contracts.

Where are we now: We have a growing programme of events and workshops in support of early career researchers developing across the faculty and this will continue to expand. The workshops on financial understanding were well received and we are in discussion with Organisational Development on how the content might be delivered more broadly across UCL. The issue of job security, particularly for research staff, remains on the agenda at faculty-level meetings.

What we plan to do next: We are planning to develop a better method of publicizing the opportunities and events for early career researchers on the faculty intranet once the site is restructured. The faculty will be using the content from the financial management workshops at the FPHS Leadership Forum in October 2017, to ensure all senior managers in the faculty have a shared understanding of the financial environment. Work is needed now to attempt to influence the perceptions around job security for staff on fixed term funding. We hope to achieve this by asking senior managers to cascade positive messages about career security, from the Dean’s biannual Faculty Leaders forum to the all-staff meetings within Institutes.