Alienated by Corporate Control

Professor Meek warned that the problem was compounded by academics feeling alienated by the corporatised cultures at universities. While strong management is needed at universities that have grown into billion-dollar businesses, he said the corporate culture had gone too far.


“Australia has gone furthest down the road towards managerialism,” Professor Meek said. “Academics feel they aren’t part of the corporate culture and strategic planning.”

Casual Wages the Issue?

Liam Ward, a 32-year-old casual lecturer in media studies at RMIT in Melbourne said the biggest problem was breaking out of the insecure casual cycle many academics were locked into. He has been a casual for nine years, has accrued no long-service leave, and every year finds himself hoping for a contract. Last year he worked the equivalent of 33-40 hours a week for 12 months with no leave time while acting as a subject co-ordinator managing staff and giving lectures, but earned just $38,000 before tax.

The old Corporate Ripoff

“The universities are taking advantage of the fact that people enjoy the work, they like teaching, they like the environment, but goodwill can only go so far,” Mr Ward said.

Thankyou again Mr Howard

In 1989 casuals made up just 12.7 per cent of the academic workforce, but causal numbers have grown by 125 per cent to account for more than 22 per cent of the workforce in 2007.

Perhaps pay them properly now?

Academic salaries have grown by a factor of 1.37 since 2001 compared with average weekly earnings growing by a factor of 1.47. A lecturer in 2001 earned about $978 a week, $40 more than the average wage. Last year a lecturer’s average wage was $1343, almost $40 less than the average wage.

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