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The Government commissioned HEFCE to produce the report, titled 'The higher education workforce framework 2010' (see note 2). The study, led by Professor Paul Curran, Chair of HEFCE's Higher Education Workforce Steering Group and Vice-Chancellor, Bournemouth University, is aimed at providing evidence for future policy development and to help universities and colleges plan their staffing policies.
The report argues that HE's future success relies on its ability to attract, retain and motivate highly talented, creative and innovative staff. It asks questions about the conditions required for a healthy and sustainable workforce, and how the sector can maintain its world-class position in increasingly challenging economic times.
The report explores a range of issues and provides a wealth of evidence. Topics include the changing requirements of students, the rising cost of pensions, and sustainability of pay and reward systems for staff. The report considers whether existing structures, such as the academic contract or national pay bargaining, can adequately address these issues in the future.
Professor Curran said:
'This country's higher education institutions are undoubtedly blessed with exceptionally talented, skilled and hard-working staff. I am acutely aware that I owe the success of Bournemouth University to such staff. This report enabled us to reflect on the changing characteristics of the English higher education workforce and highlight major challenges of the next few years.'
Commenting on the report, Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:
'Universities and colleges employ high-quality staff, which are their greatest asset. Staff need to be supported and enabled to maintain the highest standards in teaching, scholarship and research. In addition, human resources practices and processes need to be agile and flexible so that universities and colleges can respond to the changing needs of students and employers. This report is intended to stimulate senior management teams to think about the major issues facing the higher education workforce, ensuring that we can maintain standards and momentum in more constrained economic times.'
David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education, said:
'Record levels of investment in higher education have enabled significant growth in staff numbers and in salary levels, making our higher education institutions an employer of choice. To succeed in the future, higher education will need to continue to attract, retain and motivate highly talented and creative staff. This report confirms that the higher education sector is in a good position to face the challenges of the future following a decade of rapidly rising investment.'
The report poses five questions to focus the debate: