WORLD VIEWS: UK/US/AUSTRALIA COMPARISONS
Concerns about work-life balance appear to be fairly consistent across the globe. Nevertheless, filtering the survey results according to respondents’ countries of residence throws up some interesting nuances.
Focusing on responses from academics in the UK, the US and Australia in particular (which, together, account for 85 per cent of responses by academics) reveals that Uk-based academics appear to work the hardest, with 71 per cent of respondents working nine hours a day or more, and 15 per cent working more than 10 (the highest cited figure being 18). The figures for the US are 63 and 12 per cent respectively; for Australia, 68 and 15 per cent.
The UK is the country where workloads have increased most widely. Of UK respondents,
46 per cent say that theirs has increased over the past three years, compared with 32 per cent in Australia and
30 per cent in the US.
However, UK academics are slightly less likely to work more than five hours at the weekend (38 per cent, compared with
46 per cent of US scholars and 43 per cent of Australia-based academics). UK scholars are also less likely to work while on holiday (82 per cent, compared with 94 and 88 per cent of US and Australia-based academics respectively).
US scholars are the most likely to have had two or more holidays in the last year (59 per cent, including 12 per cent who have had more than four), while Australia-based academics are the least likely (48 per cent).
Regarding children, similar proportions of respondents in each country feel that children hold back their careers. Uk-based academics are less likely to do at least half of the childcare (53 per cent, compared with 63 per cent in the US and 64 per cent in Australia); however, this may partly be explained by the fact that the UK also has a slightly lower proportion of females among its respondents (66 per cent, compared with 72 per cent of US respondents and 69 per cent of Australia-based academics).
US scholars are slightly less likely than those in other nations not to want any children, but those that do not are the most likely to say that the incompatibility of parenthood with an academic career is at least partly to blame (68 per cent, compared with 54 per cent of UK and 50 per cent of Australia-based scholars).
Universities in Australia appear to be much better at providing help with childcare; 51 per cent of respondents in Australia say that their institution definitely has a nursery on site, compared with 40 per cent in the UK and just 23 per cent in the US.
UK respondents are more likely to think that their friends have a much better work-life balance than they do, and to frequently consider working in a different sector. US respondents are the most likely never to consider a career change. Where career changes are considered, US academics would be most keen on finding a better salary, while UK and Australian scholars would be more likely to look for a better work-life balance.
Of those respondents who do not have a partner, US academics are the most likely to say that their job is an obstacle to a relationship. US scholars are also the most likely to have another academic as a partner (37 per cent, compared with 31 per cent in Australia and 30 per cent in the UK). And they are by far the most likely to earn a lot less than their partners and friends do.