Staff Experience Survey

Staff Experience Survey 2021

The University’s 2021 survey ran from 27 April to 19 May and was completed by 8,597 individuals, a response rate of 59%. Thank you to everybody who took the time to share their views.

Since the survey closed, we have been analysing the data centrally, and divisions and departments have been doing the same. While a number of themes are emerging, there is a lot of detail to be considered, and colleagues at all levels will continue to use the data to shape actions to improve staff experience of working at the University. 

You can view the institutional survey results via:

More detailed results for staff in different demographic groups are provided on the results webpage.

Survey results were considered by Personnel Committee at the beginning of term, as part of its annual agenda-setting exercise. The results confirmed that our identified priorities were the right ones and that the most important areas to focus on for employee satisfaction were career development, inclusion, wellbeing and the sense of being valued. The area that was of greatest cause for concern was workload, with only 51% of staff agreeing that they could meet the requirements of their job without regularly working excessive hours: the issue was particularly acute among Associate Professors, with only 14% agreement.

The Equality and Diversity Panel considered the results through an equality lens, and agreed that while there are some small differences between demographic groups, by far the most important variable is department, with wide disparities in satisfaction and experience evident across all divisions. However, some demographic groups were consistently less positive than others, particularly disabled staff and those who had experienced mental ill-health in the last year.

Work in 2021-22 will include:

  • A project to address issues of academic workload;
  • A focus on leadership and management capability in the new People and Organisational Development (POD) structure, including work to celebrate positive leadership behaviours;
  • Further work by the Wellbeing Programme Board to develop our understanding of what contributes to staff wellbeing and satisfaction at Oxford and how that matches our provision;
  • The introduction of Workplace Adjustments Plans as a first step towards ensuring more consistent and equitable treatment of disabled staff.

You can read more about other priorities in this recent blog: staff.admin.ox.ac.uk/article/new-ways-of-working-and-hr-priorities

Next steps

Staff can expect actions to be taken at institutional, divisional and department level – many departments’ and divisions’ plans are well underway. If you are not aware of activity within your department, please do ask your Head of Department or Faculty Board Chair.

At the institutional level, here are the next steps:

Colleagues in HR and elsewhere will continue to mine the data – of which there is an extraordinary amount – to inform key pieces of work, including to identify where there are differential impacts on different groups of staff. Data on the different experiences across departments will help us to identify examples of good practice that might be adopted elsewhere.

We will also continue to draw on the data to inform the action plans that will accompany our Race Equality Charter and Athena Swan renewal applications, due to be submitted in July and November 2022 respectively, and our action plan to support implementation of the Concordat for researcher development.

We will use the annual HR compliance survey, which will be circulated to departments at the beginning of Hilary term, to gather feedback from departments on any issues identified through the survey that would best be taken forward centrally, or for which support is needed.

Please continue to look out for updates in your department and in the University Bulletin.