Work-Life Balance


Times Higher Ed (THE) has released results from its 2022 Work-Life Balance survey.

One striking finding was that around 20% of the respondents “strongly agree” that they are likely to leave their positions in higher education sometime during the next five years owing to “excessive workload”.

[source: Times Higher Education]

What’s that workload? Nearly 60% of academics report working at least 9 hours a day, and around a quarter report working more than 10 hours a day:

[source: Times Higher Education]

A good chunk of that work happens not at the university, but at home:

[source: Times Higher Education]

How does work interact with non-work life? More than half of the academics responding to the survey “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that their work interferes with their romantic relationships:

[source: Times Higher Education]

Work and childcare can compete for time, and that competition varies by sex:

[source: Times Higher Education]

The survey had 1,191 respondents, 67% female and 31% male. 70% of the respondents were based in Europe, 12 per cent in Australasia, 9 per cent in North America, 6 per cent in Asia, 2 per cent in Africa and 1 per cent in South America. You can check out its other results and THE’s commentary on them here.

Discussion welcome—of these results, of other aspects of work-life balance, and of work-life issues particular to academic philosophy.

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Wes McMichael
20 days ago

I found that for the first 8-9 years of my career, I put in insanely long hours. I had to do A LOT of prep, I constantly changed approaches, I made a lot of “rookie mistakes” with regard to the kinds of assignments I created, I volunteered for every committee assignment possible, sponsored student clubs, etc.

The past few years have been A LOT easier though. I prep much faster, I can change approaches incrementally, I know how to manage assignments better, I’ve cut back on committees and student clubs (that was easier to do post-tenure), etc.

I think it gets easier over time. I love my job and have found a good work-life balance.

[Note: I’m a community college prof with no research requirements, so it might be different for you research university folks. I do, however, normally teach a 7-7-4 load, so maybe it averages out(?).]Report