Posted: Fri 18th Mar 2016

Swansea University Beats Off Competition From Across Britain To Win Award For Its Staff

This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 18th, 2016

Swansea University’s Bay Campus Recruitment project has scooped a major Higher Education Award for its impact on improving staff equality and diversity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Swansea University was last night awarded the Guardian Higher Education Advancing Staff Equality Award.The Guardian awards recognise excellence in Britain’s best universities and set the benchmark for higher education excellence. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Swansea University Bay Campus Recruitment Project radically overhauled the standard recruitment process in a bid to attract a more diverse, effective and fulfilled workforce to take on the challenge of delivering outstanding service across the University’s operations. The project set to break down barriers to employment by responding to the needs of potential applicants and shaping the processes around the applicant. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Bay Campus Recruitment project addressed historical issues of inequality and inefficiency whilst satisfying recruitment challenges by focussing on 3 key areas; roles, processes and development. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The recruitment campaign saw the approach to advertising, promotion and selection overhauled to maximise exposure, encourage engagement and minimise perceived barriers. The project, which was time-constrained with only 60-days available from start to completion proved successful with 882 expressions of interest received and 360 applications submitted. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice Chancellor at Swansea University ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is very encouraging to see that our work to advance equality amongst our staff is being recognised once again. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Bay Campus Recruitment project is proving a resounding success, with the University fulfilling operational requirements whilst addressing concerns around gender balance, satisfaction and opportunity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“ Addressing gender bias was a new challenge for the University. By removing traditional roles, the recruitment campaign not only resulted in high numbers of quality applicants but a balanced gender split across the process, leading to the recruitment of 65% female Team Leaders and 55% Team Members, substantially increasing the number of women undertaking traditionally male dominated functions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Additionally, through extending the focus of the roles, individuals recruited have unique opportunities to expand their portfolio of skills adding to the University’s available resource and the skill set of the individual. The flexibility allows managers to deploy staff to different areas on a day-by-day basis to suit demand and support events, incidents and special requests. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Our teams are making great strides to advance equality at Swansea University, this accolade is thoroughly deserved”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The University’s flexible approach to recruitment is proving to be a highly effective model and popular with the staff team. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“As someone who came from a manual background, working within a catering environment was alien but I have built-up skills and now have the confidence to work in any of the services. I have surprised myself and really enjoy working in this environment as it adds to the variety of the job” Paul Snary, Team Member. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • In 2015, Swansea University faced the biggest organisational and operational challenge in its 100 year history – the opening of the long anticipated Bay Campus. This extensive £450 million development saw the University operate across multiple sites for the first time and the campus transferred around 30% of the University’s staff and students to a new site, occupying 1 million sq ft of academic, operational and residential space. The new campus brought with it outstanding opportunities and significant challenges, one of which was the requirement to recruit and mobilise an efficient, flexible and capable workforce to deliver the commercial outlets and campus service functions.
  • In the same period, the University embarked on a new HR strategy– based on a single coherent set of Values – “We are Professional”, “We Work Together”, “We Care”. As part of this strategy the University sought to identify and resolves issues and inequalities within recruitment and employment. Two core issues were recognised:
  1. There was a clear, historic structural gender bias throughout existing facilities management and operational job roles – porters and grounds staff tended to attract male candidates whilst catering, hospitality and clerical roles were overwhelmingly filled by female staff.
  2. Additionally, facilities management and operational roles were largely; low paid, inflexible, lacking in training opportunities and had no clear pathway for career development.
  • The Guardian award follows other recent achievements by Swansea University. The University rose 99 places in the Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index, putting it at number 36 of all employers in the UK for its support for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff. The University also continues to make progress on gender equality through its work on the Athena Swan scheme, and is working towards obtaining a Race Charter Mark.
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