Higher Education-Workforce Relationship and Higher Education Job Satisfaction

Higher Education-Workforce Relationship and Higher Education Job Satisfaction

Maryam Haghshenas (Tehran University, Iran), Abouzar Sadeghzadeh (University of Bradford, UK), Mojtaba Nassiriyar (University of Tehran, Iran) and Roghayeh Shahbazi (Alzahra University, Iran)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9455-2.ch001
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Abstract

This chapter discusses three major subjects. The major part consists of the relationships between higher education and the job market. Challenges, benefits, advantages and disadvantages of various higher education-workforce schemes to close the gap between courses and degrees offered by higher education institutions and employer demands are explained along with examples such as the current programs offered in the USA and by the National Health Service in the UK. Job satisfaction in higher education is then discussed including examples from around the world. Factors that cause job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are explained from various leading researches and conclusions from relevant researchers are presented. The difference that gender makes in the workplace is also a subject inducing many researches. Higher education influence on marital status is briefly discussed also with the aid of various researches as the closing paragraphs of this chapter. Finally, the conclusion is presented taking into account the main subjects discussed throughout the chapter.
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Introduction

It is a well-known fact that higher education has a critical role in competitive economies throughout the world by creating necessary knowledge and skills. Most higher education institutions have a decent working relationship with employers via various research programs and learning networks. Some institutions develop models for presenting higher level skills to satisfy employer’s requirements. However, all higher education institutions should increase their capacity in engaging employers to a larger extent and must take into account their different profiles and objectives.

Cooperation between higher education institutions and companies isn’t a new concept. Employers have been sponsoring university research based programs and projects for years. Many universities include business development and entrepreneurial units that work directly with employers to develop effective programs.

Due to the changes in economies worldwide, cooperation between higher education and employers has also been affected. A fresh drive has been created especially through foundation degrees to modify undergraduate programs which are designed in collaboration with employers. Workforce focus and increasing flexibility has caused higher education institutes to go beyond responsiveness to old-school full time student’s demands to the education and skills required by employers in various sectors.

Various researches indicate contrasts between industry needs and university based programs. Specifically, businesses found it hard to cooperate with universities in a strategic dialogue about necessary skills. This may be due to a number of reasons namely that off-campus student, themselves often being mature and experienced employees who make demands on institutions who are used to choosing and teaching full time on-campus higher education students. Therefore workforce development supervision should take into account all the needs of a more diverse student population. Modifying targets away from the typical aged 18-30 population will transform the impetus of higher education providers to collaborate with employers and change the relationship between employers and higher education institutions. These institutions must review their priorities to create relevant, flexible and responsive provision to satisfy employers’ high skills requirements.

Developing the workforce is based on a three-way relationship between provider, employer and learner/employee. The requirement for higher workforce skills offers huge opportunities for employers, higher education providers and employees and those willing to face the relevant challenges will be awarded handsomely.

The first part of this chapter will be dedicated to assessing the challenges and relevant issues concerning the relationships between employers, higher education and employees. The aim is to provide a better understanding for this area of study and to further clarify requirements from both all sides concerned.

Factors influencing job satisfaction of academics in higher education are vital due to their relevance to the physical and mental health of workers. Therefore, a clear understanding of these factors is of great importance since employee satisfaction affects absenteeism, turnover and overall job performance. Job satisfaction is viewed as a positive emotional state resulting from personnel job experience.

Even though academics often carry out researches on other subjects including job satisfaction of various groups of people, research shows that their own job satisfaction levels has hardly ever been reviewed. Their job mostly involves teaching and researching though some have administrative and management duties. Academic staff must stay on top of latest developments in fields that affect their work such as computer-related developments. They must also have control over their teaching, research and community service tasks.

In the next part of this chapter, factors concerning job satisfaction and dissatisfaction in higher education academic staff are further discussed.

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