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Staff Survey 2013


The School of Biological Sciences Staff Survey - Headline Results

The School of Biological Sciences conducted a survey for all staff between 22nd January and 11th February, 2013.

The response rate across the School was 78%, which is significantly better than that of other higher education institutions, and we warmly thank all those who took the time to complete the survey. This level of participation was due in no small part to the staff who acted as Key Contacts for their departments and institutes, and we are extremely grateful for their support.

The responses will help us understand how staff feel about working here; what they think we are doing well, and what we could improve on. The survey has also provided the data to help us monitor equality and staff wellbeing.

In most cases, the survey asked staff to answer a range of questions by selecting one of five responses:

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

Below is a summary of the headline results, focused on the five questions that drew the most positive responses and the five with the highest proportion of negative responses. Please note the results are given as percentages of those who answered that question.

The questions that produced the most positive responses ('strongly agree' and 'agree') were:

  1. I believe that the work the University does is world class (91%) Q.7
  2. I am clear what I am expected to achieve in my job (87%) Q.1
  3. I am proud to work for the University (87%) Q.69
  4. I have a choice in deciding how I do my work (86%) Q.11
  5. I am able to take ownership and responsibility across the duties of my role (85%) Q.10

The questions that received the most negative responses ('disagree and strongly disagree') were:

  1. I think there are sufficient opportunities for career progression at the University (40%) Q.20
  2. In my experience, there is good communication between different parts of the University (34%) Q.64
  3. I receive regular and constructive feedback on my performance (34%) Q.16
  4. Considering my duties and responsibilities, I feel my pay is fair (33%) Q.51
  5. I am happy with the redeployment support I received (answered only by those who have received redeployment support) (32%) Q.23

Benchmarking comparisons

Benchmark results are available against 18 UK Universities, which includes many Russell Group universities as well as our Clinical School and the other parts of the University of Cambridge that have carried out staff surveys in 2012 (UAS, ICE, UL).

In comparison with the benchmark for UK Universities our results were more positive in the following areas: feeling able to speak up and give views on the way things are done; believing that change is well managed in my Department; being treated with fairness and respect in my Department; feeling valued by my Department; having a choice in deciding how I do my work; and being proud to work for the University.

Our results were less positive than the Universities benchmark in the following areas: feeling informed about what is happening in the University; feeling that my pay is fair; receiving regular and constructive feedback on my performance; there is effective co-operation between the different parts of the School of Biological Sciences.


There are many strong positive messages from our survey results, which we can build on. There are also a number of areas where we need to focus attention to assess what changes it would be possible to make:

  • Support for career progression;
  • Communication between different parts of the School and University;
  • Feedback for individuals and opportunities to discuss personal development;
  • Remuneration - understand issues and raise at appropriate level;
  • Opportunities to share lessons from the areas of positive feedback across the School.

Next Steps

The overall results were cascaded to Departments and communicated to staff during the Easter Term.

More detailed analysis of the results will continue to be carried out by the School HR team and the Athena Swan Co-ordinator. Identification and prioritising of actions will follow in the next few months - these may be at Departmental level, School level and University level.

There will be an opportunity for staff to be involved in helping to shape the action plan through participation in focus groups on some of the key issues, in the coming months.

Finally, we wish to thank you again for your participation in the School Staff Survey.