Foto: Daniël Rommens

University researchers work 28 per cent overtime

Henk Strikkers,
31 mei 2018 - 11:45

Researchers at Dutch universities work on average 28 per cent overtime, states the Rathenau Institute, a Dutch organisation for technology assessment. ‘The higher the position, the more they work overtime.’

On average, researchers spend most of their time on research according to the Rathenau Institute report, which surveyed over 2.600 employees from universities, university medical centres, public organisations, NWO or KNAW institutes and universities of applied sciences.


PhD students and postdocs spend more than half their time on research (70 and 52 per cent respectively) while professors and associate professors do not even spend 20 per cent of their working hours on research.


Those precious hours they do have, however, is under increasing pressure. In all job categories, researchers have less time for research than agreed in their contracts. Of all the researchers interviewed at different universities, 49 per cent stated they spend less time on research than agreed. Instead, they spend a lot more time on management and organisation tasks, education and acquisition.


As a result, many work overtime. The permanent researchers in particular: university teachers, senior lecturers and professors. Only 1 per cent of professors say they work the time they agreed to. Two in five professors work even more than 145 per cent.


Almost half of researchers (44 per cent) is dissatisfied with the time they can spend on research. In particular professors, university lecturers and associate professors. University lecturers are the only ones to be dissatisfied with the time they can spend on education.