Concordat: recruitment and selection

‘Principle 1: Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research’

There is evidence that institutions are increasingly operating open and transparent recruitment processes for research staff, supported by a variety of legislation and national policies on employment.

Measuring progress

Results from the Careers in Research Online Surveys (CROS 2011) and (CROS 2013) record significant progress against this principle, including:

  • substantial increases in provision of information for job applicants, such as job descriptions and skills and attribute requirements
  • sustained modest increases in open advertising of vacancies reported by research staff as well as implementation of recommended interview procedures in relation to their current posts
  • a slight reduction in the proportion of research staff employed on fixed term employment contracts from 82% in 2009 to 77% in 2011 but little decrease thereafter. This may be too blunt a measure of progress, as open contracts for research staff do not necessarily imply increased security of employment

Implementing institutional policies

  • In the Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS 2011) a large majority (72%) of principal investigators responding to the survey reported confidence in their knowledge of the conditions of employment for research staff, whilst 23% would like to be more confident

Data suggest that institutional policies may not be applied consistently across institutions but where there is a commitment from senior managers and where human resources and departmental management work together there is a strong chance of developing systems that better respond to the needs of researchers as well as to those of the institution.