Trinity has frozen all staff recruitment due to the “significant financial consequences” of the coronavirus, according to an email sent to staff this afternoon.
The email, sent by HR Director Antoinette Quinn and seen by The University Times, told staff that the College’s “Executive Officers Group decided this week on a freeze on all further recruitment within the college”.
The decision, she said, was taken to “ensure that we are focusing our valuable limited resources where they are needed most”, and means recruitment – including staffing requests – will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis, “where a strong business case can be made”.
All recruitment requests will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the College’s Planning Group, which will then make a decision on whether to allow the recruitment to take place.
“These measures will not affect the Chair roles currently in the recruitment pipeline”, Quinn said.
“This is not a decision that Executive Officers took lightly but it is one we believe is in the best interest of the University in these difficult and unprecedented times.”
Last month, in a video released on social media, Provost Patrick Prendergast admitted that Trinity would suffer a “financial hit” as a result of the coronavirus, which has forced the country into a months-long lockdown.
Prendergast hailed Trinity’s “global community”, who he said “will work with us to secure the future of this great university” despite the financial challenges that the coronavirus will present.
Earlier this year, The University Times reported that Trinity could spend €29 million to recruit 263 new academic staff members over the next five years, as part of an ambitious plan to bring its staff–student ratio in line with other major European universities and arrest a series of rankings slides.
In November 2019, The University Times reported on a climate of “stagnation” for Trinity’s technical and support staff, many of whom said they felt “helpless” after being denied opportunities for promotions and progressions.
College was in talks at the time with trade unions to implement a new job evaluation scheme for professional staff, which could replace review committees – the structure previously responsible for dealing with promotions and progressions.
Trinity said the talks were at an advanced stage, but one of the unions says the College has “unilaterally suspended” promotions and progressions in the interim as workers are denied the opportunity to advance their careers.
Many staff said they took on their jobs on the understanding that they would have the opportunities for natural progression, but say their patience did not pay off. Some said they wouldn’t have taken on their roles in the first place if they’d known that they would be denied the opportunity for career progressions and pay rises.