Athena SWAN in SHW

Career progression

Photo of woman completing an application form

Chairs

Arlene McGarty and Susan Browne

Aim

We place a high priority on supporting staff through career progression and reward/recognition processes. In a recent survey, some staff reported that they did not fully understand the university’s criteria and processes for promotion/regrading. We need to change this and this group has been working hard to correct this.

Activity/achievements

Research and teaching staff

We have held annual promotions workshops for SHW early career researchers throughout 2016–2019, which sought to provide unambiguous information about when and how to apply for promotion. These workshops are normally run in October/November and are advertised via e-mail a few months prior to the next session. However, if you want to express an early interest in attending the next workshop, please contact the chair of the group to be put on a waiting list. The programme for these workshops and all of the presentations can be found by clicking the links below. 

Feedback from attendees at these workshops over the years has been positive. These are a few quotes from previous attendees which reflect their experience of the promotions workshop:

"I found it very helpful to be able to have my questions answered by senior members of staff who actually sit on the promotions committee. The discussions that followed made me feel more confident about what information to put in each section when it came to filling out the application form." (Research Assistant)

"I was at last year’s [2018] workshop and subsequently had a successful application accepted as part of last year’s round of promotions (Grade 7 to 8). What I liked about the workshop was that it had senior members of staff who were willing to be open and transparent regarding the process. All were happy to answer any question and to be able to do that in person was extremely worthwhile. There were a number of tips and suggestions that made it directly into my application. From something simple as ensuring I was explicit with my contributions to chosen articles as part of research and scholarship section to the calculated use of 'buzzwords' to signpost important evidence to the reviewer. The workshop was great value and I’m very glad I attended.2 (Research Fellow)

We recognise that some staff are still not fully aware of the promotions criteria and the promotions process. We hope anyone in this position will attend future workshops.

Line managers are now required to discuss promotion at every annual Performance and Development Review (P&DR) and to provide written confirmation that promotion has been discussed. The working group developed an online training course in 2019 for line managers to help raise awareness of the promotion criteria and process. This course is now compulsory for all line managers.

Two members of staff who were recently promoted have kindly agreed to make their completed application forms available as a guide to what is required. We will upload these when they are available.

We have also put together a promotions "myth busting" webpage

We are eager to help with questions about the promotions criteria and processes. Staff are encouraged to contact the group with their questions, which will be discussed by the Athena Swan career progression team. Answers to these queries, which will be anonymised, will then be posted on this website. Please email any questions to the chair of the group. 

Professional services staff

Career progression pathways for professional services staff are different to those of academic staff. To move up a grade, professional services staff need to move to a different job advertised at a higher grade, or be successful via the regrading process (which only applies if the requirements and responsibilities of a job have changed substantially).

The SHW Athena Swan professional services staff working group works to identify and address any apparent inequities or imbalances in treatment and conditions experienced by professional services staff including how career progression is supported. In 2018, the group launched a new mentorship scheme for PS staff to improve career development for staff within the school. The scheme aims for mentors to assist mentees to make the best decisions for their future and to aid the mentee’s growth and skills development. A recent survey found that 80% of participants found the scheme beneficial.

The group has also hosted career progression workshops for professional saervices staff with the aim of enabling staff to pursue training and career development opportunities. In 2022, a new career development resource on Moodle was launched for professional services staff to better understand regrading, reward and mentorship.

Future plans

We plan to continue hosting workshops in order to provide information to staff. We will continue to strive towards ensuring that all SHW staff understand the university’s criteria and processes and we welcome suggestions to improve the current format of promotions workshops. We are also in the process of developing content for a new workshop to be run annually to raise awareness of the criteria and process for achieving reward and recognition.  

Useful links