Athena SWAN in SHW

Professional services (PS) staff issues, aspirations and development


Claire O'Hare and Enni Miller


The main aims of this group are:

  • to identify and address any apparent inequities or imbalances in treatment and conditions experienced by PS staff;
  • to have input to the annual staff consultation exercise to ensure that the interests of PS staff are properly represented;
  • to identify and address any aspects of the overall working environment or underlying culture which has potential to impact adversely on the day to day or long-term workplace wellbeing of PS staff, or which would seem to disadvantage particular groups e.g. part-time employees;
  • to report on career development and training opportunities for PS staff;
  • to monitor support for PS staff before, during and after maternity or shared parental leave;
  • to monitor support for PS staff choosing to work part-time.

The group convened for the first time in September 2015 and meetings currently take place every two months. Membership includes representatives from a range of PS staff grades and job families (Management, Professional and Admin, Technical and Specialist, and Operational), and a mix of genders, ages, and full/part-time staff members. 


Our most significant activities and achievements during the past year have been:

  • Devising and launching a mentorship scheme for PS staff.
  • Organising an event about the impact of invisible disabilities in work and study environments, and how managers and colleagues can best support those affected.
  • Running a career development workshop with the aim of enabling PS staff to pursue training and career development opportunities. 
  • Investigating opportunities for leadership training for PS staff.

Future plans

Going forward, work will focus on:

  • Monitoring and evaluating our mentorship scheme for PS staff.
  • Implementing guidelines to support PS staff to explore shadowing opportunities
  • Finally – it’s already clear that COVID-19 is going to change the HE sector for years to come. Our intention is to collect information to understand the impact of this on PS staff, and what measures can be put in place to alleviate the additional strain put on PS staff as a result of the changes in our working environment.