Athena SWAN in SHW

Myths about promotion

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

One of the ways we have been doing this, is through a "myth busting" campaign, where we identified some common themes and issues around promotion that can be viewed below (including funding end dates, part time contracts, PhDs and more), that staff reported a lack of clarity on. This also includes the impact of COVID-19 on promotion applications. 

Photo of person completing an application form

I can’t be promoted if I have a funding end-date


You are promoted on merit and whether you meet the promotion criteria, regardless of whether you have a funding end date. Having a funding end date does not prevent you from applying for promotion.

I can’t be promoted if there is not enough money in the grant to cover the cost


Promotion decisions are made on whether you meet the promotion criteria, not based on funding, or whether there is enough money in a grant to pay the higher salary. Grant-funded staff are eligible to apply for promotion, even if there are zero additional funds available in the grant.

The promotion form/process disadvantages women


We have a high success rate for promotion for both women and men. Since 2013/2014, there have been a total of 101 promotion applications submitted across all grades. Of these, 87 have been successful; 65 of these successful applications were from women and 22 from men.

Working part-time counts against you


Our school has a high success rate for promotion for people who work part-time. Since 2013/2014, there have been 19 applications across all grades from people who work part time. And of these, 16 have been successful.

Career breaks count against you


The committee takes into account people who have had a significant absence due to parental leave, illness, or other cause. Applicants are assessed against the criteria at each grade for promotion, with the quality of output judged relative to an individual’s career profile. Applicants can record information relevant to career breaks on their application form.

I can’t be promoted without a PhD


If you don’t have a PhD, you can be promoted if you are at the top of Grade 6 and meet a preponderance of the Grade 7 criteria. And this has been done successfully by previous applicants – in the 2021 promotions round, out of the five Grade 7 promotions, two were from applicants without a PhD.

If my application is unsuccessful, I need to wait 2 years to reapply


If you are applying for promotion from Grade 6 to Grade 7, you do not need to wait two years if you were unsuccessful. You are eligible to reapply the next round. However, for promotion to Grade 8 and above, if you were unsuccessful, you must wait two years to reapply, unless you get approval from the Vice Principal and College head to reapply the following year.

The impact of COVID-19 means I can no longer apply


The committee will take into account the impact of the pandemic in relation to all aspects of the promotions criteria. There is a specific section now in the application where you can describe the specifics of how the pandemic has impacted you.

Access our Moodle "Academic appointment and promotions" training module (mandatory for line managers of research and teaching staff)