A career in professional services: accident, serendipity or something more?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2018, 40 (1), pp. 3 - 17
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management. As part of a larger study, professional staff from two universities, Australian and British, were asked how they entered into a higher education career and what factors kept them in that career. Many participants reported that they found themselves in professional services almost by accident, or by a fortunate combination of circumstances. However, in addition to the serendipitous recruitment reported in earlier studies, our analysis found a positive value associated with higher education that attracted people to seek out employment opportunities, and to remain in the sector. This suggests that recruitment is not as accidental or serendipitous as might first appear. We argue that while there are many reasons why our participants remained in higher education, the variety offered in day-to-day roles and responsibilities is a key factor in retaining professional staff. Our findings have implications for policy and practice, for both the recruitment and retention of talented professional staff.
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