Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) review

Prof. David Paterson

When I agreed to chair the University’s EJRA Review Group for its planned ten-year review, I knew it was a big task, but also an important one. The EJRA is an internal policy that requires those in grade 8 and above to retire when they are 68, unless they successfully apply for an extension. The Aims of the EJRA focus on inter-generational fairness, diversity and succession planning. This is a policy that affects us all in different ways and many people have understandably strong views about it. I personally have no strong views here (which is probably why I am chairing this group), and can see the merit in many points of view from both sides. There will never be a perfect right answer, but we must do the best we can for the wider community and the institution itself going forward.

I said that I would chair the group on the understanding that my approach would be data-driven and objective, and that we would be able to operate entirely independently, following the evidence wherever it takes us. I now lead a group of 16 current and retired colleagues from across the collegiate University, with terms of reference that encapsulate these principles. You can see the membership and the Terms of Reference online.

What I didn’t know when I took this on was quite how much information we would need to take on board. The group has had briefings on employment law and pensions, and met with senior leaders from other research-intensive universities. It is now starting to work its way through a huge amount of data about our staffing, looking at – among other things – turnover, diversity and age profiles for all the different role types covered by the policy, and any differences in how divisions and colleges approach the EJRA. The HE and wider societal context is also vital to understanding how our policy impacts our employment model.

As well as analysing these data, we need to hear from you, the key stakeholders to this policy, about your views and experiences. In the next couple of weeks we are starting a consultation to enable us to do that. Please do look at our webpage when the consultation launches, provide feedback through the survey tool, and come to one of the town hall events we are planning in January. We’ll notify you when the arrangements for the consultation and events are finalised through University Bulletin, the Gazette, and the webpage. Your views will inform our thinking, and help us to find the right way forward to balance the needs of all the generations.

We are aiming to report to Council towards the end of Hilary term, and you’ll be able to find out more about our progress on the website over the coming months.

D J Paterson
Chair of EJRA Review Group