The need for cost-cutting will amount to 106 million euros annually by the end of the term of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government in 2019–2020. During the current year, the University must already save 49 million euros. Staff costs make up about two-thirds of the University’s total expenses. Rector Jukka Kola says that staff cuts are unavoidable because of the rapid and dramatic reduction in funding.
“The University of Helsinki’s rise in rankings among the leading research universities in the world would not have been possible without professional and committed employees. I am deeply sorry that we are forced to let go of competent staff members.”
Terminations targeted at non-academic staff
“As the University of Helsinki’s primary objective is to ensure continued high-quality teaching and research, the staff cuts will mainly be targeted at staff other than the teaching and research staff,” Kola adds.
The overall number of staff will reduce by approximately 980 by the end of 2017. The University estimates that of these 980, terminations will account for 570. Of the employees to be terminated, 75 will represent teaching and research staff and 495 other staff.
The number of fixed-term positions is expected to reduce by 210 by 2020. Of these, 160 are teaching and research positions and 50 other (non-academic) positions.
By the end of 2017, 200 employees will retire from positions which will not be filled after their retirement. Of these, 60 are teaching and research positions and 140 other (non-academic) positions.
The terminations will be carried out during spring 2016. The current investigation concerning the national distribution of duties between universities may lead to further terminations later.
The University of Helsinki has made adjustments to its operations also before the current decisions. In the past five years, the number of staff has decreased by some 500, most of whom have been non-academic staff.
Incorporation of continuing education
The University of Helsinki has considered a broad range of options for financial adjustment. One of the major reforms planned is the integration of previously dispersed administrative services into a new service organisation. The purpose is to eliminate overlaps and increase cost-efficiency.
The University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education (previously Palmenia) will be converted into a separate company. The conversion of the Centre for Properties and Facilities into a separate company will also be considered. The aim is to reduce the facilities the University uses by at least 80,000 m2 by 2020.
Laboratory staff will be concentrated into staff pools. The primary purpose of these staff pools is to ensure continuity for skilled staff and to make it easier for them to flexibly transfer from one position to another within the University. IT duties will be increasingly centralised. The University will investigate opportunities to intensify cooperation with Aalto University in the provision of IT services.
More savings will be sought through the national distribution of duties between universities, increased service cooperation with other institutions of higher education and the internal reorganisation of operations. In 2016 the University will also examine its faculty and education structures.
Staff suggestions will save millions
The University’s various units had already adjusted their operations before the cooperation negotiations began. These savings will annually cover approximately 20 million euros of the funding deficit. In autumn 2015, members of the University community submitted new suggestions for cutting costs, which will help the University save up to 10 million euros each year. In terms of staff costs, this corresponds to 170 jobs.
The reduction of facilities, the centralisation of procurement and other cost-cutting measures as well as the efficient acquisition of competitive funding are expected to result in some 20 million euros of savings per year.
“We will pursue external funding more effectively. We have already launched a Finnish fundraising campaign, which we hope will also interest private donors, and also intend to acquire more research funding from international sources, such as large foundations,” Rector Kola explains.
The first part of the employer’s report, focused on the reorganisation of administration, was published on 12 January.
Requests for a call back can be submitted to Maija Roitto, Executive Assistant (+358 2941 22210).
The University management will be available to the media after the staff information session at a news conference, to begin at 16.30.
The news conference will be held on 27 January at 16.30 in the Board meeting room in the Main Building. Entrance via the Senate Square side of the Main Building at Unioninkatu 34, staircase to the left from the foyer, one floor up.
The University management will be available for statements by phone after the news conference from approximately 17.30.