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Staffing UK university campuses overseas

UCL Duo on lessons from multinational company experience

Staffing UK university campuses overseas

On 21st May in London, Professors John Salt and Peter Wood were invited to summarise their research on the international mobility of expert labour at a meeting for university human resource managers organised by the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association.

Their paper, Staffing UK university campuses overseas: Lessons from a multinational perspective, compared the practices of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in managing long and short-term international staff exchange with the situation faced by universities establishing overseas campuses. MNEs primarily rely on the exchange between locations of already-employed staff, who often regard international postings as a positive career move. In contrast, the reluctance of most UK university staff to be seconded to teach abroad has created a reliance on the international recruitment of lecturers with no previous links to the parent university. In the medium-term this may make sustaining the quality of overseas campus teaching and research increasingly difficult. Other papers at the conference outlined the complex legal, taxation and remuneration challenges associated with managing an international labour force. John and Peter’s conclusion was that, in situations where human resource quality and cost are so important, business models for overseas campuses need to focus earlier on human resource management issues. In this, they may have something to learn from the experience of knowledge-based multinational consultancies.

The paper is to be published by the Journal of Studies in International Education (XX(X) 1–14). It is currently available on-line at:


Peter Wood (left) and John Salt

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John Salt
Peter Wood