Karel de Grote University College is one of the largest university colleges in Belgium, and even the largest one in Antwerp, with more than 12,000 students at 9 different campuses. 1,235 employees – or 881 full time equivalents – are responsible for the realization of a varied and qualitative educational offer. Because the university college hires more than 100 people per year, the integrated and user-friendly recruitment tool of CVWarehouse is definitely an added value.
We have a talk with Peggy Saey, policy officer HR: “About 80 percent of our employees have a teaching role. In the other 20 percent, we find supporting functions, going from cleaners to administrative staff and managers. Of course we’re dealing with a certain amount of turnover, like every other organization. People retire, find new adventures or have a temporary assignment that finishes. In the previous academic year, we recruited about 125 people. That’s a lot.”
“The decree of higher education sets us several rules of the game”, says Peggy. “Therefore, our negotiation margin is very limited. We need to stick to the diploma conditions for our academic staff, for example. A lecturer must have a master’s degree, a practical lecturer at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s one thing we can’t ignore. The diploma conditions aren’t as strict for other functions, but we need to have our own system. In addition, the wages are also subject to fixed scales. That makes it even more difficult to attract certain talent or expertise.”
The general trends in the market, and their influence on the attractiveness of study programmes, have an impact as well. “If we look at our programme ‘Art and Culture Mediation”, we see that it has become significantly less popular”, knows Peggy. “According to the new art decree, the funding for art and culture houses is largely trimmed. Because there are a lot less jobs in this sector today, there is much less interest in this programme either. Of course, it has an impact on our need for teachers. Some of them are generally educated and can be used in other programmes. But others are specifically educated. Either way, the fluctuations between the attractiveness of our different programmes don’t make it easier. On the contrary.”
“Whether it’s hard to fill vacancies? That really depends on the type of function”, says Peggy. “A vacancy for student counsellor easily attracts more than 200 candidates. For lecturer profiles, we generally have a good response as well. But if we consider very specific vacancies, for ICT professionals for example, the number of applications is a lot lower.”
There’s no doubt that the Karel de Grote University College is an attractive employer. “First of all, working with us is interesting because of the job security and of course the high number of vacation days. The teaching staff has 55 vacations days per year, while the supporting staff has 45 of them”, says Peggy. ”Of course, that’s not a decisive factor. But we see a lot of people in their thirties among our candidates. They have worked very hard for ten years, but have a young family, and are looking for more stability. The work-life balance becomes increasingly important, as you grow older. We see it every day in practice. “
But what makes the Karel de Grote University College different than others? “As an educational institution, we find it our duty to offer development opportunities. If we expect our students to learn continuously, we need to expect the same from our employees”, states Peggy. “In addition, we notice that the employees really feel at home here. We have a warm, pure and transparent work environment in which you can take initiative. We also project that atmosphere to our candidates.”