Annual report 2015: Human resources

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During the year, good career and development opportunities, a good work environment and a committed leadership that encourages development have been key concepts in Karolinska Institutet’s (KI’s) work to promote an attractive workplace. All these factors constitute fundamental conditions for enabling KI to develop and strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading medical universities.

An attractive workplace in which to develop

In 2015 KI has continued its work to meet the HR challenges described in Strategy 2018, which include the development of leadership, employeeship, the work environment and recruitment. As regards overall competence at the university there will be a need for both specialised and broad skills with a clear focus on quality. Strategic recruitments of the most skilled employees in international competition are important for enabling KI to strengthen its competitiveness as an internationally successful university. Equally important is the provision of optimal conditions for both senior and junior employees to enjoy and develop in their work. It is not sufficient to offer good career and development opportunities and good employment conditions; we must also offer a good work environment and a committed leadership that encourages development. Employees should feel pride, motivation and commitment in their work and should want to recommend KI as a workplace.

Based on the objectives established in Strategy 2018, several measures in employee empowerment have been planned, commenced or implemented in 2015.

Human resources report

In October 2015, KI had 5,233 employees, corresponding to 4,694 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees*. This is an increase of 5 per cent on the same period in 2014. 60 per cent of employees (3,163 persons) were women. All staff categories increased with the exception of preclinical senior lecturers (-11 per cent) and lecturers (-1 per cent).

During the year KI decided to discontinue doctoral grants as a form of funding doctoral education from July 2016. However, a gradual transition already began in 2015 and doctoral studentships as a form of funding increased by 18 per cent.

The human resources report only covers employees with a formal position. KI’s activities also involve a large number of persons who are affiliated with KI.

Staff turnover is largely unchanged compared with 2014, i.e. 11 per cent for permanently employed staff and 20 per cent in total for both permanent and temporary staff, including doctoral students.

FTE employees, various categories of staff 2012–2015 (proportion of women in brackets)
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Change 2014-2015 (%)
Professor, pre-clinical 219 (29 %) 221 (28%) 221 (28%) 230 (29%) 4
Professor, clinical 153 (24%) 151 (27%) 146 (27%) 143 (27%) -2
Senior lecturer, pre-clinical 122 (62%) 109 (64%) 110 (62%) 110 (63%) 0
Senior lecturer, clinical 37 (41%) 41 (47%)  48 (51%) 45 (46%) -5
Lecturer 159 (75%) 155 (73%) 159 (75%) 157 (75%) -1
Researcher 364 (45%) 345 (47%) 360 (46%) 379 (48%) 5
Research associate 161 (51%) 149 (53%) 161 (52%) 170 (53%) 5
Postdoctor with employment 429 (60%) 493 (56%) 526 (56%) 539 (57%) 2
Doctoral student with employment 572 (64%) 595 (64%) 650 (59%) 770 (58%) 18
Technical and admin. staff 1,981 (75%) 2,023 (74%) 2,093 (72%) 2,153 (70%) 3
Total 4,192 (64%) 4,283 (63%) 4,473 (62%) 4,694 (61%) 5

Here, “full-time equivalent employees” refers to the number of full-time and part-time employees translated into full-time employees. The figures above include all employees who were not on a full leave of absence during the month measured, regardless of full-time/part-time or length of their employment, but exclude those in assistant posts in combination with doctoral grants and adjunct teachers. The figures refer to October 2015. Source: Primula.

Newly employed professors and senior lecturers

During the year KI employed 16 new professors, including nine women, having advertised these positions in international competition. Two council researchers, of which one is a woman, have been employed as professors following an assessment of qualifications. KI has also recruited five internationally prominent and successful professors, of which one is a woman, through nomination.

During the year the university has recruited 16 new visiting professors, including 7 women, and 21 people have been newly employed or had employment periods extended as adjunct professor, of which 6 were women. In October 2015, the combined level of employment for the adjunct professors was equivalent to just under 21 FTEs.

During the year, 13 people have been employed as senior lecturers, of which 11 were women, and 14 people have been newly employed or had employment periods extended as adjunct senior lecturer, of which 3 were women. In October 2015 all adjunct senior lecturers employed corresponded to around 9 FTEs.

Newly appointed professors and lecturers 2012–2015 (proportion of women in brackets)
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Professors* 24 (33%) 23 (26%) 19 (36%) 23 (48%)
Visiting professors 3 (0%) 3 (0%) 8 (25%) 16 (44%)
Adjunct professors 9 (44%) 13 (38%) 13 (46%) 10 (30%)
Total 36 (33%) 39 (28%) 40 (37%) 49 (43%)
Senior lecturers        
Senior lecturers* 19 (47%) 12 (100%) 17 (64%) 13 (62%)
Adjunct senior lecturers 5 (40%) 5 (60%) 6 (0%) 5 (20%)
Total 24 (46%) 17 (88%) 23 (47%) 5 (20%)

Staff gender distribution

Gender distribution is slightly evened, but remains at approximately two-thirds women. As last year, the gender distribution is within the interval 40–60 per cent for senior lecturers, senior researchers, assistant professors, postdocs and doctoral students.

Among professors, the proportion of women has increased compared with 2014, i.e. 29 per cent of professors are women. Among technical/administrative positions, a large majority is still women, but the gender distribution has become somewhat more even, from 72 per cent women in 2014 to 70 per cent women in 2015.

Teachers with doctorates

The number and proportion of teachers with doctorates continues to increase, from 88 per cent in 2014 to 91 per cent in 2015. The human resources report for teachers with doctorates includes professors, senior lecturers, assistant professors and lecturers. Only the group of lecturers has teachers without doctorates.

Number of teachers with doctorates and proportion of all teachers 2012–2015 (FTE employees)
Year (%) Number of doctorates Proportion of total (%)
2012 714 84
2013 717 87
2014 739 88
2015 776 91


The recruitment strategy group

The university management’s Strategy 2018 has focused on raising quality in all parts of KI’s operations. The management has selected a few strategy areas where it proposes general measures to be taken. The strategy area for employees covers initiatives related to the recruitment and career of researching and teaching staff. In March 2015, KI appointed an inter-board working group to produce proposals for a recruitment strategy for KI.

Strategic recruitment

For the second consecutive year KI announced positions for the recruitment of prominent junior researchers within medical science. This is a strategic investment in junior researchers with particularly excellent academic qualifications and future potential. It is a broad investment focusing on both basic research and clinical research.

The investment covers three levels of the academic career; research associate, extension of previous employment as a research associate, and researcher. The Board of Research finances the successful applicant’s salary for four, two and five years, respectively. This year’s announcement drew a total of more than 500 applicants.

KI starts research activities in Hong Kong

In connection with KI’s start of research activities in Hong Kong, work has commenced in 2015 to investigate the conditions for acting as an employer in Hong Kong. This has, for example, involved studying Hong Kong’s labour law and mapping employment conditions and benefits that are applicable to researchers, especially at universities. The current establishment of activities in Hong Kong is intended to serve as a model for similar initiatives in the future.

International Staff Service

Intensified international recruitment has raised demands on information and support regarding international relocation. In 2015 activities for the reception of international personnel have been enhanced and now also cover a supplementary service for research associates, researchers, senior lecturers and professors. The service supports with personal consultation on relocation matters, for example accommodation, schooling healthcare, banking and taxes.

Leadership and professional development

Provision of expertise and leadership development By means of a thorough needs analysis performed through consultation with all departments, KI has during the year designed an overall concept for provision of expertise and leadership development (Talent Management @KI). This includes training and developing employees and leaders/managers to create an effective process for career switching and phase-out.

KI has also carried out individual development initiatives for managers and leaders and has supported the organization through tailored development initiatives for specific professional functions and teams.

Introduced this year is participation in mentoring programmes through the network of Stockholm’s higher education institutions. The basic range of managerial training now includes a new course for research team leaders. Courses in English have increased in 2015. Furthermore, work to introduce a leadership development programme for senior managers has been started.

Work environment and employment conditions

Code of Conduct

KI’s guidelines for work environment and health include the objective for the working climate to be characterised by job satisfaction and community, open communication with a permissive attitude and approach, respect and consideration, and collaboration, participation and influence. In order to strengthen and clarify this, spring 2015 saw the introduction of a Code of Conduct that covers all employees, i.e. also scholarship holders and affiliated co-workers.

New courses

In addition to the 15 basic work environment courses that are regularly given to managers, safety representatives and others dealing with work environment issues, KI has in the past year developed specialised courses. Four courses specialising in the risk assessments made in systematic work environment management and one course on the role of safety representatives in new construction and renovation have been offered. September 2015 saw the start of new leadership training for research team leaders that includes a module on laboratory safety.

New training facilities and meeting place for employees and students

On 7 October 2015, KI inaugurated its training facilities for employees and students on the Huddinge campus. The facilities are unique in their design, which has prioritised large areas and space for movement and social interaction. The idea is that these areas will primarily inspire functionality, the joy of motion, learning and application in everyday life, but also have a function in teaching. Furthermore, instructors and team leaders, mainly from KI, have been recruited to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all visitors.

Interventions and health promotion for students

In accordance with the programme proposal adopted last year, KI has increased resources for also being able to offer students access to premises, events and training classes. As part of its health promotion initiatives, KI has started several new training classes and opened new premises, described above.

Interventions linked to the results from the employee survey have also been implemented during the year. Among other things, the university has offered courses in English on support for sleep and stress-related problems.

Equal opportunities

KI’s activities on equal opportunities are based on the equal rights and opportunities of all employees and students – regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, ethnicity, religion or other faith, disability, sexual orientation or age. The Board and the Vice-Chancellor are ultimately responsible for these efforts being target oriented in accordance with discrimination legislation. The Council for Equal Opportunities, reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor, works strategically at an overall level and supports work at the local level (departments and study programmes, etc.). The work is rooted in KI’s action plan for equal treatment, which covers all employees as well as applicants and students at all levels.

Recruitment targets for professors

The proportion of women among newly appointed professors and visiting professors during the year was 45 per cent, compared with 35 per cent last year. During the entire recruitment period 2012-2015, the proportion of women among newly appointed professors and visiting professors was 36 per cent.

In KI’s appropriation directions for the fiscal year 2012, the Ministry of Education and Research established a recruitment goal for the university stating that at least 47 per cent of the professors employed during the period 2012-2015 should be women. The recruitment goal does not include adjunct professors. To achieve this goal, an action plan was drafted in 2013. The action plan includes financial support for departments which employ a woman as professor or visiting professor, quality assurance of the recruitment process, special KID-funding (partial financing funds for doctoral studentship) for women supervisors and skills enhancement programmes. As a part of the latter initiative, recruitment staff and academic representatives with a recruitment task have been offered training in gender equal recruitment during the year.

Since 2014 financial support has been allocated to eight departments to employ a woman as visiting professor and funding for thirteen departments to employ a woman as professor. The initiative has been successful and the Board of Research has therefore decided to let it continue until mid-2016.

Courses and seminars

Equal opportunities has been an integrated part of courses, seminars and other skills enhancement programmes for students/doctoral students and for managers and other employees. Among the recurrent events offering training sessions in the area of equal opportunities are the course within formal management and leadership and courses for research team leaders and supervisors. In addition, a seminar on the discrimination ground of religion or other faith was arranged for the departments’ HR personnel and KI’s representatives for equal opportunities, with around 40 participants.

Funds for preventive efforts in the area of equal opportunities

In order to stimulate preventive work and good ideas in the area of equal opportunities in departments and study programmes, the KI Council for Equal Opportunities offers financial funding for longer projects and occasional events specialising in one or more of the statutory grounds of discrimination. In 2015 funding has been allocated to KI University Library for a new book collection to supplement the library’s regular literature. The aim of this collection is to particularly highlight norm-critical and intersectional perspectives in areas such as medicine, pedagogy and psychology, to visualise perspectives that are often surpressed or stereotyped and to create conditions for an inquiring and critical examination of one’s own patterns of thought and actions.

Annual report