Patterns of paid work among higher education students: Implications for the Bradley reforms

  • Joanne Dearlove University of Wollongong
  • James Grice Thomas Marland Australian Catholic University
Keywords: Bradley review, term-time employment, socio-economic status


The Bradley review suggests that students with low socio-economic status (SES) need greater financial support than that which is currently offered to them if they are to take up university places and remain at university throughout their courses (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, & Scales, 2008). This recommendation is, in part, based on research into the necessity for low SES students to maintain paid, term-time employment throughout their higher education to meet their basic needs. This study has been undertaken to explore the connection between SES status and paid term-time employment on a suburban satellite campus of a regional Australian university in order to determine the extent to which this holds true for this site. This research used a four page questionnaire to establish average hours of employment, types of employment, the necessity for employment, the expenditure of the money earned, and the potential for interference between study and paid employment for the full time undergraduate students studying at this site. Overall there was a remarkable level of similarity between the responses of the two SES cohorts studied (low and mid/high), although some differences indicated that the mid/high SES cohort may be slightly more dependent on their earnings than the low SES cohort and that the low SES cohort appeared more likely to view their employment as a preparation for their future careers. Implications for universities’ timetabling, student support services, and efforts to attract low SES students need to consider the site-specific reasons for low SES enrolment rates and the reasons for students’ term-time employment.

Author Biographies

Joanne Dearlove, University of Wollongong
Part time Learning Developer with the University of Wollongong, working from the Loftus satellite campus. Previously employed for 15 years by UWS, including inaugural Head of Centre for UWS Nepean.
James Grice Thomas Marland, Australian Catholic University
Lecturer in Communication, Literature and Theatre School of Arts and Sciences
How to Cite
DearloveJ., & MarlandJ. G. T. (2012). Patterns of paid work among higher education students: Implications for the Bradley reforms. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 6(2), A60-A72. Retrieved from