The Dublin metropolitan area university at which I work has, I’ve found out, declined to offer a promotion to an ambitious and prodigiously talented young scholar which would have retained him in the face of a counter-offer from a university in Canada. This is just so typical! Obviously the universities are at the heart of the project of providing the kind of educated workforce Ireland needs to compete globally, and surely a necessary part of that project should be retaining excellent staff. No one who knows the scholar I’m talking about has the slightest doubt that he is an asset to the department both because in view of the care and effort he puts into teaching and the research he does. At the same time, the university sclerotically packs its upper levels with tired old dinosaurs who haven’t published in years and got promoted out of senility (I’m sorry, seniority) only.
The question is, What does the future look like for Irish universities if they retain old staid and unproductive staff, who couldn’t get a job elsewhere, and loses young energetic and ambitious staff, who are getting jobs elsewhere? It does not look good. Senior staff (that is, senior in rank, not necessarily in age) are more expensive, and universities should not take the easy option of letting the gifted leave, to reduce their wage and salary costs, but should cut the pay of staff who have failed to stay research active.
(They belong to a different time, when the academe moved at a slower pace of life. It is not their fault. But their world has come to an end. They are like the poor natives of Hispaniola who quickly succumbed to disease when the white men came.)