This paper offers an alternative, futures perspective to the data presented in the DEEWR study titled 'The Australian academic profession in transition: Addressing the challenge of reconceptualising academic work and regenerating the academic workforce' published by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at Melbourne University in September 2011 (Bexley et al, 2011). The CSHE study offers 12 principles to guide planning for the future academic workforce that are grounded in presentism and the traditional conceptualisation of the academic career. The report is professionally and geographically isolated in its analysis, lacking comparative analysis and acknowledgement of the changing context in which academic careers are emerging. This paper therefore offers alternative interpretations of the data provided by challenging some of the assumptions on which the analysis is based, and offers a reconceptualisation of the 12 principles offered. The author of the paper completed a study of the future academic workforce in the UK in 2009 for the Higher Education Funding Council of England and transfers some of the thinking that underpinned the analysis of that work to the CSHE study discussed here.