Continuing in our hugely popular Migrant Tales series – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by someone who works in the university sector in New Zealand.
Here’s why overseas academics thinking about a switch to NZ need to look elsewhere better: Awful salaries, questionable ethics, nepotism, no progression, and under-funding are good reasons to stay away:
“I’ve lived in NZ for a few years. I work in the university sector. I believed all the hype about being ‘world class’ blah blah blah, but in reality, tertiary education in NZ is awful and getting worse.
For starters, the salaries are awful. For the same job in the US, Canada, or Australia, you’d likely be making about 30% more. (I’ve been told that UK academic salaries are similarly awful to NZ salaries). The working conditions are very, very, odd as well. There is no tenure here, which is a double-edged sword. It is much harder to get rid of faculty, but universities get around this by restructuring regularly. In my field, classes are HUGE, with constant pressures to ‘grow enrolments,’ through absurd strategies like lowering the already dismal admissions standards and not prosecuting plagiarism. I’m not kidding. The best students are great, but most students are pretty uninspiring, and the worse are very, very, very poor performers.
I had never heard the term ‘tall poppy syndrome’ until I arrived in NZ, and for quite a while I tried to believe that it wasn’t happening to me. I was publishing in top journals and still not getting promoted, while my Kiwi colleagues were publishing in crappy venues and moving up in the ranks. Tall poppy is alive and well here, at least for me. In fact, where my current employer thinks I shouldn’t even bother applying for promotion, a much better university abroad has offered me a higher rank and a much higher salary. So I’m hoping to be outta here, but it’s complicated…
NZ universities are horribly underfunded, but they also spend what money they do have on the wrong things. I’ve been astounded at the nepotism (veiled behind an allegedly ‘competitive application process’) and ineptitude in its Sr. ‘Leadership.’
If you’re an overseas academic considering moving to NZ, think twice. Or at least make sure you don’t mind a crummy salary, little academic integrity or respect, and disappointing resources. If you do move and intend to get out later, it might take you quite a while to dig yourself out.”
For more in the series click here: Migrant Tales