No Science Or Skills Shortage In New Zealand

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first had accounts of the immigrant experience of New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

This tale was taken from a British expats forum.

The author is a highly skilled British research scientist who said that there are no science or skills shortages in New Zealand and that he is dissatisfied with the level of science, equipment, funding and salary offered in expensive New Zealand. A wider, more challenging and rewarding world beckons.

Hi all – we moved here in 2005. I am a research scientist and left Oxford to fill the skills shortage in NZ.

Unfortunately there really is no science or skills shortage in NZ and so we are off.

Nowhere is perfect and everywhere is different. There are things we will miss but if you cannot earn a decent living then there is no point in being in NZ. Earning only $50k a year for advanced medical research going into clinical trial is no good.

The people I work with tell me that $50k is a good salary. Most people outside of my work in NZ think it is a poor salary! May be we will return one day but at the moment the UK, USA, Canada and Europe beckon.

We have a good 265sqm, 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 living area house here. Fully central heated with double glazing. It is very warm and dry, everybody says it is very English. We would not be able to afford this in the UK but, on my salary in NZ, then we can’t really afford it here either! We also have a 5 acre section with decent costal views. Unfortunately all this will have to be sold to return to the UK.

The estate agent is also about to start marketing. We are looking forward to relatives, good roads, historic buildings, castles, warm sunny hols, twice the annual leave you get in NZ and more than twice the salary with much lower living costs. We’ll continue jet skiing and scuba diving when we leave.

…I work for the ***** ***** NZ. I have been isolating, culturing and characterizing adult multipotent stromal cells (ie ‘Stem cells’). We are due to have a clinical trial going ahead fairly soon based on the previous work of  ***** ***** in Portugal. Used to have sabbaticals at Yale, Harvard etc with international conferences all fully funded. I have had nothing in NZ and this will continue until I leave. Simply much better science, equipment and funding elsewhere in the world

The author continued

I used to work with ***** ***** at **** Oxford. You can google him, we did a good but of immunological work and illiciting T-cell respose to tumour etc. His wife ***** ***** was one of the pioneers in the field of HLA. Medical Laboratory Scientists generally tend to have higher pay in NZ than those in academic research, I guess this is often the case. I have been fully designing and validating PCR’s for nearly 20 years but could not get a job running routine molecular diagnostic tests here because I am not a Med Lab Scientist. They employed a Med Lab Scientist with no experience or expertise in PCR. Go figure!

You can take a look at another expat site for a different point of view on NZ. Google expats exposed. The more info you have the better your decision will be. We found it near impossible to get a balanced view of NZ immigration before we left the UK. We are not returning to the UK for ever but I can sped some more time at Oxford or cambridge and then head to US/Canada etc. Maybe I’ll head back to NZ in the future when I’ve progressed my career a bit further. Also considering retraining as a Radiographer. A 2 year accelerated course supported by NHS. Gives me another string to my bow, always useful.

We are not in England yet but…feel that we will be much more appreciative and accomodating of England when we return. We know what to expect when we get back, unlike moving to NZ where the facts are very different from the propoganda you are fed as a skilled migrant. Even extensive research and a few trips cannot fully prepare you for the facts of living in NZ.

For all the issues in the UK, which continue, it is still one of the best Countries (If not the best) in the world. There are reasons that so many flock to England from around the world, it is a leading light. No, it is far from perfect but better than most. NZ is certainly not the best Country in the world, as the kiwis keep trying to force down my throat. England is mature enough to take constructive critisism on the chin and English will agree with many criticisms. However kiwis will not hear or accept any criticism, no matter how small or constructive. See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil. Everything is rosey in paradise. This is not productive! It is a false image and not real!

Further comments were made shortly afterward

a) We came to fill an immediate skills shortage; there isn’t one and I can’t get interviews for the few jobs there are (Jobs for the boys). It is very anti-English. NZ has a huge chip on its shoulder about England and the English. It is not blatantly open racism but it is very definately there.

b) Low cost of living – No it is the second highest in the world behind Australia.

c) Better work/life balance – No you work longer hours with half the annual leave and practically no sick leave. Employers treat employee’s like crap and the system is so weak that they get away with it.

d) Affordable housing – No it aint, salaries are so low and living cost so high that housing is not afordable. In addition most kiwis live in conditions Brits would consider third world, literally!

e) Low crime rate – No it is actually quite high and rising, gangs and black power gangs are prevelent and allowed free reign in NZ. All sorts of crime are actually very high considering the population size. I was born in Manchester and lived in Oxford for several years. Crime in NZ has more in common with Manchester than Oxford. People in Dunedin have stopped going into town on weekend evenings because of the gangs of kids hooning around attacking people

f) Other facts – NZ has the highest rates of child poverty, child abuse, family violence, depression, respiratory illness in the civilized world.

g) Massive ‘boy racer’ culture – idiots in old wrecks hoon around attacking and terrifying people with exhausts like megaphones. Gangs of hundreds gather and attack the Police. They have targetted numerous private addresses for months at a time. Hospitals in Christchurch have had to move patients away from the road side of the building. Kids of 15 years old drive around legally in NZ, there is no requirement for insurance and the cars are ancient wrecks. Most school kids drive to school. Traffic is bad in Dunedin for its size, worse elsewhere in NZ and parking a nightmare.

h) Clean and green – No it is not. The WHO report stated that if everybody in the world lived like the average kiwi then we would need 3.5 planets to support us. Cars that should have been crushed decades ago are still driven in NZ and NZ has virtually no emission tests for vehicles. The fleet of vehicles on the road is the oldest in the civilized world. Dunedin frequently fails international standards for air quality

i) NZ has frighteningly high road toll – the driving is very selfish and totally inconsiderate. The driving ability is low and they drive like idiots, and die a lot!

These are just some of the facts about NZ. It isn’t all bad and you experience variable degrees of some things depending where you live. But it is there and you need to remeber that. DO NOT THINK OF NZ AS A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY – IT IS NOT! Some kiwis have admitted this to us on occassion but most won’t. NZ is closer to third world.

We also agree the many kiwis are rude and ignorant, partly because they are anti-English, partly because it is the culture (Or lack of). Bearing all this in mind I don’t want my son growing up as a kiwi! The education system is very weak too, way behind the UK (Depending where you go). An NZ first class BSc(Hons) is equivalent to a third class or 2ii BSc(Hons) in England. This has been confirmed by numerous migrant senior lecturers at the Uni.

Just a bit of info for thought and further research

15 thoughts on “No Science Or Skills Shortage In New Zealand

  1. Hi Julio, can you give us some more information please? e.g. the nature of the scholarship, the area of research, who your supervisor will be and the regard they’re held in, your intended living arrangements, etc.

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  2. NO Labour Market in New Zealand. Especially from Asia, South and South East Asia, and so on. Please understand there is hardship going on for foreigners. New Zealand is NOT more a Educational HUB. Tis territory education is ONLVALIED for New Zealand and Australia. But, If you attempt to study NZ and find a job even During Education, finding a part-time job is rare. NO one and NO ANY recruitment agency can provide any job. You are free to apply But, NO rarely calls for a interview. even from there you will throw out.

    They restricted for 20hurs for students and if you go for find a part-time, any employers not pay more than 16.5 or maximum 20$. from that, government deduct 1.5% for tax. Then NOTHING to get. Usually room is over 190$ or above in any where in Auckland (North Island). South Island NO JOBs. Much more difficult to get a job.

    Understand the underline of their invitation for education in NZ. They want money for benefit people. especially, Maoris. Most citizens in NZ Do NOT work and depend on government benefit. Therefore, Government need money. They earn money from TAX and INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

    Just be strived much more and go somewhere else please. DO NOT waste your time and money. I was one of a student caught NZ government by its trick. I wasted my parents money. Whole thing they earned by sweating hardly. Now I am suffering myself.

    Please, Do NOT suffer your self later. Even in Auckland, there are more violence take place. Suburb like mangere, otara and southern Auckland are full of rape, gangsters, thieves and so on. Most of them are Islanders (NOT Maoris).

    Living expenses are very high. minimum wage limit is 16$. one single room is 190$ or above PER WEEK. Can not survive. If you wanna begging here, you are welcome. But, remember, you are NOT allow to beg here, unless be a citizen.

    I am writing you my present experience. Hence, THINK MORE THAN TWICE, BEFORE COME NZ.

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  3. NZ medical graduate? Could be an orderly. 😄
    He might even not be living in New Zealand. Sounds like he is still in the UK.
    Congo doesn’t have research facilities to falsely recruit people to, I don’t think.

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  4. What a pity that someone who claims to have a medical degree and who says he’s been offered a “senior lectureship at Cambridge” can’t spell appalled correctly.

    We put it to you the only prestigious institution you inhabit is the one inside your head.

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    • He also can’t spell Barratt, as in the homes he is deriding. You’d think a dude with a medical degree and an offer of a Cambridge lectureship would not be offended by the rise of the Muslim population, but this, if anything else, reveals his New Zealand education. The xenophobia is so deep he can’t even see it for what it is.
      I don’t believe he is a doctor. His criticisms of the UK betray an unfamiliarity of life among the more privileged, which if he were really a doctor, he certainly would be.

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  5. Although my wife [yes wife, not partner] was college educated, we came over on my work permit as a builder. I’m a fairly accomplished builder, if I do say so myself.
    I was astonished at how backward [literally in some cases] the building industry is here.
    I was aprox 50ish [so past my physical prime] yet found that I could easily outwork 2-3 Kiwis.
    Too slow adoption of tech is an issue, as the old, slow ways are still the norm [handsaws?].
    I quit one contractor because of low wages, he went out and actively tried to discredit my qualifications, although he never had a problem with my work, and put me on the biggest, most challenging jobs with no hesitation. Went to work for another [bigger] contractor, despite the efforts of my former employer, and was “let go”, even though my technical ability exceeded my co-workers, my work ethic exceeded my co-workers, I [as an individual] had more tools than the whole company, because my honesty was seen as a liability. After I took my former employer to the ERA [employment court], I’ve not been able to “find” work in my field. Don’t hold ’em to their word, they don’t mean it.

    Old boys club? Yup. Don’t say what they mean? Yup. Don’t mean what they say? Yup. Not to keen on Americans? Yup.

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  6. Found this interesting document, it’s quite long, but good reading:
    http://www.stitchnz.com/pub/inno2cansciencesavenz.pdf

    after a quick look several points stand out:

    1. NZ is a 2nd world country and declining
    2. In decline since 1974 (!!!!!) (tell me how did we foreigners got caught in this trap??)
    3. No science or engineering graduates (and we know, no jobs for them anyhow..)
    4. The same commodity-based economy of always, no change, no progress
    5. kiwi exodus (+41,000 more…)
    6. no funding, politics rule, “old boys clubs”
    7. short-sighted, small minded, tall poppies, full of bs

    This place is an absolute scam and a black hole for aspiring young people, hopefully the rugby wc will expose some of this to the greater world…

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    • Skilled people already in NZ are working at petrol stations as day-shift staff.
      Prior to taking on the job with the university after my degree, I spotted a BioTech graduate that I knew working there.

      Science/skilled graduates should realise that unless they work from subjects from which low startup costs are required, they will forever be chained to employment under people that are possibly underqualified to evaluate them, chained to devices which they do not maintain and cannot afford, and will not likely be able to strike out on their own, except when they decide to start from the bottom in an unrelated field.

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