University of Otago Employee Reviews

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3.0
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Productive workplace
Psychology Tutor (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago17 March 2019
Otago University was a good employer, the staff were really nice that I encountered and the environment was good. For my tutoring positions, for the work I had to put in the money was not particularly good.
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1.0
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A very toxic work environment
General Staff (Former Employee) –  Dunedin23 January 2019
DO NOT WORK HERE

The ratings/reviews for the University of Otago on this site are quite unbelievable. It's almost as if the University's HR/Marketing teams have populated it with favourable reviews as part of a team bonding exercise. The only thing stopping this was being 100% accurate is that the University doesn't do team building exercises because that would imply they actually cared about their workforce, which they don't.

The University of Otago is a very toxic environment where staff moral is at rock bottom. Management straight out lie to staff and they essentially have 3 plans. 1 - oppose all liquor licenses for pubs in the area and once the site is available, buy the lease for the property and turn it into a study space....then wonder why students booze up at home. 2 - Install CCTV camera on campus and on public streets not owned by the University so they can spy on students doing things they would have normally done in pubs, but because they've all closed are now done at flats. 3 - Promote the University of Otago as a destination for Health Science....even to people who aren't interested in these study options, or to people who stand absolutely no chance of getting into their preferred course such as medicine...why do this? Easy, because if they told them what preparation they really needed, the University wouldn't fill up their BSc courses with lots of rejected Health Science Students.

I worked at Otago for a decade...10 years of essentially zero professional development, constantly being asked to cut costs yet deliver more, watched as Management across
  more... the university kicked back on high salaries taking in plenty of domestic and international trips. It must be hard to look so busy when they do sweet FA most of the time.

If you love working in a place where management protect their own patch, where management/HR are disconnected from workers at the coal face and also disconnected from their customers (students), if you enjoy a culture of constant budget cuts and over working/under appreciating staff, if you love being micro managed, or if you are a "Yes man", then you'll fit in fine.

Management at Otago thrive on power trips and their high salaries, and attend constant meetings and network with people in similar positions...mainly unproductive meetings but all of the 'important' people will be there so it's best to attend so you're seen. Its BS.

Group think is rampant at Otago. Management and HR come up with crazy ideas, and everyone sits around nodding in approval, while the average worker is gobsmacked to learn of the often irrational decisions.

Job security is a joke, and career progression and advancement are only words, at best a dream. You need to not only know someone up the chain to progress, you'll need to be up their %$!# to your ankles. Don't worry if you are totally unqualified for the position, if you know the hiring manager or know someone high up, you'll be fine. Maybe you're mates with a PVC, they'll help you get that job you're totally unsuitable for.

Don't be surprised if when applying for higher level roles, where your CV/cover letter aligns perfectly with the job description, you are unsuccessful. The lucky candidate is more than likely to have absolutely no suitable skills needed for the role, but knows someone... Otago really is a place where it's not what you know or how competent you are, it's who you know that counts...and if you've been working hard all those years doing your job...sorry, you should have been networking and attending meeting about holding more meetings.

Promoting from within is also not guaranteed, even when the VC publicly says preference will be given to existing full-time staff. Bollocks! See above paragraphs. If external people know someone, they're a shoo in.

HR is not concerned about its staff, rather only its management. HR live in a weird world where they think they know all about the organisation they work for, but are some of the most disconnected people in the entire university. The mind boggles at their incompetence, and they are the laughing stock of the entire university. If you have any issues, HR is not the place to go.

HR are very much over paid, but we are told that this is for "historical reasons". Hummm.....so wouldn't the big review that's being undertaken be the perfect time to review these inequities which the VC said was one of the reasons they were conducting it? Yes, but no, let's not go there...to hard, and that totally incompetent person in the HR team really does need a management band salary, even though they have no staff reporting to them, no budgets to review/oversee, or has any contact with the end customer...no they couldn't possibly review themselves.

If you have any decent skills, do not work here. Use the wonderful skills you have elsewhere where you will be rewarded for your commitment, intelligence, loyalty, and acknowledged as bringing value to the organisation. You will not get any of these at Otago.

Ps. I'd ignore any reference to Otago being one of the top X% of companies in NZ. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if the HR/Marketing teams completed those surveys. No one I knew was asked to complete employee satisfaction surveys.

Consider this...

Would you get on a bus and go on a journey with no known destination if Stevie Wonder was the driver?

If you said yes, then you'll fit in great, but don't say you weren't warned.
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Pros
There are other university's/organisations you can work for so you don't need to work at Otago
Cons
the list is too long, but an absolutely disgraceful HR team is a good place to start
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5.0
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A place for international-grade learning
Researcher (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, New Zealand25 May 2018
I had an amazing work-life balance, with supervisors and laboratory scientists that aim to teach undergraduates to become a better researcher in almost every way.
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5.0
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Enjoyable part time job
Sub warden (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago9 April 2018
Involved plive-in pastoral support for first year university students alongside my own studies. Grew in leadership, time management and organisational abilities.
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5.0
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Located in a very beautiful city
ICT Support Specialist (Current Employee) –  Dunedin City, Otago6 April 2018
Life here is relaxing and people are nice. Employees are respected and your work is appreciated by your colleagues. Employers are willing to support your continued education.
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3.0
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dental technician
Dental Technician (Former Employee) –  Dunedin City, Otago4 March 2018
great place to work and learn new skills.

This was my first role in the health industry and taught me so much on safe work practices.

Staff were great
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4.0
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Excellent experience
visiting research intern on the topic (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago20 December 2017
Being visiting researcher at Uni otago twice was an amazing experience. Got an opportunity to work under excellent supervisors. Had amazing exposure to work in laboratory as well as working in clinic with patients. Did large amount to research and development work s well independently as well as team work. Gained a lot of computer knowledge.
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5.0
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Fun work place, friendly people and work life balance exists
Assistant Research Fellow (Former Employee) –  Christchurch City, Canterbury19 December 2017
Everyday in research is different. The work varies depending on the project and you are learning new skills everyday. Typically you plan an experiment, execute the experiment, analyse the experiment and write a paper on the experiment. You lean to also manage your time, people and resources. The nicest part of the job is the excitement of doing research and science and discovering something new. The hardest part is to have to deal with the failure of an experiment.
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5.0
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Simple casual work
Note taker (Former Employee) –  University of Otago Dunedin13 November 2017
I was always kindly greeted by administration staff when I went in to scan and deliver notes. They were very helpful if I had any issues with using the printers.
Pros
Helpful staff
Cons
Low pay for notes delivered
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5.0
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productive
Lab demonstrator (Current Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago7 November 2017
Ph.D. is the hardest and most interesting part of my study at Otago. The lab environment is encouraging and the supervisor is an intellectual and very helpful person. I have learned new techniques and developed a scope towards the field of research I have undertaken.
Pros
good faculty and tea room for relaxation
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5.0
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Productive and fun workplace
Demonstrator (Former Employee) –  Dunedin9 October 2017
Nice people, great place to work. Excellent culture of hard work fostered in the students and displayed by the hierarchy. Being a good example to students as important as teaching.
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5.0
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Great experience for a student!
Demonstrator (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago21 September 2017
Demonstrating is a fantastic way for students to gain experience in teaching and higher education systems. UoOtago and its staff provided an ideal environment for postgraduate students to test their teaching/tutoring skills alongside their peer and superiors.
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5.0
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Good place
Research assistant (Former Employee) –  Dunedin , New Zealand31 August 2017
Great place to work with great people in a great location. really enjoyable and really easy to get to know people. A high level of research facility with a lot of facilities
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5.0
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Relaxing workplace
Lab demonstrator (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago4 July 2017
Very relaxing job. Very good pay. Most enjoyable part of job is to help students with computer tasks. Hardest part of job is to meet deadlines when marking students' assignments.
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5.0
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Good for temporary option
Physiology tutor for 2nd year university students (Former Employee) –  Dunedin City, Otago28 February 2017
Quite difficult to juggle with your own study if you are also a student.
Good for temporary work experience.
Does not provide full time nor permanent options as need for tutor is dependent on their students needs and requests.

Certainly an enjoyable and rewarding job.

Learnt how to be a role-model for younger students walking the same foot-path and increased my communication skill.
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5.0
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Adaptable
Class Representative (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago5 November 2016
Flexible with my academic workload. Great place to interact between students and lecturers. Able to express ideas and concerns associated with the workload.
Pros
establishing a connection between students and lecturers
Cons
no payment
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3.0
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Typical institution everyone and everything is monitored but made some nice friends and workmates
Financial manager (Former Employee) –  Dunedin City, Otago28 September 2016
Typical day at work was to greet your co-workers talk to your immediate colleagues about work related matters.
Learnt how to communicate with people and staff at the time and maintain a good repore with those around you, learnt to read what management expected of you and to achieve those goals.
Learnt to mix with co-workers and work as a team.
Hardest part of the job was to deal with changes in academic management and maintaining the research contracts, to their expectations.
Most enjoyable part of the job was making friendships with my colleagues.
Pros
Relaxed atmosphere most days
Cons
sometimes difficult to get leave
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3.0
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Needs bringing into the 21st century
Champion of Research Infrastructure (Current Employee) –  Otago28 September 2016
There is significant room for improvement - compared to experience in other organisations. I have the feeling that the University, as the biggest employer in town, has not had to expend much effort on improving its operations. A huge review of business processes is under way, this may provide the impetus to step up into the 21st Century.
Pros
Hours are very flexible; in my case: significant freedom on how to approach my tasks
Cons
For many general staff: Flat career structures, low max salaries, 20th century systems with high transactional load, performance systems are less transparent than in other places I have worked
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5.0
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Productive and Accomodating Workplace
Data Entry (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago23 June 2016
A typical work day would consist of sitting at my desk in my office, working away on eVision as students came into my office and stated their courses and why they wished to change their tutorial stream. I learned how to effectively and efficiently use the University of Otago's eVision and how to relate to students. My co-workers were well mannered and down to earth, I was able to have serious discussions with them about matters concerning their tutorials and the streaming of them. The most enjoyable part of the job was relating to the students as they came into my office.
Pros
My own office, flexibility in hours around other commitments.
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2.0
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A bit of a Tower of Babel
Web developer (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago14 May 2016
There tends to be lots of turf wars and intrigues. It's a big ship and takes a lot of time to reach decision and implement changes.

In fairness, that's pretty typical of all big government/bureaucratic organisations. So I wouldn't hold it against the University.

One unusual thing is that it's a very decentralised institution. Power really reside with each HOD and the core management structure can have difficulty normalising processes and decision making across the University.

If you're considering a job at the University of Otago, take the time to research the culture of the department you'll be working in as this can very quite a lot. Some departments are really easy going, while other are very formal and up-tight.
Pros
Good pay, relatively easy going in most departments, Dunedin is a comfortable city to live in
Cons
A bit of bureaucratic mess, not very challenging
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Overall rating

4.2
Based on 49 reviews
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4.2Work/Life Balance
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