University of Otago

University of Otago Management reviews

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3.0
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Productive
Post-doctoral fellow (Current Employee) –  Dunedin, Otago8 August 2019
Excellent balance of work life balance i addition to management of research. This work has allowed me to grow and enhance my research skills to develop innovative research thinking.
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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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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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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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5.0
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University of Otago -
Customer Services Administrator (Former Employee) –  Dunedin North, Otago29 February 2016
Early start of 7.30am this was to have keys to building available for Trade Staff so they could get an early start on jobs before staff and students arrived for the day. Needed a strong knowledge base on what buildings and what departments are within each building as key are issued by numbers only as a security measure.

Process Requests from Departments for work required on buildings we received up to around 150 per day I needed a strong knowledge base on what trade to send it too, if it was an Urgent requirement. Should the request be sent to facilities manager as the cost maybe over $500.

Management pretty good

Co-workers great team

Dealing with people (staff) when there was someone in their park (it costs a lot of money to have a reserved carpark or someone (students) being towed due to parking in someones park.
Pros
Excellent Salary
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4.0
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Good place to work, wide range of people
Outlet Assistant (Current Employee) –  Dunedin15 October 2015
Typical day is setting up the Outlets in the food court for lunch service, count and prepare tills while organising team duties.

Get to interact with many different people and work with a fun crew.

Management is always helpful.

Hardest part of the job is seeing food go to waste.
Pros
Free food if left over
Cons
Not many opportunities for breaks
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4.0
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Research, Analysis and Administration
Head Research Assistant (Former Employee) –  Dunedin, New Zealand11 October 2013
- Administration based tasks, computer, filing, scanning, photocopying, communicating with students and academic staff, management meetings, managing junior staff, research based tasks such as running participants, preparing project materials, analysis of data
- Management of staff, preparing for meetings, working as a team, tight deadlines
- Great team environment with hard working co-workers
- None, enjoyed every aspect of the job
- Working with an enthusiastic team and helping students.
Pros
Great team environment doing interesting research
Cons
None
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4.0
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Interesting and Accommodating
Electronic Note Taker (Former Employee) –  Dunedin23 November 2012
I had the opportunity to be paid to sit in on interesting lectures and actually be paid for it.

The management was very accommodating, and communicated well.
Pros
interesting lectures, decent wages
Cons
short term employment
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5.0
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A fantastic professional work setting that encourages research and teamwork
Lab Assistant (Current Employee) –  Dunedin16 November 2012
A typical work day would involve independent research, that may involved a practical lab component or analysing published literature. At this working institution I have learnt a large portion of my technical expertise and expanded my working knowledge of sciences. The management was fantastic with, great staff members in administration and excellent supervisors. Co-workers are professional and sociable, in an environment that encourages forward thinking and teamwork. The hardest component was also the most enjoyable part of the job, working independently on a project that may not be well published or understood, but grasping an understanding to the project through peer mediation and research gives a sense of satisfaction.
Pros
a team work driven environment
Cons
some long hours
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Overall rating

4.2
Based on 55 reviews
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4.2Work/Life Balance
3.9Salary/Benefits
3.5Job Security/Advancement
3.7Management
3.9Culture