University of Otago Employee Review

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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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Good for independent workers
If you are a real self-starter and happy to make things work for yourself and your students, this university can be a good fit. There is a lot of freedom to design your job.
Pros
Intellectual freedom
Cons
University beaurocracy and red tape
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Balance of work and fun
Tutor (Current Employee) –  Dunedin City, Otago3 September 2019
Balance of work and fun. The job environment is very professional but friendly. Also, there is a mixture of different international cultures that is awesome.
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4.2
Based on 53 reviews
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