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Jobs at universities

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

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winger7
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Postby winger7 » Tue, 30 Jun 2009 12:11 pm

yes that did help vbelle, more like encouraging :) i can see where they are coming from with payments, moving to singapore would be a lure to some...and they might be willing to take a cut just go to there... hopefully things will work out, im not planning to go till next summer, thanks!

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Postby LoriW » Tue, 30 Jun 2009 3:04 pm

dont know if this helps, but my colleague prefer to hire foreigner, as he said singaporean wants higher payment. but then i dont assume you want lower payment than locals?
just try..lots of foreigners than locals becoming researcher...or at least...here


Aaaaah ........... I think that's clarified some of the confusion in this thread - or at least for me!

In the world of science, a research assistant, or even "working in a university" means something different! So, yes foreign talent is something Singapore is after and is happy to pay for it, but if they consider a Singaporean is able to do the job, then they will hire a local - or even a foreigner on local terms.

I think that in other fields, from reading the above post, a "research assistant" is simply that - someone who "works" in a university, as support, rather than a member of a research group as an academic!

In science, a research assistant or research fellow is essentially a postdoctoral worker, a research technician is a graduate who may or may not be working towards a doctorate and a "lab technician" is generally a person who does not hold a degree but is competant in that field.

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winger7
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Postby winger7 » Tue, 30 Jun 2009 3:09 pm

lori, i suppose that implies for fields other than science if im not mistaken... i know nothing about science and im never going to be involved in anything to do with it. well thanks for all the useful feedback anyway...answer i was looking for was whether they put equal or more consideration into foreigners, thanks :D

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Postby LoriW » Tue, 30 Jun 2009 4:03 pm

answer i was looking for was whether they put equal or more consideration into foreigners, thanks


I suppose I answered that question in both my first post and my last - the answer is simply no!

It would appear that the type of role you're considering can be done by a local just as well as a foreigner. Unless you have something VERY special to offer, your CV most probably won't even get a look.

I'd say that in the current economic climate in particular, Singapore has become an increasingly difficult country to get into, especially if you are after a position that a local is capable of doing.

It took two years for my new employers to justify hiring me in my new role. It's a type of research support role, but utilising my 20 years experience to guide research workers rather than leading a single research group.

I had a million and one questions from the HR department and from MOM before my job offer was finalised.

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Re: Jobs at universities

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 30 Jun 2009 5:17 pm

winger7 wrote:Anyone fimiliar with openings at universities? I know I could simply log onto their respective websites but the thing I want to know is how big of a percentage do foreingers make up university staff? I'm looking into the research fields as well and might consider moving after a year or 2 with some experience here. The reason I ask is because I heard universities do take foreigners for staff. Any input will be appreciated!


I don't think you have a clear picture of how things operate at a university. First, there is support staff, often with the big boss being the provost of the university. Support staff do everything from sweep the floors to providing IT services to equipping a lab. My daughter is a technical project manager for the graduate school at a major US university. She does not do research. She implements everything from student aid to grant systems. She supports the faculty but does not work for them.

There there is the faculty. Faculty also have staff, as noted, often referred to as research assistants. You don't get to be one of these unless a) you are a post doc looking to find a start in another uni - in which case you are sort of senior, or b) You are an undergrad continuing on towards a masters or PhD, in which case you really are a grunt. Nobody who isn't a student or post doc will get hired into these positions... it is one way to cover tuition, books, and some expenses.

So... number A: Unless you have a graduate degree and/or intend to be enrolled in a graduate program you will not even get to rinse the test tubes... all this work is reserved for students and post docs.

Fast forward to Singapore. The division is pretty much the same. Now add in another kicker. Add in all the US and European post docs who are getting no where at a high rate of speed in their own countries... they want to come to Singapore to further a career.

Now, throw in grads from developing countries... they have university degrees of questionable value but are nonetheless bright and motivated. These folks will work for nothing for an opportunity... and Singapore keeps a tight lid on them.

So... number B: As already mentioned, why should a uni hire you as staff when lots of locals can do the job; indeed, locals are graduating uni with no job prospects right now. I don't see a staff job coming down the line anytime soon.

It's tough enough in science, math, and engineering to get a decent job and you can bet that in the social sciences (geography included) it is next to impossible. People with far stronger academic qualifications and more uni connections will be looking for both staff and faculty jobs.

I'll give you one small piece of anecdotal evidence to close. I wrote a very fine piece of demographic/GIS software. I sold it to 11 states and 7 cities who used it do redistrict everything from congressional districts to city council seats. I made a shit pot of money. I wanted to join the GIS and/or political science program at a local university... I knew this stuff backwards and forwards having created a quite sophisticated system from scratch. I was laughed out of the offices... no degree.

So... your degree in geography will get you what? And a project coordinator? Every academic is convinced they can run projects... I've yet to meet one that doesn't think that way.

So... not trying to piss in your Wheaties... just trying to say that a dose of realism is in order. Besides, academic careers pay like crap relative to industry. You do it for other reasons.

And I will close with one final comment. I forget the source but it goes something like this: Academic politics are so vicious because there is so little to be gained.

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Postby LoriW » Wed, 01 Jul 2009 1:16 am

So... your degree in geography will get you what? And a project coordinator? Every academic is convinced they can run projects... I've yet to meet one that doesn't think that way.

So... not trying to piss in your Wheaties... just trying to say that a dose of realism is in order. Besides, academic careers pay like crap relative to industry. You do it for other reasons.

And I will close with one final comment. I forget the source but it goes something like this: Academic politics are so vicious because there is so little to be gained.


Strong Eagle's closing paragraphs probably say what I'm trying to say in a more direct manner!

In my experience, research positions in academia are obtained not by what you know but by who you know - my field is a scarily tiny world - it's a never EVER piss anyone off because it will come back to haunt you! Seen that happen to a former colleague who was a research lab mate, then a lab mate in industry. He's managed to make himself virtually unemployable by being an idiot!!

That's not just in academia, but in a world where industry and academia blend very closely!

Also, the money ........... yes, academia pays poorly - unless you're head of a department with your chair funded heavily by an outside organisation!

So, yes, if you're looking to work at a university to make megabucks, that isn't really going to happen. Working in academia in research is for those who love their work, working in academia as purely support staff is simply a job, any job.

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Postby winger7 » Thu, 02 Jul 2009 10:42 am

Fair enough guys, it was useful advice either way, but then when I do feel like trying my luck I guess I will do it anyway since I will only be sending CVs from abroad and not landing there physically, so in other terms I really have nothing to lose that way. But I guess I see the bigger picture now, I might possibly look into other fields then, chances are slim as you guys have mentioned but by sending CVs from abroad, I have nothing to lose...it all depends on where my heart takes me and if I have the balls I guess..

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Postby xtasy010 » Thu, 02 Jul 2009 2:52 pm

Well there is one thing in your favour, the fact that you are a manu fan, that'll go well with the locals here.

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winger7
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Postby winger7 » Thu, 02 Jul 2009 4:24 pm

xtasy010 wrote:Well there is one thing in your favour, the fact that you are a manu fan, that'll go well with the locals here.


yea...may as well include that in my CV :D


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