Wednesday, 30 September 2009

NZ's increasing academic shortage

I was most interested to read this article in the ODT today.

It talks about the University of Otago's plans to futureproof (what a catchphrase) itself against what, apparently, is a steadily increasing shortage of tertiary academics in New Zealand as we head towards 2020.

The University says it's already seen shortages in areas including medical research/teaching and accountancy.

This to some extent makes sense based on what I've heard anecdotally about academics finding NZ a tough country in which to work. However, speaking with other scientists I've also heard that many other countries are hardly easy, either. The article also says:
"The collaborative planning initiative, which involves all eight New Zealand universities, aimed to prevent a future staffing shortage throughout the country's universities as traditional overseas sources for academic staff dried up at the same time as a large proportion of New Zealand's current academic staff was retiring.
"The universities were all concerned that as New Zealand moved towards 2020, they would face significant difficulties in maintaining an effective and efficient academic workforce."
So I guess my question is: is this something that people are seeing and if so, in which areas have you experienced it?

And what can be done?

And, indeed, is anyone involved in the Academic Workforce Planning - Towards 2020 (8 universities looking into how to combat the problem) project?