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Work Culture in NZ

Work Culture in NZ

Old Sep 15th 2010, 9:35 am
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Default Work Culture in NZ

Hi there

I moved to Christchurch from Manchester, UK back in February and while I'm loving the lifestyle out here, I have been less impressed with the work culture. I'm just wondering what other people think and if this is a common experience? I work with many external agencies and suppliers so my impression isn't just related to my company.

Things I've found are: very little emphasis on quality, poor organisation, weak communication (especially written), old fashioned styles of management, lack of team bonding, exceptionally poor IT systems etc . . .

Thanks
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 9:50 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

If you weren't in Chch I could swear we worked in the same office! Mine's not any better.
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 10:49 am
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When you heard "its like 20yrs ago", which bits did you thnk they meant???
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 11:03 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

yes! it's attitudes in the work place. the tall poppy syndrome is very true. yet I have kiwi friends outside work & they are lovely. I'm a nurse & have found that kiwi's feel threatened by british nurses, I dare say it's prob the same in any work place here.
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 11:30 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Have to say so far I've found it to be a really positive work culture where I am. I think it's very similar to what I'm used to working as a midwife in the UK.
If anything the team is friendlier, more accepting of the difficulties new staff might have and very sociable and 'bonded' with lots of activities and social events going on pretty regularly. The computer systems at work are a bit dated but no worse than the unit I worked in in the UK 4 years ago and much better than the paperless system (disaster) I left most recently.
Management seem excellent and approachable and have all been keen to insure I'm settling in and have what I need to 'learn' the differences in the job here.

Our team are encouraged to stand up and take initiative in developing new policies/procedures etc and to share innorvations in practice with the rest of the team as well as to strive to improve and enhance our education and practice. I've been encouraged to point out any issues within the unit that I see as a new 'recruit' that could be improved upon and to suggest anything that I've seen work in the past in the UK that might be of use to the unit Im in now.

Sounds idealistic and 'rose tinted' specs I know but that is really the way it is as far as I can see it.
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 11:53 am
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Smile Re: Work Culture in NZ

The OP’s experience is commonplace. IMO It’s kind of one of those problems that starts at the top with small and midsized companies. If you look at the boards of companies in New Zealand they have significantly less board members on average than other countries in the OECD. So in other countries you might have a board members who where professional managers and realise the importance of this.

Of course with less emphasis on employing and/or training professional managers often those who do get promoted are the monkeys who have worked there the longest rather than recruiting or training more suitable candidates. Also there is less competitive pressure here so companies don’t modernise as quickly in terms of management practises and systems.

Thats New Zealand .
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Old Sep 15th 2010, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Work culture has been the biggest shock to me. Coming from an IT Sys Admin background in the UK working for both small and large companies, and now work for a software developer in Auckland.

Biggest things I've noticed are, lack of professional attitude, disorganisation, lack of direction, know-it-all attitude, crap IT systems, lack of proper pay (overtime/out of hours). Also, all the kiwis here are total work-a-holics and aren't fussed they dont get paid for overtime? They are more than happy to spend hours and hours working from home without getting paid, and expect you to do the same so when you refuse unless you get paid, they look at you boggle eyed.

We've made friends with a few expats, as well as a few americans/australians expats too and all of us hate our jobs because of the work attitude here. Apart from that we love NZ
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Old Sep 16th 2010, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

God I am glad that I found this topic, work for me is so poor it's unreal. I can't complain money wise but the content and lack of feeling valued is unreal with such a low bar. It is the one area that will drive me out of NZ.

Not sure if Oz is any better I have heard some bigger horrors there.
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Old Sep 16th 2010, 8:24 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

work practises here suck, i have learned to bite my lip

Neil
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Old Sep 16th 2010, 8:42 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

I agree there is a huge tall poppy syndrome in NZ. I work in Civil Engineering as a Consultant and its a huge problem. Having spoken to alot of people from other countries and companies apart from UK, all have experience it. I have a PhD yet have virtually no responsibility at work and am doing a job I could have done 15 years ago (I'm only 30!). They preferentially give the best jobs to Kiwis and also reward Kiwis more. Its almost bordering on racism.

A friend of mine has 15 years tunneling experience all around the world, yet at the company he works for, he is not allowed to design tunnels! Instead, they give the work to a Kiwi, who has no experience at all. Talk about keeping it in the family.

Kiwis are inward looking and resistant to change. They bring people in from overseas to fill the skills gap, but then refuse to listen to fresh ideas. No wonder the country has a 3rd world infrastructure. Because NZ is so small and such a closed market people protect their own little piece of work. Most companies are small minded. For example, my company employs 1500 people, but its really a collection of individuals working under a corporate banner. Its very hard for non-kiwis to break into this inner circle. After all, they wouldn't want to jeopardize the dream of boat, batch and BMW.

Kiwis are very two faced. They are nice to you in person, but will plot to put themselves in the best light.

Kiwis seem to work long hours, but in my view its because they are inefficient. They don't have the right tools for the job and are always making do, which takes twice as long and costs twice as much.

People have a sloppy attitude. Health and Safety here is a joke. I've seen better H+S on 3rd world construction projects.

To be honest most kiwis can't do the jobs as well as immigrants and they know that and are protecting their own patch. NZ is a great country, its a pity, but go to Australia and earn twice as much and live in a truly developed country.
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Old Sep 16th 2010, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Robbo25 - summed up my feelings exactly. Love New Zealand but would seriously consider leaving over the work situation. I can't actually believe how bad it is some days.

AndyR - definitely a total lack of professionalism and an anti-intellectual attitude. If there's a difficult way of doing something - Kiwis will find it! The 'she'll be right' mentality is really holding the country back.

On another note, I'm young and female - something I'd not really thought about while working in the UK. Working here, I've received so many patronising comments from people (90% men) about my age, sex, appearance. It's pretty pathetic in this day and age.
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Old Sep 16th 2010, 10:21 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Try being a non-academic working in a British university

Doesn't sound that different.
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

HI - my experience I found that kiwis had lots and lots of qualifications but little experience (sorry if that offends anyone) but I feel that's because of population, location therefore it limits this. Therefore can impact on the running of businesses/organisations. I can't say my work experience was positive but on the other hand my husband worked for a company that really looked after their staff - I mean really looked after them especially their emotional welfare - he's a graphic designer to, not what you would expect in that work place!! I don't think it's generally one place as a whole it's more about who employs you, their experience, organisation and communication skils.
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Originally Posted by rocdoctor View Post
Kiwis are very two faced. They are nice to you in person, but will plot to put themselves in the best light.
I caught an engineer in our offices trying to take credit for a fault I had sourced. At least he had the decency to turn red as he spluttered his attempt to deny it.
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: Work Culture in NZ

Work ethic in NZ is relaxed to say the least. I think this gives us brits a great reputation here as we just seem to have a naturally higher expectation of quality.

Also i think you'll find it even more laid back down south, auckland is becoming a bit more serious i've noticed but still no where near as full on as back home.

I will admit some of the things ive seen be let slide are insane.
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