Like many people, I keep my eye open for new job opportunities in the international higher education field. Yes, I am happily employed, but it’s good to know what opportunities are out there, which institutions/organizations are hiring and for what positions. One day I’ll be looking to move on, and I’ll need to know what the current employment market is like, what employers expectations are, how much I can reasonably expect to earn, etc.
So, the other day I came across a job advert which, by the job title, sounded quite good. I proceeded to read through it with interest, and by the end of the job description I was so amazed by what I’d read I felt I had to write a blog post about it. I won’t disclose the name of the (American) institution doing the hiring; I’ll just highlight some of the more contentious bits of the job advert. But I’m keen to hear from you if positions like this are common and if qualified people are actually applying for them.
Job title: Site Director for a study abroad programme in Greece
Position is for six months only. The Site Director will manage entire study abroad programme, including (but not limited to) social, academic, service-learning, student conduct, professional and student staff supervision, as well as serving as a liaison with staff and faculty from the host institution. This highly demanding position requires a significant amount of patience, flexibility, assertiveness, diplomacy, self-initiative, as well as substantial experience living abroad and working under stressful conditions. Site Director will have to work long hours with significant work on evenings and weekends.
Successful candidate will have at least the following qualifications:
- Master’s degree (Ph.D preferred)
- Greek language skills desirable
- 5-7 years student services or higher education experience in student affairs
- teaching experience
- crisis management experience
- experience living, working or studying abroad with a deep understanding of working with different cultures
- proven ability to manage and coordinate events for large groups
- proven management experience
- ability to work well under stressful conditions
(It’s already an extensive list of required qualifications, but it goes on for a few more bullet points. At this point I’m thinking that it seems quite a senior role with lots of responsibilities.)
- Return airfare on group flight
- Room and board for training (but costs incurred for getting to the training are not included, ie. getting to mandatory activities taking place in [a city in the USA] are at the applicant’s expense)
- Some board
- Travel visa
What?! Can this be true?! A position requiring a Master’s degree (preferring Ph.D), management experience, 5-7 years relevant work experience, international experience….and the pay is only a stipend and the applicant must fund themselves to get to training?!
Are people out there who meet these qualifications actually applying? Doesn’t it seem that the employer is taking advantage? If you had a Master’s degree, 5-7 years work experience and management experience, wouldn’t you expect (no demand!) to be paid more or, at the very least, have all your expenses covered?
Or am I being naive? Is my outrage misplaced? Is the “current economic climate” so bad that very qualified people are resorting to taking jobs that don’t accurately reflect what they are worth? We don’t choose to work in higher education in the hope of becoming rich; salaries in education have never been high. We work in education because we love it, we know we are ‘making a difference’ (whatever that means), and there are many intangible benefits. But even so, I don’t think we should settle for less than we are worth.