National University of Singapore Reviews | Glassdoor

National University of Singapore Reviews

Updated October 18, 2017
22 reviews

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National University of Singapore President TAN Chorh Chuan
TAN Chorh Chuan
9 Ratings

22 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • No bonus for research staff (12-mth package) (in 23 reviews)

  • No career progression or prospects (in 22 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Poor employer but good work life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Assistant Manager
    Current Contractor - Assistant Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National University of Singapore as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    The work life balance at NUS is good. It is not fantastic but academics do tend to be more understanding as reporting officers

    Cons

    Poor salary. Extremely slow career progression. Minimal yearly increment. Non-existent bonus. (1 month if you are lucky).

    Please remember to negotiate your salary well as the bonus system in NUS is quite bad. If you are graded as having met requirement (MR), there is no bonus. Exceeding requirement (ER) equates to 1 months bonus and a grade of Exceptional relates to 2 months bonus.

    Getting 2 months bonus is unheard off. Even if the reporting officer is willing to give you a 2 months bonus, HR will strongly be against this.

    So negotiate your salary to be higher. HR staff will try to bring the salary lower but remember to fight back.

    Academics are teachers. They can be kind-hearted or extremely harsh. It is a teacher-student world in NUS even for corporate employees. Academics rarely have a business mindset and thus may not be the best boss. Career progression is minimal and support from superiors will also be very little.

    The company has a hierarchy of Management Support Officer, Executive, Assistant Manager, Manager, Senior Manager, Assistant Director, Senior Assistant Director and finally Director. The management support officer is in the lowest rank while the Director is the highest rank.

    Career progression from one rank to another is excruciatingly slow. Directors have been in the company for 15-20 years. As such, you can also expect them to be quite stuck in their ways and refusing change.

    This in turn makes NUS a very primitive place to work for executive and professional staff.

    All staff are hired on a "open Contract" basis. Still not too sure what this means but there are no permanent staff in NUS.

    Advice to Management

    Reporting officers are not keen on sending staff for training. Staff have to wait for 2 years before they can be sent for training. As budget is always the issue, it is almost impossible for staff to get funded for good quality training like the PMP course.

    NUS has an in-house training for executive and professional staff but it is pretty useless. Staff want to be trained in courses like the PMP, ISO 9001, SAP certification etc. These are not degree programmes but are wanted credentials in the outside world.

    Allow for talented staff to be trained and progress to senior management positions like Senior Assistant Director. Staff who have been in management for 15 years are like "dead wood". They implement no change and are simply awaiting retirement while collecting the big bucks.


  2. "Research Assisstant (RA)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Psychologist
    Former Employee - Psychologist
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at National University of Singapore full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good exposure for networking purposes - that is if anyone would even recognize your work there.

    Cons

    Professors are nice generally, but they are rarely around to supervise. Instead, they let newcomers be under the hands of other teammates who may or may not be of a senior role. Too much politics and unnecessary unspoken rules (eg: traveling around SG after office hours, or during the weekends. No 13th month bonus, no reimbursement of traveling expenses even if you are traveling upon orders. Very long hours of work- on paper it will state of about 9-10 hours, but unspoken rule of staying an hour longer applies. No respect from people in general unless you are of higher position (eg: research fellow). Have to do things out of jobscope (eg: preparing coffee for people and serving sandwiches during conference). Poor consent to ethical guidelines which challenge research ethics.

    Advice to Management

    Professors/ PIs (who are the official bosses), should pay more attention of what is going on in the department. Too much unnecessary politics just to "climb the ladder" and to gain PI's favor. Terrible management and planning skills (eg: traveling down on weekends just to arrange chairs for events when it can be done on Friday after office hours). Should really adhere to ethic guidelines as researchers.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Lecturer in Singapore (Singapore)
    Current Employee - Senior Lecturer in Singapore (Singapore)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National University of Singapore full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Reputation to the outside world.

    Cons

    Bad politics, intransparent management, promotion decisions etc- a lot of micro management and unhappy people!

    Advice to Management

    Do not take advantage of the talent you have!


  4. "Management fail to warn staff upfront of the absurd probation failure rate (80%) before staff accepts the offer."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Deputy Audit Manager in Singapore (Singapore)
    Former Employee - Deputy Audit Manager in Singapore (Singapore)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National University of Singapore full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good work life balance and good working environment. Reputable institute and the name speaks for itself. Lots of eateries and benefit is not too bad.

    Cons

    Management's expectations are really subjective and if they think you're not good enough, you won't pass your probation despite everything you do. They "boast" about the high turnover rate in the dept but there's a reason why the staff turnover rate is so high. Stick with someone for some time, you will get good results with motivated staff. Management was not upfront and honest in stating to potential staff that almost 80% staff won't pass probation and will be asked to leave. I gave up a fantastic offer abroad to join the dept only to be asked to leave 6 months later.

    Advice to Management

    Be upfront and honest to the potential employee about the turnover rate. You do not know that you're destroying their future by hiding the staff turnover rate figures. People turn down great offers to join you but you ask them to leave after 6 months because of your "expectation".


  5. "Most nonsensical place ever"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National University of Singapore full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Cheap food and that's it really.

    Cons

    Highest turnover ever - you have people who leave even just 2 weeks into the job! Every single month, there definitely is one person leaving, and the senior management doesn't even care. HR doesn't care either - they tell you they will feedback and monitor, but nothing is none. Worse, you get targeted by your management for giving that feedback - what nonsense is this?!

    There are quite a number of political plays about - some colleagues will use their rank and title to boss you around just because "the Director said ok". Nothing stays constant, and directions change almost as quickly as in a day's time - so expect nothing to be constant really, even what you signed off for in your contract. Your JD? Forget that, because you are expected to know every single thing and run like an agency - even if you are a single person.

    There is no privacy even at your desk too. During lunch, expect to be called back for 'emergency meetings' as well. Your time doesn't matter as much as the management, so good luck with that.

    Advice to Management

    Sit in the office and experience for yourself the abuse that the office suffer. And don't bother with saying "we will look into it". Feel it for yourself!


  6. Helpful (1)

    "PhD Candidate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - PhD Candidate in Singapore (Singapore)
    Former Employee - PhD Candidate in Singapore (Singapore)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National University of Singapore full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - The sports complex is very nice.

    Cons

    - Toxic work environment. Lacks professionalism.
    - You are constantly reminded that you are a "foreigner" and therefore "must appreciate this opportunity". They don't listen to you no matter what, because you don't matter.
    - Limited funding. Can't even buy a 600$ software.
    - Low pay. The common PhD stipend is a bare minimum. It doesn't take into account the social life.
    - (In School of Computing) The program takes min 5 years, unlike the advertised 4 years. And your scholarship will not cover the 5th (or 6th) year. Then you will have to pay $15K per semester. ( The faculty and administration are aware of this issue, but would not extend the scholarship, because they think you will work better/faster, when you fear for the payments for your 5th year.)

    Advice to Management

    - Create a more positive and dynamic workplace.
    - Do not ignore PhD students' problems/ concerns. They are people too.
    - You must end the wide spread xenophobia in the institution. It's 2017, not okay to mistreat foreigners anymore.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Not a place for expats."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Absolutely none. I wish I could think of something positive to say but I honestly cannot.

    Cons

    Very bureaucratic, small minded, vicious people. Not for expats. Worst experience of my life. I am leaving soon.

  8. "Not too bad place to do temp job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National University of Singapore as a contractor

    Pros

    Easy work, nice people and environment

    Cons

    No training, no benefits, hard to acess


  9. "Depends on Department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Colleagues (as a whole university) are generally friendly, patient and helpful.
    Established company.
    Average compensation and benefits.

    Cons

    Department management may be dysfunctional/toxic, resulting in internal politics. Management backstabbing one another and gossiping is common.

    Ethics of department management questionable, head can jump to conclusion and accuse staff without evidence, and just what was assumed based on what he knows about the "process", without apology when it it not the case he imagined. Staff are taught to feign ignorance to manipulate other colleagues.

    Advice to Management

    Good researchers may not always be good managers.


  10. "Political Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    21 days of leave

    Cons

    People who are already good at what they are doing and wants to play politics, engage in gossips, no team work, too fast-paced, no time for adjustment, management is unhelpful

    Advice to Management

    Management should step in to help instead of pushing more work to the people on the ground. Coaching and mentoring must not be left to the staff of the same ranks. Encourage staff to not engage in small talks and focus on the real work,


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