"Wanted: one English-speaking academic, who fancies brushing up on his French and is looking to relocate to France's largest private university in Lille."
This was the lure that a year ago persuaded Hedley Malloch, associate professor of human resource management, to leave the University of Teesside and resettle at the IESEG School of Management.
Dr Malloch is delighted with his new placement and cannot understand why more academics are not rushing to join him. "The university wants more English-speaking staff. It has been advertising for them on the internet, but so far there is only one: me," he said.
He believes that British academics are missing a great opportunity, but advises potential emigres that it helps to have an interest in their chosen country, and that national bureaucracies can cause big delays.
Despite this small irritation, Dr Malloch is enthusiastic about France. The working life, he believes, is better, the university's management style is humane and the health service is excellent.
True, social security payments account for 20 per cent of gross pay and tax can be another 30 or 40 per cent. On the other hand, Dr Malloch feels that French academics have lives outside work and that far less time is spent on red tape than in UK universities. "If I get two memos a week that is a lot. There is no endless cycle of committee meetings, it is far more informal here. Why there aren't more UK academics out here, I don't know."