Dutch fret over ageing staff

March 1, 2002

THES reporters examine appointment systems worldwide:

Dutch universities are increasingly looking abroad for scientists to fill the gaps caused by ageing academic staff and a lack of national candidates.

To try to promote working in Holland, the organisation of universities in the Netherlands, VSNU, started a website last week to advertise vacancies internationally.

Not all scientific posts are open to foreigners. Of the 300 or so vacancies on the national academic transfer site, only 15 were to be found on the international site. VSNU expects the site to offer more vacancies to foreigners as internationalisation accelerates and as more and more lectures are taught in English.

The ageing academic population terrifies universities. The percentage of university workers over 50 rose from 23.3 per cent in 1995 to .9 per cent in 1999, and is still climbing. Several thousands of scientists will retire in the next few years. Old universities such as Leiden, Amsterdam and Utrecht will be hit hardest.

With too few national candidates to fill all posts, Dutch universities, which have always been open to foreign staff, are looking abroad. It is easy for candidates within the European Union to work in the Netherlands, but measures against illegal immigration have caused bureaucratic problems for non-European scientists.

Pay at Dutch universities is similar to that in other countries. But the relatively low cost of living in the Netherlands provides a counterbalance to the moderate pay.

Details: www.academictransfer.org

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