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Japan’s universities can’t win

by Takamitsu Sawa

In January last year, shortly after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power, the government created the Industrial Competitiveness Council to study concrete steps to strengthen Japanese industry’s international competitiveness, which has weakened in recent years.

Indeed, many Japanese manufacturers were forced to retreat from the market of fast-selling smartphones and tablets after being caught between two fires from Apple Inc. of the United States and Samsung Electronics of South Korea, and being caught up fast by their Chinese competitors.

Japan was also outdone by China and South Korea with regard to environment-related products such as storage batteries and solar panels, which had been Japan’s forte and appear to have promising growth in the future.

The council, made up of representatives from various industrial segments, singled out the low educational standards of Japanese universities as the main cause of the deterioration of the nation’s industrial competitiveness.

The 2013-2014 version of the Times Higher Education survey conducted by the Times of London showed that only two Japanese universities were among the world’s top 100 institutions of higher education, and another three were ranked among the next 100.

Even more surprising is the ranking of universities in the Asian countries by the same Times survey, which showed that only two schools from Japan — the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University — were among the top 10 schools in the region, compared with three from South Korea, two each from China and Hong Kong, and one from Singapore.

Asserting that the power of university education is the nation’s power itself, Abe has come up with an ambitious target of qualifying 10 Japanese universities among the world’s top 100 by 2020. This goal, however, is utterly unattainable.

Many universities in Europe are either run by the government or hold the status of national university corporation, with the state pouring large sums of money into them.

In Finland, which boasts of the highest educational standards in the world, every stage of education from kindergarten to postgraduate school is free. The state bears virtually all the costs of education, with students paying nothing for admission, tuition, school meals and textbooks.

In the 28 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the average amount of government spending for institutions of higher education is equivalent to 1.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Denmark and Finland top the list with 1.6 percent each while Japan places second from the bottom (27th) with 0.5 percent, followed only by Chile with 0.3 percent.

The comparable figure for the U.S. is 1.0 percent, the same as the OECD average. In the U.S., however, the costs of public university education are borne not by the federal government but by individual states.

Tuition fees at private American universities are extremely high. The “Best Colleges 2010″ report published by the U.S. News & World Report shows that the average tuition fee for 53 private universities covered by it amounts to about $36,000. State-run universities have dual tuition standards. The average tuition fee for 47 state universities is about $9,000 for students whose parents reside in the respective states and about $25,000 for other students, according to the same report.

Thus in America, a student going to a university run by a state where his or her parents reside pays nearly twice more tuition than a student of a Japanese national university, and quite more than European students.

But American universities, be they state-run or private, all have dormitories where students can live comfortably and inexpensively. Thus their costs for accommodation and meals are very cheap. Moreover many schools offer generous scholarships and students with good academic records are sometimes exempted from paying tuition.

Since money donated to universities in the U.S. are tax deductible, not a few high-income people and foundations make donations to universities.

Such being the case, European and American universities are much better off economically compared with Japanese institutions and thus can spend large amounts of money on improving the quality of education and research, to place high in the global rankings.

In countries other than Japan, including the newly emerging economies of Asia, huge amounts of funds are funneled to universities from the government, business corporations, foundations and wealthy families.

In Japan, on the other hand, not only are government expenditures on higher education limited, but universities receive much smaller donations from private sources than their European and American counterparts, as the money donated by businesses and wealthy individuals in Japan may be written off on taxable income only, not on the tax itself. These economic constraints hinder the efforts by Japanese universities to improve their educational and research environment. As a result, they battle against heavy odds in the global rankings.

The relative poverty of Japanese universities pushes the remuneration of their teachers to much lower levels than that of their counterparts in other countries. Nor is it easy to break the seniority system prevalent among Japanese universities. It is quite rare for anyone in their early 30s to reach a full professorship. Academic achievements are hardly reflected in the teachers’ pay.

The average annual salary for American university professors is about $200,000 for the nine-month academic year (excluding summer vacation). If they use the summer months for research covered by grants from sources like federal science foundations, their total annual income comes to about $260,000 a year. Even a young assistant professor who received a Ph.D. degree just a few years earlier earns as much as $100,000 a year on the average.

The disparity between Japanese and American universities resembles that between American and Japanese baseball leagues. In Japan, many professional baseball teams rely heavily on foreign talent. A team gets a big boost when it signs an American Major League player who may be about to retire, for hundreds of millions of yen per year. Thus the way has been opened for players considered to be over the hill in American professional baseball to earn exceptionally high salaries in Japan.

Bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology seem to think that the standards of education and research at Japanese universities can be elevated if each school pursues reform programs on its own. But to increase Japan’s university power, I cannot think of any shortcut other than to strengthen universities’ teaching staff by hiring teachers from foreign countries — just as Japanese professional baseball teams hire American professional baseball players.

In reality, however, a Japanese university would have to be ready to pay at least $300,000 a year if it were to hire an American researcher with a well-established track record.

Unless the government will guarantee shouldering the personnel costs, it will be impossible to fill 10 percent of the teaching posts at Japanese universities with scholars from other countries.

Another problem is the fear — felt by a significant number of people — that the “spirit of harmony” that constitutes the fundamental culture of Japanese universities could be seriously harmed if professors from abroad get paid three times more than their Japanese colleagues.

Thus, in view of the big disparity in the pay scales between Japanese and American universities, the notion of elevating Japanese universities’ standards by inviting outstanding foreign professors is a castle in the sky. It is asking for something that is impossible to attain.

Takamitsu Sawa is president of Shiga University.

  • Roan Suda

    Having taught in both Japan and the United States, with friends and relatives still in the system of the latter, I am astounded at Prof. Sawa’s assertion that the “average salary” for American college professors (whatever “professor” means in the context) is $200,000. It’s true that “big names” in certain fields are paid very well, but on average?? And none of that is relevant anyway. Most American academics, whatever their trendy multicultural pretensions, are rather provincial and decidedly monolingual, with little desire to leave the good ol’ USA. Besides, it is not the professoriat, however glittering, that doth an education make. It’s the general ambience. America is very good at producing a narrowly brilliant elite, despite the absurdities of the system, but the masses are barely literate, and that includes so-called college graduates…The purpose of education in Japan is to socialize and discipline young people, so that the young lady who (supposedly) studied English literature at X-University can use polite language when putting in the proper amount of ice into a cup of Starbucks coffee, never losing her cool, no matter how obnoxious the customer is…Where would you rather drink your iced latte, in the US or Japan? Of course, there is the occasional grind who takes it all very seriously and eventually becomes herself a professor. If she becomes sufficiently famous, she will eventually write the sort of nonsensical article we read here…

    • phu

      Harsh and well put. The salary figures simultaneously made me wonder why I hadn’t become a professor and made me question whether the author understands the difference between yen and dollars…

    • Steve Novosel

      When I was in grad school I was told explicitly by my academic adviser: “Steve, if you want to make money you need to stop at an MS go work in industry. If you get this PhD and go into academia your future salary will be half, at best.”

      $200,000 is a pretty ludicrous estimation of salaries for professors. I doubt it’s even half that on average, maybe not a third.

    • KenjiAd

      I’m Japanese and was once a “Professor” in an American research university in New York City. My starting salary as a tenure-track Assistant Professor was $65,000 in 1992, over 20 years ago. With ~30% fringe benefit, I think my total compensation was about $80,000.

      From that, I’m not surprised at all that tenured faculties at *research* universities, which I think this authors is talking about, are getting $200K or more now on average. I know, for example, a big shot in my university (I don’t want to name) was getting over $350K in early 90′s.

      Faculty salaries of course depend on the localities. While I was getting $65K in NYC, I know my colleague in Kansas was getting $40K. But I always thought that $40K in Kansas meant a lot more than $65K in NYC, you know? It’s a lot more expensive to live in NYC than in Kansas.

      So I agree that $200K is way too much as an average for professors’ salaries overall, I think the figure is about right for tenured professors in *research* universities in America, such as Yale, MIT, Harvard, UCSF, Caltech, etc.

  • Tando

    Japanese universities don´t deserve this name. The rate of one age group having a university degree is now exceeding 50%. I have met female university grads who landed a job as waitress. If, as a teacher, you tried to do real education you loose your job, because it is too tough for the students. The first two years are spent with playing around, the last two years with job hunting. I never understand why people are willing to pay so much money for a nonexisting education.

    The other thing is, and here I agree with Roan Suda, the average salary for university professors in Europe is certainly not as high as stated in the article. Universities being public institutions, they get paid like civil servants, and that is certainly much less than the above mentioned figure.

    • Warren Lauzon

      In your example, you have to admit that the glass ceiling for women is very low, so not sure that is valid.

  • Ron NJ

    Rather than worrying about “strengthening international competitiveness” I’d suggest they worry about providing an education instead of the present four years of goofing off and spastic job hunting. You can worry about competing with other nations once your raison d’etre isn’t basically babysitting and wasting time. Like many things Japan, it will require some social changes as well – hiring culture will need to change, for a start, so that you don’t have to basically ignore your classes in your 3rd/4th years and split your time between drinking and going to Tokyo along with every other 3rd/4th year student in a terrible “recruit suit” to do mass group interviews like some sort of job-hunting robot, but baby steps, I guess? Let’s start with even the tiniest bit of academic rigor and then work up from there.

    • Steve Novosel

      “Four years of goofing off” sounds exactly like American universities as well, it needs to be said.

      • phu

        No, it really doesn’t need to be said. That America fails in the same way does not make Japan’s problem any less important to solve in terms of improving the future of the Japanese.

      • Steve Novosel

        The point is its more of a “problem” than a problem, especially when the comparison is between Japanese and American universities as is made in this article.

        In the end, the education is far more a function of the motivation of the student than the quality of the university.

      • Jeffrey

        Actually, no, because so little is required of Japanese students, even at the supposedly elite universities, when compared to what goes on even at a middling U.S. school, at least in the social sciences and humanities. I’ve taught in both and attended grad school with Japanese students who would admit this. Might be different in the sciences as maths.

      • Steve Novosel

        Certainly not the case of science and math, and I can get you the testimony of bunches of my colleagues on that point. I can also tell you firsthand that the math requirements for graduation at a US university for non-math/science students are shameful. As in math that should have been mastered in first or second year high school, at the latest.

        Interestingly enough, Japanese high school science and math textbooks are WAY more advanced than their US equivalents. I have a friend who is a math teacher at a not-very-high-level HS in the Tokyo area, she showed me her math texts and they were basically college level texts in the US.

  • guest

    Even if talented foreign faculty would be employed with a high salary in Japanese universities, I don’t think it would help much. Being a foreign researcher in Japan for a number of years, I believe that the Japanese academic environment is systematically foreign-unfriendly. Compared with Japanese colleagues, professional development for foreign talents is frustrated by limited funding options, political exclusion from the Japanese academic network (meetings, workshops, symposia are usually in Japanese for Japanese), extra bureaucracy, general unwillingness of Japanese colleagues to interact with foreigners even if you can speak Japanese etc. Moreover, being an outstanding researcher is actually counterproductive in Japan especially when you are a foreigner. Exceeding the Japanese will make enemies. And I cannot even name a single foreign graduate student or postdoc working for a Japanese PI who is at least a bit positive. I have witnessed many talented foreign researchers end up in isolation and eventually leave Japan, sometimes with a mental scar.

    The issue is not the payscale. Rather the nationalistic mindset of the Japanese culture where racial superiority, pride and hierarchy are deeply rooted IMO. Particularly among the elite. I sense that the objective of the government is just to become number 1 “on paper”, overtaking especially their asian rivals. That means globalizing the Japanese universities (one of the major reasons why Japanese universities are low in the ranking) is motivated by necessity rather than a willingness to improve. And I agree with some of the commenters that the quality of Japanese education is questionable or even below international standard. Too much emphasis on recruiting students in becoming well-disciplined obeying robots who are judged by the name of the university they graduated from.

    • Earl Kinmonth

      “meetings, workshops, symposia are usually in Japanese for Japanese.” I think that if you were in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. you would generally find that “meetings, workshops, symposia” are usually in French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc. Similarly, a Japanese researcher who is in Britain will find that generally things are done using English, not Japanese.

      • Ron NJ

        I have participated in symposiums and seminars at a range of institutions in Japan including Dainippon Sumitomo Pharmaceutical and the Ministry of the Environment, and you’d be surprised at the languages we have used (Japanese and English being the most common, obviously). Generally the rule of thumb is that we conduct the event in the language that the majority of people are publishing in, which tends to be English (much to my chagrin – generally things would go much faster and smoother if we just did it all in Japanese). The same goes for the events we hold in Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, China, and so on. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be able to work in the de facto global lingua franca, especially if you want to actually contribute to your field. Bit useless to publish in a language that only ~2% of the world population can understand.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        No, I wouldn’t be surprised by INTERNATIONAL symposia and seminars being done in English or a mix of languages. I would be surprised if internal meetings are conducted in foreign languages, faculty seminars, graduate seminars, and the like. Your experience may be different from mine, but I’ve found that it is generally the Americans who whine about not being able to do everything in English. Chinese, Koreans, Indians, and many Europeans learn what they need for their research and get on with it. Further, it has been my experience that foreign scholars in the social sciences and the humanities, whatever their nationality, generally accept that if they are going to do research in Japan, they need to be able to function in Japanese. Beyond that, if you expect to build a career in a Japanese research organization, at some point you will need to do administration and write research proposals. Without Japanese, you are out of the loop and well you should be if equal treatment is your expectation. I’ve asked French academics about this issue and have been told that they don’t cut you any slack if you cannot function in French. In some areas competence in French is legally mandated. So too in Italy. If nothing else, if you don’t know the local language, whatever the country, you are going to be marginalized in terms of institutional politics.

      • guest

        In the context of this article, if one promotes that it is acceptable that seminars and symposia are done in Japanese only, then Japan’s academic world is certainly not an environment for outstanding foreign talent to thrive. And obtaining a level of professional Japanese language (incl. technical words in kanji) that is completely different form your own will take years and years for any foreign talent. Therefore, attendance of such meetings by foreign researchers is usually limited only to international ones in Japan, only once or twice a year. Not very healthy for one’s scientific career considering the fact that seminars and symposia (not talking about internal meetings) are essential for scientific exchange, education and networking. IMO they should be conducted in English since it is the scientific language used internationally, but with considerations of some exceptions that are Japanese only. Of course, I encourage any foreign talent who settles down in Japan to learn Japanese. But the language is not my main point. Even if a foreign researcher can speak Japanese, I know a number of cases where he is not invited to attend a scientific meeting like my Japanese colleagues who are always up-to date about such meetings and receive official invitations. It is my observation that the Japanese scientific community is closed, heavily political, flavored with nationalism and directed by the conservative elite. Obtaining grants and promotions, for example, are too often influenced by political connections rather than individual achievements. Connections foreign researchers usually don’t have in Japan…

        And my experience in non-English speaking European countries (where I come from) is that presentations during meetings (even domestic ones) are generally conducted in English. Even in labs where no foreigners work, students and faculty are encouraged to do so. Certainly France, the Netherlands and Germany are among them.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        ” And obtaining a level of professional Japanese language (incl. technical words in kanji) that is completely different form your own will take years and years for any foreign talent.” Any foreign talent? I just checked this morning. Roughly 70% of the foreign university students in Japan are from the PRC and ROC, probably even higher in terms of researchers. They come up to speed on technical terminology using kanji quite rapidly. I had some peripheral connection to producing some of the first instructional materials for teaching Japanese to scientists and engineers first at the University of Wisconsin and later at the University of Sheffield. It was my experience that scientists and engineers who really wanted to learn Japanese did so rather quickly. Japanese for science and engineering is quite simple and limited compared to what you need for law, literature, or history. Finally, Europeans and Americans seem quite prone to forgetting that when you say “foreign resident of Japan” or “foreign researcher in Japan,” to the 70-80% level “foreign” means Chinese.

      • Jeffrey

        “70% of the foreign university students in Japan . . . ” is a factoid. First of all, there are relative few foreign students or researchers in Japanese universities when compared to the numbers in Australia, North America or Europe. And if they are from a Chinese speaking nation or even S. Korea, reading kanji certainly poses less of a challenge to them than it would a student from a country that uses the Roman alphabet.

        Beyond that, there is relatively little draw for a Western educated academic for studying or working in Japan. I think this is borne out by the fact that the majority of Japanese who have won Nobel Prizes in science have done so working abroad.

  • Warren Lauzon

    When I lived in Japan I was told by a neighbor who was then teaching at Teikyo University that quite often the problem was that the University acted just like the Japanese (Tokyo) MPD police – where it was more important not to “look bad” than to actually accomplish the job correctly. His main comparison to the MPD was that seniority and connections mattered far more than competence.
    I left there some 15 years ago, but it does not look like things have changed much.

  • Guest77

    Overall, I agree with some of the arguments stated by Sawa-sensei, but I ma curious why universities need to recruit American researchers while European researchers will be as good and cheaper.
    However as many of the commentators have mentioned some of the problems of the poor quality if Japanese universities should be laid at the feet of university administrators and professors.
    Too many students skate through their years at university learning mainly how to drink and being a good part-time employee at the local conbini and seldom see the inside of a classroom let alone a library.
    Make students become become better students and Japanese university rankings will rise.

    • Roan Suda

      American universities were once good at polishing “diamonds in the rough,” i.e. kids who weren’t nearly as well educated as their European counterparts but who had ambition, energy, and imagination. (Whereas German pupils, for example, had learned at least three foreign languages by the time they finished their Abitur, American high schoolers could barely spell.) But then the institutions were corrupted by a strange combination of examsmanship, pseudo-egalitarianism, leftist ideology, and plain old racketeering, with sky-rocketing costs…Lacking any sort of talent, knowledge, or principles? Well, if you’re an American, consider becoming a college administrator. “Diversity consultants” make a bundle…

      • Warren Lauzon

        While somewhat true, I don’t think all the blame can be laid on the universities. The US still has many of the best technical and business schools in the world. Where they – and the students – fell down was when so many fell into the “any degree, even in underwater basket weaving, is great”. And I place a lot of the blame on the press and politicians also. So many students ended up with nearly worthless degrees and $50,000 in debt. I am not sure how this applies to Japanese universities, but I have a 45 year old book with the (para)phrase “Japan is a country where high school students study 15 hours a day to get into a university so they can do nothing for 4 years”. It looks like they still follow that pattern.

      • Roan Suda

        Fair enough…The idea that all young people should remain “in school” until well into adulthood is part and parcel of an international scam, whose chief beneficiaries are bureaucrats and their ideological allies…I used to tell my own students, gently but frankly, that most of them didn’t belong in the classroom and that instead they should be off learning a useful trade. I added, again quite bluntly, that if I had it my way, most professors, including myself, would wind up with so few students as to lose their jobs…I am in awe of those skilled in crafts and in business. I also admire genuine thinkers and literary artists. I am decidedly not in awe of the professoriat.

    • Warren Lauzon

      Though I have little experience in the universities themselves, I have worked with some of the results, and it was a very mixed bag – varying from very good to very bad. One of the worst got his job at the American company where I was a consultant based on him being an English major. His English was so bad that even the local bar girls were embarrassed. As I was in a position to make recommendations for a year training in the US, he did not make the cut. I am not sure what he did during those 4 or 5 years, or whose fault it was – but it was sad to see such results.

  • Mark Makino

    The larger point of the article is important (Japanese universities need more money) but it’s like seeing a beautiful beach while being mobbed by mosquitoes and stepping on broken bottles. First, it’s disappointing to see a university president fall so quickly into the other countries Japan dichotomy, which produces lazy thinking as evidenced in repeated reference to “other countries” when clearly only European and American first world countries are meant. Also, the implication that American baseball teams don’t scramble or pay well for top foreign talent is clearly wrong; Japanese baseball just makes foreignness more of an issue. Last, someone should have edited this piece for grammar – “Since money donated to universities in the U.S. are tax deductible”?

  • Steve Novosel

    Those of you in education can complain about Japanese universities all you want, but in my experience with recent technical graduates the average young scientist is far better equipped to be trained and much better at taking his/her work seriously than the recent grads I worked with overseas.

    Perhaps it’s a function of a secondary education system that is much better at educating students in basic science concepts, but the young folks I work with are very, very sharp indeed.

    • Warren Lauzon

      Just from my limited observations, technical schooling in Japan is very good. Other fields, not so much.

    • KenjiAd

      I kind of agree. I’m Japanese and used to be a faculty at an American University. I don’t want to over-generalize, but with this disclaimer clearly stated, here is what I always felt.

      The phDs from Japan, Korea, China are usually a fairly safe bet to hire as postdocs, whereas an American phD can be a super star or complete disaster (note that I’m a bit exaggerating here). So one difference is that Asian phDs are fairly homogeneous, while American phDs are, umm…, various in quality.

      Technically, Asian phDs usually outperform American students. That’s true. What it suggests is that Asian graduate students must have been trained primarily as good technicians. They work hard, have good “hands”, and produce the results their supervisors want.

      American students, on the other hand, leave virtually all the Asian phDs in the dust when it comes to presentation skills, which are extremely important in science.

      Of course it’s partly about language (poor English skills of Asian phDs), but I’ve come to a conclusion that it’s not all about language. Asian phDs are not well trained in the area of expressing themselves. This problem should be addressed in order for Asian phDs to become more competitive. They shouldn’t be robots.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Good to know. That is the extent of what I know about Japanese universities, and I guess that was not a good example.

  • Warren Lauzon

    I am reminded of a recent YouTube video where someone went around asking almost graduating students to find China on a map. Less than half could do so.

    • Roan Suda

      I once spent two years in a liberal-arts college in Upstate New York, where at graduation the “poor parents” showed up in (gasp!) rented Rolls Royces, desperately hoping that no one would notice the sticker…One day I found myself talking about how Korea related to my subject. I asked the students to find Korea on a map of Asia. They protested, as if I had asked them to describe the phonology of Standard Mongolian. All right, I said, here’s a hint: First find Japan…Ten of the twenty students circled Taiwan…The course I was teaching? Elementary Japanese…I came fleeing back to home in Nippon…

      • Warren Lauzon

        That is very believable. I would not expect the average Chinese peasant to find Mexico on a map, but when 20%+ of Americans cannot, that goes right to the heart of the education system and the overall insularity of most Americans. But this is a country where half the people cannot even figure out time zones.

      • Roan Suda

        I am old enough that I have guard against generation shock, so I try to cut younger people the sort of slack that my elders at least occasionally cut me…Still…Common to the current generation is what I would call a “flat” perception of time, not just time zones. My American students couldn’t tell me when World II began and ended and thought I was posing a trivia question. The closest answer was 1920-1940…Thirty years ago I had Japanese students, asked, of course, in Japanese, who couldn’t tell me who Winston Churchill was. One guessed that he was the fascist leader of Italy. It’s even worse now…The response of colleagues is typically either to deny that our students are that ignorant or to laugh and quickly change the subject. (And there are “colleagues” who are not much better informed than the students.)

      • Warren Lauzon

        Well, after reading all the anecdotes and posts here, I can only come to the conclusion that the only people that know less than university students and faculty are politicians… :(

  • Ryoko

    As an assistant professor in the United States, I was shocked to see Prof. Sawa’s estimate of salaries at American universes; the average nine month salary of professors at American universities “comes to about $200,000 a year,” and “Even a young assistant professor who received a Ph.D. degree just a few years earlier earns as much as $100,000 a year on the average”??? These figures are so remote from my experience, as well as publicly available statistics. According to the 2013-2014 Annual Survey by American Association of University Professors (to my knowledge, a source most commonly used as salary estimate of American faculty members), a national average of all faculty members at the US universities and colleges is $86,293; an average for full professors is $119,282, associate professors $81,980, assistant professors $69,848. Salaries for non-tenure track positions, such as lecturers (avg $49,963) and instructors (avg $55,890) are considerably lower. While the pay disparity among institutions is significant, only at five highest paid institutions, Columbia, Stanford, Chicago, Harvard, and Princeton, annual salary among full professors (top of the rank, not total professors) exceeds $200,000. Comparative analysis of higher education is meaningful and much needed, but it needs to be based on reliable information.

  • GBR48

    So the government asked a group of senior executives from failing industries to work out why their industries were failing. Instead of blaming senior executives for making consistently poor managerial decisions, they blamed universities. Hmm.

    Maybe they need to put down their binoculars and go look in a mirror.

    • Warren Lauzon

      I can see both of those at work here. When I lived in Japan, what struck me most was how ossified some companies had become, while others forged ahead. You see that in any country of course, but when I left there in 2000, it was almost a standing joke that the best person to deal with a few companies would be an archeologist.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Very good article albeit the writer may wish to check the salary figures again…!

  • Jeffrey

    It’s certainly an exaggeration to say that the average salary for even tenured full professors is in the six-figure, but at least a few senior faculty at elite private schools like Harvard, Yale, MIT and even the best state schools have faculty making that much money – particularly the well-published and instructors in the B-schools and law school.

    A friend who is a professor in the micro-biology department at the University of Washington doesn’t even collect a salary from the university. His department is so successful at attracting grant money that is’ pretty much self-sustaining. He makes six-figures.