The article contributes to research findings of the “peripheral” higher education systems and ads to the knowledge body on higher education landscape transformation of ex-socialist regions, which are still relatively poorly studied. It explores the teaching-research nexus and its effect on the satisfaction of academics in Croatia and Slovenia based on the data collected through large-scale international comparative survey on Academic profession APIKS. Analysis was done on the academic satisfaction in regards to the academic behaviours (research and teaching time allocation), academic attitudes (teaching or research role orientation) and academic promotion (research and teaching role in faculty promotion and hiring). The paper begins by a short overview of higher education system in the region, reviewing key themes associated with teaching-research nexus and provides an analysis on the above-mentioned variables in regards to academic country, rank, discipline and gender. The findings showed that satisfaction is very dependent on the actual national and institutional internal and external factors of the academic environment, while current policy on promotion affects overall future of academic profession. It concludes with a discussion of the challenges to research teaching nexus in the studied countries.