Birmingham City University Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Birmingham City University Reviews

Updated 12 March 2019
58 reviews

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3.3
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Birmingham City University Vice-Chancellor Graham Upton
Graham Upton
10 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great diversity of staff and students outside senior management" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Nice environment, nice staffs and coleagues, flexible working timetable" (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • "I found that senior management would use your experience and knowledge just to progress there own future with no regard to individuals or team" (in 5 reviews)

  • "Lack of guidance and training sometimes left to own devices and assume you know exactly what you're doing" (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Research facility in Birmingham"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Birmingham, England
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Birmingham, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The working hour is flexible, Skilled supervisor.

    Cons

    The working place is large room hence can be noisy at times.


  2. "Overall good working environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good facilities, access to resources, new buildings. My supervisors and colleagues are great.

    Cons

    Management lacks common sense, parking at city south campus is ridiculous, too much attention is given to paperwork and tick box exercises.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "A tough few years have left their mark"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Diverse staff and student body.
    A lot of interesting work is being done here, and you feel part of that, even if only in a small way.
    Annual leave is very good and pay/pension etc is not bad.

    Cons

    The legacy of the previous VC restructuring virtually every department for no apparent reason, with many good, experienced staff leaving is still being felt.
    Staff turnover remains high and many staff do not trust senior management. There is a blame culture where the priority seems to be finding someone to carry the can for a problem rather than solving it.
    Outdated HR and IT systems.

    Advice to Management

    People are more important than structures. Trust your staff more and communicate with them more about where the university is going.


  4. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Placement Student in Birmingham, England
    Former Employee - Placement Student in Birmingham, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Birmingham City University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I loved working there. There are a lot of people who support you and my colleagues were always very nice and supportive. Plus you get 32 days as holiday leave.

    Cons

    Some departments still lack in communication and transparency.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Fascinating organisation to work for"

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

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time

    Pros

    Every day is different, people are really friendly and keen to do the right thing to support students. Benefits for staff are good, particularly leave and pension.

    Cons

    can be frustrating dealing with Academic 'politics'


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Worst company to work for, I would not let my enemey work here. A disgrace to the people."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Birmingham, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Birmingham, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Diverse students and got to meet different students who were a pleasure to serve.

    Cons

    This is worst company and Education establishment I have ever worked for, a place created by lies and rumours, with corrupt staff and management who will do anything to keep themselves employed and will progress their own up the career ladder. Clueless management with perhaps the worst communication I have ever witnessed. I feel sorry for the students, so sorry to see them suffer and not get the best experience possible.

    Due to a number of Vice Chancellors in quick succession, the morale is at an all time low. Several employees of this once great University are on sick leave. There is nothing organised about this place or any communication between your own team.

    Work can get tiring because of short breaks. There is no support from senior management. The main issue with BCU was the management and the team leaders. In my position I had a few of these to deal with as they left or were moved to another department due to conflict. No one liked upper management unless you were their golden boy/girl. Although the new VC seems to be fresh and reasonable, who wants to make changes for the better.

    The pressure was pushed down to my direct managers. This was apparent by the fact that one of them would ask you to do one thing and then another would tell you off for doing that and ask you to do something else. This was constant. Basically, no matter what you do, it would be the wrong thing. They didn’t communicate with each other at all.

    Contradictions were constant. You’d be told to speak to the team manager when you had a query, but if you did you’d then be told not to bother them because they’re busy. If you used your initiative and passed something to a fellow colleague you’d be chastised for not going via the team manager first. It was impossible to win, and when you’re in a busy environment it just crushes morale. They were also too focused on the wrong things. Silly small things which had no meaning. Instead of trying to improve the University or boost morale, they were more concerned about nitpicking at little things. If they didn’t like you then they would make sure that you knew it.

    Generally, the staff who dislike you or view you as a threat will propagate rumours and false lies around regarding certain staff to make them feel as if they were above you, when the reality is the staff are excellent and decent who do their jobs effectively. This is because they do not want you to be above them or progress within the University job or salary wise. After I had started, I began to realise that I had made a big mistake as they sold me the world during the interview process. After a certain period of time I realised the extremely high staff turnover . Every department has staff continuously leaving. Certain staff have just handed their notice in and quit, just as they have started because of the hate politics. The long hours and the apparent extra time we all have to do which happens to increase more over time will just push us away, we are already pushed to the limit.

    Bullying management who will speak to you in a belittle manner and there are cases of victimisation which is shrugged under the carpet . The team keeps on changing as staff constantly leaving due to this it is causing current staff more work load as it takes BCU months to re hire the person or persons who have left.

    IT team is highly under staffed and I used to see a new different person working there every few months which was just so bizarre. As for the IT systems they were and most likely still very out dated, slow and non responsive. Systems constantly crashing, students moaning they lost their work as computers used to crash or moodle was down. Wifi was not working or disconnecting. They were really unhelpful and when wanting help I was just passed around. This was when I was able to get hold of them as I could hardly see any IT staff around. When trying to call for IT support, there was no answer and after several emails I still did not get any response. Just gave up in the end. IT management are weak and take no responsibility, they need new management and a new system.

    Effectively, you will do the job duties of three people as you will have to act like your own glorified PA and TA. No pay rise and no progression will be made available and they will attempt to restrain you in current role with low pay as much as possible, unless you are their favourite as mentioned earlier. No staff development or training to improve staff.

    I was criticised in meetings with team managers and a dean/director for no apparent reason at all, they will call you into these unsolicited meetings with no warnings and will not inform you what the meeting is about. They will bully and incorporate fear tactics against you. Meeting was all hearsay and no concrete evidence was provided against me. After speaking to other staff members, it had happen to them, I'd known I was not the only person to have faced this.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back for me though was when I applied for an internal position elsewhere in the department, something just higher than my role that I was under taking. Once the application window had closed, only another few colleagues and I had applied for it. They started after me and had less experience but were favourites as management liked them personally. I had heard nothing back at all form HR or the managers who was doing the interview. for weeks. After the job was given to someone else within the department I was told that she “didn’t want to waste my time” because she wanted someone who would be able to jump straight into the role with little training. Had they read my CV and application she’d have seen that I had years of experience doing everything that the job required and more. Instead, she already knew that she wanted the other person for the job and wasn’t interested in me at all. I found out later that the person was approached before the interview to just apply and that they would get the job. This was the blinkered outlook that management at BCU have in my department. I was not about to wait even longer as I have the experience and skills for something better already. The person was always spoon fed who got the job and was treated better in any way possible. At this point, I put my CV out there, was approached by someone about a job, applied for it and got it. If BCU aren’t interested in cultivating their own staff then, guess what, there are thousands of companies out there who are happy to snap them up.

    For extra context, I was good at the job and would often receive positive feedback from staff and my lovely students, was always on time, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Actually implement the core values and not hide behind them when you need to. A restructure is not always the answer , it is not just about defending your own position and passing blame to innocent staff.

    You want to be the University for Birmingham, yet you are not offering your students any real prospects or reality. Wake up and look at your TEF rating and come back to reality. Be real with yourself and do not make something which is fake .

    Promotion is limited and it seems to be who you know and who you get along with that gets you promoted, not what you have achieved. Don't just promote friends, look at the bigger picture.

    When you hire these contractors or advisers they are in it for themselves, who want to milk as much money as possible, make it your own University with your own identity.

    Put the students first and find ways for staff and student retention as everyone will just leave.

    Listen to both sides of the story and actual real life proof, it will just take one person to dislike another member of staff, they will either lose or quit their job for this reason alone. Encourage professional and meaningful conversations, to get both sides and find out exactly the real truth for yourselves, in before terminating or hating someone on hearsay.

    This atmosphere was possibly part of the reason why there was such a huge turnover of staff. In my time I was there I saw so many people come and go. It’s almost as if people don’t want to stay in a job where you’re overworked, underpaid and have to deal with a toxic atmosphere.
    Overtime was regular and expected as the norm. Nothing was said if you turned it down but it was clear that this was not the answer that they ever wanted. You cannot keep hold of your own staff and with an increasing competitive market where other Universities are progressing and advancing we need to get with the times and encourage our own staff to improve and progress. If you want loyalty and if you want to keep staff happy, please listen to what we have to say as unhappy staff will lead to unhappy students which will cause both staff and students to leave. You have fallen behind with no structure, policies or procedures in place. Please listen to the feedback, a lot of the staff are scared and worried they will lose their jobs if they something which will go against your own points, so you need to encourage them speak openly. Establish a solid forward thinking University with a clear strategic plan that will actually benefit the student experience. Treat us like human beings; with dignity and respect. There is a whole world beyond your company, it's the people that make a company, not just the numbers.


  7. "Lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I have been working at Birmingham City University part-time

    Pros

    Friendly staff and good benefits

    Cons

    OK, Not any major one

  8. "Support Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time

    Pros

    Great team environment
    Smart casual workwear
    Opportunity to work on several projects

    Cons

    There are none that I can think of


  9. "Demonstrator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great events and engagement with students

    Cons

    need more information to materials


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Lecturer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Birmingham, England
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Birmingham, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Birmingham City University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The university is growing its reach with industry and innovation at the heart of great change in the city. Faculty staff are generally open to forge collaborative links and work as a team (albeit independently devoid of senior management guidance or support).

    Cons

    Senior management embody poor management and communication skills. Particularly with the fair and timely distribution/planning of annual work allocation (teaching and research). University wide administrative support for research bids and modules remains abhorrent.