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Cambridge University Press Reviews

Updated 29 November 2017
179 reviews

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3.0
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Cambridge University Press Chief Executive Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips
79 Ratings

179 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Multiple changes in senior management and organizational structure makes it hard to do your day to day job (in 17 reviews)

  • Every decision by upper management seems designed to decrease productivity (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "A Plodder"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The gym, on-site restaurant, the support/services teams, the on-site parking, and definitely the people - the people are genuinely fantastic. You'll miss all of these if you leave.

    I was lucky to have a lot of input into my career development.

    Cons

    - The HiPPO culture: fear of mid-managers to make their own decisions because senior managers can be outspoken and bullish, or just don't allow them to make them.
    - Legacy systems - innovation has been thwarted at times by having to incorporate old foundational technology that's not sexy enough to get budget to update/replace.. resulting in vast swathes of work-arounds and old tech exceptions.

    Advice to Management

    Buy a start-up that has had to innovate to survive, keep it separate rather than absorb the life out of it, and let it innovate for you, rather than trying to do re-hashed stuff yourself.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Fractured and isolated"

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

    I have been working at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Pay is fairly good compared to other publishing companies in London, but low compared to other companies in Cambridge. Many employees don't appreciate this because they've never worked at any other publishing company.

    The canteen has been recently refurbished, although the food remains much the same. On-site gym is nice, and good selection of health classes. Subsidised drinking on Friday nights at the Cass Centre.

    Pretty standard offer of professional development opportunities, including a mentoring scheme and various courses.

    No one works crazy hours here - even if they claim that they do. The parking lot is empty at 9:30 in the morning (because no one has arrived yet), and it's empty again at 4:30 in the afternoon (because everyone has gone home). You're definitely going to be able to have a work-life balance, if that's important to you (although maybe too much on the life part!)

    Cons

    Three separate and silo'd divisions (Academic, ELT and Education) who never communicate. There is a lot of talk about collaboration, but in more than four years I've never seen a concrete example.

    An unwillingness to make the hard decisions - even when they claim they are making the hard decisions - they still take the easy way out. Endless restructures (applies to all three divisions) that just end up re-shuffling the same people into new roles, when everyone knows that certain people should be made redundant, but the Press lacks the ability to function as a hard-nosed business doing what's right for the company. They are still too precious about upsetting people or causing legal fallout.

    A confusing branch structure which is enforced differently by division. Some branches have Academic + Education combined, other branches have ELT + Education combined, and in others they are all separate. This makes process and procedure almost impossible.

    Lack of transparency over pay at the higher levels - anyone who is a mid-level manager or higher is on the secret pay bands. There was a big review a few years ago to try and bring similar roles onto the same band, but it seems that it's no longer being applied - almost every role is an exception in one way or another.

    The place is overly hierarchical. I've been told that I'm not allowed to email certain people, because I'm not at a certain level. Documents go up the chain for comment, and then back down the chain for actioning, which takes days/weeks/months, rather than a simple 5-minute conversation.

    Advice to Management

    Start getting rid of the people who have been hanging on for ages but are just taking up space. Your middle managers know who these people are, but you lack the gumption to make the right decision. You claim to be business-oriented and want to be a truly commercial organisation, but then you have to start acting like it. Sending your middle managers on endless leadership training sessions is not going to solve the problem - you have to actually listen to their concerns on an individual basis.


  3. "A positive company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Commissioning Editor in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Current Employee - Commissioning Editor in Cambridge, East of England, England

    I have been working at Cambridge University Press full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A friendly place to work with clear goals and expectations

    Cons

    You have to accept that you're a small cog in a very large wheel

    Advice to Management

    Keep communicating well


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  5. "Great Place to work and a very good team!"

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

    I worked at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I have been working for Press 1 year and 9 months on a Full Time basis.

    Good benefits available, flexible to your needs and weekly hours are very good. The environment is very friendly and everyone is very welcoming from the moment you walk through the doors. Colleagues are simply friendly and socialising comes at ease.

    The Salary expectation was good.

    Cons

    From my experience, I don’t think there is a downfall of working for CUP.

    Advice to Management

    The only thing I will mention is the canteen food should improve a little bit and be a bit more organised.


  6. "Great place to work"

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

    I have been working at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits available, Flexi time and weekly hours are good. Atmosphere is always friendly. Everyone is always willing to help, even when they are incredibly busy

    Cons

    I wouldn't say there are many downfalls of working at the press, i would say that maybe no one is willing to set things in policy and enforce it, which can get frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    Look to develop your employee's more. Most people i have met are always looking for the opportunity to develop and learn.


  7. "University Press moving into 21st century"

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

    I worked at Cambridge University Press full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful people to work with, great reputation and global brand, nice benefits being part of the University. Always something new, whatever your role in the company.

    Cons

    CUP has limited financial resources for investment, and is limited by generally risk-averse University governance, with many processes and systems still stuck in the past.

    Advice to Management

    Investment in product innovation and business development should take precedence over back-office infrastructure changes. System implementations should be scaled to a more appropriate level.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Great people to work with but can be slow-moving"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends

    I worked at Cambridge University Press full-time

    Pros

    - Great people, friendly colleagues and good work/life balance
    - Good benefits

    Cons

    - Narrow-minded / out-dated thinking
    - Very wedded to structure and bureaucracy when it comes to progression, pay and promotion
    - HR feel very separate from the business as a whole so issues, complaints and well-known problem areas often get smoothed over

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the recurring themes that come up in staff satisfaction surveys, exit interviews, etc. Encourage a more dynamic, hands-on HR department.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Get experience and go!"

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

    I have been working at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great colleagues
    Free Twinings tea bags
    Nice facilities staff to include catering BaxterStorey

    Cons

    Internal email tennis
    Confusing processes
    Poor budget for reward/social
    Bullying culture from management
    Confusing objectives
    Poor technology available
    Promotion by favouritism
    Overtime is not paid but overtime is expected/relied on

    Advice to Management

    Colleagues should be encouraged to say hello to each other around the building
    Work on the atmosphere of the office
    Spend less money on technology but get organised with the technology you have!
    Stop hiring bullies and hire business minded and talented individuals
    Empower your staff
    Simplify processes by promoting staff who do it well
    Let colleagues learn about each other in fun ways
    Let us leave Almond milk in the fridges! Some of us can't drink real milk.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Mixed experience"

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

    I have been working at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Free gym access, reasonable pension scheme. The people are lovely and senior editors in particular have a wealth of knowledge about publishing and their own subject matters, which makes them a joy to learn from. Depending on your manager, flexible working patterns are possible and overtime is rarely expected. There is a sense of pride in working for such a historic institution.

    Cons

    The pay is low for Cambridge, and the pay rise system is geared against junior roles. Bizarre attitude to investment – several million pounds are being overspent on various internal technology projects which as far as I can tell, have made little improvement to the actual business of selling products. This is frustrating to see when reams of your colleagues are made redundant on a regular basis. There is also very little investment into relatively small expenditures like staff training, and, as others have said, it feels quite stagnant in terms of product or business development. Far too many meetings which don’t amount to any actual outcomes and too many things are done inefficiently ‘because that’s how they’ve always been done’.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees. Ask yourselves why the turnover is so high, and invest in retaining good people.


  11. Helpful (5)

    "This job consumed my life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Representative in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Sales Representative in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge University Press full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good money and good networking.

    Cons

    Don't work here if you don't have experience, if you want to come home every day, if you have children, and if you want to have free time.

    Advice to Management

    Train your employees


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