GSM London Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

GSM London Reviews

Updated 22 June 2018
56 reviews

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56 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great place to work and develop career" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Some good support & staff and lecturers" (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • "Some of the Senior Management really need to stop bullying their staff" (in 10 reviews)

  • "To the user, I say: If this helps alleviate the nausea that comes with realising you work or study at GSM London, you have my sympathy" (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "One big family of bullies"

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

    Pros

    Cheap but poor quality food in the canteen. Good location. Great students. Library services.

    Cons

    No induction or nothing could prepare you for what you will go through at GSM London. GSM is a unique place in a sense where you will be bullied openly and recklessly, where your identity, personality and "being" will be destroyed through systematic harassment and bullying, where you will see half dozen of siblings working in the same department next to each other, where you will be excluded from all sorts of benefits and perks if you refuse to worship your line manager who is most likely a - disqualified and incapable of achieving any task academic - good friend of the senior management or if you are not one of those privileged members who are well-protected by the senior management no matter what. You will receive the rudest and nastiest emails- in your life - from your line manager as well as from the senior management and you will be told off very frequently for no apparent reason. You will barely see the well-paid top managers around whilst your attendance will be strictly monitored and reported to your line manager by your work colleagues. Although GSM London promotes itself proudly as a widening participation focused institution, the mentioned group is not students but the staff themselves. Some of the members of the senior management are proud of themselves by holding well-paid high-end positions within the organisation thanks to their links to the senior management and to their habit of reading women magazines where they can learn everything they need to know to manage their jobs from.

    Advice to Management

    The whole senior management should be replaced with honourable, dignify and non-corrupt people who would not see GSM as their very own cash machine.

    GSM London Response

    7 Apr 2017

    I am very sorry that you feel this way about your time working at GSM London.

    I can’t speak about what may have been the case in the past, but since I took up the CEO role last October I have... More


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Work life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Library Assistant in Greenford, England
    Current Employee - Library Assistant in Greenford, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at GSM London part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly helpful staff and motivated students

    Cons

    Not cheap tp live in the area

  3. Helpful (7)

    "I found GSM London a good place to work"

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

    I worked at GSM London full-time

    Pros

    There have been some pretty bruising reviews of this workplace. These reviewers may have had bad experiences here, but I think they give an overstatedly negative overall impression. It's not a perfect employer, but how many of those are there? And it's steadily improving.

    They are aware of their shortcomings, and are genuinely working to address them. GSM has the collegiate feel you often find in small HEIs, with a more 'personal' touch than you frequently experience in larger places. I found colleagues generally helpful, welcoming, and willing to listen.

    GSM's student (and to some extent staff) demographic makes them unique. They have a clear aim to provide HE learning to those who might not usually consider this route. This sometimes makes the work challenging, but meeting those challenges can also bring great satisfaction. The College has made great strides in a very short time, is constantly evolving and reviewing, and is making a concerted effort to achieve degree awarding powers. All these things make it an exciting place to work. At time of writing its Chair of Directors is Sir Bob Burgess, a respected and influencial figure in HE. This has been beneficial for the College.

    And the students are way better than some previous reviews imply. Yes they are probably more likely to challenge and question outcomes, policy, procedure but mainly as they are largely mature and with more life experience including employment and running their own companies, having families. GSM knows there are retention issues, but nowhere near as hysterically framed in other reviews, and the college is addressing the issue. Some previous reviews unfairly negate the dedication, commitment and achievement of many of the students.

    I was on a very good salary, relative to similar roles elsewhere.

    GSM is a great place for anyone who wants to make their mark in a developing HE institution where the people are willing to respond to direction. It's a good fit for an outgoing, clear-thinking person who is determined and methodical but also able to react quickly to situations.

    I had to move on for various reasons but not through dislike of GSM. I learnt a lot there and it has helped my career development. It can be a strange and infuriating place, but it has a good heart and admirable intentions and ethos. And it will keep getting better.

    Cons

    Some of the cons are to an extent beyond GSM's control. e.g., as an 'alternative provider' (i.e. privately-funded) it is subject to additional external regulation, justifiable in some ways, but disproportionate in practice. Meeting the demands of this regulation is time-consuming and resource-intense, and can distract from the important business of strategy and review. It can also contribute to a rather chaotic feel at times, but e.g. a new CEO has recently pushed back some key developments to help unclutter the road ahead. More of this sort of approach will be of benefit.

    There are three intakes per academic year, which presents various operational challenges. These are managed as best as can be, but this model is always going to be fairly daunting.

    Other cons are solvable; GSM isn't very adept at 'talking to itself' about the good stuff, sharing good practice, institutionally tracking positive initiatives, joining them up. There are sometimes other communication issues, such as disseminating developments etc beyond the senior team, but this is being addressed. Operational changes such as staff comings and goings and switches of roles could be communicated much better.

    As a validated institution, GSM is often subject to the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of its validating authority, Plymouth University. This can be problematic and, during my time, sometimes felt it was shackling the College in its attempts to evolve and develop.

    Advice to Management

    Build on the good work that has been done and keep listening to staff and students.

    Make sure the College has the internal conversation about good initiatives and keeps it going. Through this, ensure developments are in line with strategy, reviewed, and provide cross-institutional enhancement.

    Present a firmer front to Plymouth and get across that GSM is a maturing institution and not an errant teenager in need of parental guidance.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Great history, great place, exciting future"

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

    I have been working at GSM London full-time

    Pros

    As someone that has been at GSM London for a reasonable period, this is a great place to work if you are someone that is truly interested in making a real difference in the lives of students rather than just looking for a 'self-serving' academic job that gives you a decent salary.

    The staff are amazing but just like any other place there are a few that may not be fully committed and you tend to see them leave relatively quickly. The academic staff are committed with a good balance between those with a long track record in HE and those with significant industry experience. Students recognise this strength in the yearly satisfaction survey and in the more regular module evaluation survey. In my opinion, the focus on personal development and graduate attributes is commendable and best-practice across the sector - you can attribute this to the leadership of the current Provost and Dean of Faculty and the commitment of the wider staff (both academic and non-academic). Many programmes have strong professional body links which demonstrates their high quality, workplace recognition. More recently, a personal tutoring and strength-based learning initiative are full of promises, although still in the 'baby' period.

    The industry week for various subject areas are best-practice and something that other institutions should take notice of - entrepreneurship week, women in business, energy futures, and careers in finance, to name a few.

    There are many other examples of great work being done at this institution. Generally, it is a place where you can get involved, develop yourself, develop others, and make a real difference.

    Cons

    There are some issues that require attention such as the types of tailored support for students. This is a challenge that could do with innovative (not 'traditional') solutions. The biggest asset of this institution are the staff and there is a need to invest more in their development.

    Advice to Management

    Address the records management system - most student or staff related issues comes from this.


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Great people, awful management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at GSM London full-time

    Pros

    People. That's it. But you can learn a lot from the good ones.

    Cons

    Pay, management, not paying promised bonuses, progression limited unless you suck up and often expected to travel between sites.

    Advice to Management

    Take care of your staff.


  6. Helpful (15)

    "Liars, Thieves, Bullies and Backstabbers"

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

    I worked at GSM London full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Your teammates - The people who (directly) work alongside you will probably be very decent and upstanding. Considering the stress you will most likely be under, your teammates are the only people who will be able to understand what you are up against and give advice if ever you become overwhelmed.

    The payout that you may receive from GSM London when they fire unjustifiably.

    Leaving GSM London and moving on with life gives one a euphoria which would never have been possible without being an employee of such a terrible organisation.

    Cons

    GSM London is very aware that they continually receive negative reviews on Glassdoor from current/former employees. Instead of attempting to change how the institution is run, the management hold "all-staff meetings" in which they try their best to discredit all negative Glassdoor reviews. Any current staff member who implies that these negative Glassdoor reviews may be credible is made to feel as if they have committed high treason; HR then include this in your personal file to use against you whenever needed.

    GSM London has a lot of polices, which they expect all staff member to be aware of, however, these policies are rarely enforced; usually they are only enforced to protect GSM London against its staff and students when GSM London's reputation is at stake.

    Lots of staff at GSM London say and do things openly which proves that the institution does not enforce policies relating to:
    - Discrimination (race; gender; sexuality; religion; class; age; physical appearance; intelligence; etc)
    - Bullying
    - Confidentiality
    - Dishonesty
    (In my experience, the management are the worst culprits.)

    Management habitually hire their own unemployed relatives and uneducated childhood friends. Although the organisation is quite big, the number of employees who are related by blood is probably higher than you imagine. This is not necessarily a bad thing but can easily become a bad thing when abused, as it often is by some.

    Promotions are often given to staff members based on friendship statuses and most people who are lucky enough to be promoted are promised the promotion long before the job is advertised; if you are not invited to apply for a promotion, you are most likely not getting the job.

    The organisation is extremely disorganised and your daily responsibilities are subject to change (and will do so, very often). HR are known for losing copies of important documents of GSM London staff (passports; contracts; qualifications; references) and never have a decent explanation as to how this is possible and why it happens so frequently.

    Members of management appear to be in competition with some of their own members of staff and dedicate a lot of time spreading lies about said staff members, in order to publicly tarnish their reputations and force them out of the organisation.

    When confronted about particular issues, members of management have a very convenient ability of forgetting a lot of important things which were said or done which would present themselves in a negative light.

    GSM London pays its staff quite low salaries (except for the friends or family of management), despite experience or educational backgrounds. Although GSM London's staff are paid lower than they would be doing similar jobs in other London-based institutions, the most efficient members of staff will constantly be forced to take on an ever-growing list of extra responsibilities, whilst most likely receiving sheer disrespect from management.

    GSM London are known for tricking candidates throughout the job interviewing process into accepting lower salaries, as they often lie about how much work is really involved within some roles. This leads to GSM London (only sometimes) recruiting high-calibre staff, who then resign very quickly; only weeks later, in some cases.

    Although GSM London claim that their focus is on Widening Participations, this REALLY is not the case. GSM London (who still does not have university status and hopefully never will) typically enrols students who have little or no educational background, providing these students with a false hope that they will actually be able to graduate one day; the student retention rate is shockingly low at GSM London for a valid reason. Being an employee at GSM London may sometimes feel criminal for this reason alone.

    Performance-related annual bonuses are virtually non-existent (unless you have the word "manager" in your job title). GSM London only ever rewards the exact same people continuously for their "hard work and effort" whilst at least 90% of their staff are never ever even mentioned.

    If you join GSM London, be careful who you end up working for, as unfair treatment by managers is often swept under the rug by HR, despite how many complaints are made against them.

    Life at GSM London is slightly more bearable if you are able to accept being treated badly by your manager. If you are known for defending yourself, you will be labelled a troublemaker and GSM London will try to get rid of you by any means necessary, even going so far as recommending that you find another job elsewhere. Be prepared to see your teammates/colleagues in tears because of something a line manager did or said to them.

    GSM London gossip is rife and you must be careful picking the colleagues that you choose to confide in, as telling the wrong person anything about yourself will become common knowledge throughout the institution (once again, managers are the worst culprits). Even lies spread about you will most likely be treated as gospel. The only way to ensure that you are not at the centre of gossip at GSM London is to remain unknown; yes, even the most popular and most-adored members of staff will still suffer negative rumours attached to their names.

    If you are fired from GSM London, HR will probably threaten you with a lawsuit if you so happen to ever tell anyone what was actually discussed in your disciplinary meeting or if you ever mention the fact that you received a substantial payout from GSM London for an undisclosed reason.

    Advice to Management

    The management does not want advice. They want conformity from staff and money from students. GSM London railroads their staff into lying about what GSM London actually is so that more innocent students are tricked into believing that GSM London is worth taking out a Student Loan for.

    I wish there was something that I felt I could write here that would be taken seriously by GSM London but the only thing I believe they will try to do it get a few of their favourite employees to write 4 and 5 star reviews so mine is harder to find.

    However, giving them the benefit of the doubt (not that they gave it to me), I would advise GSM London to actually pay attention to the complaints made by staff and students, both former and current. Our complaints and criticisms are valued despite how much you wish it wasn't. It may be a good idea to really pay attention to the people in power at GSM London and those who who are coming up. If not, nothing will change and you will always fail: you will always lose decent members of staff to better employers; and you will always recruit students for the wrong reasons.

    I advise GSM London to try to understand that I write this review, not as a disgruntled former employee, but someone who needs future applicants to be aware of what GSM London really is like behind its marketing.

    Lastly, I advise GSM London TO return all the money they have knowingly conned out of innocent students and the Student Loans companies.

    GSM London Response

    20 Oct 2016

    I recently took over as President and Chief Executive Officer at GSM London and am extremely concerned to read this report of your experience. I take the fact that you felt the need to write this... More


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Lecturer"

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

    Pros

    In my experience so far, I have found GSM to be an extremely supportive environment to work in. The teaching team is passionate and hard working and the management provide a lot of opportunity for training and growth if you are committed and passionate about what you do.

    Cons

    Currently, they run three semesters a year and so that can be challenging when trying to develop modules or carry out research and make deadlines.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to support your staff (as you are) as they are all passionate about what they do.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Not the finished article but going in an exciting direction"

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

    Pros

    I worked with GSM London as a consultant over the course of a year before coming on board as a full time member of staff, mainly because i'm excited to be part of something so innovative. This is a higher education institution that is genuinely trying to do things differently by creating opportunities for people who might otherwise be excluded from higher education.
    In my time working with the College i've worked with people at every level - from front line delivery to senior management - who are genuinely committed to making a difference. I've also found that senior leaders respect professional expertise and are open to (constructive) challenge.

    Cons

    If you're after a cushy life this is probably not the place for you! There is a lot of change happening and expectations are high. I can understand how this can be a bit unsettling for some - particularly those unused to leaders not willing to hand hold.

    On the other hand, there are times when the pace of change is not fast enough. Like any organisation that has been around for a long time there are a few issues and pockets of bad practice that have been allowed to linger. Progress is being made - there is a new set of policies and regulations and a lot of operations are being refined - but is still a long way to go.

    This is also not the place for anyone prejudiced about 'the wrong types of student'. This is a College with a social mission to educate students from a wide range of backgrounds, and the reality of this can sometimes be a challenge. If you're more used to a traditional university with nice, polite middle class teenagers you may find life at GSM a challenge. But if you're willing to be open minded you'll find a lot to be inspired by.

    Advice to Management

    Keep going! There is a lot of work to do but it is worth it. Make sure that everyone knows what they are working towards and the progress that is being made.


  9. Helpful (11)

    "Joke"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Advisory in London, England
    Former Employee - Student Advisory in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at GSM London full-time

    Pros

    You are able to make some great friends with fellow staff members which make it bearable, closely located to a market with good food and easily accessible via DLR and train

    Cons

    You will most likely be managed by people who are less qualified than you and really have no idea of what they're doing - the easiest way to get ahead is to suck up to managers and be horrible to your own staff who are putting in the real effort. Despite managers being less qualified they will speak to you in a condescending tone as if you are just a puppet and there isn't much real use for you but when you are sick and need a day off/to go home they will notice your absence.

    This establishment does not appreciate their student body and despite half the students not even being able to speak English will take all the money they can from them before kicking them out for not progressing quick enough. It is hard not to feel terrible for students, who should not have been enrolled in the first place, who are being told they've been taken off the course. Students can also be incredibly rude and irrational - they'll insist they are correct despite being completely wrong a large portion of the time. Rather than your managers stepping in and assisting they'll shy away from the confrontation while the students yell 'GET YOUR MANAGER'. They'll slide out the door and wait for the chaos to be over, forbid they did any work.

    Any suggestions you make for the betterment of students will fall on deaf ears as they generally don't allow the 'university' to make a profit.

    It was hard not to laugh at this place every moment you're there. There is absolutely no work-flow as you can email different departments 5 times within 2 weeks and they still won't get the work done. Managers will tell you to get off your mobile phones although they'll be on theirs doing absolutely nothing all day. The staff members who deserve credit aren't given any only people who suck up to management are appreciated.

    Advice to Management

    Close down - you're using venerable members of the community who are wanting a REAL education to make a profit for the monkeys upstairs. Get a grip


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Loving my job,"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at GSM London full-time

    Pros

    Really supportive managers and academic faculty. I can honestly say I have never worked anywhere that the staff are so supportive.
    Lots of great new initiatives coming to make the college better for staff and students
    Lovely atmosphere with opportunities to learn lots
    Improved staff benefits with more coming
    Genuine ethos and committment to make things better for students snd staff from senior management

    Cons

    There are very few for me as I really feel the experience has been so positive and has helped me develop for a future career elsewhere as and when needed.


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