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The Open University Reviews

Updated 19 January 2018
134 reviews

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3.1
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The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
44 Ratings

134 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Bullying culture, micro-management, not a lot of support and no opportunities for career progression (in 7 reviews)

  • Disconnected senior management, lack of communication over big changes in OU (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "PhD Student"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - PhD Researcher in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - PhD Researcher in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very helpful, hardworking and intelligent colleagues.

    Cons

    More focus is on teaching at the cost of dwindling research.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in research activities.


  2. "In need of change"

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

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    excellent brand
    commitment to the institution

    Cons

    Its lost its way. Its an organisation for the staff and not the students. The operating model is not fit for the 21st C. They know this and they want to change...but they don't know how to.

    Advice to Management

    The danger isn't making the wrong decision, the danger is not making a decision (or making a decision and not sticking to it)


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Headless chickens"

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

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    relaxed environment,
    autonomy in the role,
    Holidays and pension
    great ethical social cause that you can really get behind

    Cons

    Senior management like headless chickens
    too much silo working but those at the top in individual units not willing to change despite the current restructuring project
    bullying by particular senior individuals
    Been here for over 10 years and had enough and want out now
    Systems are terrible


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Changes at the Open University"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Enjoyable team working, excellent support from line managers

    Cons

    Disconnected senior management, lack of communication over big changes in OU

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees otherwise you become disconnected from what is really happening on the front lines


  6. "A good place for doing research"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Milton Keynes, England

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You can focus prevalently on research.

    Cons

    The IT and bureaucratic support is under par.


  7. "Slow, but comfortable."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media Assistant in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - Media Assistant in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Casual work environment, relaxed attitude, good facilities, excellent career stability.

    Cons

    Outdated technology, slow working pace, uninspiring design restrictions, no advancement due to no staff turnover.

    Advice to Management

    Shake it up, bring yourselves in line with the modern age of the internet.


  8. "Extremely committed staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Tutor in London, England
    Former Employee - Associate Tutor in London, England

    I worked at The Open University part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You can work from home; the teaching materials are excellent; your fellow tutors are committed to their work and often very supportive.

    Cons

    In the beginning, the workload is heavy in relation to pay.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Tranquil place for research"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Quiet, many parks around, good researchers in the department (maths), fairly funded PhD.

    Cons

    Not that prestigious, sometimes campus feels dead.


  10. "Solid employer. Great work/life balance doing interesting things."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Work on the main campus with 1000s of other people means there's lots of other activities to get involved with, outside of hours and during lunch breaks and things like that. The massive campus population means you can always find someone to socialise with too, if you don't like your immediate departmental colleagues.

    It being a large University there are a lot of innovative projects/research taking place, so no doubt you will find yourself doing something you can get passionate about if you're working on the academic side of things. Even outside of academia, the institution is a bit of a world leader when it comes to distance learning, competition is getting stiffer now but this should only compel the OU on further.

    I found there was a great emphasis on work-life balance. The University-wide budget is being cut at the moment so you may find yourself laden with a little more work than before, but you should rarely be worked to the teeth.

    Decent opportunities for growth and development, sometimes you just gotta ask though. Lateral movement is also often available given the OU's sheer size, and with some quite kind firing policies you should find ample job protection/security.

    Great relationships with senior managers in my opinion who were accommodating, willing to help, approachable and supportive.

    Beautiful campus and surrounding greenery.

    Cons

    Little boring sometimes. It's a bureaucratic beast so change can sometimes be slow but this is a key focus for improvement at the moment.

    The politics can also get tiresome sometimes, especially at the managerial levels, but this can easily enough be ignored.


  11. "Great organisation but go down hills now…"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Data Analyst in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Business Data Analyst in Milton Keynes, England

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people and very friendly colleagues, flexible working hours.

    Cons

    Too slow to adapt change and challenges , therefore it is going down hill now


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