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The Open University Reviews

Updated 24 November 2017
130 reviews

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130 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)

  • Another point of criticism is the fairly weak involvement of the OU in Milton Keynes (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "Chaotic, dispiriting"

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

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Lovely colleagues, working for a really large organisation with a strong social mission. This should be a perfect job.

    Cons

    Unfortunately the social mission is nowhere to be found in management. Endless significant changes, huge army of 'project managers', lots of people employed to do stuff which is nothing to do with the core purpose of a university. Obsession with metrics and analytics while running frontline staff into the ground. This university flourished on the goodwill of its students and staff; sadly in recent years poor management has done away with both. For academics, large administrative load and reduction of research time - now driven by external income and REF.

    Advice to Management

    It's probably too late but please stop destroying everything that has worked for decades. Put ALs and the faculties back at the forefront and stop the drain of resources of FutureLearn and vanity projects. Stop appointing more business people and external consultants at £££s. Staff are still dealing with the fallout of faculty reorganisation, schools, regional closures, the disastrous GTP - I could go on.


  2. "Bureaucratic, top-heavy and lost its direction"

    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

    Pros

    Based in growing vibrant city, not far from London and easy reach of countryside

    Cons

    Too many bureaucratic people in a jobs-for-life mentality. Shuffling bits of paper, creating endless meetings and generally making things over complicated. The institution is trying to reinvent itself but doesn't know what direction to go in. Research is not valued, curriculum (and research) is unsustainable due to high overheads. It's been the golden child of UK higher education for a long time and generally had public money thrown at it with no questions asked, but now its time for a reality check!

    Advice to Management

    Set your strategic direction before rushing through a million parallel but disjointed change projects! Completely streamline yourselves and stop adding more and more overheads! Stop referring to people as grades! Bring in some fresh blood and cut the hangers-on (too many senior staff are only in their positions because they've spent over 20 years there and have no experience of working anywhere else) but then I guess they're too costly and problematic (unionised) to get rid off!


  3. "Great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Love the people I work for

    Cons

    Little chance of progression. Time of change so unsettling


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "OU Ruined by Poor Senior Management"

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

    I have been working at The Open University part-time

    Pros

    Great students to work with. Lot of flexibility in how you allocate time to supporting students.

    Cons

    Disorganised constant quest for change. Clueless senior management have ruined a once great institution. Poor reward for a lot of work. Rely too much on goodwill of employees without any corresponding respect from senior management.

    Advice to Management

    Do the decent thing and resign. Listen to frontline staff before embarking on poorly thought through changes. Stop being driven by dodgy market research. Focus instead on evidence-based pedagogy to recreate the OU as an innovative disruptor in the higher education marketplace.


  6. "Highly respected institution"

    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

    I worked at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    Subsidised courses offered to all employees.

    Cons

    Based in Milton Keynes which is quiet.


  7. "Review"

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

    I have been working at The Open University part-time

    Pros

    Very rewarding place to work.
    Having worked with the OU for eight years I have found it to be a good employer

    Cons

    Some recent job insecurity as student numbers are falling


  8. "Student Services review"

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

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Staff within teams/department are good to work with and helpful.

    Cons

    Significant management changes every year
    External consultants brought in yearly


  9. "A great organisation but a period of uncertainty and necessary change"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Srsc in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Srsc in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Really great people who care about students and are proud to work for OU, good culture, supportive management and reasonable perks, especially annual leave. I have worked at similar organisations and there is a lot worse out there!

    Cons

    Systems & processes outdated, admin heavy and obviously there are big changes afoot meaning there will be undoubted redundancies which will be a real shame.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure the right people are involved in identifying the improvements that need to be made at all levels. There really needs to be a clear long term strategy and don't get lost in the cost cutting. I know there will be reinvestment in technology but don't forget to reinvest in the workforce who are facing a challenging time. Marketing strategy could be much improved. Marketing need to learn from those on the front line far more effectively.


  10. "Student support advisor"

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

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

    Pros

    Great holidays, great people who genuinely care

    Cons

    Can't get time off, recently combined 2 roles and still in transitional period
    Calls not routed correctly


  11. "Linux system administration"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Programmer in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Programmer in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Public sector pension and benefits and hundreds of servers to gain experiences on.as it also is profit making youhave comercial big company experience

    Cons

    Pay is not higher end and the business is assessed by senior business people who themselves pay for the business profits by being clients themselves


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