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The Open University Reviews

Updated 4 October 2017
126 reviews

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126 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • I found there was a great emphasis on work-life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • Excellent IT systems to enable work from home (in 7 reviews)

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

  • Sometimes people in Milton Keynes make stupid decisions but that happens anywhere (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "overly relaxed work environment - not suited to eager young professionals"

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

    Pros

    relaxed environment - no micromanaging

    Cons

    personal opinion - getting jobs done between departments takes forever


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Team Assistant Student Services"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Team Assistant Student Services
    Current Employee - Team Assistant Student Services
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good holiday, relaxed working environment, 90% of people are extremely friendly and helpful. Nice place to work

    Cons

    hierarchical attitude from management. Look down on you quite often and can be very patronising. I don't get the impression that many people here LOVE what they do.

    Advice to Management

    Please don't refer to me as a 'Grade 4'... I have a name.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Complete mess"

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

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

    Pros

    Great place with a great mission and lots of job satisfaction, when things are organised to enable you to do the job. You work with great people at the lower operational levels.

    Cons

    Really badly managed by a bunch of power-crazed bureaucrats. Closing all the local offices means that nobody knows what's going on and everything is done through call centre based systems. Students used to have their own tutor but now the link between tutor and student has been broken.

    The management's main ability is to make the wrong decision when the obvious right one is staring them in the face. They claim to listen but never seem to hear what anyone tells them.

    Advice to Management

    Find a job somewhere else - preferably out of the country. Let people who genuinely care about and are interested in what the OU does take over. At the very least, if you're listening to what the staff tell you, try to hear what they say


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Stay away"

    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

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

    Pros

    Good holiday allocation and a nice campus. The OU continues to do some great work delivering on its social mission.

    Cons

    Massive change over the last few years, delivered without meaningful staff consultation/inclusion, means the OU went from being a happy, positive and supportive working environment to one in which most people are either job hunting or hanging on to retirement/redundancy. There is little trust in the senior management (the academic union passed a vote of no confidence in the VC) and people feel insecure and undervalued. Student numbers are nose-diving.

    Advice to Management

    Good leadership trusts the quality of the staff and works with them.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Student Support"

    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 part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Always used to be a good working environment and supportive colleagues.
    Opportunities for staff to study with the OU.
    Nice work-life balance.

    Cons

    Unfortunately the OU is undergoing major changes which many feel will be detrimental to both students and staff. Closing regional centres and losing experienced staff who are being replaced with new staff in call centre setting.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the staff who actually deal with students on a daily basis.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "A terrible employer - the OU is on the decline"

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

    Pros

    This used to be a great company to work for but all the Pros have gone. Most staff are looking to leave because of the changes and the OU is running itself out of business!

    Cons

    There are NO career progression opportunities anymore.
    Annual "staff satisfaction" survey results get worse year on year.
    A very arrogant, draconian management culture that imposes bad decision making and refuses to listen to staff who actually do the job and could recommend an enhanced way of working.
    Lots of downgrading of jobs, increased workload and 6 day work-shift patterns which is resulting in a massive turnover of staff. The OU is in the process of closing 8 Regional Centres across England making approx 1000 knowledgeable staff redundant. At this rate the OU will go out of business over the coming years.

    Advice to Management

    Stop making decisions which are destroying the University. The OU doesn't care about what it was set up for - students. All it cares about is delivering the most basic service it can get away with to make more money, all at the expense of students and quality education and support. Which is why student numbers have dropped significantly over the past few years. It will only get worse once the Regional Centres are all closed.


  8. "Great working environment"

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

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

    Pros

    - Very good working environment (great colleagues, good location, pleasant offices)
    - Good development opportunities (courses offered related to procedures, learning new skills, etc.)
    - Employee contribution is recognised
    - Career progression is supported (lot of OU employees work at the uni for decades, working in different roles at different levels)
    - Opportunity for staff to study at the OU
    - Flexible working
    -

    Cons

    I honestly cannot think about anything negative in general that I have experienced as OU employee. This view is of course role specific and department/unit specific, I might have different opinion, should I be working elsewhere within the OU.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work and continue in providing a great, inclusive workplace for many.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Not a happy site"

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

    I worked at The Open University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I cannot think of any

    Cons

    If your a phone monkey and never ask questions you may stay there for a while. Contractors do not stay long and everyone has said the same thing the OU when they leave.

    Advice to Management

    Time to clear the dead wood out and embrace the 21st century. You have the wrong people in key roles and you could do so much more.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Not what it used to be"

    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

    Well paid with good opportunities for progression.

    Cons

    Appalling top tier management. University in crisis. Appalling treatment of staff. Higher powers seem to have completely lost sight of the Universities overall mission.

    Advice to Management

    Hire a new Vice Chancellor.


  11. "Student Recruitment Advisor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    Great people and a nice working environment

    Cons

    Progression opportunities are limited at present.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


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