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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 (1)

    "The Open University"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Helping students achieve their potential. Lots of interesting roles within various units and faculties. Good campus with lots of free parking.

    Cons

    No obvious career progression. Need to go through very lengthy and cumbersome application process when applying for other roles within the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Make the internal application process less onerous. Nurture those who wish to progress in order to avoid them becoming frustrated and demoralized. Re-think the merit award system which currently requires people to beg for extra money.


  2. "The potential is there!"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great setting, excellent benefits and a worthwhile mission. The OU is a well-known and beloved brand and working here can feel like you can really make a difference in the world.

    Cons

    Recent changes in management and constant restructures are destabilizing. Also the speed of change is incredibly poor and reaction to the markets is frustratingly slow. The ideas about change and adaptation are there but legacy systems and outdated processes can slow down any chance of improvement.

    Advice to Management

    Take more time to appreciate the great people that work here and also take into consideration the current state of the market to develop products that consumers actually want. It is not sufficient to bombard the customer base with messages - if the university doesn't offer what they are after, they will not sign up.


  3. "Associate lecturer"

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

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

    Pros

    Can work from home, can study for free, a nice community to be part of

    Cons

    Job insecurity, high expectations of students, low rate of pay

    Advice to Management

    Improve job security for associate lecturers


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


  5. "The Open University"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great work-life balance and people in a culture that genuinely care about what they are trying to achieve.

    Cons

    Can lack the vision and an aligned strategy to implement real, meaningful change across the university.

    Advice to Management

    Get serious about change.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Flexible working, friendly environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Editor in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    Flexible working including home working
    Good pay
    Friendly staff
    Approachable management

    Cons

    Bureaucracy
    Lack of career progression (in academic related posts)
    Top heavy management
    Dubious recruitment practices - pretending to be fair and transparent but a bit of a 'who you know' culture

    Advice to Management

    reintroduce variety into management roles - yu could have one manager instead of three and as an employee every decision wouldn't have to be cleared through three different people. Also, resource management dept just slows things down - we can be more much efficient if we just go and speak to people rather than having to fill out a request, give a two week turnaround and sending an email to a generic inbox


  7. "Great work life balance but worrying change of direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    Great people to work with
    Friendly atmosphere
    Relaxed environment
    Grounds and staff facilities are fabulous

    Cons

    Little confidence in the decision making of the management and the mis-management of projects resulting in a lot of wasted expenditure


  8. Helpful (2)

    "job review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Open University part-time

    Pros

    Excellent holiday entitlement, great campus grounds with lots of fabulous, friendly and committed staff.

    Cons

    Not the best place to work at present as the organisation is going through huge change, faculty mergers and regional offices closing. so staff morale is low in some areas.


  9. "Large Organisation with lots of opportunity"

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

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

    Pros

    Scope of opportunities available are endless, great for digital and data potential.

    Cons

    Need a map to navigate! Many areas of the campus which require layers of process, slowing progress down at times.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the balanced, leading edge skills high, fantastic business - keep it alive in todays digital world!


  10. Helpful (8)

    "So much promise - but so much bullying!"

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, and very generous salaries at academic support level when compared with other sectors.

    Cons

    Where to start! In some ways a great place to work; on paper the core values and goals are admirable, respectable, and represent somewhere most people would love to work. In practice, it lets itself down. After working in several faculties and support units over a 10 year period, I can definitely say that a real bullying culture exists across the board. There are far too many middle managers doing far too little, at the expensive of the genuine support roles, and unfortunately at the expense of academic roles also. Unfortunately I experienced a bully/blame culture in several departments, and know that in one particular instance this was a well known problem and had been for some time. The central HR department are woefully incompetent, and seem hesitant to get involved in issues until it is too late. Departmental HR teams are too keen to keep issues 'in-house' which creates a really isolating environment for those experiencing issues.

    Advice to Management

    Support and nurture the genuine talent you have at the bottom of the ladder. Genuinely support career progression, rather than merely paying it lip service.
    Real improvements need to be made in HR to support employees with genuine issues; the high rate of long term sickness absence in certain areas should be enough to highlight where the real issues are. Address these issues rather than getting rid of good people who have been hung out to dry by unsupportive and bullying management.


  11. "Good benefits"

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

    Pros

    Holiday plus BH and closure days, parking

    Cons

    the culture has not moved with the times


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