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Solid global corporation, but not brilliant at career development

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Technology in Oxford, England (UK)
Current Employee - Technology in Oxford, England (UK)

I have been working at Reed Elsevier Group full-time (More than 8 years)

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO
Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

Pros

I work in the Elsevier bit, in particular the Technology group, recently taken over by Dan Olley (2013). (Elsevier is the Science publishing group). The company used to be very bureaucratic, faceless, etc., a lot of tech talent got out-sourced. Olley looks like he's stopping this.

And the openness has been changing in the last two or three years, it's a more friendly company than it used to be. The benefits are pretty good for the sector, and the salaries at the senior end of thing are relatively attractive when you're coming into the company. There are plenty of travel opportunities - mostly, in my case, to Amsterdam, Dayton (Ohio) and Philly. Internal communications used to be unspeakably bad, but is improving.

Even if you think you know Elsevier to be a big company, the scale of it will amaze you. Ten years in, and I can still find myself in an office of 500 people without knowing a single person there, or even know what they do! Personally, I like this, but then I'm a loud-mouth.

Despite what I'm going to say in the 'cons' section, I reckon I fit in quite well at Elsevier. It's not what I expected, but it suits for personal reasons (young family, blah blah blah). Probably best for self-motived extroverts.

Cons

The Oxford (Kidlington) office is a souless hole, especially compared with Amsterdam, which is (now that it's been revamped) a far more engaging environment. If you don't get an office in Oxford from the start, you won't get one. Compared with Amsterdam, where if you had an office (almost no-one does now), you wouldn't want one. The Mendeley office in London seems like a nice place. Philly and Dayton are ... well, meh.

Ditto salaries - it will take YEARS to get any kind of promotion or rise unless you're on the management programme (and I don't think the Technology / IT group has a management / career development programme). The HR team talk a lot about recruiting talent, but very little about retaining it, or developing it (again, I can only speak to the technology group). I would recommend working here for a couple of years and then going elsewhere for career dev, and not uprooting yourself and the family for a long-term relationship.

If you're ambitious in technology, it can be frustrating place to work. There seems to be a lot of people in the business side who have tech responsibilities and I don't know how that all ties together. Maybe it'll get sorted, but it's been like that for longer than I've been there and doesn't look like it's getting there. The story seems a familiar one from Dilbert: if you're outside the company you get taken more seriously... On the upside, once your projects get funded and supported, they get delivered and supported. This is a good thing, and I've been lucky in that all my projects have been successful - this isn't rewarded financially, but it feels really good. Some poor sods seem to get all the bad luck.

The tech stack was more limited than it was - used to be MS throughout. Not so much anymore, although Oracle dominates the db side. The fulfilment systems are a hoot. Some of the ideas that come through are really exciting, which makes up for it (but you need to engage with the cool stuff, before some people get all negative about delivery), I find enthusiasm and engagement really helps deliver.

Advice to Management

1) Have some way of identifying your technology talent and developing their careers. The management programme seems to work well in the 'business' side, why not do something similar?

2) Do something with the Oxford office. Almost anything. It's the second worst thing about the job, but it's close, it feels like a passive-aggressive library.

3) The person who runs the Amsterdam office seems to know what they're talking about. As does Olley.

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  1. Outstanding company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Full-Time in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Full-Time in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Reed Elsevier Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very successful company; share price doubled in last four years; strong management; good vision; excellent products and services; innovative; treats employees well; good CSR. Unlike many competitors has crossed the chasm from print to digital and is on the forefront of big data. Worth the journey.

    Cons

    Still silos between the businesses; slow-moving at times.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate more. You have a great story to tell


  2. Very corporate but has its moments.

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

    I worked at Reed Elsevier Group

    Pros

    Great experience to put on your CV

    Cons

    Large corporate inertia rather apparent

    Advice to Management

    Maybe be more proactive than reactive.


There are newer employer reviews for Reed Elsevier Group
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