Oxford University Reviews

Updated June 22, 2015
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4.2
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Oxford University Chancellor Christopher Francis Patten
Christopher Francis Patten
13 Ratings

Pros
  • The town of Oxford is also a great place to live (in 5 reviews)

  • Top people to work with and a beautiful city to live in (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Poor work-life balance, often poor supervision (in 5 reviews)

  • very expensive to live, and salary is general too low to ensure a truly comfortable life (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

112 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Better than the dole.

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Incremental salary. Eighteen words worth of blather to hide the fact that frankly that's about it. It really is that bad.

    Cons

    Annual salary increments mean that while you stay it seems rosy, but the moment you come to look for work outside no-one will match that salary and you end up losing out through being too expensive to employ. Management structure appears to date from 12th century. Changing anything takes centuries if not millenia. Senior scientists are untouchable because they bring money in so however big a bully they are no-one will do anything about them. Far too many have risen to the top not like cream but like the lumps in a septic tank (look it up). Total lack of career structure for technical staff means you may well find yourself unemployable if you stay for more than a few years.

    Advice to Management

    Forget the rubbish about history and create a structure where staff have career progression, and the sphincters can be culled from the senior staff genepool.


  2. Waste of time for junior faculty

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Nice town, great and convenient location.

    Cons

    Terrible and flawed grading system. Poor collegial relations amongst faculty. No support for junior faculty. Lots of false promises. Unfair and excessive workload unless you are a Reader/Professor. Money talks. Nobody cares.

    Advice to Management

    Wouldn't bother.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Bureaucratic monster, enormous pressure on scientists, little to none effectiveness of support staff and management

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    As any research job there are no constraints on how you should organise your work.
    Flexible hours and opportunities for travel.
    Very bright people to work with (researchers and professors)

    Cons

    40% to 100% overheads on research grants basically means for every £100 of research funds given by the taxpayers,£50 goes to the university and it is spent in unclear ways, feeding an gigantic pyramid of --mostly unnecessary-- support, secretarial, and IT staff. The difference between the salaries of the researchers and the one of the managers is absurd and unjustified.

    This lead to an enormous pressure on young scientists who have to focus first on feeding the system and only later on scientific achievements.

    Permanent positions are based mostly on personal connections and amount of money brought in.

    Advice to Management

    The operational procedures are incredibly complicated and work against efficiency.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Great researching resources and students; poor salaries, employment rights and support

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tutor and Instructor in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Tutor and Instructor in Oxford, England (UK)

    I worked at Oxford University part-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The students are ambitious and wonderful to teach (mostly), and the libraries and community of scholars is vibrant and ambitious, if occasionally overly-competitive or a few years behind the trends.

    Cons

    Few, and increasingly fewer, tenured jobs, with more emphasis on by-hour and adjunct teaching, which means no payment for marking and prep. I was once told that, because I was based at a different college to the one I was tutoring for and was a grad student at the time -- that I had no right to photocopy for my students and that therefore any photocopies I needed for class would come out of my £22 per (classroom) hour wage. In general, Oxford knows that the brand has capital, and that academics cannot be choosy about their jobs in this market, and it seems to take full advantage of these facts by treating their employees as people who should be grateful just to be there.

    Advice to Management

    Professionalise your approach: ensure that everyone ranging from full professors and chairs to graduate tutors can benefit from salary and per-hour wage transparency, a clear year-by-year salary/wage ladder, and a federalised expectation of what colleges should be providing to their tutors outside of basic wage and/or salary. In general, federalise teaching provision and payment as much as possible: opportunities, hierarchies and support ranges far too drastically from college to college.


  6. postdoc

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Oxford University

    Pros

    very good university to work in, brilliant people

    Cons

    The salary is quite low, and the living expense is quite high in Oxford as well.


  7. DPhil student

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

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Well supported, good professional development opportunities in terms of courses. Excellent IT courses free to staff. The career service is genuinely excellent an every active

    Cons

    Very little options for promotion, very political, get funding or you're out. Salaries compare poorly with other universities and contracts tend to be short with no hope of a permanent job unless you are a clinician

    Advice to Management

    Start treating scientists with the same level of respect reserved for the clinicians - remember your reputation is based on good science and its the scientists that produce not the clinicians


  8. Administrative Assistant

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Oxford University

    Pros

    clear structure, pension scheme, holidays,

    Cons

    not much potential for growth, inflexible


  9. Unsure where the money goes

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You get one-to-one tuition with some of the world's most talented and intelligent tutors.
    You get a good network of people who are likely to succeed.
    Excellent extra-curricular opportunities.

    Cons

    Sports facilities not great
    Can be queasy surrounded by such driven people all the time
    Seems like if you do a humanities subject, all the money you pay is largely to subside science subjects.
    Lectures often not useful.
    A lot of work sometimes

    Advice to Management

    Spend more on humanities / social sciences


  10. Well established and a good name to work for

    Current Contractor - Postdoctoral Researcher in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Contractor - Postdoctoral Researcher in Oxford, England (UK)

    I have been working at Oxford University as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Well funded and equipped research setting where almost anything becomes possible due to the massive amount of money and connections that come with working here. Lots of bright and committed colleagues which can really help push research forward.

    Cons

    Individual experience depends on your direct manager. Work-life balance is probably as bad as in any world leading research centre. Very difficult to get a permanent position. The salary is not in line with living costs, it should really come with a London style weighting as rents and house prices are considerably higher than the UK average.


  11. High expectations for no reward or offer of permanent work!

    Current Employee - Executive Assistant in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Executive Assistant in Oxford, England (UK)

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

    Pros

    The majority of the team are helpful and pleasant to work with.
    The holidays are good but I do not get them as a temporary worker!
    The hours are reasonably flexible - if you need to get away on time generally you can
    The pay scales are pretty reasonable

    Cons

    There are a few obstructive individuals who make life difficult.
    There are high expectations of a temporary worker - in terms of hours
    There is an on going bullying culture that is not being tackled
    There is a lack of direction at times and clarity on what is required
    Highly reactive environment



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