University College London Reviews

Updated August 27, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014
55 Reviews

4.3
55 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Michael Arthur
7 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It has a relaxed environment with flexible working hours and sociable co workers (in 5 reviews)

  • Very flexible, good work life balance, interesting job (in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • There is little opportunity for career advancement and senior management was less than helpful in terms of career advice and guidance (in 2 reviews)

  • Very old style pay scheme and promotion system; Can be isolated from the faculty level; Staying too long in the lab (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Reputation based on research, not staff/student experience

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

    I have been working at University College London full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Location, reputation, a lot of talented people who are under-utilised.

    Cons

    Shambolic senior management, claim poverty while spending millions on pet projects, poor treatment of staff on lowest grades and contractors, lack of basic facilities, abysmal planning, little effort to build bridges between academics and support staff, increasingly privileged and homogenised intake of students.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Resign and let somebody with talent, vision, and a semblance of morality take over, please.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Don't come here for a Post-doc

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

    I have been working at University College London full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Central London location
    Good access to modern facilities

    Cons

    Permanent staff treat contract staff as disposable
    Jobs advertised at post-doctoral level are in fact technician posts
    UCL requires employees to file false VAT declarations to avoid tax on purchases

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer fewer, longer term positions. UCL hires about twice as many people as there are viable projects. This causes a high rate of turnover of qualified people. Many post-docs and PhDs leave before the end of their contract or studies due to the tangible lack of support and commitment to their projects from management; resources are focused unequally across PhD students and post-docs, with clear favourites (golden children) and pariahs selected by management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    I worked in non academic position, which I would not recommend to anyone else.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I worked at University College London

    Pros

    In the city center
    World famous institution.
    Very good for people working in academics

    Cons

    Expensive to commute and live
    Poor management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to train managers and follow university own policies to avoid any kind of victimization.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Beware if applying for research assistant...

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

    I have been working at University College London

    Pros

    The only good reason to work here is that you get a good vacation time, and the job is very flexible. you can come in at 10am as long as you finish your job.

    Cons

    I worked in one of their departments so i can only speak about the dept. Coming in as a research assistant, I had to work with a lot of associated which were all PhD holders. Due to that i was always let out in making decisions or even having an opinion. Most of them assumed i didn't know much because i just have a BS degree. I just performed studies blindly without anyone telling me what the study was really about. most of them just concluded I couldn't even do more instead trying me out first. The worst was when i had to take out trash and was all the items everyone had used. I would have just kept my AA degree if i wanted to do that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You really need to be frank to the applicants about the Job they will be doing. Also they need to assess the applicants skills before placing them in a position.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    UCL

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

    I have been working at University College London

    Pros

    Prestigious university, central location in London.

    Cons

    Poor staff training, poor IT systems, short on space.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve IT systems, change staff training.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Hit and miss

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

    I have been working at University College London

    Pros

    The part-time pay scale is not a low as in the private sector re administrative or clerical or support jobs if you need a part-time post, there was also some flexibility in some of the jobs if you have child care or studies to complete. Some of the senior staff are very interesting, appreciative and helpful people, but it is very hit and miss as to what the senior staff are going to be like.

    Cons

    Long hours, never enough staff to ensure things are done properly, and the pay scale is not that great if you are in full time employment as a PA or administrator and working in the centre of london in a stressful pressured environment. Do not be fooled into thinking that working for a university department is a 'soft job'. Academics can unfortunately live in strange 'bubbles' with a quirky view of life that can be fun at best and toxic at worst. I was lucky that two out of the three bosses I had over a number of years where down to earth and great to work for, but I witnessed dreadful treatment of staff in other departments. The senior staff (Academic or middle management in support areas) often have expectations can be unrealistic and many have little real appreciation of how support structures best work. When there are problems with bulling from middle managers, they are moved to different posts and the difficulties continue. Staff moral therefore becomes low and the 'good staff' don't hang about and simply leave once given the chance to do so. Often people would rather earn twice the wage for equal levels of stress, which is not hard to do in normal economic times, in a full time post, somewhere in London for one of the bigger firms.
    I witnessed senior academic staff treating junior academic and research staff quite badly, but due to the competitive nature of research, junior staff often simply relieved to employed in their chosen career areas and therefore put up with a great deal more stress, rudeness and difficulties than most would otherwise cope with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It would be helpful if there was an anonymous automated computerized system for staff to report difficulties, bullying and like (and or to report their thoughts when they leave their posts, an organized exit interview system) so that data could be built up over time and problem departments tackled. Rather than ongoing problems with bad team managers, lingering for years, because staff simply leave without saying things, because of fear of reprisals when references might be needed or are put off reporting difficulties because the situation ends up as a 'their word against mine' situation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    interesting

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

    I have been working at University College London

    Pros

    Fabulous setting in the heart of London

    Cons

    Negative management who simply do not want to listen to their junior staff who have a wealth of experience

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to what your staff are telling you especially if the Management have been therefore less than 5 minutes

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Ok for a short time, but don't stay for too long.

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

    I have been working at University College London full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Lots of freedom and independency, but this may depend on your line manager.
    - Potentially interesting work, depending on the project you are working on.
    - UCL is well recognised, so potentially a good stepping stone on the career ladder if willing to move on.

    Cons

    - Salaries in academia are low and living costs in London are high.
    - The university is quite bureaucratic and run by admin types.
    - Some of the management (professors) are out of touch with reality.
    - Career advancement within the university is bad, but this is a reality of academia in general.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  10.  

    It was great helpful and enjoying

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

    I worked at University College London part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Friendly and loving people. Good atmosphere with a separate staff room and kitchen.

    Cons

    Gets tiring at certain times of year

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11.  

    UCL is a good place to do academic research.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PhD Student  in  London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - PhD Student in London, England (UK)

    I worked at University College London

    Pros

    - technical facilities are great
    - career development options are excellent
    - flexible working hours

    Cons

    - not a very productive or motivating research environment, but this depends on the laboratory

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - management is mostly very distant, in fact mostly self-managed myself
    - very political correct, to the point the the reputation of the institute counts more than each individual

    No opinion of CEO

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