University of Cambridge

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University of Cambridge Reviews

Updated October 25, 2014
Updated October 25, 2014
93 Reviews
4.4
93 Reviews
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University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
27 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The work-life balance is great, with sufficient leave entitlement and flexible working arrangements (in 6 reviews)

  • Very nice academia environment and full of smart people (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • A small town, that offers little to do outside of work (in 4 reviews)

  • little interaction with collegues (depending on departmant/research group) (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great security but poor progression

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The university is a good place to work. Management are flexible on leave, the pay is good, and the job security is outstanding.

    Cons

    It's not highly pressurised. A good place to work if your career isn't your main focus, perhaps! In the administrative divisions, there is a huge amount of political nonsense between senior management, internally and external to the division that I work in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop a can do attitude- please!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A breadth of expertise condensed in one place.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student and Previously Technician in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - PhD Student and Previously Technician in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you're in any kind of research Cambridge is great to find experts in almost any kind of field. There is always something interesting going on that can stimulate your interests and desire for social interaction.
    From one research head who changed universities I've heard that reviewers of journals are far less strict with publications coming from Cambridge.
    The careers service is fantastic.

    Cons

    Sometimes I find that the university is just working very hard on keeping up this image of superiority when, really, the people who work and study there as PhDs are probably not that much smarter than at other universities.
    PhD projects tend to be very risky so that if you succeed you'll have an awesome publication but if you don't, as many do (even the really smart ones), then you're leaving your PhD without a paper and potentially a lot of frustration.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More reasonable prices for the university gym. The price is completely unjustified, looking at other great gyms in the area but with some sports clubs you have to join it nonetheless.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Inspiring and challenging work with interesting, easy going people.

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

    I have been working at University of Cambridge part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    You are constantly surrounded by people who are top of their field, so it's easy to get inspired and find motivation to learn and do more. The city, of course, is also very beautiful, so overall it's a nice place to be working and everything is close-by, so a short break for lunch is always possible.

    Cons

    The pay wasn't great, but then again, I wouldn't expect much for a part-time research assistant. I can imagine that for some people it might be hard to get integrated into the "team" with this job, as the hours can be very unsociable, but I cannot say that was a problem for me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The job was not very easy to find, so it might be nice if the jobs were better advertised.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Excellent environment for research.

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

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent environment for reasearch, and being surrounded by intelligent academics.

    Cons

    A small town, that offers little to do outside of work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Great, relaxed, smart people

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

    I worked at University of Cambridge

    Pros

    Clear cut payscale with yearly bonuses and a generous pension.

    Cons

    Lack of high quality software developers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7.  

    A great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Computer Officer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Computer Officer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at University of Cambridge full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Overall, the university cares about its employees and follows guidelines and rules well. A lot depends on which part you end up working for. Pay is OK, the pension not as good as it once was. The work-life balance is great, with sufficient leave entitlement and flexible working arrangements.

    And of course also plenty of opportunities and support to learn and develop.

    Cons

    Career advancement is usually very slow. 800+ years of history mean that the bureaucracy moves slow, even now.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great reputation, disappointing reality behind the facade.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Contracts Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Contracts Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at University of Cambridge full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Cutting edge world-class research
    Good benefits; generous annual Leave, pension and discounts across the city.
    Good reputation - the name carried kudos

    Cons

    Extremely disorganised - eg. no PC until week 3
    Little/ no training
    Strict hierarchical structure
    Autocratic management approach
    Understaffed
    Dated building
    Overcrowded office space
    Senior management disrespectful/ dismissive
    HR unsupportive and unresponsive

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a more honest and balanced approach to dealing with staff of all grades. Provide a general feedback facility for reporting dissatisfaction.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Stimulating and exciting.

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

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    You are surrounded by world top scientists. Academic and research environment is fast-paced and stimulating.

    Cons

    Highly competitive environment that can be stressful.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Excellent!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Category Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Category Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at University of Cambridge full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Environment, benefits, social, interesting, beautiful

    Cons

    Salary is not as competitive as private sector

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Massive wealth - anachronism

    • 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 of Cambridge full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of time off allowed, plenty of benefits depending on your Grade in the uni society (see Cons below).

    Work-life balance is good.

    Cons

    It's a successful university split into two parts: 'academic' and 'non-academic' work. Non-academics may as well be considered indentured servants, even if they're as capable as academic staff (e.g. Doctors of engineering working as software developers are considered 'non academic').

    The University is an umbrella org that facilitates data sharing between 32 colleges, but its the colleges that are extraordinarily wealthy. The university is cash strapped and most of its staff are non-academic.

    There's a tremendous disparity between the rights of people of equal capability to earn relatively similar amounts of money in salary terms; and it all comes down to the Grading of your position by HR.

    HR is superbly anachronistic, and for example considers a senior software engineer to be the same thing / level / grade as a senior anything else: including office administrators, lab techs and secretaries.

    The city is a terminal city, people come and go - plus it has small town syndrome. The uni people are self absorbed and self centered; the local town people are jaded and resentful of the uni people.

    The keyword I'd use is Feudal.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Modernise your grading system and recognise skilled employees as such. The rest of the world is better than you at identifying / categorising skilled labour types. Unify your budgets and demand more from the colleges, who have more than they need to secure themselves for the next 500 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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