Oxford University Press Reviews in Oxford, England | Glassdoor

Oxford University Press Oxford Reviews

Updated February 28, 2017
48 reviews

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Oxford, England (UK)

2.6
Star Star Star Star Star
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Oxford University Press CEO Nigel Portwood
Nigel Portwood
23 Ratings

48 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Easy to maintain work/life balance (in 33 reviews)

  • In the past, some individuals in senior management contributed to a toxic work environment through bullying and nepotism (in 17 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great atmosphere"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Marketing Manager in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Assistant Marketing Manager in Oxford, England (UK)
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Oxford University Press (More than a year)

    Pros

    Coworkers, atmosphere, experience gained, professional development and great work/ life balance.

    Cons

    Pay is below average, unclear progression.


  2. "OUP"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Portfolio Manager in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Portfolio Manager in Oxford, England (UK)
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Oxford University Press full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    People, International Business, Brand, Great Products and Services

    Cons

    Can be quite hierarchical and decision making takes longer than necessary. Needs to empower employees more.

    Advice to Management

    Needs stronger leadership and should foster more creativity.


  3. Helpful (4)

    "Beware! Wolf In Sheep's Clothing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Publisher in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Publisher in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I would like to say that the singular 'pro' would be having this employer on your CV. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. See: 'cons'

    Cons

    Where to start. This is a dusty, old publisher and they structures and attitudes there mirror this. There are a bulk of people at Director level that have literally no idea of what they are doing. Totally out of touch with their markets, utterly out of touch with staff, out of touch with technology and would be unlikely to last a day anywhere else as their incompetence would be exposed in seconds.

    Like many old, entrenched structures these middle managers structure and restructure themselves in ways to hide their glowing failure as managers, all the while appointing bonuses and pay raises for themselves-whilst making endless redundancies.

    They are without question the most unethical company I have worked for-yet hide this behind their valued 'charity' status. They have nothing to do with the University itself as the actual academics at the university want nothing to do with them-for fear that this association will somehow damage their academic reputation.

    Pay close heed to the hundreds of terrible reviews here and don't make the same mistake that so many of us bright, smart publishing professionals have made. You will be more valued, secure and paid better ANYWHERE else in publishing.

    Advice to Management

    As your annual performance continues to decline year on year, cast your beady eye onto the 'Directors' within the divisions and start asking the hard questions. "What exactly do you contribute to the bottom line here". You'll find that you are getting rid of all the wrong people.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "oup"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Executive in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Marketing Executive in Oxford, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It is a very prestigious publisher that you do feel genuinely proud to work for. There is a wealth of heritage and knowledge, and the outputs are always of quality

    Cons

    HR. Poor retention of staff, especially at lower grades: They are not willing to invest in people with less experience there, you get the feeling that you are too easily replaceable. It is also a very slow moving company where the simplest things take ages to happen.

    Advice to Management

    Be more agile and take more risk. Be more willing to believe in the people that you hire and make it easier for them to move around the press. Don't freeze pay.


  6. "A fantastic publishing company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Journal Acquisitions in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Intern - Journal Acquisitions in Oxford, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University Press as an intern

    Pros

    Culture

    This is the real selling point for me. Everyone in the company gets on, there is no animosity anywhere between departments or individuals. Most offices are modern and open plan, and there's a real collaborative atmosphere. There's also lots of little clubs such as the gym or the company choir and orchestra, so it feels a bit like being back at school or uni with loads of extra curricular options.

    Flexi-time as well. So long as you work 10-3, you can make up your 8 hours however you like.

    Environment

    The building is great - it's like an Oxford College got a 21st century makeover. Lovely old stone building from the outside, but it's all super-modern glass and steel superstructure inside. Cafeteria is amazing - about 6 different food bars to choose from, plus bbqs in summer. It's also located in a great part of Oxford, reasonably far away from the tourists, surrounded by nice restaurants and bars.

    Cons

    Honestly, I'm really having to scrape the barrel here. The work can sometimes be a little repetitive and routine, and although project based, can be a little repetitive, but it's basically the same as any publishing company, and this is definitely the publishing company to work for. It's telling that lots of Wiley or CUP former-employees are working for OUP.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work! The internship programme in particular is a huge success, and a key recruitment portal.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Incompetent Middle Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Editor in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Production Editor in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University Press full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The cafe, canteen, the location in Oxford, and the beautiful building.

    Cons

    Middle management are not adequately qualified in my view, and this showed through their panicked behaviour and off-loading their mistakes and stresses on editorial staff. The workload is extreme, managing the production process and meeting deadlines for dozens of books at any one time. On a few occasions I saw colleagues storm out of my manager's office in tears, or were sick due to stress. The internal "buddy" system is abused and used to report back to managers, and the in-house support counsellor is more concerned about ticking boxes and protecting the company from litigation than helping staff. I didn't realize until after I left how stressed I was there.

    Advice to Management

    Work on reducing stress and hire better qualified managers


  8. "Atrocious company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University Press as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    half price books, nice office, good restaurant

    Cons

    Everything else. The 'organisation' is appalling, there are no decent systems in place, the IT is shocking. None takes accountability for anything, and the waste of money in a supposed 'charitable organisation' is quite frankly heinous. Why do management take so many trips to China Hong Kong, US when SKYPE for business is available, and why have they outsourced the entire IT function but the head of IT is hiring in his buddies for the same roles under different names to get around the rules? The double standards are breathtaking. The behaviour towards staff from senior management is also appalling, and I'm so very glad I was only a contractor. Behind the prestigious brand lies a completely ineffectual, money wasting, incompetent and toxic organisation. A disgrace.

    Advice to Management

    The management are cloning ono their jobs for dear life because they are fully aware that they would never get jobs in any other decent organisation.


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Once great company dying"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University Press full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Mission and ethos.
    Surroundings.
    Some exceptional staff.

    Cons

    Leadership flailing around without clue to adapt to modern world.
    Constant change with zero change management leadership.
    Pay freezes and no bonus for most except senior management.
    Awful HR complicit in covering up incidents including bullying.
    Years of focus on infrastructure cost cutting, then blaming of 'troops' for the results when things pan out as they warned.
    Investment in hoards of external consultants rather than staff development.

    Advice to Management

    Stop knee-jerk change, reward staff work, stop punishing staff for management failure.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Top-level management totally out of touch"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some really lovely people
    Good holiday and sick leave benefits
    Relaxed dress code
    Line managers great about work/life balance

    Cons

    Pay significantly below market-level within the industry
    No opportunities for career progression (except "dead man's shoes" scenarios)
    No incentives (financial or otherwise) for staff to perform highly
    Appallingly bad change management - change is "top-down", communication is poor to non-existent, upper management often commit to programmes of change without consulting the staff who are actually affected by the changes
    Increasing focus on The Bottom Line at the expense of efficiency, quality of service, and staff morale
    Unrealistically high budgets mean we fail to reach budget year on year, despite achieving growth and making a net profit vs. prior year
    Very "siloed" departments within each division, no cross-departmental training, extremely poor knowledge-sharing
    Far too many projects with no unifying vision
    Repeated redundancies, both active (letting staff go) and passive (refusing to fill vacant positions, pushing more work onto already overstretched teams)

    Advice to Management

    Cheap, Fast, Good - PICK TWO. The company wants more work from fewer people for less pay, and it's not sustainable. You are letting go of valuable staff in favour of offshore contractors to save money at the expense of quality service. Your drive to acquire more titles, launch more products, complete more projects, and SELL, SELL, SELL has not been matched by financial incentives to the staff who are underpinning your entire operation. Repeated staff surveys have shown that pay is the #1 source of discontent in the organisation and you repeatedly ignore these results. You are eroding staff loyalty to the company and creating a downward spiral from which you will find it difficult to extract yourselves. Read these Glassdoor reviews. Listen to your staff. Increase pay, because at present, there is zero reward in working for this company.


  11. Helpful (7)

    "Dire pay and mismanagement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Prestigious on CV
    Decent benefits
    Good maternity leave and large amount of holiday

    Cons

    Terrible pay -- not only below market levels, but also significantly below the levels of the University it is supposedly a department of

    Mismanagement and miscommunication -- supposedly there was a universal pay freeze, but turned out this did not apply to the Sales branch. Every year they did a survey asking what people were dissatisfied with, then pretended not to have heard the answer, which was always: the pay is terrible.

    They want fewer and fewer people to do the same amount of work, for less. This is not how business works.

    We didn't even get a cost of living pay rise for four years. In a city as expensive as Oxford, no wonder this is enough to drive a massive staff turnover. It is untenable.

    No room for staff development, no way of compensating staff for good performance, financially or otherwise.

    Advice to Management

    Working here is untenable at these low rates of pay. If you want to keep staff, you need to pay more. You can't continue to bask on the laurels of your prestigious name. You are well known in the city among people in OTHER INDUSTRIES as a poor employer.



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