Oxford University Reviews | Glassdoor

Oxford University Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
340 reviews

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4.1
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Oxford University Chancellor Christopher Francis Patten
Christopher Francis Patten
49 Ratings

340 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The building is relatively new and the working environment receives lots of natural light (in 21 reviews)

  • World class university enabling cross disciplinary research (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is non existent for most science departments, but that is expected (in 18 reviews)

  • Oxford is very expensive to live in, particularly on a PhD stipend (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Horrible place to work or put a loved on in"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University full-time

    Pros

    The food served is of great quality

    Cons

    Place smells
    Nursing staff and management or inept

    Advice to Management

    Fire existing management staff and hire qualified people


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Waste of time for junior faculty"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    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 (3)

    "Better than the dole."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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)
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    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.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "No anti-decrimination policy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Friendly environment, Good place to work if you are European

    Cons

    Discrimination against non European national and minorities


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Beware of choosing a bad lab in the JR hospital!!!!!"

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

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

    Pros

    Perform good research if you are in a good lab

    Cons

    There are some labs that are not doing proper research but just politics. These are what my PIs are:

    1) PIs have poor knowledge of their research, they even ask you what journals should submit to.
    2) Differential treatment - they bully some members to work for other senior members.
    3) The PIs don't care about your feeling, dead or alive. They will sacrifice you to get what they want.
    4) They praise you in front of you but they said bad thing about you in front of another colleague to make that colleague better.
    5) Force you to try many new projects that are not likely to work to waste money and time.

    I am sure many labs here are good, but some are really substandard. Beware of those labs that are managed by more than one PIs, suggesting managerial problems. If they are not in the city center but isolated in a hospital like JR hospital and within a small departmemt (NDXXX), this reflects poor research support. Just like mine one.

    Advice to Management

    Please stop abusive PIs from bullying submssive staff. They are clever and just picked foreigners to bully and abuse because they won't complaints. This should not be allowed!


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Don't stay too long"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Senior Scientist
    Former Employee - Senior Scientist
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Nice city
    Good for your curriculum (if you make the most of it and leave before stagnating)
    Attracts highly qualified staff with great backgrounds, but most of them are overqualified for their job.

    Cons

    Career prospects very limited. Competitive, elitist and individualist culture. PIs only worried by their career and getting as much grants as they can, while rarely seen at their office!
    Moral harrassment from senior management is common and the University doesn't give a damn. In my department 3 people resigned in less than 2 months and they didn't even conduct an internal investigation (despite written and documented complaints).
    Rents outrageously expensive in Oxford, poor public transport system, you need a car if you want to live outside of the city but getting a parking place is nearly impossible.

    Advice to Management

    Train yourself in management!


  7. "Oxford university phd student biochemistry, full time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time

    Pros

    prestige, nice office space, flexible(ish) working hours (usually its ok to show up at 10 instead of 9, and to leave for an hour or two during the day)

    Cons

    extremely low salary, long working hours, repetitive frustrating job, pressure to provide data, bad management

  8. Helpful (1)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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.


  9. Helpful (4)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Very competitive environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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)

    I worked at Oxford University (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great content, important brand, a lot of potential to develop the business, interesting people, lots of challenges and learning opportunities

    Cons

    Very hierarchical, very competitive, lots of insider politics, glass ceiling that often prevents people to develop a career, work and enthusiasm is often not valued, your ideas and innovation efforts are exploited but not necessarily valued

    Advice to Management

    To break up the rigid hierarchical structure and insider groups would help the company to become more open to innovation and change; consider more that people and their enthusiasm are the most valuable asset of a company - value both more & live OUP's values more.


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