University College London Reviews | Glassdoor

University College London Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
347 reviews

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3.8
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University College London Provost and President Michael Arthur
Michael Arthur
86 Ratings

347 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good work-life balance (no pressure to do overtime) (in 23 reviews)

  • Flexible working hours as you would expect in a place where quality of work is more important than heating chairs (in 22 reviews)

Cons
  • no options for career progression (in 9 reviews)

  • Expensive to live in or around London and the London allowance isn't anywhere near enough to make up for this (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Best to avoid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Faculty in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Faculty in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Students and some colleagues excellent

    Cons

    Senior and middle management have little interest beyond themselves

    Advice to Management

    Change your ways and as another reviewer says- listen to faculty


  2. "intern"

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

    Pros

    good reputation
    fairly good facilities

    Cons

    poorly managed
    daily outgoings very unorganised

    Advice to Management

    I increase quality of customer support to students

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Department of departmental managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good location.

    Students represent a diverse group.

    Appear to actively champion female students and staff, and has visible policies against discrimination of almost all kinds.

    Some very good and helpful departmental staff, and academics and students seem pleasant overall.

    Cons

    Severe lack of space

    Some departmental support staff appear unhelpful and grumpy which makes for an unpleasant working environment. Requests for support are met with disdain and bad attitude.

    Advice to Management

    In conjunction with attaining a multitude of accolades for anti-discrimination, hire and support all departmental staff to be friendly and helpful.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "High in rankings yet limited opportunities for Research Staff"

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

    I worked at University College London full-time

    Pros

    High ranking university with good inflow of funding
    Interesting work
    Great location with easy transport and range of shops nearby
    Generous holiday allowance

    Cons

    Surprisingly negative culture that fails to identify and act upon opportunities
    Minimal communication & collaboration between groups & departments
    PI's too busy pulling in large grants and fail to mentor staff
    Few opportunities for career development
    Low pay and long hours
    London living allowance is usually counted as part of your salary even though it is meant to be an additional allowance, though this is not made clear when you are starting.
    Very little control over your own career - Completely dependent on your PI
    USS Pension continually getting worse

    Advice to Management

    Great to see successful grants. However investment is needed in early career research staff not just with financial incentives but also time spent mentoring and giving opportunities to allow progression to fill the inequality between research staff and tenured staff.


  5. "Terrible experience as a PhD student both supervisor and department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at University College London full-time

    Pros

    The name UCL will look good on my CV.

    Cons

    My experience as a PhD student here was frankly nightmarish. My supervisor was an alcoholic, a philanderer and utterly ill-equipped to advise me; I ended up having to resubmit my thesis after my viva, which could have been avoided had he pointed out some basic issues that my project needed to address (and which I only realised were problematic at the viva). He also regularly slept with students - including the one student in our department who got funding in the last year of the PhD to teach. The department knew about this and did nothing. We were also given negligible career advice and next to no opportunities to teach. And, to top it all off, once I finally graduated, my supervisor wrote a negative, and thoroughly inaccurate, reference letter for me that cost me a job. I have heard similar stories from other students in my year, both in my department and elsewhere - support from one's supervisor is rare at best, and the departments make no effort to champion their PhD students' work.

    Advice to Management

    UCL needs to radically alter the amount of power it grants faculty entrusted with student care. At the moment abuses of power are all too common. If you are a woman, you are fair game for harrassment. And PhD students in general are not valued.


  6. "-"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at University College London full-time

    Pros

    Good research, good teaching quality, nice location

    Cons

    No support to students, not enough study space, career service is awful

    Advice to Management

    Listen to


  7. "UCL"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at University College London full-time

    Pros

    world brand, good location, ok salary

    Cons

    crasy senior management, strict annual appraisals

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Poor culture"

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

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

    Pros

    Some lovely people, who genuinely care, and want to improve

    Cons

    Middle management unprofessional, lack of respect for work-life balance, expectation to do roles beyond job role, too hierarchical rather than having respect for people's experience and professionalism, poor (no) culture of collaboration and working together to improve

    Advice to Management

    Listen to people's ideas, no matter their grade


  9. "Big name - crazy competition"

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

    I worked at University College London full-time

    Pros

    Big name, nice to have on CV

    Cons

    Crazy competition, crazy life cost in London, very low effective salary


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Hit and miss"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrator in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Administrator in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


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