University of Cambridge Reviews | Glassdoor

University of Cambridge Reviews

Updated October 17, 2017
9 reviews

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University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
3 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Good for career development"

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

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time

    Pros

    Lots of workshops, career seminars, etc that you can take advantage of.

    Cons

    Salary is lower than other Universities. Discrimination against female staff in my current Department.


  2. "University Information Services: hope of a new dawn?"

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

    I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Decent pension, especially for those who joined before 2011.
    Can have flexible work/life balance (though under threat).
    Recent departure of the last Director lends hope that things may finally improve, after a disasterous merger between a number of IT providers.

    Cons

    Morale at all time low.
    Managers have not been trained for their roles, and it shows.
    The mis-handled merger of the last three and a half years has seen many of our best employees leave.
    Poisonous politics at the deputy Director level (of which we have seven!).
    All new posts are short term, which invariably attracts a lower level of applicant.
    The current Director is only a short term, part time appointent, tasked with identifying the flaws of the previous incumbent. This means that there's an effective freeze on new policy.

    Advice to Management

    Remember that we're a *university* information services, and there to help keep one of the world's premier institutions at the forefront of cutting edge research and technology. This means that many times we can't just take a box-ticking solution of whatever the stock Microsoft offer for the rest of the world is, but need to find the resources to support more avant garde solutions. Also try to keep in mind that the academics pay *our* wages, and not the other way round. Hence, it's incumbent on us to come up with services that meet their needs and aspirations, and not ones which *we* may find interesting and elegant. We have enough white elephants to our name.

  3. "Great benefits, poor management."

    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
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at University of Cambridge full-time

    Pros

    Great basic benefits for all staff (yearly pay rise, online discounts, access to some college grounds)
    A very good pension scheme (USS) available for certain groups of staff
    Strong commitment to personal development
    Beautiful city with lots of amenities

    Cons

    Decision making is extremely slow as it is usually done through committees who feed into other committees.

    Severe lack of management training. Many managers have been promoted to senior positions based on longevity or academic status (regardless of the nature of their role). Individuals in these positions are often governed by a different set of HR rules to the more junior staff and are almost 'untouchable', paving the way for mismanagement.

    Fixed term contracts seem to be very common.

    University departments are disparate and you will have a very different experience depending on where you work. Typically look for reviews in the area where you are going to be working and take the others with a pinch of salt.

    Advice to Management

    Enforce management training on your staff, particularly those who insist that they do not need management training.


  4. "Non-exciting working place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Flexible working hours
    Easy job

    Cons

    No career progression - if existent, very slow
    Salary not in line with market values - but again, this is the education industry
    Management is not trained - people hold managerial positions without knowing what they`re doing.
    Job is task-oriented rather than goal-oriented
    After a while the job becomes really boring

    Advice to Management

    Get some training and don`t ruin peoples lives if you`re not able to do your job and actually be a manager.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Ehh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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 3 years)

    Pros

    Successful institute, successful people abound. Financially stable. A constant influx of smart and hard working students and employees.

    Cons

    Success comes at the expense of flexibility and freedom. Not enough collaboration or exploration of new ideas. Relatively high number of big headed people.


  6. "Cambridge University, Teaching Associate"

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

    I worked at University of Cambridge (More than a year)

    Pros

    The students, the lecturing, the tutorial, the relative freedom to outline the contents of my own lectures.

    Cons

    I was quite inexperienced when I was hired. I met with poor guidance, poor supervision, poor administrative structure, poor organization. Lack of solidarity between colleagues. A huge responsibility job, to be carried out with maximum precarity.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Massive wealth - anachronism"

    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
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Could be great but only with better management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Laboratory Manager
    Current Employee - Laboratory Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of internal training available, final salary pension, good leave entitlement.

    Cons

    Awful management, little communication, enormous disparity in the way support staff and academic staff are treated, no flexibility


  9. "Good work life balance but limited progression opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The University offers excellent work life balance although sometimes taking this to the extreme as some employees take advantage of this and sickness absence is high.

    Cons

    As a research assistant there is limited opportunities for progression which is generally linked to publications in journals rather than performance in undertaking high quality research and the generation of money for the department.

    Advice to Management

    Introduction of timesheets to ensure that all staff contribute equally and some are not taken advantage of.


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