Quick facts
  • What we do:
    The Open University is a world leader in flexible learning with over 200,000 students and 2 million alumni. We deliver highest quality research and teaching to a diverse community worldwide.
  • Year established:
  • Website:
  • UK locations:

About The Open University

THE WORLD'S FIRST successful distance-teaching university, the Open University (OU) allows people of all ages and walks of life to enrol on one of 600 courses, leading to almost 200 qualifications. About 70% of students work full-time while they study.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary last year, the university continues to go from strength to strength. In the 2009 National Student Survey, the OU's 166,522 undergraduates and 14,758 postgraduates gave it a student satisfaction score of 84%, ranking it third in the UK. The highest ranking university in our public sector list, the OU has more than 2m alumni, including comedian Lenny Henry (English literature), television presenter and musician Myleene Klass (astrophysics) and model Jerry Hall (humanities). It ranks higher than any other public sector body in our list for Giving Something Back and Fair Deal. It also ranks third in the My Company factor, which measures how staff feel about their employer and work ethos.

Staff feel inspired by vice-chancellor Martin Bean (64%), a man they have great faith in (67%) and who leads on sound moral principles (68%) — and all top scores. The university practises what it preaches by giving employees free access to courses it runs and allocated time off for study. People receive, on average, 36 hours of formal training per year, at a cost of £755 each.

Staff are not under too much pressure (66%, another leading score) meaning stress (68%) and feelings of exhaustion (50%, the best score among the big bodies) are rare.

OU employees appreciate the positive impact the university has on society (82%) and don't feel it supports causes just to generate good publicity (63%). Both are top-ranking scores.

What is it like to work for The Open University

Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
There are a large number of staff at The Open University with responsibility for community engagement in its various forms and a large number and range of activities are carried out. As an example they have many academic staff who engage in outreach work in local schools and colleges whilst also offering their premises as a free venue to charities for large events. Volunteering opportunities are regularly promoted and supported amongst all staff with up to 5 paid days per employee being available for such pursuits.
My Company
My Company
The Open University has established itself as the dominant provider of open and supported distance learning in the United Kingdom and a leading player internationally. It is a vibrant academic community that combines excellence in teaching, research and logistics to provide a unique brand of supported open and distance learning to a large and diverse body of students. They are consistently achieving high rankings both in research and teaching quality assessments and are in the top three Higher Education Institutions in the UK for student satisfaction. As such, the University is a stimulating place to work for academic and support staff alike. As you might expect from an institution with a strong commitment to social justice and education for all, their employees consider themselves closely aligned to the mission of the University and are proud of its achievements.
Fair Deal
Fair Deal
Employees showing higher levels of performance are able to receive accelerated increments on their salary when applicable as well as directional pay points that are beyond the scale maximum. There are also opportunities for people to receive one-off bonuses and team bonuses providing certain criteria are met.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Women

    At least 33% of senior managers are women

  • Holidays

    Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave

  • Gym

    On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships

  • Long Service
    Long Service

    40% of employees with more than 5 years' service

  • Maternity

    At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay

Company Statistics

  • Graduate Vacancy Locations:


  • UK sites:


  • Male : Female:

    35% / 65%

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  • Earning £35,000+:


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