Charles Schwab Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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Charles Schwab President and Chief Executive Officer Walt Bettinger II
Walt Bettinger II
15 Ratings

Pros
  • Great work-life balance (almost too good--the work suffers because management is so supportive of people's "issues") (in 80 reviews)

  • good benefits especially Sabbath every five years (in 59 reviews)

Cons
  • It is a Call Center environment (in 45 reviews)

  • Over the last couple of years, communication from senior management has been limited (in 25 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

31 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Depends on what you are looking for

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1. Great Work/Life balance
    2. Good pay for workload

    Cons

    1. Like most young companies - big, but has a lot of growing up to do.
    2. Very paternal management culture style.
    3. Very little advancement opportunities - (good and bad of employees with long tenure). Bad being that senior positions are generally filled by employee attrition rather than talent.
    4. Almost non-existent field training opportunities - management practically discourages.
    5. Generally working remote is not an option.
    6. Company is not as innovative as they market - a customer may get a cool new investment tool, but an employee is probably going to be running on an xp machine.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach. Follow up on progress. Understand the difference between a manager and a leader, power and authority.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Retirement Plan Specialist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Meeting quarterly with Senior Management, Exe VP's.

    Cons

    Company has a high turn over rate. Consider reading up on taking a Series 7 and 66 exams. Without having them your tenure will be very short lived. Would expect the company to really do a lot of in house training to get everyone to pass the exams considering the cost of hiring and firing employees.

    Advice to Management

    Work on retention. Why let good people go. Examine why people are being let go. Work with the individual. Major problem is that not permitting representatives to truly resolve issues and improve the knowledge base. The knowledge base happens to be the worst I have seen. You have to many different locations to obtain information this is extremely confusing and frustrating.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Technical Support Specialist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Support Specialist II in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Technical Support Specialist II in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    pay scale is more than fair and they adjust often enough. Awesome customer service training

    Cons

    no time off; they don't honor vacation or the benefits they offer

    Advice to Management

    Stop counting bathroom breaks against your employees and honor your promises


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  5. Helpful (5)

    PC

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    This was a great place to work sometime ago. As an employee you knew you cared for. Those days are long gone and they are not coming back.

    Cons

    The only way to get promoted is to put your nose up managements back side. Managers only want to hear how good they are. Never the truth. There is no training for managers, so maybe it is not their fault they are so bad at their job. They work in fear of their positions like everyone else does. Pay is not good, and getting worse. They change the pay and what it takes to get a good bonus every year. Morale is very bad.

    Advice to Management

    Why are we still using windows XP. I can not get to some of the companies own web sites! Train managers how to do their job.


  6. Helpful (9)

    A complete and utter let down from day 1, and it only got worse. Worst place Ive ever worked.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Registered Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Registered Representative in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good health insurance
    There are some good/genuine people that work there.

    Cons

    I had such high hopes going to work here. I really thought it would be a great company to work for. I could not of been more wrong. I worked in their Service Center (Phoenix) for a year and a half.
     If you're Series 7 licensed I recommend AVOIDING this position at all costs.

    -It's all about the company. Not the employee. Youre just a robot/monkey here.

    -Micro-managing at a level I've never seen. So many stats that you have to try to "adhere" to its unbelievable. Including one that requires you to hang up FIRST from every call you're on 80% of the time. If you're lacking in any stats believe me you will be spoken to. You'll feel like you're 12.

    -The most unrealistic and quite frankly ridiculous "coaching" from their people that monitor your phone calls. Some of which have never worked a customer service/phone job in their life.

    -Every meeting was about something new you were going to have to start doing, or something they were taking away from you....or something the "team" needed to improve. Never was there anything that the company did for the employee during my time there.

    -Misleading interviews and training. You're told one thing, then when you get put on the job, you're suddenly notified that there's a whole other aspect you were never informed of (they call them "opportunities" but for the most part it's about bringing in new assets/sales, which you are not rewarded for as you would be at some other firms. They say it affects your bonus, but that's a whole other story.

    -Red tape everywhere. Get a bad score from a client that was undeserved? Don't even think about getting it removed from your record. They'll say it has to go to this manager, then that manager, then get approved. It won't. I saw multiple cases.

    -Bonuses: I was told they averaged one amount when I interviewed, and that number seemed to get lower during each conversation I had about it from that point on.

    -Don't even think of getting a day off work if that days not available. 0 flexibliity...If you call in sick, or you're running a little late, that's a negative and goes against you.

    -Negativity is rife. They will pump you up and be positive all through training. Once you get on the floor you realize most of the people there hate their job and gossip abounds everywhere. They'll tell you how lucky you are that you got hired and that they turn a lot of people away, but the reality is they have a job posting out there almost all the time which should tell you what a revolving door position it is....and they will hire just about anyone.

    Advice to Management

    1. Take care of your employees better. Do things for them. Help make their job easier, not harder and more difficult to do.
    2. Tell your Directors (who literally sit 10 feet away) to go out on the floor and introduce themselves to all the hard working employees. Maybe tell them you appreciate the job they do? Do something for them? Other than a silly email that they copy paste and just say's "Great job!"
    3. How about asking your employees "How can we do better? What would make your job better?"
    4. It never fails to amaze me that big companies can't grasp this simple fact: Take care of your employees, and they will take care of you.
    5. Treat your large staff of SC workers with more respect. Treat them as the professionals you hired them as. Not as slave workers.. You're not exactly paying top dollar, but you sure want hold employees to the highest level of performance. There are other things as important as your trillion dollar goals (which everyone's heard enough about)


  7. Helpful (1)

    Employees are nothing special here

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    They follow industry standard procedures and protocols

    Cons

    Employees are treated as they they are easily replaceable. The employees are more like sheep. Don't expect move up in ranks.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Participant Services is an awful department to work in at an otherwise great company.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Participant Services Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Participant Services Representative in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    great benefits, overall good company to work for.

    Cons

    Your overall work experience can vary greatly depending upon which department you work within. Participant Services is a very difficult role to work within because you are valued only as a statistic. This being said, morale is very low and most employees within this department are just looking for a way out.

    Advice to Management

    Stop seeing your employees as a statistic.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Good place to get experience if you have a high school diploma

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Banking Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Client Banking Representative in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Company offers good quality work stability without much differentiation within your work day. Clients for the most part are easy to deal with and love doing business with Schwab. Generally speaking everybody at the company within all the different sectors of the business is friendly and easy to get along with. In addition you get a great benefits package with quarterly bonus's dependent on performance. Needless to say it's not a bad place to start your career.

    Cons

    The first thing one has to realize about Charles Schwab is that they are inherently conservative about how they do business. This is reflective in the conversations you have with clients and the slow pace of growth and innovation that goes along with those conservative values. If you like change and a company that has a genuine thirst for innovating the client experience and staying on top of all the technological trends look elsewhere. I personally worked on the bank and was using about 8-10 different systems when you could easily (if Schwab was willing to invest in their IT infrastructure) about 1-3.

    Secondly, realize if you work in the Bank you are working as a customer service representative in a call center. Don't let them fool you when you originally apply for the position. Every minute you are on the job you are being monitored whether that be the sneeze you make on the phone to the mouse-click you produce when servicing a clients account. Management will pull the call and know exactly what you did or said wrong!

    You will be taking anywhere between 60-100 inbound calls a day. During tax-season and high call volumes you will barely have enough time to take a breath between calls. This can very taking and exhausting with little sympathy from upper-management for the effort you and your team are putting in to get past the high alert levels.

    The bank reps I worked with were very nice but in a team of 16 individuals I would bet to say maybe 5 of us had college degrees. The remainder had only high-school diplomas and a number of them had, had numerous years of experience in call centers.

    As for the most disappointing aspect at Schwab which is there management and management structure. My manager in particular made my shortly lived stint at Schwab a nightmare to live through on a daily basis. More pre-occupied with serving themselves and the 3-5 pets on the team than having a general can-to attitude about the teams performance. I don't think I ever heard my manager sing praises to our team or thanking us after a day in high call alerts. It was presumed we had gotten through without any problem. Fat Chance

    And on top of that we migrated to a new system that was supposed to be easier which in fact it was... but we only received 1 hour of training out of the 4 we were promised than threw us into the deep end and watched us try to keep our heads above water.

    Beware as Schwab managers as they are micro-managers to the T and will find little mistakes that are more often than not inconsequential to the client experience and make it seem like it will be the death of the firm due to to "compliance" reasons. Management says they will assist you in anyway shape or form to advance your career and get you through a tough situation. I can't count the number of times I had an escalation with a client and had my manager just rolled their eyes as the prospect of having to pick up the phone and do their job. It was easier for them to say "check the procedure" than to take 2min to assist you. My manager in particular was never available and always busy..apparently so busy that they couldn't say good morning or good bye to you as as you entered and left the office. Plus my manager was inconsistent with their behavior and management styles amongst different employees. In case Schwab didn't realize these things go noticed by other "lesser"employees.

    Overall the job was very mundane, I called it Groundhog day for a reason. Your day is way too structured and to boot management was completely disconnected with the employees they were supposed to manage. Schwab has some bright people working for them but somehow don't use their best assets to their advantage. Maybe move employees that show interest in other fields of finance into a better job where they can shine. From what I could see around me many colleagues got their series 7/63 but somehow were glued to the bank for a further 6-12months after passing their exams. How does this happens?

    To say it in as few words as possible either you drink the kool-aide or you don't. I would also suggest not applying unless your ok with sticking to rules and regulations that are their for audit purposes. I don't mean to rant too much (which I certainly have) but let this review be a fair warning to all those that are applying for a position on the bank. With 20/20 hindsight I would have made the decision to either go straight to brokerage or just stayed away from this company completely. Clients may "own their future" as per the TV commercials but you as a hard working representative certainly do not.

    Advice to Management

    As much as you place emphasis on the client experience and going above and beyond for the client do the same for your employees. Don't nit-pick and assign labels to employees that are doing an overall great job and yet never get recognized for the hard work they are doing. Stop micro-managing and walking around like it's the best place to work even though many long term Schwab employees seem miserable.

    Doesn't seem like there is much room to advance and you have to be a absolute all-star employee to see any forward movement in your career. Even though they promise you the moon during training. Hire managers that care and take the time to assist and not hinder those they are supposed to manage.

    Add work diversity and be thankful that your employees are putting their best foot forwards everyday instead of shooting them down and making them second-guess themselves while on the job. Be appreciative of your workforce and create actual pay incentives that make people want to work harder and achieve their goals in life. It's not all about the client after all. I don't think Chuck would be very impressed if he knew how some of these middle-managers treated their teams.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Retirement Plan Services

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Retirement Plan Services Associate in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Retirement Plan Services Associate in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    This department has a knack for hiring friendly and competent employees at the entry level.
    Company is very ethical to participants. Reps are encouraged to position Schwab products when appropriate. This means you won't lose sleep at night over selling people on stuff they don't need. Lateral promotions are very common.

    Cons

    Managers' responsibilities are passed along to reps with no additional pay increases.
    Maximum annual bonus never exceeds 3K and is easily lost if reps are even a fractional percent away from goal.
    Getting licensed or promoted to "proficient" status does not include a pay raise.
    Department is relatively unknown to the greater organization.
    Company is so focused on running fiscally lean that annual reviews don't keep up with inflation.
    Understaffing is a significant issue and often leads to call volume spikes and little-to-no vacation time
    Attendance policy is very strict. Time-off is difficult to schedule due to understaffing and reps cannot have more than two unscheduled absences, sick time, or late-arrivals within a 90-day rolling period or they will be written up.
    Management is very top-down There is little to no room for any recommendations to improve productivity. A request for more effective/efficient resources is often answered by management with a solution that involves more tedious responsibilities of reps.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in technology and the well-being of your representatives. This department is a revolving door because pay-raises are practically non-existent, bonuses are small, new assets under management does not reflect in reps' bottom-line, management does very little to streamline processes and technology necessary to aid reps in day-to-day activities.

    Also, pass of some of the profit from the converted retail leads to Retirement Plan Services reps. These reps are the face of Schwab and deserve some of the commissions/revenue that they generate.


  11. Helpful (4)

    Dissapointing

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Broker in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Broker in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Entry level training. In the first year you work at Schwab you will go through 2-3 months of training depending on what time of year you start. Most significantly you will get a full month to study for your brokerage licenses. If you have no experience in the financial industry this is a great way to get your feet wet.

    Cons

    Entry level is the only thing Schwab is good for. They hire young 20 somethings and pay them to get their licenses and then work them till they quit. Overall salaries are pretty weak. If you are anything except a recent college grad they will be low balling you. God forbid you have a family to support, after the take 30% of your pay for insurance and retirement benefits you are going to be bringing home $2,000 a month as a broker. Management makes a big deal about the "opportunities" for growth and advancement, but in reality it is just going to another phone department and doing your same job for a negligibly higher salary. Actual career advancement occurs in two possible ways, either you go to a branch and try your hand as a financial consultant (don't let the name fool you, this is a sales position and has almost nothing to do with advising or consulting with clients), or you can become a team manager. Both of these take upwards of five years to achieve. After your first real promotion is when prospects start to look really hairy. Schwab is a pretty flat organization (only 6 managers between me and the CEO) but that means that each successive level of responsibility is drastically smaller than the last. Several hundred phone reps are competing for 2 dozen or so manager jobs, who in turn are competing for 4-5 director positions. To make it even harder Schwab has a ridiculous habit of hiring upper-level managers from outside of the company. Of the 5 directors in my section only one of them started their career at Schwab, and most have only been there for a few years. When I look at my management chain I literally have to go all the way to Walt Bettinger before I find a boss that has been with the company for more than 7 years. This is really disheartening to a lower level employee, considering that I do not see a single upper level manager that started in my shoes and made it to where they are now.

    Advice to Management

    Promote from within. When half the FC's are from Edward Jones, and all the operations center managers are poached from Vanguard, how are your employees supposed to maintain their drive and ambition? You will reduce turnover and develop real leaders.



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