Nielsen Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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Nielsen Chief Executive Officer Mitch Barns
Mitch Barns
23 Ratings

143 Employee Reviews

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  1. Outsourcing King

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Middleware Engineer in Columbia, MD
    Current Employee - Middleware Engineer in Columbia, MD

    I have been working at Nielsen

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

    Pros

    So widespread you can work from home and never work.

    Cons

    Goal is to outsource every position possible for a profile. Your job will not last long

    Advice to Management

    Care a little

  2. People are not treated well, like commodity, no work life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Tampa, FL
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Tampa, FL

    I have been working at Nielsen

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

    Pros

    Interesting work and good co-workers who have been with the company for many years. Leader in the industry and investing in growth. Probably a good place to start your career but you won't last long.

    Cons

    People are treated poorly. Forced stacked ranking is a cancer. Technology associates are treated like commodities... easily replaced by an offshore developer, architect, qa, etc. After recent org changes the sr leaders claim it's a new day, but it's the same. No work/life balance. Leaders care about getting their goals met or they get fired.

    Advice to Management

    Replace technology leaders. Nielsen is a hard place to work at.

  3. Helpful (1)

    Current co-workers are anxious to leave and former fellow employees are happy they did.

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

    I have been working at Nielsen

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

    Pros

    Some perks for the field - car, laptop, internet, phone, holidays. Semi - autonomous work, can set own schedule 50% - 75% of the time. Work from home.

    Cons

    Employees are viewed as commodities with little to no regard to personal life. Employees are incessantly rated against each other every workday, week, month and quarter. Nights and weekends are spent worrying over your performance for the past and future. On top of this, bonuses have been pared back 20-30% and part time help has been eliminated for those in the field - an ever increasing workload. If you like being a number and treated as such, Nielsen is the company. Money quotes from an upper management person during a conference (when confronted with all the negative sentiment from the field): "I am just trying to survive myself" and "I would advice everyone to keep their resume up to date".

    Advice to Management

    Management has been advised, cajoled and more to change the stress this company places on its field workers. It has done nothing from 2012 - 2015 and we continue to lose good employees because of it.

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  5. Helpful (3)

    Management is ruining a potentially great work experience.

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

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

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

    Pros

    Beautiful corporate campus in Oldsmar, FL. Genuinely great people to work with at the collegial level. HR and Recruitment teams work hard to make the work environment fun, within their power.

    Cons

    Mid level managers are hit and miss, with a few seemingly so overwhelmed by their positions that they have forgotten everything they may have ever learned about positive and developmental supervision. Those same managers often treat employees with anger, disregard, lack of professionalism, creating a very volatile work environment. With this level of supervision, I foresee no interest in a long career with Nielsen and am actively seeking other opportunities, as it does not appear they will correct the Mid Level Managers.

    Advice to Management

    Recruit better managers. More training for them. Realize your number one asset is not the media ratings you collect, but the people you have laboring to collect them.

  6. Helpful (1)

    yuck

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Dallas, TX

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    good experience to put on a resume

    Cons

    worst boss ever, terrible benefits, led by a group of Kool-Aid drinkers

  7. Helpful (1)

    Take the job only if you're desperate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Membership Representative in Buffalo, NY
    Current Employee - Membership Representative in Buffalo, NY

    I have been working at Nielsen

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

    Pros

    Flexible days, and own schedule
    Work from home

    Cons

    Hours: full work week is defined as 45 hours, but typically do 50-55 hours
    Pay
    Bonus (or lack there of)
    Lack of safety
    Demanding
    According to my trainer: TURNOVER IS 80-85% after 18 months

    Advice to Management

    To Nielsen's defense, they are completely upfront about how terrible the base is: $32,000. However, when I interviewed my current manager told me "this past quarter I've had several reps get bonuses for $10k, $12k, upwards of $16k", so you think, "ok, over $70k for a flexible job where I work out of my home and set my own schedule, and obviously the bonuses are attainable". WRONG: the bonus structure had changed a month prior, now those bonuses results would only be equivalent to about $2k-$4k.

    Next: no work-life balance. YOU WILL WORK EVERY WEEKEND. WHY?... Because everyone around you is being put on a PIP, and you don't wanna loose your job. You can get put in a PIP for about 20 different reasons, and you need to have impeccable results for 3 consecutive months to get off. My trainer told me ( after I was hired): TURNOVER IS 80-85% AFTER 18 MONTHS. THEY MUST BE DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

  8. "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Nielsen way."

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Membership Representative in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Membership Representative in Chicago, IL

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

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

    Pros

    Nielsen is a great company for someone who has never worked for another professional organization and has no frame of reference for comparison.

    Cons

    To have been in business for over 90 years, you would think Nielsen would be a lot further along. Their technology is completely archaic (their metering equipment is the size of a VCR!), their systems and processes are over-complicated and cumbersome, making it more difficult to close deals than it needs to be, and their management is arrogant and not open to new ideas (very much the "good ol' boy network). As told to us by our trainer, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Nielsen way."

    The 3-week training program was taught completely out of sequence, you are completely overwhelmed with new systems and information, then, fresh out of training, you are held to the same performance standard as tenured employees. In addition, certain aspects of the role were not fully disclosed during the hiring process making it feel very much like a bait and switch. We were also made to sign disclosures and acceptances to policies without being provided the actual policies.

    There is nothing irreverent about Nielsen. Don't work there if you have an original thought in your head.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in overhauling your technology - your metering equipment and your internal systems. Also, revise your hiring process to ensure there are no surprises, as well as your training to better equip new employees for success. People shouldn't come out of 3 weeks of training more confused than when they started.

  9. Helpful (3)

    You may or may not like working for Nielsen TV Ratings

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Outside Sales Representative in Franklin, WI
    Current Employee - Outside Sales Representative in Franklin, WI

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

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

    Pros

    Ok, let me start by saying that I only took this job for the paycheck and not for a career. I have worked over a decade in 3 leading industries that were worthwhile, fulfilling, financially rewarding and highly desirable. This is a job that a trained monkey (or as my manager put it, any slave—more about being a slave later) can do. So, if you are a magna cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a summa cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a rocket scientist, this is not the job for you. If you want to make a difference, this is not the job for you. If you want to use your post-high school education, this is not the job for you. If you are opposed to being a slave (to quote my manager), this is not the job for you.

    That all being said, you may or may not like working for Nielsen TV Ratings.

    Pros…
    There’s NO drug testing, very little to NO background checks (it’s just criminal and motor vehicle), NO psychological testing and NO exams of any other kind.

    You get a chance to earn quarterly IP (bonus or incentives). This starts at $25 (per home over 25 homes signed) and can go as high as $400 (per home once you hit 36 homes signed), albeit the company and management caps your recruitment efforts by capping the number of homes (approximately 28.8) per quarter. Sorry, there is NO sky’s-the-limit earnings here.

    You get the potential for paid overtime (time and a half) albeit they will cap your OT to 4 hours per week. You can get $1,500 language differential if you speak fluent Spanish.

    You will get a company car (albeit, you will have to pay per mile for any personal use) plus $25, $35 or $60 per pay period (twice a month) for access to the company car. The company pays for the vehicle insurance (albeit Nielsen TV Ratings is self-insured). The company pays for all maintenance and gas (business miles only).

    You get a company laptop, printer, GPS and company phone (currently an iPhone).

    You get a lot of autonomy.

    Cons

    Cons…
    Low starting salary of $32,100 per year paid bi-weekly or every other Friday. The 2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines (effective February 10, 2014) for a family of FOUR is $23,850 (at 100%) and $31,721 (at133%) for a family of FOUR. So, yes that’s right, if you work for Nielsen TV Ratings you will qualify for Medicaid and federally funded Food Stamps. I know, I had to apply for food stamps and use a food bank just to make ends meet. Keep in mind Nielsen Media, publicly traded, earned around $18 Billion in world-wide sales during 2013.

    You will be required to attend a 3-4 week sophomoric ‘recruitment’ training program at the home office in Tampa, FL. The company pays for your travel to and from Tampa and puts you up in an extended-stay property (albeit with virtually no maid service they change your bed linens, 2 face towels, 2 hand towels and 2 bath towels just once per week! They also only clean your room/kitchen/bathroom just once per week!). The rooms are just ok, but the property is fairly nice and includes an on-site gym, restaurant and bar. All meal expenses are solely on you (zero is paid by the company per diem for your meals and you cannot expense your meal expenses!). Although you get to share a rental car with your roommate for the 3-4 weeks, gasoline expenses to and from the training facility as well as for personal use are your sole responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the company.

    You will be required work a non-standard schedule including mostly afternoons, evenings and weekends. This means locating and then ‘walking’ and Knocking unannounced on the door of anywhere from 1-90 (or more) ALTs and Knocking unannounced and without appointment on Basic recruit doors within an assigned Spec from 9am-10am, 11am-Noon, 3pm-5pm, and 6pm-8pm (or any other hours the company, your manager and/or your trainer sees fit). These Specs are selected at random (based on some statistical model created by the company to meet the company’s needs) and assigned to you by the Sample Management department, a Sample Manager and your Sales Manager based on a pre-determined outcome they (the company and the management team) are trying to achieve.

    You will be required to locate and go unannounced into some pretty bad areas/homes…drug/violence/roach/rat/mice/tick-infested areas/homes (albeit some nice areas/homes too). Some homes will have fecal/blood matter or bodily fluids in the yard, on the walk ways, on the porch, on the walls and/or living areas, etc. You will go into some very interesting homes and try to recruit and then conduct in-person interviews with people of all walks of life good or bad (ie. felons—violent ones too, rapist, child molesters, child/women beaters, gang members, drug dealers/users, perverts, and/or just plain crazy people, etc.). You will have to go into very dark/private areas of the households living quarters (ie sheds/garages, basements, attics, bedrooms, etc.) to look for and at TV sites alone with one or more persons of the household. You will be required to talk to persons of the household who answer the door in various stages of undress/nudity. You will be required to continue the recruit even when being hated, ‘hit on’ or sexually harassed or touched inappropriately. I had a woman hold my arm and then run and lent roller over my crotch-area to remove her cat’s hairs from my pants after she invited me to sit – not lay down -- on her cat’s pillow that was in a chair. Also, I had a husband and wife talk graphically about threesomes and group sex, before inviting me to a swinger’s party with them although I gave them NO inclination towards liking such activity.

    You will have to use the company provided laptop/iPhone and related programs to input collected data. Most of the systems used will be redundant and obsolete as well as rudimentary, requiring much more human effort than required or normally used in similar industries with similar capabilities.

    You will work very unusual work hours. Nielsen TV Ratings takes pride in its vast study of the ‘best’ time to reach its households to recruit them into the ratings. The primetime for recruitment for Nielsen TV Ratings is 6:00pm-8:00pm (and that’s regardless of if the home is located 3 minutes from your home or 3 hours from your home). You will be required to work some weekend hours, yes, both Saturdays and Sundays. You also will be encouraged to work holidays to reach homes where you have had difficulties contacting household members at 2 different meal times (breakfast/lunch or diner) on 2 different days as well as weekends. At times you will be pressured to skip vacations and planned days off to maintain production numbers/goals. From time-to-time, you will be sent to SWAT (recruit) in other geographic locates for 2 or more weeks at a time while your work in your assigned area waits unworked until you return (keep in mind, you will be penalized for not working your assigned area while you are away).

    You have to pay a pretty high deductable ($1,000 or so) for any/all accidents you have in the company car, be it during business or personal use. Let’s say you are traveling within your assigned area within the posted speed limit to recruit a home in an assigned Spec at 6:00pm and its dark outside and a deer collides with your company car. You will be required to pay the deductable out of your pocket, even though the company is self-insured!

    You have to pay a pretty high deductable (around $100 or so) if your company laptop, printer, GPS or company phone is lost, stolen or damaged.

    By all accounts, turn over is extremely high for Membership Representatives (don’t go into any new debt -- credit card, car or home, etc. with this job!). The turn over rate is around 70-80% with less than 1-3% or Membership Representatives lasting 1-2 years on the job.

    Benefits package including medical, dental, vision and 401K, effective first day of employment; however, they have some of the highest medical/dental deductibles of comparable industries around.

    Career development opportunities don’t really exist as the management teams in place concern themselves with primarily protecting their own jobs/careers and will often derail your career (hence high turn over rate) for the fear of being replaced by younger, brighter, more educated, and more resilient talent.

    Back to being a slave. You will be recruiting families and getting them energized and excited about participating in the Nielsen TV Ratings as a Membership Representative. However, recently, several local and state governments as well as the federal government forced Nielsen Media to change the title of the Membership Representative to reflect what the role actually is – an Outside Sales Representative. One thing you will do as a Membership Representative or Outside Sales Representative is, in essence, work for the Field Representatives or FRs. Your real job is to initially build rapport, sell and recruit homes for panel participation and then immediately after they sign up hand that home off to the FR for the next 2 or 5 years. That’s right; you are a salve to the FR by making sales that the FR isn’t capable of making, because of a lack of training or knowledge. Once the sale is made, you are no longer needed on that folder or account. As my manager put it, it’s a numbers game and you are a salve to it, pure and simple.

  10. They just don't care. . . .

    Former Contractor - Consultant in Columbia, MD
    Former Contractor - Consultant in Columbia, MD

    I worked at Nielsen as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Negative Outlook
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    I really can't think of any.

    Cons

    Worked as a consultant for over 7 years. When it was Arbitron, I couldn't say a negative issue. As a consultant, I was treated as an employee instead of "the help". There was a positive, team-environment atmosphere and management showed appreciation where they could. It was a family. Then Nielsen took over. . . .

    As a consultant, I was a fly on the wall and saw the destruction. Not only did Nielsen lay-off over 800 people (when just 5 weeks prior they said they wouldn't) they basically took the souls of those left. Nielsen is SOOOO disorganized that after they did the layoffs, they realized that no one was left to do the work. They literally asked people who were given walking papers, work stations packed-up and ready to go on their last day, to stay for another couple of weeks to finish the work. Who does that!! I saw so many people jerked around, it was just sad.

    Those who remained at Nielsen, tried to keep an upper lip. But then Nielsen remodeled the building. Anything that resembled the old Arbitron atmosphere and Arbitron building was replace by stale, uniform Nielsen. Still people tried to be positive, but when your work area goes from an office or a work station that's 7x6 to literally working on a work bench (I've had more room in classrooms) with 8 other people it's difficult. To make things worse, everyone was crammed in one large open room, so there is no such thing as privacy. Every phone conversation, conference call, sneeze, cough and cell-phone ring is heard.. . by EVERYONE! People started wearing headphones all the time and a few had "white noise" machines that made things even worse. The "office police" took away peoples plants, heaters and personal items. You weren't even allowed to have note boards on your wall to inform others that you were on PDO or at lunch. To me it was a form of brainwashing, conform or else. Even the creativity that Arbitron had, is gone with Nielsen blue and gray everything. As a consultant, I now felt like "the help". The work went from fun, easy and rewarding to dull, boring and restricting.

    As a consultant, I didn't get any benefits, but I heard a lot people were complaining---especially about the health care. About 2 months after the take-over, the people left at Nielsen felt like those who got laid-off were "the lucky ones". It wasn't soon after others started to leave. I truly believe that Nielsen bought Arbitron just for the PPM technology and kept a skeleton staff for appearances and as a legal buffer. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the staff left are asked to leave or if they have already left, are not replaced.

    Advice to Management

    Stop looking at your bottom line and think of your employees as people, not cattle. GET ORGANIZED & HAVE A PLAN!

  11. Helpful (2)

    ruthless idiots

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA

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

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

    Pros

    the Nielsen name on your resume, which isn't even worth very much any more. Your power point and excel grunt-work skills will be great after a few months here. By then you will also have more than enough material to write your own dilbert comic strip series.

    Cons

    Extremely cutthroat environment. rampant scapegoating, rumors, lots of people throwing each other under the bus, and trying to escape the blame because most of the products have chronic issues and the data is always screwed up (business units like BASES and OCR have better product & data quality but culture issues still remain). It doesn't help that people here also take themselves and their jobs way too seriously. Clients often return data; even the non-research/data clients find glaring mistakes on a regular basis. Several syndicated products are in such poor shape that every single year they have a team of black belts come in, spend a week putting up post-it notes and reformulating all their processes, but inevitably nothing helps and the exact same thing happens next year. The roots of this culture go back to the management history; after the company was saddled up with debt and sold to private equity, they wanted to do anything they could to cut costs, recoup their money, and have a successful IPO. During that period before the IPO, which lasted several years, clearly managements priority was milking the business enough to have a strong IPO, not running or growing it in a way that was any way sustainable. Those same management practices have continued. The only 2 circumstances I would recommend working for this company - 1) if you are a huge jerk you will fit right in, or 2) if you are a fresh college grad who has gotten into the Emerging Leaders Program, AND don't have a better offer elsewhere. That rotational program actually provides quite a bit of exposure to different businesses and can be a good experience.

    Advice to Management

    put up more motivational posters. those really helped.

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