Pearson Reviews

Updated September 10, 2014
Updated September 10, 2014
792 Reviews
3.2
792 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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John Fallon
162 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Usually a great work-life balance if you're in Production or Media (in 60 reviews)

  • Almost all of my colleagues with families work from home twice a week (in 30 reviews)


Cons
  • Lack of transparency between upper management & finance with the feet on the street (in 32 reviews)

  • IT development teams and operations tend to work long hours (in 25 reviews)

More Highlights

147 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 15 people found this helpful  

    This is how great companies die

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President  in  Upper Saddle River, NJ
    Current Employee - Vice President in Upper Saddle River, NJ

    I have been working at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The company is still loaded with experienced and talented employees who flourished under the former CEO (Scardino), even if their numbers are dwindling. And the constant layoffs have had a positive impact in that there are now swarms of ex-Pearsonites working at other companies, consulting, and starting up their own companies.

    Cons

    Let's not kid ourselves--the Pearson play is about standardized testing at the global level, and that includes in Higher Ed as well as K-12/Schools. They also want to become the school itself in many parts of the world. So they are riding the wave of privatization, and following the money. But can they survive the negative press they increasingly generate? And their own incompetence?
    If you really want to work at a company like Pearson, consider McGraw Hill Education or Cengage Learning or Wiley while Pearson works out the kinks (or continues on in what may be a death spiral). Or head for one of the newer companies--2U, Laureate, Blackboard, etc. If you're young and hungry and can crash on your parents' couch, throw your lot in with an Edtech startup--you'll learn tons and should be able to parlay the experience into a bigger job quickly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    How much time do you have? The company is trying to reorg at the same time it's transitioning both to digital AND to services/solutions, all while trying to wean itself from huge dependencies on the US operation so it can go global (ie., ex-US)--this is impossible. MBAs have the ear of the CEO, and it shows--the company is bloated, risk-averse, lethargic and prone to drinking its own Kool-Aid. The platforms are dated and cumbersome (when they work--keep an eye on the press this month and next as schools start their terms to see the reaction when the platforms fail bigger this Fall). They fancy themselves a platform company, but there aren't more than a handful of senior executives who 'get' digital/online. Cronyism is rampant.

    It's a hot mess.

    Time to bring in a professional manager as CEO to get the job done.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    Soul Crushing Nightmare

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Upper Saddle River, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Upper Saddle River, NJ

    I worked at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You like doing exactly what you are told. You have no personality so adopt the ones that the company wants you to have. You like to say "amazing" and "efficacy" although you don't really know what you are talking about. If those attributes are you, welcome aboard. You will love Pearson. Plus, new masters have charming British accents.

    Cons

    Dying a slow and agonizing death. Murdering its own culture (a culture originally defined as mass quantities of products pushed out the door by legions of under paid people, grew to reasonable quality, now who knows). Their technology products other than MyMathLab in post secondary are almost comically cookie-cutter bland and almost funny if not so sad. Morale began to slip a few years ago and relentlessly collapsed while I was there -- and my friends slogging through report lately still "Not fun." A very, very bad place to be 50+ years of age. Mega-deals such as the Common Core contract they signed in 14 will sustain them for some time, but their fanciful nonsense around efficacy and services they have convinced themselves of are nauseatingly miserable excuses for meaningful business models. Not a good software company, as they prove almost every chance they get.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seven Eleven is hiring.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    The MBAs won the Re-Org War

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager  in  Upper Saddle River, NJ
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Upper Saddle River, NJ

    I have been working at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Used to be a pretty decent place to work, great pay and benefits, very, very good benefits in fact.

    Still a lot of good people work here who believe in the mission.

    Cons

    Constant re-orgs. They literally never stop re-organizing. It's a bit Orwellian.

    The latest re-org was the big one for the US. Four different businesses merged into one. It took 18 months just to name the managers. Now all these managers continue to manage as if they are still in their old roles. They micromanage and lead by fear. No one tries to learn anything new. No one has a holistic view. I seriously doubt any single member of the management team has a complete picture of this business.

    Now they have entered the bastion of scoundrels, cost cutting. Seems like Pearson cannot create any good products, and can no longer sell their crap products, revenue is tanking. I think the plan is too squeeze the employees and bleed them dry so Wall Street is happy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have no clue. While John Fallon will admit that we are operationally challenged, I doubt he knows the full severity of the situation.

    Communicate. The president of the division I work for has not even bothered to host one conference call this year.

    My only suggestion, hire some real managers, someone to actually run the business, day to day, in the trenches. VPs are a dime a dozen at Pearson. They have no real power. It seems the various Presidents spend their time pontificating vision. It seems no one minds the store anymore.

    Hire a hot shot that has ran a company like the company you want to be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Not Recommended

    Current Employee - Information Technology
    Current Employee - Information Technology

    I have been working at Pearson full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Decent benefit and compensation package. Work from home seems pervasive throughout the company.

    New CIO seems more direct and much more organized than the previous one.

    Cons

    Extremely hierarchical, political culture. Management typically communicates by issuing wordy multi-page memos and you have to parse it for the two or three sentences that actually say something. While there are some solid people managers there, horrible ones thrive. There is much, much talking AT employees and almost no talking WITH employees. Conference calls are extremely regimented, with first line managers instant messaging employees during the call to browbeat them about what to say or not say. See this sort of thing happen often enough, and even work that you would enjoy in any other setting becomes both tedious and stressful. Just a bizarre work culture, like a bad parody of 1950s workplace.

    The annual performance bonus is nice but, so far as I can tell, totally unrelated to performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your managers to take the review process seriously and relate it to the annual bonus. Institute 360 reviews; some of your mgmt team are abusive thugs and you have no visibility to that.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Actions speak louder than words

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

    I worked at Pearson

    Pros

    Working with immediate people on challenging projects. Everyone works hard and heart is in it.

    Cons

    Upper management does not care about or know what employees do. Completely focused on budgets over people. No leadership in terms of new ideas or products. All about cost cutting, outsourcing, short-term financials.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ideas and people matter. Listen to employees. Live the values espoused by management in London. Develop and retain talent instead of burning people out and rotating in and out temporary employees and relying on outside vendors. Create great products. The money will come.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 11 people found this helpful  

    Don't Let the Door Hit You

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Education Specialist  in  Remote, OR
    Former Employee - Education Specialist in Remote, OR

    I worked at Pearson part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There are still a few decent, intelligent, caring people at Pearson. They're just few and far between and too scared for their own jobs to call attention to themselves.

    Cons

    The Re-Org from Hell has gone on too long. Many, many good people left or were fired and in their place you have lots of managers and executives who have no idea what their jobs entail or what products Pearson sells. It would be comical if it weren't so sad. One of the latest uninspiring moves has been to hire education "consultants" from a temp agency to fill the high demand of back-to-school "activation" trainings. With very few exceptions, these temps are more like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's. This is only one aspect of failing customer service that is going to haunt Pearson for years.

    If you dare leave Pearson and do the decent thing and give two weeks' notice, you'll likely experience a Don't Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out moment or six. This will most likely come in the form of being "termed" a week before you say you're leaving, being locked out of your company email AND being locked out of the expense reporting system, all while you're still trying to do your job and represent the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Now that Larry Singer is gone, take the pulse of your remaining people. Think about moving some of them back to their comfort zones instead of forcing them into jobs they're not qualified to do. Stop treating people as replaceable widgets and most importantly, straighten out your HR department. When HR (or managers) cut off employees' email before employees can finish their work, customer service suffers. Consequently, Pearson's already damaged reputation suffers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 9 people found this helpful  

    A Once Great Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer  in  San Antonio, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in San Antonio, TX

    I worked at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Lots of opporopportunity if you're fresh out of college. Non-management workers have a "We're in this together" attitude and really care about one another. Telecommuting OK. Leave matches industry standards.

    Cons

    Raises never match inflation, so true earning power decreases over time. Older, more senior employees are not given opportunity to move to another area and are usually the first ones out the door. Alleged reorganization is only adding layers of management, redundancy, and confusion. Legacy system replacements are many times more expensive than system being replaced and never work correctly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at other companies that have already tried what you're attempting and learn from them. Be open to the fact that what you're attempting might be a mistake and be willing to adapt. Hint: Adding layers of management never helps streamline business or improve efficiency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 10 people found this helpful  

    Great to hate

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

    I have been working at Pearson for more than 8 years

    Pros

    mission to help people advance in their life through learning

    Cons

    Transformation is a disaster. Too slow, too vague, too many chiefs and not enough team work. New structure is not flatter and more agile...it is more layers and red tape to get anything done. No concern with Pearson employees anymore. Just concern for the customer (i.e. the revenue).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take care of the people who work at Pearson... only then will the bottom-line begin to improve.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    Joinor stay at your own risk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Upper Saddle River, NJ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Upper Saddle River, NJ

    I have been working at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Company is transforming at a break neck pace... jury is out if there are any pros in the new world order.

    Cons

    No one is safe due to complete transformation of the business. Morale has reached historic lows.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Legacy business experience is no longer valued. Employees have no loyalty and everyone is looking to get out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 8 people found this helpful  

    All that glitters isn't gold.

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

    I have been working at Pearson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Pearson is a forerunner in the education industry and that can be exciting, particularly from a digital standpoint. They also offer comprehensive competitive benefits and are open to flexible work hours as well as telecommuting (although there is no reimbursement for internet or phone). Employee wellness is encouraged with on-site programs like Weight Watchers.

    Cons

    Pearson refuses to pay people their worth and seems to have adopted a "be thankful you have a job" philosophy. Reorganizations have been occurring annually for at least the last 5 years, with sometimes more than one in a year. For a company who's mission is "Brave, Imaginative, and Decent", they have been anything but that in recent years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward the people who are actually doing the work and producing. Let them know they are appreciated and integral to the company, as the morale in some offices is abysmal. Spend money to train people properly when new ways of working are introduced. Be "Brave, Imaginative and Decent" towards your employees and it will come back to you threefold.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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