Towers Watson Reviews

Updated August 23, 2014
Updated August 23, 2014
344 Reviews

3.4
344 Reviews
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Towers Watson CEO John Haley
John Haley
171 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • I like that they focus a lot on employee health and work/ life balance (in 22 reviews)

  • Smart professionals, great working environment and work/life balance (in 24 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance (there is none) - Long hours/weekend work (in 40 reviews)

  • No work life balance during peak seasons (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

220 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Clueless Management

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

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    A salary and benefits centrally located

    Cons

    Low morale, politics galore, benefits aren't as good as they previously were, low compensation and no flexibility in work hours, no room for advancement

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider mentoring lower level staff

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    A rewarding job with an abundance of work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Benefits Analyst  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Benefits Analyst in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There are a large number of smart and helpful coworkers at TW. Always willing to help out. The benefits are decent: Matching 401k, Pension Plan, PTO, flexible work from home scheduling.

    Cons

    The work can be very rewarding and help with career growth, but there is a lot of it. A lot of reviews have quoted an excellent work/life balance but I don't see it. Hours each week range from 45 to 60 on average for most it seems. And for others it's even more. Many people work weekends and nights to keep up.

    The pay scale is awful. Some people are paid quite well and others are underpaid. It's largely based on who hired you and when and it's very hard to "catch up" with salary.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more help for people to keep up with their workload. Offer a better salary and base it on merit, not solely years of service with the company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Good, smart people. Don't think much about the culture or employee happiness

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Towers Watson

    Pros

    Intelligent people who care about doing good work

    Cons

    Still suffering post integration, culture needs some work

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  5.  

    Good employer

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

    I have been working at Towers Watson

    Pros

    Great work life balance, good colleagues

    Cons

    Salary isn't comparable compared with market

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you're young, smart, and motivated look elsewhere

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

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - great people.

    For the most part the consultants you work with are some of the smartest people in the industry.

    People generally take pride in the work they do and are genuinely interested in their work product, for the most part

    Most young people here are typically outgoing (defying stereotypes of the actuary) and enjoy having a good time

    - Job Security

    More of a negative, actually, but due to understaffing, you can stay here as long as you would like (even if you continually show a lack of competency or display a lack of interest or concern in the work you do)

    Cons

    where to begin?

     There are a lot of internal issues here that have been neglected by management for a long time, which has only made things worse, although, the issues are now being addressed but with lack of urgency, transparency and regard.

    - No incentive for young employees to perform well, and no way to retain the young employees that do perform well (and meet expectations)

    With high billable goals that are typically viewed as unattainable (I barely hit mine working 10-hour days on average, with plenty of 15 hour days during busy season, taking 3-4 days off all year while working plenty of weekends, and exceeded the billable goal by only 100 hours) you better be able to reward the employees that are able meet the goals.

    However, despite a clear work load disparity at the analyst level, there is no clear disparity and distinction in analyst's bonuses and salary increases. For example:

    Analyst A: who worked 2000 hours and produced high quality work product will receive X% + 3% of base salary and Y% + 2% in annual salary increase at fiscal year end

    Analyst B: who worked 1600 hours and produced so-so work product will receive X% of base salary and Y% in annual salary increase at fiscal year end

    Ultimately, hours worked over the billable goal at the analyst position typically equates to a minimum wage hourly rate or less, so there is no fiscal incentive to outperform goals, however there is every expectation that you will work late and that you're just as vested in the work product as the consultant delivering the work to client

    Really the only tangible reward for good work is more work.

    - Top Heavy

    This probably is strongly related to the analyst bonus issue (as well as unrealistic growth expectations of senior management); with so many tenured associates at the consultant and senior consultant level (who take home much more at year-end in bonuses then junior associates) there is no money in the bonus pool to go to junior associates, as well as bottlenecking top-performing junior associates from transitioning into a consultant role

    Also, none of the consultants and senior consultants who are either incompetent or 'nightmares' to deal with are handled appropriately (fired). Instead they are allowed to 'hang around' as long as they would like and continue to drive down office morale.

    It's assumed that the 'problem' consultants will just get the idea and eventually move on based off of low bonuses on an annual basis (this assumes some disparity in the bonuses at the consultant level), however all these 'problem's are vested in rich legacy pension plans and are an older population, so, if they have any financial sense (they all do), they all are perfectly incentivised to stick around until retirement while their rich pensions continue to accrue.

    - Lack of Transparency

    If anything is being done to address the 'above-average' turnover it is not being communicated to the office or specific practice.This of course is assuming that high turnover is being addressed, since in the last year and a half over 20 analysts have quit in my particular practice (with more than half being knowledgeable, tenured senior analysts).

    Although, senior management is quick to rationalize high turnover as 'coming with the territory' of being in the financial service industry.

    its worth nothing that there are, roughly every two years, employee engagement surveys so that management can better address issues within your practice, office and company-wide. However, in my practice, the results of the engagement survey have yet to be acknowledged or discussed in a practice-wide meeting (what you would think would happen after engagement survey results have been released, but here we are more than 4 months later...).

    Bonus structures are not discussed with younger employees so there is no understanding of how bonuses are awarded and under what circumstances they are awarded

    Promotions and, more importantly, employee development are not discussed with junior associates unless they reach out to their manager to try to understand how they can be promoted.

    - Lack of communication

    this may come with the territory of working with actuaries, but, generally, everything is done on unspoken expectations i.e. a consultant will give a tenured analyst some admin type work (filing or making edits to some documents) and tell them to do it, but will expect the analyst to pass off the work to a more junior analyst or administrative assistant, but nothing will be said of that nature. It is worth noting that occasionally you'll have a consultant who actually expects the tenured analyst to do the admin type work and will get upset if you pass that work off (even if your busy and the admin type work is urgent)

    - No work-life balance

    IF you're motivated to get promoted or exceed goals(although no guarantee that you will be able to get promoted through hard work and dedication)

    - High turnover and understaffing

    No end in sight to this issue (as previously alluded to)

    - Complete disconnect between senior management and junior associates

    senior management doesn't understand that you need competent young associates to be able to retain key clients and grow client relations. Inconsistent work product, missed deadlines, and client dissatisfaction is what will continue and grow more apparent as turnover escalates.

    Senior management does know they will need less competent young associates in the future as they attempt to become a leaner more cost efficient company. less analysts, more outsourced work, more admins, is all part of the game plan, but who's going to replace the consultants to ensure client relationships are maintained? Oh, well the retirement practice is going to evaporate in 5 years anyways so what the difference. At least that is what is assumed by senior management, although they'll tell junior associates that pensions are making a comeback and the company can continue to grow at faster pace than currently, even though their largest revenue generator is in a declining field with spikes in revenue over the next few years only coming from plan termination projects (that will generate a lot of revenue now, but in 2 years there will be no revenue)

    - Benefits are below average in comparison to industry

    - pay is below average in comparison to industry

    and bonuses are non-existent (as previously mentioned)

    Also, actuarial exam bonuses are roughly half of what Aon and Mercer offer

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Develop realistic growth expectations.

    You know the company cant grow faster than currently and you know this underfunded the bonus pool in the process. if your benchmark for bonuses is your best year ever and you know you can't continually outperform that benchmark your employee's hard work will continually go unappreciated

    - Your employees define your future success

    You're in the financial services sector so start coming to terms with how important the people you employ are and do everything you can to retain your top performers.

    - Listen to your employees

    Please, stop ignoring what your employees are saying because you're in the financial services sector and high-turnover is expected. Employees don't like hearing that their biggest concerns are being completed ignored because 'this is what you signed up for", no they decided to work here because they assumed Towers was a global leader in HR solutions..

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Relaxed, flexible workplace with limited growth opportunities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Analyst  in  White Plains, NY
    Current Employee - Analyst in White Plains, NY

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

    Pros

    - Reasonable salary
    - Friendly office environment
    - Quarterly social events
    - Well-respected name
    - Good work/life balance for this role

    Cons

    - Very limited growth, stagnation
    - Mediocre benefits
    - Terrible communication between departments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider letting non-vital employees work from home. The commute in certain parts of New York can be brutal, and I am sure the same can be said for our employees in DC and other Metro areas. If the work can be done over the Internet, save yourself some money and hassle and let employees work from home.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Consultant  in  Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Consultant in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great working environment with several smart, highly skilled associates. With Towers you will have the opportunity to work across business units and to be involved in national initiatives. Your success if really determined by you.

    Cons

    As with many consulting firms, the hours can be long and the job can be very demanding (client based).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue success of growth of company through future thinking!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    I've only been with the company for three months but so far it's off to a great start. I feel like my work has meaning.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Benefits Systems Administrator  in  Pittsburgh, PA
    Current Employee - Lead Benefits Systems Administrator in Pittsburgh, PA

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The benefits are great!

    Casual dress is allowed except when clients are visiting, working from home is allowed on a limited basis, I can set my own schedule within reason, they provide a company iPhone, they do 401k matching and provide a pension, there are free sporting event tickets and tailgates for company outings, occasionally there is free food, the soda machines are always free, the list goes on and on.

    Cons

    It's a global company so there are a lot of people to coordinate with in order to get things done.

    Also, I'm in a rapidly expanding business segment so there can sometimes be growing pains.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees know that difficult changes need to be made from time to time. However, they would like to feel like management understands that changes take time and effort out of their normal work day and schedules.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Very solid organization

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

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - intellectual capital
    - company values
    - flexibility to work from home
    - offices around the world.
    - good career opportunities if you are a consultant and if you have all actuarial credentials.

    Cons

    - compensation is not attractive compared to competitors
    - vacation, sick leave and paid time off benefits are mediocre
    - operations teams are often not remunerated well and have very limited career opportunities within the organization

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Begin using some of the advice you provide to your clients in house.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Odd Culture, political shark tank, no training- but you must do it our way...

    Current Employee - Senior Consultant
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant

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

    Pros

    People are very bright and once they have kicked back a few drinks they loosen up and personalities actually begin to develop!

    Cons

    Leadership? Leadership is too busy to pay any attention to what the individual managers are up to. Then, when things are escalated, and probably too late- they become involved. The managers need training, the staff needs training. When leadership is engaged- they are great- it just does not happen all the time. Too bad. It would create a better environment and change the culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase training- get rid of poor managers. Pay attention to what is happening.

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