Vanguard Reviews

Updated August 30, 2015
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Vanguard Chairman and CEO William McNabb
William McNabb
148 Ratings

Pros
  • Fairly easy to maintain good work/life balance (in 120 reviews)

  • Great benefits (PTO & Healthcare) (in 67 reviews)

Cons
  • most employees are complacent in this call-center environment (in 53 reviews)

  • This can make work life balance impossible since their can be mandatory overtime or the inability to take earned vacation (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

289 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (20)

    Financial Advisor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    Healthy 401(k) contributions (4% match dollar-for-dollar, additional 10% of salary contributed regardless of employee contributions). Good health insurance with an HRA-like contribution and ability to earn additional credits through healthy living and biometric screenings. Disability insurance (pre- or post-tax). On-site gym. Retirement health insurance benefits. Lots of PTO starting out and it gets even better with more years of service. Vanguard has a client-focused ownership structure that makes it a consciously-comfortable place to work. You're never trying to sell a particular product or service to earn a commission. Most, if not all crew, including brokerage associates, are paid a salary only. The company's mission tends to attract people who are good-natured.

    Cons

    (1) While the ownership structure keeps us client-focused, I'm beginning to recognize a more "sales-y" push in their new Personal Advisor service product. A lot of R&D went into this product and we're getting more push than normal from managers to enroll clients into the service, presumably to increase revenue generation. Management seems to sincerely believe that virtually every client can benefit from the service and that simply is not true. Not every client needs the full suite of services we give, or they need more than we can realistically give, but we're still being pressured to fit them into our mold. (2) The management in this department seems to be much more metrics-driven than in other roles and is pushing to look good on paper. How we look on paper seems to have a stronger bearing on our year-end performance bonus than other, less-quantifiable ways of making an impact in our roles. (3) Technology is lacking significantly. We're working on old hardware and software and it's incredibly slow to make any changes in this big of a business. Our main system for client services frequently and spontaneously shuts down on us in the middle of the work day. Because resources are already dedicated towards other long-term projects, updating our technology seems to have been put on the backburner. It's really challenging to serve our clients efficiently when we don't have the equipment to work quickly. Many crew members' performances are measured by the second, and our poor equipment is impacting their metrics. We can work faster, but our systems won't let us. (4) Our executive leadership has an aggressive goal to reduce our average fund family expense ratio by several basis points. Because of that, belts are cinching. Simple things like inexpensive team lunches and tokens of appreciation are being cut back to try and "bend the cost curve" (a frustrating piece of Vanguard jargon for many of the crew here). I don't feel as valued. I wish leadership would focus less on cutting costs and focus more on improving our technology, rewarding the hard work of crew members, and staffing sufficiently. (5) The team leaders, particularly recent college grads, seem to fit into the exact same mold, particularly those who graduate from our VADP program. They all use the exact same kind of jargon and I have little confidence in their sincerity. Some seem overly focused on metrics, less focused on addressing the behaviors that drive the metrics, and overlook inconsistencies in how crew members report their metrics. (6) Vanguard claims that they value input on process improvement or technology enhancements. However, most suggestions just get filed away and leaders come to us instead to try to make us maximize the dysfunctional resources we currently have. My opinions seem like they carry very little value and it's discouraging to even try to make myself heard. (7) Hiring managers need to be more transparent about job duties and time commitments. They tout that Vanguard wants their crew to ideally work a cushy 37.5 hours per week. Even in exempt roles, they still want you only working between 37.5-40 hours. I am in an exempt role now, and because of our understaffing, I'm consistently working 50 hours a week. I get in early, leave late, and work through lunch. This is normal in the financial services industry but it's contrary to Vanguard's portrayal of their emphasis on work-life balance. Hiring managers need to be more forthright about the demands of the job. (8) Although you get lots of PTO, it's difficult to get time off on the days that count; times like days around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other major holidays. Someone always has to be here to man the phones, and so a small population of people actually get to enjoy the holidays with family. This is particularly challenging for employees working a long distance away from family. Forget trying to get home for the holidays if a road trip is involved. You'll rarely get time off both before and after the holiday to be able to enjoy some quality time with family before you have to turn right back around and come back. (9) Internally-promoted crew are not treated equally with external hires. Except for very high-level positions, an internal promotion receives a non-negotiable 10% raise. If an external hire has past experience, they have a good chance of negotiating for a substantially higher salary. When I was newly hired into Vanguard, I found out that I was getting paid more than the person who was training me. The trainer worked in the exact same role as me and was fully proficient in his job, and yet I was getting paid more. I later found out that I was getting paid more than some people, working in the same role as myself, who have been with Vanguard for more than 15 years. These were excellent, hard-working crew members. Currently I'm being pushed to move on into a new position that requires the CFP designation. That position could merit $75,000-80,000 in annual salary for an external hire. I know of one who is making much more than even that. If they got me to take the job, they would only have to pay me $60,000. This is pandemic in the company. There is little incentive to apply for more-demanding, higher-grade jobs because the pay does not adequately follow suit. This is why a lot of people come to Vanguard to get started and then ultimately leave to other firms.

    Advice to Management

    See above.


  2. IT Contractor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Contractor in Wayne, PA
    Former Employee - Contractor in Wayne, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Well organized, very structured, infrastructure company.

    Cons

    Your tasks and duties have limited room to grow unless you have been there more than 10 yrs or high level of educations. If you are none of those then your stuck there forever collecting 401k after you retire. Also if you are a contractor, you are basically considered as second class citizen and constantly minded that you are nothing more than a "Contractor".

    Advice to Management

    Do not care about anything else but there stats to report to as "low expenses (wages, budget cuts, and turning full time workers into contractors) and high profit margin so they can retire with big bonuses. That is all they care.


  3. depends on which team you are in

    Current Employee - Technical in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Technical in Malvern, PA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    great benefits with good pay

    Cons

    if you work for bad manager you are in for a rough ride. the new technical manager they brought in from outside to manage the growing team is great at talking from both sides of his mouth. He charms the people above him and if you are his direct report and not one of his favorite lackeys you will get treated like trash behind close door.

    Advice to Management

    Grow talent within and promote seasoned folks with good track record of managing people to management level. Bringing in outside manager maybe good for upper management but not so good for the rank and file workers. Be wary of dead woods.


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  5. Trader

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bond Trader in Ardmore, PA
    Current Employee - Bond Trader in Ardmore, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work-life balance. Amazing learning environment.

    Cons

    Low pay. Conservative and stuffy culture. Mangers are out for themselves.


  6. Very stable

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Vanguard has never laid off a crew member, though they do occasionally eliminate positions and redeploy those crew members into lower-paying positions. Very stable place to work. Entry-level positions come with comprehensive training programs. Total rewards package is very good.

    Cons

    Pay is low for this industry. Workplace environment is extremely conservative and crew members are penalized for speaking their minds. Most room for advancement exists at the main campus in Pennsylvania; there is not as much opportunity at the Arizona and North Carolina campuses.

    Advice to Management

    Value performance of core job responsibilities more highly than special projects at review time. The tendency to reward special projects results in a workforce that is unskilled at their core responsibilities, even in very technical jobs.


  7. The culture is dying

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Financial Advisor in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to work, very capable crew

    Cons

    Work life balance is inexistent

    Advice to Management

    Please stop focusing so much on data to make your decisions. Use common sense.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Financial Associate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, no sales expectations, a lot of room for advancement.

    Cons

    Poor pay, micro managers, they probably care more how you interview rather than how well you would perform in your role.

    Advice to Management

    Stop drinking the cool-aid and doing whatever your boss says. Stop treating tenured licensed investment professionals like we are in third grade. You need to treat your employees better and pay them more if you think they are going to retain any talent whatsoever. Everyone has the same game plan, get as much licenses, designations, experience, and then jet for a better position.


  9. Brokerage Associate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Brokerage Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Brokerage Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Low stress; relatively good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Promotions seemed to be based more upon who you know rather than your proficiency or skill set.


  10. Fund Financial Assiciate

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The total compensation package is great.

    Cons

    It all depends on the department that you are in.


  11. Great Benefits but.....

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits are great through Vanguard.

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunities for advancement since Charlotte isn't the main headquarters.



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