Agilent Technologies Reviews

Updated April 20, 2015
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Agilent Technologies President/CEO Mike McMullen
Mike McMullen
1 Rating

Pros
  • This company has long been a shining star in "work/life balance" for its employees (in 117 reviews)

  • Healthy work environment with work-life balance (in 49 reviews)

Cons
  • Work / Life Balance sometimes out of balance (in 13 reviews)

  • Upper management runs the business based on politics for shareholders, not customers or employees (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

9 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (6)

    A very well established company which is learning to be small.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lab Manager in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Lab Manager in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice colleagues, very intelligent scientists, opportunities to travel and meet many interesting people. Very competitive products (well, what's left...) that are well positioned in the market. Probably the best marketing group in the industry with extremely capable and knowledgeable people. A great place to work if you want to gain experience from a big company and don't want to work in a bank or read Dilbert.

    Cons

    The company prides itself to have its roots in HP of the '50s. However this is not entirely true anymore. Agilent was spun off from HP in 1999 and then was split in two in 2014 with the electronics measurement business becoming a separate entity, Keysight. In the meanwhile Agilent closed or sold quite a few units, bought Varian in 2010 and closed or sold most of it and also bought Dako in 2013. Overall there were around 44,000 employees in 1999, Varian and Dako came in with around 5200 people and now there are around 9,000 left, with the majority of them being laid-off or becoming contractors in the way. There are quite a few leftovers from the big Agilent era, though. Each new starter is faced with an intimidating set or rules, processes and, most importantly, acronyms that he has to learn in order to barely survive. You can forget spoken everyday English, you will need to learn things like MU, MEIDAS, PFF, SU, AM, PS, IM, PO, SR, WLA, ACS, FSS, FSE, MRU, AE, TANGOE, CERTO, GIO, WPS, GIPO, FAMS etc, etc, etc, there is even an internal website with the meanings of all these which have nothing to do with what they sound like. There have been hardly any revolutionary, new products introduced by Agilent in this long period with most products being incremental, small upgrades to established products from the HP era or purchased from other companies. The company shows good results mostly because of the income it got from the selling of various units in the 00's. Rather demotivating environment if things turn slightly off plan. What you did in the past (last year) has no influence whatsoever, only what you do now is of relevance. If you are in sales then making 250% of your quota last year will not help you this year and if you only make 95% you will be out. Most of the former Agilent employees have been laid off rather than leaving at their own will. There are no careers at Agilent anymore, only jobs. In R&D projects are defined by the personal opinions of managers who are not necessarily scientists nor have an idea of the marketplace, most of the projects are canned when they are 85% complete. Global sales, service and support, finance, marketing, R&D and manufacturing are actually competing with each other and cross-charging each other at every opportunity. Having moved all support activities to Asia you are faced with the same attitude when your email is not working as when you call your bank or credit card. Bureaucracy has increased both because of the infinite processes that must be followed (up to 3 levels of approval for purchasing a $200 item) and because these are monitored by people in India. Things that take other companies 10 minutes to do take up to a week or more at Agilent. In all it is lawyers and accountant that make the decisions, not commercial people or scientists. Anything with more than 0% risk is rejected. In all Agilent still thinks and tries to function like a 50,000 employee company when instead they are only one fifth of what they used to be.

    Advice to Management

    Your employees are not just employee ID's and cost centres. They are very intelligent people with great ideas, your biggest asset, so treat them accordingly and listen to them. The people in sales are the ones who bring the money in, they are not the ones who always ask for more. The stock holders don't give money to the company, customers do. Prioritise the customers instead of the Agilent processes. Get rid of all the bullying middle-managers. Value the science degrees more than the MBAs. "Better beg for forgiveness than ask for permission" gets your job done but makes relationships bitter, stop promoting this tactic. There are many more efficient ways to increase your return on invested capital and your profits than reducing costs; if you only look for good results by reducing costs you will lose (as you have already). If you want to reduce costs you can start by scrapping the principle of the global suppliers and the single, overcharging-fee travel agency. Let people get the supplies and book the trips looking at the local markets where they can get much better deals. Limit the over-controlling procurement procedures to the places where they are really needed; if someone bribed somebody in China there is no reason to increase the burden for the people in Switzerland. Don't allow your senior executives to say nonsense things like "take your vacation before the end of the quarter to help us reduce our costs and achieve better results". (This was really said in an email!) The whole world is not 30 miles around Santa Clara. There is life after the end of the quarter. Either make the leadership survey real or don't do it at all, reporting false or manufactured results makes you look stupid to the eyes of your employees. Don't lie, neither to your employees nor to your customers. You cannot have progress if you do not risk. Nobody (not even financial analysts) can predict the future! Agilent does not know best, Agilent know very well. Whether Agilent know best is something that the others and time will tell, not you. The Global Infrastructure Organisation is there to support everybody else, they do not bring in money. So don't let them define policies that only serve them and not the people who actually get the job done. Having all the finance and support group in India helps with your costs for them but makes everyone lose so much time with them that the benefit is negated very quickly. The ones who survive are not the strongest ones, it is the ones who adopt more easily. Allow flexibility in your processes, there is no such thing as one size fits all worldwide. Historically and in every sector or discipline it was stability that brought progress. So stop advocating that "the only constant is change" and look for stable, efficient structures. If a group does not perform as expected then first check the managers, not the lower people. Look at sports for how this is done. If everyone tells you that you are wrong this is because you are wrong!


  2. Helpful (1)

    Intern Experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Reading, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Intern in Reading, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Independence and trust with all aspects. No pressure from managers yet you still have responsibility. There was no making coffee's or tedious jobs, they were real projects that had an impact on the business.

    Cons

    Sometimes it was difficult to get in contact with managers as they were away and busy. This was also understandable and was not a serious con as there were no circumstances where I was in desperate need for advice.

    Advice to Management

    My advice would be to talk regularly as different sectors of the business felt like they had different ways of working. It seemed to me there were some micro cultures within the organization.


  3. Great learning Opportunity- Good Company to work for

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - TECHNICAL SUPPORT/SALES ENGINEER
    Current Intern - TECHNICAL SUPPORT/SALES ENGINEER
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Agilent Technologies as an intern (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great Learning Experience. I did an internship with Agilent Technologies (Currently known as Keysight Technologies ). You learn a lot, great development program in place for the interns

    Cons

    I thought the pay was bit low compare to other companies


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Good company but too siloed, need to break down internal barriers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Service Sales Manager in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Service Sales Manager in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Agilent Technologies full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good strategic planning process, excellent products

    Cons

    Too siloed (CA, LS and DG do not work well together), too product centric rather than customer centric, too focused on quarterly results, need to make some profound changes to enable long-term success.

    Advice to Management

    Break down the silos! Re-engineer the company to put the customer at the centre instead of the products. Accept that this will take significant investment and be brave enough to tell Wall Street that the investmewnt is needed and will have a 2-3 year impact on profitability as part of the required change process.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Compromise less than zero

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

    I have been working at Agilent Technologies as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Big worldwide company with big project incomes

    Cons

    It keeps reducing its staff constantly and never invests in hiring new professionals; my personal experience is being a subcontractor for the past 2 years. Its main goal is to reduce costs at the maximum, therefore even subcontractor companies are changed regularly, what impacts in the normal functioning of our day to day work.

    Advice to Management

    Sometimes lowering costs is not the main objective to be bigger...


  7. Great company, great people,

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Development Manager in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Former Employee - Business Development Manager in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    the people in general were great; products cutting edge, good work life balance.

    Cons

    the management don't seem to be able to understand when and where to invest in their business. They sold off so many business in the Telecoms area when really they just needed better management and more support. Could have really dominated in that region with better management.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Good people to work with but senior management not in touch

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent salary and benefits and very flexible regarding working practises.

    Cons

    Completely broken ranking process. No growth opportunities. Continual draconian expense management.

    Advice to Management

    Stop the spreadsheet management and apply some intelligence to the process.


  9. Jury is still out..............................

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary and benefits,. Still a lot of people with hp way in mind.

    Cons

    Kind of lost their way a bit after they split from HP. Although I hear that things have got a bit better now they are out of the protracted transition.

    Advice to Management

    Don't always go for the cheapest most unform solution. Sometimes something smarter is required.


  10. Ok but not great

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Engineering legacy from the HP Way

    Cons

    Senior Management communication and trust

    Advice to Management

    Invest in the work force



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