AstraZeneca

  www.astrazeneca.com
  www.astrazeneca.com

AstraZeneca Reviews in United Kingdom

Updated November 7, 2014
Updated November 7, 2014
476 Reviews
3.3
476 Reviews
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Approve of CEO
AstraZeneca Executive Director, CEO Pascal Soriot
Pascal Soriot
133 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work / Life balance is good with opportunity to move within the company (in 66 reviews)

  • AZ IT can be very well paid with great benefits (in 32 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is suffering as additional work is piled on the few that remain (in 11 reviews)

  • No rep advocates amongst senior management and very few capable FLSM's (in 16 reviews)

More Highlights

63 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    The Company Has Lost The Plot

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Regulatory Manager in Nether Alderley, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Regulatory Manager in Nether Alderley, England (UK)

    I have been working at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The Company offers a free counciling service to employees. There is a large take up of this due to working conditions that verge on intolerable yet remain within employment law.

    Cons

    Incompetent senior managers. Cottage industry made of performance management. Yet no budget available to reward high performers. Lost the focus on science. Hare brain scheme to relocate R&D to Cambridge. Wasted lots of money.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go back to the European work ethics of yesteryear. The soul of the company has been destroyed by US influence. Absolute stuff and nonsense that relocating to Cambridge in the UK will invigorate R&D. The Company has lost very talented individuals who have voted with their feet.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Chaos - leave well alone

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrator in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Administrator in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AstraZeneca as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Their products are great, nice offices shame it's not nice working there.

    Cons

    PAs are arrogant - don't temp there! IT is appalling for such a big company - 3 people trying to sort out every IT issue at Kingdom Street - overstretched is an understatement. Hot desking hated by all. It's a matrix company in a mess that has lost its grip on what it's trying to achieve. Too many sections are outsourced and many staff are unhappy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sort out your IT and your hot desking situation. Also sort out or get rid of some of your arrogant PAs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Toxic corporate culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist in Alderley, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist in Alderley, England (UK)

    I worked at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Nice facilities, well-funded labs, nice working environment, flexible benefits.

    Cons

    Forced-ranking produces toxic culture that focusses on picking on the negatives and finding easy victims. Works on a system of favourites and old-boys networks - it's more important who you're friends with than what you do. Culture is one of fear and paranoia.

    Constant reorganisations, cuts and closures.

    Rapidly declining revenues due to patent expiries make for a very uncertain future.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Forced ranking didn't work at Enron, it killed innovation at Microsoft and it's doing the same to AZ.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 11 people found this helpful  

    Once great company with many talented people diminished by ineffective management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Macclesfield, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Macclesfield, England (UK)

    I have been working at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The Alderley site in the UK is a beautiful location to work at. Nice restaurant, gym facilities etc. The people there and at other sites are by and large great people with the majority of them very dedicated to the company and also to what it stands (stood) for and the work that it was doing. Quite a few ago, it was a great place to work..

    Cons

    Short sighted management - which started long before the cuts started happening is bringing a once excellent company to its knees. Morale is at extremely low levels. Short term cost savings in critical areas whilst squandering resource in non critical areas. Continual reorganisations at ever increasing frequencies. Cutting of staff beyond functional levels mean internal processes are falling over. Failing infrastructure and facilities, and dysfunctional/ un-managed/unclear systems and processes combined with insufficient staff have created an environment where it is extremely difficult for remaining staff to carry out their roles. Infighting between and within groups and "toxic" environments becoming more common.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior management within AZ have for a number of years been attempting to present to the world a unified image of a company that is “drastically changing its internal processes and structures to create a very new and different AZ.” The reality within AZ is very different.

    The new structures (usually described as for example "up and running”/”going live”/”gearing up”/etc) are usually a twinkle in some managers eye, whilst precious little is actually happening on the ground. The leadership capabilities (that we have told the stock market it is our priority to recruit and nurture) thus far have come to very little. In our area, one new manager (I can’t remember whether he joined us with “devastating insight”/”remarkable intutition”/”choose your own random glib expression”) simply answers every question put to him with – “Well tell me what you think”. This was novel when first heard; many months on that same expression used ad infinitum is illustrative that AZ is still employing/positioning managers that are uncomfortable making decisions and taking a lead.

    AZ has for several years now been running on short-sightedness in the extreme. You can con the market analysts for a short period of time by painting pictures. In the long term, the company needs to deliver products based on good science. An organisation that exists only on the power point slides of senior and middle managers is not capable of doing this. And when this doesn’t happen – which it won’t whilst AZ is more focused on the stock market than on its core business – the bubble will burst. If you think that has already happened at AZ, think again. It can fall a lot further and internally the company is creaking at the seams.

    AZ desperately needs leaders: It needs leaders who understand science. It needs leaders who are going to preserve the future of the business by looking at the long term and the bigger picture. It needs leaders who value their staff, who support their staff, and who have the courage to put themselves on the line for their staff because they understand the work that is being done and they believe in the value of it.

    What AZ desperately doesn’t need if it wants to return to good science is a continual series of reorganisations, fashionable acronyms, buzzword projects and gut-wrenchingly idiotic phrases (Inspire to Innovate??). What it also doesn’t need, if it is going to survive the decade is another CEO, (or board members) who receive extremely large financial rewards irrespective of whether the company performs well or badly under their leadership. What is an utter tragedy is just how many people's futures disappeared to fund the last under-performing CEO's pay-off?

    And at the risk of being crude, the other thing AZ could really do with “rightsizing” is the significant number of “parrot managers” who simply repeat the latest corporate mantras – Passion for Customers, Courageous Leadership, blah blah blah. This is not the voice of leadership. It is the noise that sheep make when they are in a field together.

    In my experience across several varying departments, cuts have gone so deep within AZ that critical jobs are now unfilled. By critical, I mean that those jobs constitute an essential link in a chain, without which a process or system will fail. IT services have been victim to short term cost savings without senior AZ managers being prepared to stick their head above the parapet and fight for the reliable IT infrastructure and support that are critical to a research and development organisation. Huge numbers of man years are being wasted as staff do battle with email systems that are constantly falling over, IT infrastructure that is completely inflexible and inappropriate for people needing to work with novel and experimental software, call centres in India who have no grasp of the problems. The situation is similar with Facilities Management: key staff who understood the site and the facilities have been replaced by generic/on-call engineering staff who do not have the detailed/expert knowledge to support the kind of specialist processes at the sites (or to work safely around the hazards) The result? Staff who have studied to postgraduate level and beyond, whilst being paid salaries to reflect that, are devoting significant percentages of their time in work trying to make arrangements to get a burst pipe repaired, or gain security access to a building where there is a fault with the door (again), or get the toilets fixed (again).

    And what about the scientific and clinical expertise? AZ has been haemorrhaging talent for the last couple of years. Newly installed managers, with no knowledge of current staff abilities and limited understanding of their own roles, are understandably failing to recognise key staff and hence stem the loss of the talent that will be critical for the company to survive in the future. Now recreate that mix of management inexperience and lack of individual staff awareness and marry it up to a large scale paper-based redundancy program, (managed by external HR contractors for who it is irrelevant whether AZ survives or not). You get the same problem but at a significantly greater order of magnitude......and the long term consequences present a vastly greater hurdle. If AZ were to find itself sitting on the world’s greatest blockbuster tomorrow, where would the talent come from to develop and get it to market before the competition?

    There is a continuous drive from AZ management for leadership at all levels of staff from bottom up. It is time for the people at the top who have been pushing this philosophy to start walking the walk and demonstrating what's expected on this. Leadership is a top down process – instead of telling AZ staff what to do, it’s time to show them.

    Can AZ make a comeback? At this moment I think its poised on the brink, however I also think there is still a chance it can be turned around - BUT (and it's a big "but") it needs someone at the wheel to make that happen...... rather than the ships officers asking the crew to collectively steer the boat.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Bad to worse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Alderley Edge, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Alderley Edge, England (UK)

    I worked at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Loved most of the people i worked with

    Cons

    No Development opportunities
    No training
    No performance management - no recognition
    People not valued (any more)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Value and develop your people. Get rid of Poor performers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fantastic sales team, management needs improving.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - AREA SALES MANAGER in Birmingham, England (UK)
    Former Employee - AREA SALES MANAGER in Birmingham, England (UK)

    I worked at AstraZeneca full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good benefits, flexible package.

    Cons

    Politics, culture of bullying from some old school style managers. Difficult to get ahead if you don't fit the mould.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Upheaval due to move to Cambridge

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Macclesfield, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Macclesfield, England (UK)

    I have been working at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good remuneration. Interesting work. Flexible working environment. Some really skilled and motivated colleagues, genuine enthusiasm.

    Cons

    Upheaval due to move to Cambridge location. Downside of flexible working culture is the rise of the 9-to-5-ers now the site will close in 3 years time. Workforce tends to be cliquey which affects career development. There will be substantial new recruitment for the move, so it remains unclear what the future culture will be like.
    Shareholder influence may force the Pfizer issue if (when?) it comes up again this would be the end of AZ.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think more about career prospectives. Do something about nepotism and cliques.
    Resolve the move asap per department, don't let it drag on for three years like planned.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    AZ IT - not always a happy place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Architect in Macclesfield, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Architect in Macclesfield, England (UK)

    I have been working at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    AZ IT can be very well paid with great benefits.

    Cons

    Constant reorganisations, almost one every year, likely to have to apply for your own job at least every 2 years. Low engagement from management.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    middling

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Production Manager in Macclesfield, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Production Manager in Macclesfield, England (UK)

    I have been working at AstraZeneca full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    benefits and salary are average for this sector.

    Cons

    food in canteens is more expensive than most restaurants, too many voices involved in decision making which seems to take forever. very arrogant senior management. training is non existant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop treating az as your own personal gravy train. stop the constant turnover of staff and concentrate on simplifying things, not just talking about it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    AstraZeneca Finance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AstraZeneca full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good Work/life balance and generally friendly, helpful employees attitude

    Cons

    Disappointing in regards to motivation, job & training opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Lead on example

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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