Autodesk Reviews

Updated July 29, 2015
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3.8
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Autodesk President, CEO, and Director Carl Bass
Carl Bass
360 Ratings

Pros
  • Work/Life flexibility is not be confused with work/life balance (in 85 reviews)

  • Also a fair amount of telecommuting / work from home options depending on the group you're in (in 23 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/Life Balance is not as good as it could be (in 14 reviews)

  • Poor job done by senior management to motivate employee base and create real momentum around business changes (in 22 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

611 Employee Reviews

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  1. A well run company

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Autodesk

    Pros

    Autodesk is a well run company with competitive compensation and benefits. They are cognizant of work life balance and try to treat people well. I have been lucky enough to have managers that encourage my professional development.

    Cons

    Autodesk is big enough that bureaucracy can get in the way of progress. It can be frustrating to prioritize tasks and otherwise get things done.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Flexible hours rock

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

    I have been working at Autodesk

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible working hours, respect for design, openness for personal development via trainings, etc.

    Cons

    Career trajectory is not that clear. The size of the company and complex decision mechanisms might make it hard to implement things, have an impact, or have a proper portfolio as a designer over time.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Good company - I miss it

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Excellent people Great technology Cool headquarters Cool gallery on Market street in downtown SF Solid benefits Infrequent travel

    Cons

    Hard to move up People don't leave the company Low-ish pay compared to other Bay Area companies HQ isn't near SV Seniority and tenure rewarded

    Advice to Management

    Promote based on ability, not seniority Hire better salespeople Listen to your employees Move faster to keep up with other tech companies Be more innovative


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  5. Company Review

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Autodesk (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits, great people/managers and good work/life balance. Good possibilities to move around the company for those that want, and a company that invests in sustainability and walks the talk.

    Cons

    None that I can see at this time.


  6. Great Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Architect in Novi, MI
    Current Employee - Software Architect in Novi, MI

    I have been working at Autodesk

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great diversity of things to work on, good sideways and upward mobility and a driven leadership team.

    Cons

    Sometimes too many re-designs so products get delayed by a changing wind. Accountability could be better for both successes and failures. Work/Life balance can be a bit tough due to the global nature of the company. Get used to working in multiple time zones.

    Advice to Management

    Keep driving innovation, but when it comes time to deliver - pick a plan and stick to it.


  7. Helpful (27)

    Realpolitik

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Director in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Director in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Autodesk full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Autodesk is a rich company that benefits from a legacy of market dominance, monopoly power, and accordingly luxurious margins. Even as the company has been forced into increasingly competitive markets, their cash and channel have enabled them to thrive as an acquisition machine. There is a lot of chaotic, frenetic activity that occasionally results in bona fide internal innovation within the product engineering teams. If you are young and just starting your career in software engineering or related disciplines such as product management, product marketing, etc., then Autodesk is a wonderful training ground. And, you'll be handsomely paid while learning. Autodesk often ranks near the top of, "Best Place to Work" type of surveys. This is mainly because it suffers from what Marissa found at Yahoo: a culture of exploiting "work life balance" to the extreme. If you don't mind a work environment where people regularly work 5 hour days and "work from home" whenever they feel like it, then this is the place for you. You can also always find a seat in the supposedly overcrowded 1-Market (SF) location, which is some of the most beautiful corporate real estate you'll ever experience. Finally, if you're pursuing a future as a manager/leader, then Autodesk will give you an intense training in the toughest variant of politics: the politics of passive-aggressive consensus. While most quality leaders tend to avoid or flee this sort of environment, clearly some folks thrive within it. If you can rationalize this within your own value system, then climbing the management ladder in Autodesk will teach you how to equivocate like a pro.

    Cons

    Autodesk's overall culture can best be described as passive-aggressive, conflict-averse, and consensus-driven. Read through the reviews you'll find here or elsewhere and you'll see this theme over and over again. Talk to someone at a senior manager level or higher, and they'll confirm it (unless they're someone who loves that sort of thing; they're usually blind to it). Everywhere has politics, of course. But Autodesk's culture significantly amplifies the internal politics to many times greater than they should be for a company of this size. Example: making a decision which might take 3-5 meetings over the period of 2-3 weeks in even a much larger, more complex company can easily take (no kidding) 15-20 meeting over a period of 6+ months. And even then, the decision or agreement is at least 50% likely to be reneged upon by some passive-aggressive manager who had no intention of cooperating, resulting in a reset of the entire decision process. The politics are most intense within the corporate GnA functions, most notoriously corporate finance and IT. Deep in the recesses of the back of the back office, the politics amongst the heavily bloated middle management and their executives truly defines realpolitik. Coercion, threats, dishonesty, doublespeak, intimidation and deception wrapped in euphemisms and culture programs are the norm. The bottom line is there are a ton of massively overpaid directors who enjoy working 20-25 hour work weeks, living in Marin, and never having to miss one of their kids' midday sports. They've managed to carve out their little feudal fiefdoms, and if you find yourself in any sort of situation which requires their cooperation--or worse their agreement to change anything--then prepare to defend yourself from an onslaught of smarmy politics. While I could provide examples, I'm pretty sure they would come off as exaggerations or hyperbole. All I can say is, Autodesk is a place where the unimaginable happens every day: especially within the realm of politics. Lastly, Autodesk is a place people intentionally try to go to to retire. It is a lifestyle company. Many people don't go there to work hard, they go there for generous benefits, flexible work schedules and generally not to have to think too much. The company has an abnormally high tenure. There are lots of 15-20, even 25+ year lifers who enjoy "untouchable" status which they happily exploit. If you're a manager, you'll end up with at least a few of these folks on your team. All I can say is, good luck. Many of these folks literally have zero experience anywhere else but Autodesk, and they will not even recognize skills, experience or ideas you may have brought in from elsewhere as valid, let alone sometimes better. This matters because Autodesk has an incredibly effective "tissue rejection" culture. You can be there for years, be very successful, and still end up crossing paths with an untouchable lifer and find yourself on the fast track out.

    Advice to Management

    Autodesk would make a great HBR case study in middle-management gone awry. This company could quite literally operate the same, or likely much better, were you to eliminate half of middle management. Even more in the above mentioned bowels of the back office. Listen to the avalanche of feedback you've received over the years on how ridiculous the politics have become at Autodesk. C-Staff have lost touch. I directly experienced, multiple times, when the SVPs would quite clearly describe a strategy, set goals, and even make specific decisions only to walk out of the room and see their VPs and Directors "reinterpret" the prior conversation so as to completely invert it. While C-Staff are very approachable, they don't tend to listen when the feedback about their own leaders' behaviors are uncomfortable or negative. A good place to start your investigation would be finance and IT. Start at the top, and figure out what everyone is really doing, what kind of programs are they spending all their time on, how do those things even remotely relate to the company's goals and strategy. If you're willing to look beyond the narratives, euphemistic storytelling, and Orwellian level of realpolitik, I think you'll be very surprised.


  8. Helpful (4)

    Autodesk is good until you're exposed to the workings of management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    If you're lucky and on the right team you will work with some really smart, inspiring and nice people! They can become like family, which is why some people have stayed at the company for a decade or more. This is a company that will support you if you are a working parent. Great benefits. Some great legacy products and a devoted customer base.

    Cons

    It's disappointing to see such a lack of vision and ability to prioritize and execute in a meaningful way in the management team between the C staff and the line managers - of what is after all a cool company with cool products and technology. The Director and above level at Autodesk tend to prioritize their own security and high salaries and bonuses over the good of the company and the employees. There is a group of cronies in these positions. If you are ever exposed to it, you will be demotivated and de-energized by the unjustified egos, hypocrisy, self serving agenda, and just plain foolishness of Autodesk management.

    Advice to Management

    One team has brought in a Jack Welch style of management coaching - for the line managers and individual contributors! This is not where your problem is. If you want company transformation you need to scrutinize those at the Director level and above - are they really providing tangible value to the company - or are they just doing abstract internal marketing to you and each other, and providing no product value? You have way too many yes people in the VPs and Directors. Not only are they yes people, but they say yes without trying for any deep understanding and so they are making bad decisions, which they then try to cover up.


  9. Helpful (5)

    Very corporate....

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

    I worked at Autodesk full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Talented people Good Benefits and Salary Innovative company

    Cons

    Upper management doesn't really know what is going on in the frontline. Its all about numbers but they don't understand that not everything is created and treated equal. Can make for stressful days.

    Advice to Management

    Have a better understanding of the products your employees are working with.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Great Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Architect in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Architect in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Autodesk full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Innovative company focused on building a better world. People are treated with respect and rewarded for performance.

    Cons

    The transition from a desktop software company to a service based company is going to be difficult. What built Autodesk of the past is not the solution for the future.

    Advice to Management

    Get some new blood in Senior management.


  11. Finally a job with balance, purpose, and kindness

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition in San Francisco, CA

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There are many. Autodesk has wonderful people and is working hard to keep a kind, balanced, open, and interesting environment. The offices are beautiful, the attitudes towards work / life and humane, the pay is good, and the products / customers do really amazing things. As a tech company, we're not slinging "ad words" or some next flash in the pan photo sharing app -- Autodesk technology really impacts the world around you and that's inspiring.

    Cons

    There are few. Like any big company, sometimes projects or ideas can get caught up in tape, bureaucracy. Certain areas are hotter than others and move faster. That said, if you build good relationships and are influential it's not hard to get stuff done. This is a minor "con" for me -- I've worked at a handful of medium to very big companies and have driven more ideas and projects to fruition here than anywhere else.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on keeping on, continue to expand the youth focused benefits to compete with the other tech giants for talent. Convert more contractors -- we want people to stay! Continue to expand marketing of the complete Autodesk story. Not enough people really know who we are and all the cool stuff we do.



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