Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

www.gatesfoundation.org
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated July 1, 2015
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3.2
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Approve of CEO
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Susan Desmond-Hellmann
10 Ratings

Pros
  • Great benefits and retirement package (in 18 reviews)

  • New campus is beautiful and gives an appearance of transparency (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • The amazing work-life balance others report is solely dependent upon the team you land in and the manager you have (in 12 reviews)

  • There isn't a clear program structure for summer interns to get full-time jobs at the Foundation (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

122 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Innovative Environment

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    impactful and challenging work, strong community of intelligent colleagues, good work life balance

    Cons

    overly consensus driven - lack of decision making, frustrating processes

    Advice to Management

    Invest in developing your employees, think more thoughtfully of the interactions with strategic partners


  2. Helpful (1)

    Great benefits

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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

    Pros

    Awesome mission and really cool opportunities to see famous speakers. Awesome campus. Really good pay and great benefits (free health care, 6 months maternity/paternity leave, 15% employer contribution to 401K. New CEO and management is great.

    Cons

    Very analytical. Need more coordinators & partnership experts. Work to simply processes is underway and needed.

    Advice to Management

    Really like the new direction - continue to reduce the operational complexity!


  3. Gates Foundation

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

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

    Pros

    Mission of the foundation is easy to get behind - all lives have equal value. Work with good people. Health clinic on site, focus on sustainability

    Cons

    No direct bus routes
    decision making either drawn out or not thought thoroughly through
    may involve a lot of travel for certain positions


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Programmatic role

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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

    Pros

    Strong benefits (12 weeks maternity/paternity leave + ability to add vacation, low co-pay, wide coverage); compensation is average and uneven but decent enough; nice campus; many learning opportunities and ability to be creative and risk-taking about solving big problems; great colleagues; options to work remotely with flexible hours

    Cons

    Meeting heavy; poor management (indecisive, churning around ideas without concrete actions; bullying behavior goes unaddressed); little investment in staff and little career growth with some teams having an outright "no promotions" policy; little value for institutional knowledge but without strong IT-related knowledge management systems so a lot of information walks out the door when staff/consultants leave; constant focus on strategy refreshes/reviews which pull staff from primary work; unsupportive HR (or rather HR is clearly there to protect the company rather than the staff); at the moment, there has been a crack-down on hiring consultants--that combined with a lean staffing model and too few junior staff, burn out is high and quality is going down as employees are stretched beyond capacity and can't devote enought time to any one thing; highly stressful environment; great values on paper but they don't translate toward staff

    Advice to Management

    Value your staff and create career growth opportunities. Invest in knowledge management systems.


  6. Helpful (4)

    Prepare for bureaucracy if you work here.

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    Benefits package is outstanding.
    Some genuinely nice people.
    The belief that what you are doing is truly helping to save the world.
    Beautiful offices and landscaping.
    Onsite fitness gym and food (food is not free).

    Cons

    Continual hiring of individuals only for their field/specialty talent results in individuals in key roles who have no experience or interest with people management, career development, technology, or communication skills beyond the grantees.

    The framework (of how teams report upwards) and executive leadership continues to operate in a clunky old-boys club fashion. Considering how dismal morale is across the entire company, I and many others believe that change is currently underway; however, the change is being done in such a mean, rapid, and secretive state that many current employees such as myself are meant to feel like pawns.

    The family feeling that once existed as vanished and there is no hope of it coming back. Bill and Melinda have not been present.

    Advice to Management

    Realize that overhauling this company can be done nicely, with dignity and respect for everyone involved.

    If all lives have equal value, then what about all lives deserve the truth.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Great people, great mission

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Smart people
    Interesting work
    Travel opportunities
    Grantee interactions
    Supportive team

    Cons

    hard to get in the work in 40 hours
    middle management needs help

    Advice to Management

    Boost career options, tier positions (add a senior PC)


  8. Helpful (8)

    Highly political, toxic and challenging environment. High degree of burnout

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - SPO in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - SPO in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits and prestige
    Talented and hard-working employees

    Cons

    -- Highly political and toxic environment which causes burnout.
    -- Internal politics prevent their talented employees from maximizing the impacts of their work externally.
    -- Wasted too much time in navel gazing, popularity contest and internal processes - it's a shame because there's so much unrealized potential.
    -- Poor middle management - most middle managers are more concerned about managing up and politics than developing their staff.
    -- The foundation is in the process of major staff downsizing but is unable to prioritize its ambitious scope of work. With ever expanding amount of work and dwindling workforce, the high level of burn-out is not going to get any better. Do not expect work-life balance.
    -- When I saw my primary care physician for my annual check-up, she asked me where I worked. When I told her I worked for the Gates Foundation, her response was "uh huh...tough place to work. I have lots of patients working there. You better take care of yourself..." The foundation seems to have established a reputation for high burnout and prevalent use of anti-depressant.
    -- Tools and systems are surprisingly inadequate and ineffective considering the amount of resources it has. To develop any sort of analysis, it requires significant time suck and manual work required by employees, and the results are usually suboptimal.


  9. Helpful (3)

    no promotions on some teams

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Program Officer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Associate Program Officer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    career advancement, and pay is generous when compared externally

    Cons

    pay and responsibilities for the APO job range exorbitantly.

    Advice to Management

    get your leadership act together and if you want to provide career opportunities for young people, don't let certain directors declare a "no promotions" policy. Program business partners in HR are not working for the staff, they're only working for the directors.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Stay FAR, FAR way from here

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

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

    Pros

    Everyone talks about how "smart" people are here, but having worked in numerous companies in the greater Seattle area, I can tell you they are no "smarter" than anyone else..especially in IT and HR!! If "arrogance" translates to "Smart"...then I guess each one is a genius! NO PROS other than a nice campus in a horrid location, some nice coworkers

    Cons

    Middle management absolutely SUCKS at BMGF!! I've never seen such poor decisions, such inability to get RID of troublemakers and poor performers, and such spin and drama around absolutely everything. The bottom line is that this company doesn't have to worry ABOUT the bottom line, so people just MILK Mr. Gates to death and he doesn't have a clue as to how poorly his foundation is managed. LOTS of spoiled little brats running around, doing NOTHING...especially in HR!! ...worst HR team I have ever seen. I'd fire 90% of them.

    Advice to Management

    Read the cons...kinda clear. You are CLUELESS


  11. Helpful (4)

    Mixed

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Pros

    Good compensation and benefits for non-profit

    Cons

    Work life balance does not exist



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