Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  www.gatesfoundation.org
  www.gatesfoundation.org

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated October 20, 2014
Updated October 20, 2014
114 Reviews
3.3
114 Reviews
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Susan Desmond-Hellmann
4 Ratings

Review Highlights

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)

  • Support of management for consultants is more than the full time employees (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    I worked in the programmatic side at the foundation for 4 years

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunity for impact, networks, wide range of experiences and the chance to grow and develop as an individual contributor.

    Cons

    Surprisingly risk averse group of people who lack creativity as funders. Raikes has all the right intentions, but does not have the respect he needs to change things at the level of the directors and deputy directors.

    Too many staff that do not share foundation taste for "silver bullets" leads to dysfunction as try to do things not strictly on strategy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go for it Jeff! Be bold. Make change. Retain good talent and don't be shy about getting a team that shares the vision of the co-chairs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Clear Mission, great benefits, improved culture, same issues as other fast paced environments.

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

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

    Pros

    There is a great mission and people believe in the mission. The workplace environment, the benefits, and the support given to employees in order to do their best work is amazing. There is ample opportunity to learn and grow even outside of your specific area of expertise.

    Cons

    Nothing unique. There are some people more difficult to work with than others. There is a perception that "I am so busy" which is self perpetuating and prevents people from being as effective as they can be in the moment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue on the path towards improving the culture of leadership, collaboration, humility, and mindfulness.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Culture not what I'd expected

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Pros

    Beautiful campus, great benefits, exposure to Bill, Melinda and other incredible speakers who come to speak at the campus.

    Cons

    Culture is a bit "cold." They hire VERY smart people but many of those smart people take pay cuts to "save the world" and then feel let down when they realize their job isn't going to save the world, it's just a job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Perhaps a chance for a new start...

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Numerous smart folks, good benefits, nice working environment

    Cons

    Toxic work environment, inept management, disrespect of employees at all levels

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To the co-chairs - please have the courage to hire a Raikes replacement who is compassionate, competent and caring. So many opportunities were missed during Jeff's administration - the best replacement will right the ship and set a new, productive course.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 11 people found this helpful  

    Glad I worked there, thrilled I left

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The name brand with the foundation is great on your CV, the campus and benefits are great, and there are some individuals who truly changed my outlook on the world for the better. There is some innovating going on, I am better prepared to think even more critically and bring a polished level of professionalism where ever I go.

    Cons

    Toxic, difficult work environment, like 1200 crabs in a bucket trying to claw their way into owning something important. The office dynamics and politics are suffocating even for those most game for those issues. People are obsessed with getting in there and then are faced with am overwhelming amount of red tape. The time I was there was a complete slog with amazing bright spots of travel and good people. I can't say I would recommend the place in the least bit, but I guess I am glad I was there. I am mostly just glad it's over.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The re orgs and the bloat...my god. The roots of the cultural problems run so deep I don't think BCG or MicKinsey can you get out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Constant Change

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great new campus environment; some good people in the ranks

    Cons

    Lack of vision and leadership leads to constantly reorganizing the business units and programs. Too much middle management and lots of folks with big ol' egos. Raikes' temper tantrums were mildly entertaining at least.

    There's no work/life balance at this organization- everyone wants to prove they are the hard-charging, A-student, workforce superhero. All of this and what is really being accomplished?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start over.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great mission held back by the culture.

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great mission, and the Gates family is hugely inspirational. Great place to work with a diverse group of people and learn a lot, and be exposed to experiences that can't be found elsewhere. Benefits are great, probably some of the best around.

    Cons

    For a non-profit It's an extremely competitive work environment. The culture encourages narcissism and entitlement, an there's an abundance of nepotism in hiring. Most managers don't know how to manage employees or budgets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start fixing things internally, beginning with the culture. Also, start creating better relationships with grantees. There's a lot of talk about it, but little action.

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

    A very unique environment

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

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

    Pros

    Opportunities to learn every day, exposure to the best and brightest in the staff and the people the Foundation brings in to collaborate, awesome mission, beautiful campus, culture of continuous improvement

    Cons

    On occasion the egos and politics can get to be a bit much. A relatively young organization still working on its internal processes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust the people you hire and be sure to wall the talk

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    toxic culture at a great organization

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a contractor

    Pros

    a fine organization helping people do great work to help the world.
    a beautiful workplace

    Cons

    Echoing what others have mentioned, if you get hired as a contractor in IT don't ever expect to be converted. There are IT staff members who have been with the foundation for multiple years as contractors. Like Microsoft, the Gates Foundation requires contractors to display their "orange badge of shame" at all times. Expect to be treated poorly by entitled full time staff, and of course total exclusion from all company events. Want to use the world class bike to work facilities? Ok, but the locker rooms are FTE-only. You'll even be included from teambuilding events on your own team.

    All those great benefits? You don't get any of them.

    The IT organization is dramatically oversized, a clear waste of money at a foundation that clearly doesn't care about running a tight ship.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Don't be enamored by the mission, the company culture is shameful....

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

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

    Pros

    *Mission
    *Benefits
    *Campus (facility and location)
    *Some great people

    Cons

    *Culture is suffocating, toxic, hostile, arrogant and not supportive
    *People's egos get in the way of getting work done ("I am smarter than you, NO, I am smarter than you")
    *Dysfunctional IT org with a weak CIO and embarrassing leadership team (What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)
    *Money is not a constraint like true non-profit and for-profit companies

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start over and hire strong leaders with some semblence of emotional intelligence.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Motto on ground floor of new building

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