Charles Schwab Reviews

Updated March 21, 2015
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129 Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful

    Good place to get experience if you have a high school diploma

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Client Banking Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Client Banking Representative in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Company offers good quality work stability without much differentiation within your work day. Clients for the most part are easy to deal with and love doing business with Schwab. Generally speaking everybody at the company within all the different sectors of the business is friendly and easy to get along with. In addition you get a great benefits package with quarterly bonus's dependent on performance. Needless to say it's not a bad place to start your career.

    Cons

    The first thing one has to realize about Charles Schwab is that they are inherently conservative about how they do business. This is reflective in the conversations you have with clients and the slow pace of growth and innovation that goes along with those conservative values. If you like change and a company that has a genuine thirst for innovating the client experience and staying on top of all the technological trends look elsewhere. I personally worked on the bank and was using about 8-10 different systems when you could easily (if Schwab was willing to invest in their IT infrastructure) about 1-3.

    Secondly, realize if you work in the Bank you are working as a customer service representative in a call center. Don't let them fool you when you originally apply for the position. Every minute you are on the job you are being monitored whether that be the sneeze you make on the phone to the mouse-click you produce when servicing a clients account. Management will pull the call and know exactly what you did or said wrong!

    You will be taking anywhere between 60-100 inbound calls a day. During tax-season and high call volumes you will barely have enough time to take a breath between calls. This can very taking and exhausting with little sympathy from upper-management for the effort you and your team are putting in to get past the high alert levels.

    The bank reps I worked with were very nice but in a team of 16 individuals I would bet to say maybe 5 of us had college degrees. The remainder had only high-school diplomas and a number of them had, had numerous years of experience in call centers.

    As for the most disappointing aspect at Schwab which is there management and management structure. My manager in particular made my shortly lived stint at Schwab a nightmare to live through on a daily basis. More pre-occupied with serving themselves and the 3-5 pets on the team than having a general can-to attitude about the teams performance. I don't think I ever heard my manager sing praises to our team or thanking us after a day in high call alerts. It was presumed we had gotten through without any problem. Fat Chance

    And on top of that we migrated to a new system that was supposed to be easier which in fact it was... but we only received 1 hour of training out of the 4 we were promised than threw us into the deep end and watched us try to keep our heads above water.

    Beware as Schwab managers as they are micro-managers to the T and will find little mistakes that are more often than not inconsequential to the client experience and make it seem like it will be the death of the firm due to to "compliance" reasons. Management says they will assist you in anyway shape or form to advance your career and get you through a tough situation. I can't count the number of times I had an escalation with a client and had my manager just rolled their eyes as the prospect of having to pick up the phone and do their job. It was easier for them to say "check the procedure" than to take 2min to assist you. My manager in particular was never available and always busy..apparently so busy that they couldn't say good morning or good bye to you as as you entered and left the office. Plus my manager was inconsistent with their behavior and management styles amongst different employees. In case Schwab didn't realize these things go noticed by other "lesser"employees.

    Overall the job was very mundane, I called it Groundhog day for a reason. Your day is way too structured and to boot management was completely disconnected with the employees they were supposed to manage. Schwab has some bright people working for them but somehow don't use their best assets to their advantage. Maybe move employees that show interest in other fields of finance into a better job where they can shine. From what I could see around me many colleagues got their series 7/63 but somehow were glued to the bank for a further 6-12months after passing their exams. How does this happens?

    To say it in as few words as possible either you drink the kool-aide or you don't. I would also suggest not applying unless your ok with sticking to rules and regulations that are their for audit purposes. I don't mean to rant too much (which I certainly have) but let this review be a fair warning to all those that are applying for a position on the bank. With 20/20 hindsight I would have made the decision to either go straight to brokerage or just stayed away from this company completely. Clients may "own their future" as per the TV commercials but you as a hard working representative certainly do not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As much as you place emphasis on the client experience and going above and beyond for the client do the same for your employees. Don't nit-pick and assign labels to employees that are doing an overall great job and yet never get recognized for the hard work they are doing. Stop micro-managing and walking around like it's the best place to work even though many long term Schwab employees seem miserable.

    Doesn't seem like there is much room to advance and you have to be a absolute all-star employee to see any forward movement in your career. Even though they promise you the moon during training. Hire managers that care and take the time to assist and not hinder those they are supposed to manage.

    Add work diversity and be thankful that your employees are putting their best foot forwards everyday instead of shooting them down and making them second-guess themselves while on the job. Be appreciative of your workforce and create actual pay incentives that make people want to work harder and achieve their goals in life. It's not all about the client after all. I don't think Chuck would be very impressed if he knew how some of these middle-managers treated their teams.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. Great Group of People to work for

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

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Management makes you feel like a valuable asset to the company, not just a number. Great benefits and paid time off.

    Cons

    Call center environment. Small bank with limited ability for growth at this time.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    Retirement Plan Services

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Retirement Plan Services Associate in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Retirement Plan Services Associate in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    This department has a knack for hiring friendly and competent employees at the entry level.
    Company is very ethical to participants. Reps are encouraged to position Schwab products when appropriate. This means you won't lose sleep at night over selling people on stuff they don't need. Lateral promotions are very common.

    Cons

    Managers' responsibilities are passed along to reps with no additional pay increases.
    Maximum annual bonus never exceeds 3K and is easily lost if reps are even a fractional percent away from goal.
    Getting licensed or promoted to "proficient" status does not include a pay raise.
    Department is relatively unknown to the greater organization.
    Company is so focused on running fiscally lean that annual reviews don't keep up with inflation.
    Understaffing is a significant issue and often leads to call volume spikes and little-to-no vacation time
    Attendance policy is very strict. Time-off is difficult to schedule due to understaffing and reps cannot have more than two unscheduled absences, sick time, or late-arrivals within a 90-day rolling period or they will be written up.
    Management is very top-down There is little to no room for any recommendations to improve productivity. A request for more effective/efficient resources is often answered by management with a solution that involves more tedious responsibilities of reps.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in technology and the well-being of your representatives. This department is a revolving door because pay-raises are practically non-existent, bonuses are small, new assets under management does not reflect in reps' bottom-line, management does very little to streamline processes and technology necessary to aid reps in day-to-day activities.

    Also, pass of some of the profit from the converted retail leads to Retirement Plan Services reps. These reps are the face of Schwab and deserve some of the commissions/revenue that they generate.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Good company values, but just "okay" collegues

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

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

    Pros

    -Company has a strong moral compass. You can sleep well at night
    -Very good relationship with employees. Seldom do you see layoffs, division removals, etc..
    -Clients like doing business with the company (for the most part - see below)
    -If you are smart and work hard, easy to move up quicker than other companies

    Cons

    -Technology is very dated. Most employees still run Office 2003 and Windows XP, along with mainframe applications
    -Employees tend to be older and have little ambition. This creates a workforce of people who are not good at innovating and are averse to change
    -Client-facing technology is also dated, and this makes it hard for clients to do business with Schwab. This also creates many client escalations and stress-points
    -Pay and bonuses are lower than other broker/dealers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move your stale, non-innovative employees out of the company. Shift away from mainframe and get the company into the 21st century. Stop telling everyone you are a "Challenger Brand" when you hardly ever innovate on anything important. It's annoying and no employees believe in it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Bullying in Corp America

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bus Ops in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Bus Ops in Phoenix, AZ

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

    Pros

    You get paid to get abused

    Cons

    You get micro-management not only on a daily basis but every hour on the hour, talk about favoritism, you could be gone for 6 weeks or longer and get a nice bonus for not doing your work as others did it for you. Middle management is only there to look out for them selves and not you. Currently you see a lot of headlines about Paula Dean, well what goes on inside of Schwab is far worse then that. I know first hand and have witnessed managers intentionally disrespect other religions like Muslims, Jewish as well as atheist and what is sad HR direct does nothing to protect these people they only protect managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    mid managers must go too many bigots

  7. Registered Rep is a good entry level opportunity.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Registered Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Registered Representative in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Charles Schwab full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Good company, good benefits, good entry level position for someone looking to get in investments or to become a financial advisor.

    Cons

    Pay is not very good, at least as a registered representative. Some questionable management/supervisor selections.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. Great place to start a career in financial industry!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Registered Representative I in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Registered Representative I in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    If you lack experience company is a great place to launch your career. They provide a great learning experience and provide you with the tools needed to succeed. Company's culture is great, lots of chances to move laterally if you get bored with any one position.

    Cons

    Pay is poor compared to rest of the industry. Good place to start your career, and move on. Although a meritocracy, it takes too long to advance and very few jobs actually come w/ much of a pay increase.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase salaries, or at least bonuses!

    Recommends
  9. How AWESOME is this Company!!!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cost Basis Ops in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Cost Basis Ops in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Pork, lovers smorgasbord, who needs beef when your managers buy you breakfast and lunch which consist of Hawaiian, sausage and mushroom pizza’s, Ham subs… breakfast burritos with bacon and eggs or eggs with sausage or ham.

    Cons

    None Schwab feeds you 3 days straight!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep feeding us!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. Fairly typical financial institution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Associate in Phoenix, AZ

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

    Pros

    Benefits in line with industry norms. Conservatively run, but stable company to work for.

    Cons

    The atmosphere is quite political, you're not really allowed to have an opinion on anything. A healthy questioning of authority figures and their decisions is certainly not tolerated.

    They don't like to promote people if they can avoid doing so, but if you do intend to advance, you will need to know the manager. It's an extremely nepotistic environment. As I mentioned, the company is managed conservatively, so don't expect an above average starting salary, or a massive raise every year.

    The company does not require a pre-employment drug screening of job applicants. For this reason, not all of your co-workers will be consummate professionals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start paying market rates, and start drug screening new applicants. If you pay peanuts, you'll get monkeys. It's not difficult.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful

    Dissapointing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Broker in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Broker in Phoenix, AZ

    I have been working at Charles Schwab full-time

    Pros

    Entry level training. In the first year you work at Schwab you will go through 2-3 months of training depending on what time of year you start. Most significantly you will get a full month to study for your brokerage licenses. If you have no experience in the financial industry this is a great way to get your feet wet.

    Cons

    Entry level is the only thing Schwab is good for. They hire young 20 somethings and pay them to get their licenses and then work them till they quit. Overall salaries are pretty weak. If you are anything except a recent college grad they will be low balling you. God forbid you have a family to support, after the take 30% of your pay for insurance and retirement benefits you are going to be bringing home $2,000 a month as a broker. Management makes a big deal about the "opportunities" for growth and advancement, but in reality it is just going to another phone department and doing your same job for a negligibly higher salary. Actual career advancement occurs in two possible ways, either you go to a branch and try your hand as a financial consultant (don't let the name fool you, this is a sales position and has almost nothing to do with advising or consulting with clients), or you can become a team manager. Both of these take upwards of five years to achieve. After your first real promotion is when prospects start to look really hairy. Schwab is a pretty flat organization (only 6 managers between me and the CEO) but that means that each successive level of responsibility is drastically smaller than the last. Several hundred phone reps are competing for 2 dozen or so manager jobs, who in turn are competing for 4-5 director positions. To make it even harder Schwab has a ridiculous habit of hiring upper-level managers from outside of the company. Of the 5 directors in my section only one of them started their career at Schwab, and most have only been there for a few years. When I look at my management chain I literally have to go all the way to Walt Bettinger before I find a boss that has been with the company for more than 7 years. This is really disheartening to a lower level employee, considering that I do not see a single upper level manager that started in my shoes and made it to where they are now.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote from within. When half the FC's are from Edward Jones, and all the operations center managers are poached from Vanguard, how are your employees supposed to maintain their drive and ambition? You will reduce turnover and develop real leaders.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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