Chemonics International
3.2 of 5 74 reviews
www.chemonics.com Washington, DC 1000 to 5000 Employees

Chemonics International Reviews

Updated Mar 30, 2014
Chemonics International – US – “Meeting room”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.2 74 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

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Susanna Mudge

(17 ratings)

65% of employees recommend this company to a friend
74 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Lots of opportunities for learning-on-your feet and taking on new tasks"
    in 7 reviews
  • "Chemonics has very clear, standardized systems for both proposal development and project management"
    in 11 reviews
Cons:
  • "The senior leadership does not care about work/life balance, they will work you until you break"
    in 14 reviews
  • "You can work hard and long hours but that alone doesn't give you a chance to be promoted"
    in 10 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

  • Culture & Values
         
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  • No Opinion of CEO

 

Communications Director

Director, Project Planning and Monitoring (Former Employee)

I worked at Chemonics International as a contractor for less than a year

ProsImportant project, good colleagues, good pay and benefits.

ConsNothing negative to contribute. It was a good project.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Manager

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Chemonics International full-time for more than 5 years

ProsGreat place to start a career in international development. The company offers a lot of training and has good systems in place for effective project management.

ConsThey need to refine their new business strategy to be a bit more selective.

Advice to Senior ManagementTry to retain your talented employees.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Mission driven organization, poor work/life balance.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Chemonics International

ProsMission driven organization full of smart people, interesting projects to work on.

ConsThere's an expectation that staff will come in early and stay late, every day, and that you will take on significant extra responsibility without additional compensation. Poor work/life balance as a result.

Advice to Senior ManagementTake some time to learn the skills and interests of the people under you and make sure that you're fostering their potential, not just extracting their usable skills.

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great place to start your career in international development

Manager (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at Chemonics International full-time for more than 5 years

ProsLots of opportunities in project management, proposal development short- and long-term field assignments for people at all levels. If you demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of project management and new business, you will have endless opportunities to take on challenging work. Smart, interesting colleagues with good intentions.

ConsWorkload can be overwhelming at times. The fact that Chemonics tries to do everything and be everywhere can be frustrating if you want to specialize in a specific technical area (since you will often be pulled in various directions). Senior management is mostly home-grown, they could use an injection of fresh perspective from someone who hasn't been with the company for as long and has worked at other organizations to see how they do business.

My biggest frustration is that we don't have a deep bench of technical experts. We have a few who are absolutely stellar (and some in the field, which is great) but it would be good if we could retain more in the home office.

Advice to Senior ManagementPlease hire and retain more technical experts, esp. in global health, food security, and agriculture.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Productive and challenging

Director (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at Chemonics International full-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe company has strong systems in place that facilitates the management of projects and the procuring of new business.

ConsIts focus is more oriented to a generalist approach pushing to get technical expertise from outside.

Advice to Senior ManagementIncorporate more talent mamanagement strategies

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Amazing people, hard work, personally rewarding

Manager (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at Chemonics International full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe people at Chemonics are amazing - some of them are my close friends, and most of them are smart, talented, dedicated to development, and extremely hard-working. Everyone at Chemonics is there because of a commitment to development, and I think you can tell that as soon as you start talking to any of us. Chemonics has very clear, standardized systems for both proposal development and project management. These don't feel bureaucratic to me - they just provide clear guidance and help everyone understand how to do complicated and/or new tasks. Between these systems and the many excellent internal trainings, working at Chemonics is great preparation for doing pretty much any kind of proposal or project management work in development. The work is fast-paced and there are a lot of opportunities for lateral movements and to take on new/different work, as long as you're willing to work for and go after them. People respect each other on the basis of the quality of their work, not necessarily on the basis of seniority or hierarchy - which can be both good and bad.

ConsThe project management workload can be pretty intense, and the expectations for how much you'll take on aren't always reasonable. There's a fair amount of opportunity to move around and move up at the junior and mid-levels, but there's a ceiling at the senior manager level that's very difficult to break. That means that Chemonics is constantly losing some of its most valuable employees: the senior managers who have extensive experience with Chemonics systems and are eager to learn more and keep working hard, but won't stay at the company indefinitely without a promotion. The executive management can be a bit insular - the main qualification for an executive position tends to be tenure at Chemonics, regardless of actual experience in the development field. They're starting to pay more attention to the importance of strengthening the company's attention to technical/substantive issues, but they still prioritize project management and contractual compliance over allowing people to spend time enjoying the technical side of their projects.

Advice to Senior ManagementDuring difficult times, remember that even if we need to downsize, there are some employees you really want to keep - let them know they're important, and do what you can to make sure you retain the best people.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Fair, you need to stand up for yourself there are a lot of people who will throw you under the bus for their own agenda

Manager (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at Chemonics International full-time for more than a year

ProsIf you want to be in development it is a good stepping stone

ConsLots of opportunity you just need to create your own path and find the people who you can trust

Advice to Senior ManagementListen to all sides of the story from all employees and make decisions based on the entire truth. Do not make knee jerking assumptions

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Steep learning curve, but personally rewarding and amazing colleagues

Manager II (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at Chemonics International full-time for more than 5 years

ProsMy colleagues are some of my best friends and the project/proposal work is rewarding, every day is enjoyable. I have grown as a project manager and proposal developer, and see a growth potential for myself still.

ConsThe hours CAN be long, but it varies from team to team and there is some flexibility to turn down new tasks when you are being given too much. Currently it is difficult to jump from Associate to Manager or from Manager to Director, but during times of growth for the company those opportunities come more quickly.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe careful with change, the restructuring and backtracking on many of the changes made in the past year damaged the executive office's credibility. If lower level staff's opinions had been considered at the time, I don't think many of those changes would have happened.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Great place to start your career; a lot of opportunities to try new things

Operations Manager (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at Chemonics International full-time for more than 3 years

ProsChemonics is a great place if you're starting out in International Development because you can work at one company but have a ton of different jobs/job opportunities--project management, business development, field based work; you can easily move between geographic regions and departments, and from the home office to field office. There are a lot of resources and opportunities available to staff to help build capacity, and in fact Chemonics just created a new department to focus solely on building technical capacity of the company which will open up even more opportunities for staff.

ConsIt's extremely fast paced and the standards can be high; work/life balance is difficult to obtain; Senior management, while moving in the right direction under the new CEO, is still a little bit out of touch with staff. Promotions are extremely competitive, so a some people leave because they do not see opportunities for advancement.

Advice to Senior ManagementContinue the new trend of engaging employees in decision making, and, overall, recognize that your biggest asset is your staff--protect their interests, build their capacity.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Hopefully Chemonics can get back to what it once was.

Manager (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at Chemonics International full-time for more than 5 years

Pros-Staff are generally young, creative, motivated, excited to dive in to development work
-Collaborative environment
-opportunity to travel and see the world.
-Relationships with field staff are ones that I will not forget

ConsWorked for Chemonics well over 5 years and what it was when I started is nothing like it is today...which is sad. I loved what is stood for, the impact it made and the work it did. Now its all about paying off the ESOP loan and standardizing everything to a point people cant think for themselves and can't come up with amazing proposals to save their life because its not on a work instruction.

Environment is so negative and people are annoyed with the executive team (especially SVPs) and it shows in their work and day to day interactions. People only focus on the negative and not acknowledge success or hard work.

People will throw you under the bus in a second to make themselves look good to their SVP because SVPs only care about those who make THEM look good, not the actual work or success of their region.

Some SVPs actively pick favorites and are rude to their employees. It is surprising that they don't want to create a collaborative work environment since Chemonics is designed that way.Feels very high school.

New crop of those employed are older and more qualified than the Entry Level program is designed for. They come in underpaid to start and get annoyed very quickly that people don't appreciate their talents right off the bat. They are inpatient to learn the Chemonics process and project management. This becomes frustrating for managers. This is a mix of a the attitude of 20 somethings in DC lately and Chemonics hiring over qualified people in entry level positions. In one instance my director was younger than me and my associate was my age but more of an education than myself or boss.

Chemonics downsized through attrition, but everyone refers to it as forced attrition. All of the senior talent in the manager and director levels left the company and were replaced with the less qualified people but the executive office was happy because they are cheaper and have less personal demands.

Advice to Senior ManagementIf you want to have cost savings in your company, start with your SVPs. Just because they have been there for 10 to 15 years doesn't mean they can lead a region.

Listen to your staff. The frustration is real and the working environment is unhealthy

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Chemonics International reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Chemonics International CEO Susanna Mudge. All 74 reviews posted anonymously by Chemonics International employees.