Chemonics International Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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3.4
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Susanna Mudge
33 Ratings

Pros
  • Excellent training, professional development opportunities, and opportunities for travel and overseas assignments (in 12 reviews)

  • You can learn great project management skills and there are lots of opportunities to travel (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • Poor work/life balance as a result (in 20 reviews)

  • Long hours; income stream is not diversified so it is subject to fluxes in USAID funding; beginning pay is low (but that changes within a year or two) (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

105 Employee Reviews

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  1. Unlimited opportunity

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

    I have been working at Chemonics International

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

    Pros

    Chemonics is a mission-driven company that works across a diverse range of international development issues including global health, democracy and governance, education and literacy, agriculture, and economic growth. It combines the commitment of an NGO with the organization and tools of the private sector to be very effective and efficient. The company has always emphasized professional growth of employees, and the opportunities are nearly unlimited. There is a robust internal training program, and overseas opportunities are usually offered first to internal employees. Most surprisingly, Chemonics even recruits executives internally, and many joined the firm at the associate level. The CEO sets a great tone for the company and truly cares about employees and the work we do.

    Cons

    Hard work is expected at Chemonics, it's not a place where you can coast. It's not everyday, but you will have to put in extra hours on proposals or on field assignments. In the long run, you really need to be willing and able to do several long-term overseas assignments in developing countries to advance in your career.

    Advice to Management

    With tremendous success, the company is poised to grow a great deal over the next few years, especially in areas like health and education. As we grow and add new people, you need to remember and reward the people who helped get us here. Continue to offer opportunities for promotion and advancement internally, even as we bring in many new people from the outside.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Hardworking creates great potential for growth

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

    I worked at Chemonics International

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    great learning environment, infectious passion, people really believe in work they are doing

    Cons

    long hours, more consideration of work/life balance


  3. Helpful (1)

    Grow professionally while doing good in the world

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

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

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

    Pros

    Chemonics offers the chance to do mission-driven work in a business environment. Opportunities for professional growth, training, and travel are outstanding. The organization is large enough to offer many different paths according to your interests, and really encourages people to push themselves and try new things. Leadership really cares about international development and takes integrity and doing things the right way seriously. A few years ago, the company became 100% owned by the ESOP, so all company profits are distributed to employee retirement accounts. Vacation time is fairly generous, and the health insurance plan is quite good and very inexpensive. Everyone works really hard, but you go home knowing you helped make the world a little bit better.

    Cons

    There's no getting around it, people work really hard which seems to be epidemic in DC. A great deal of the work in headquarters is about complying with US government regulations, so it is highly administrative especially in your first few years. In order to advance to senior level positions you need to be willing to move overseas to developing countries for several years which is a tremendous experience but can be a sacrifice for family and personal life.

    Advice to Management

    The company's culture and values are what makes it special, don't lose that. Remember that it takes everyone throughout the organization, in DC and abroad, regions and support units to keep the company successful and making a difference.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Steep learning curve, but personally rewarding and amazing colleagues

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

    I have been working at Chemonics International full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    My 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.

    Cons

    The 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 Management

    Be 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.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Incredible opportunities and exposure

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC

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

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

    Pros

    Chemonics employs an "everybody does everything" mentality, which I absolutely love (but realize that not everyone thrives in this environment). If you would rather do a few tasks over and over, then Chemonics might not be for you. Since joining, I have become a much better professional writer, budget preparer (including Excel skills), manager, and strategic thinker. I also have had exposure to lots of different technical areas. The company is extremely transparent and has lots of talented individuals. Entry level salaries are relatively low, but high performing employees are promoted quickly and compensated accordingly. Chemonics also provides training stipends for language courses and other professional development opportunities (such as grad school, which I do at night).

    Cons

    Some of the cons flow from the pros. Chemonics is geographically organized. So, if you want to focus on one technical area, you will not be able to focus exclusively on that topic (although the company does try to align your interests with the projects/proposals you work on). New employees are often thrown into challenging roles -- somewhat of a "sink or swim" approach. However, the company does have great training resources and mentors to help you succeed in that role. All employees are expected to contribute to proposal development efforts. As a result, the hours can be long and unpredictable.

    Advice to Management

    Diversify clients to reduce risk/exposure


  7. Helpful (1)

    Great place to work hard and learn a lot.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC

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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The people are smart and dedicated to international development. The projects have tremendous impact and provide countless professional development opportunities for motivated employees. You will learn everything there is to know about bidding on and managing USAID contracts. With the ISO certification, there are clear processes outlined for all core business functions, making learning new things much easier. Also lots of internal training on technical and management topics. Being 100% employee owned means they are not likely to be bought out by another firm, and employees can make money when the company succeeds.

    Cons

    A lot of your experience will depend on your supervisor, though that is true anywhere. To really succeed, you have to be motivated. A sit-and-wait attitude won't get you very far here. If you don't like the business side of development, this isn't the place for you--there is a constant focus on winning new bids, and everyone in the company is expected to contribute.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused on the mission and keep investing in employees.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Chemonics is a great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Chemonics International

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting work, great people, progressive, solid company

    Cons

    there seems to be dissatisfaction with middle management and a lack of communication upwards

    Advice to Management

    be more fair in recognizing support divisions


  9. Helpful (2)

    Best large USAID consulting firm

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director
    Current Employee - Director

    I have been working at Chemonics International

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Of the 6 competitor companies I have worked for or know well Chemonics is the stand out leader. Chemonics recognizes that its employees are its most important resource. A very nice benefit package, the most generous I have seen. It provides solid internal training and a $3000 annual external training/education stipend. There is a clear career path and lots of opportunities to take advantage of lateral moves to new department and promotions. The company has a culture of mutual support and friendliness. Office politics is as low as any I have seen. One major difference with other firms is that Chemonics does not require a set number of billable hours for professional staff. They have a highly refined system for doing anything one needs and will be the first large company in the USAID consulting industry to obtain ISO 9001 certification this year.

    Cons

    There is a lot over overtime needed especially during proposals preparation.

    Advice to Management

    Do more training on time management to help staff reduce workload.


  10. IT support

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

    I worked at Chemonics International

    Pros

    very very nice environment happy people..and helping people

    Cons

    hard to climb up in career


  11. Helpful (1)

    Director

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

    I have been working at Chemonics International

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

    Pros

    Upper management shows an interest in giving their employees all the tools to succeed. The culture is open and fun. Options are available to travel on exciting projects to various places to display your soft skills. A great place to work on international development.

    Cons

    Nothing but great praise for the company. The people are very passionate on all aspects. I have no cons for the company.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the great work going on bringing folks with great minds to the company and providing a great environment to work.



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