Chemonics International

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Chemonics International Reviews

Updated Jul 28, 2014
Chemonics International – US – “Meeting room”

Chemonics International – US – “Meeting room”
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.2 89 reviews

96% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

Susanna Mudge

(26 ratings)

70% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Excellent training, professional development opportunities, and opportunities for travel and overseas assignments (in 11 reviews)

  • Lots of opportunities if you are willing to put in the time and balance what is important for you (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is an issue at Chemonics (in 17 reviews)

  • Long hours, low compensation compared to private sector contracting/consulting, D (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights
89 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    Chemonics is the A team

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThere is a lot of opportunities for advancement and gaining professional experience. If you want to try out a new role you can, if you want to do work in the field you can. Chemonics is welling to take a chance on its new employees.

    ConsThere is a lot of change and nothing seems to make sense. It is a easy to get distracted by all the change and get further away from doing the development work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    *Balanced, honest review*

    Project Manager (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsDynamic, high-energy organization
    Nice offices downtown--convenient for Md, Va, and DC residents
    Most people are decent, intelligent, kind, and interesting
    Professional development opportunities (mixed bag though)

    ConsLosing a lot of very good people
    Pay and benefits are dwindling (as stated by another reviewer, the meager 401K match is now gone altogether, and what's covered under the medical plans has changed a lot this year--this was not communicated properly)
    Work/life balance does not exist for most people
    Bidding policy
    Cliques

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop spamming this site with overly gung-ho reviews.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Nothing to do with development work

    Director (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsISO certified, well organized company. Chance for graduates with a few years of desk work to become Chiefs of Party on big USAID projects

    ConsWhat drives Chemonics is no loger mission and values international development needs, but pure profit making for a few folks driving the ship

    Advice to Senior ManagementGo to Wall Street, and let us have back our values. Replace folks in executive management and get rid of all this SVPs!

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

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Incredible opportunities and exposure

    Director (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsChemonics 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).

    ConsSome 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 Senior ManagementDiversify clients to reduce risk/exposure

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to get experience

    Project Manager (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsGreat upward mobility; interesting work; great people; training and continued education opportunities

    ConsLong 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)

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe upward mobility, opportunities, and mentorship are outstanding. I have been very impressed by the ethics department and the overall concern for ethical decision making by upper management for existing projects. The "bid on everything" policy sometimes makes employees feel as though they are not in it for helping people but rather to carry out what USAID deems to be the best way to solve an issue.. Also, the company says it wants be cutting edge and to have good knowledge sharing but IT projects are not properly funded.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    8 people found this helpful  

    Not the Chemonics You Once Were

    Manager (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsWorking with smart, creative people. There are more of them around than you'd think, but they tend to be the quieter ones.

    ConsWorking with hyper-ambitious, uncreative people. Unfortunately, there are more and more of those around. I've seen a shift in how "we" describe our mission: Now, many people in leadership positions are so focused on the bottom line that they seem to have lost the connection to mission, but that mission is the reason many (most?) of us joined the company. At all levels of this company, many people seem to be hyper-focused on their own advancement and self-aggrandizement; frankly, this comes at the expense of quality.

    Unfortunately, we now have quite a few of that type leading the company -- people who reward behavior that self-promotes and seem to have no interest in those who aren't willing to shout their own praises from the rooftops.

    Good managers are nearly impossible to find anymore at Chemonics. Meanwhile, there's very little room for growth or advancement unless your supervisor leaves -- but that person is very likely doing his/her best to grab as much "professional development" opportunity as possible, without much thought to how you might benefit from similar activities ... even when you're being proactive about seeking them out.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOne of Chemonics' stated values is "caring," but you seem to have lost your compass for that one. It's well past time to flip the company back to the time when the mission came before the desire to make a profit. Meanwhile, you're losing your best people at a faster pace than ever, and you don't seem to even notice, although you might -- that hemorrhage is starting to have an the impact on the bottom line.

    Oh, and cancelling the 401(k) match? That was just downright rude.

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

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    This is not good development work!

    Director (Current Employee)

    ProsIf you are into making money for a company that does not reward hard work, lining corporate pockets, and contributing to corporate greed...this is the place for you!

    ConsThis place is full of fear mongering. On a daily basis people are in fear of losing their jobs, in fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, in fear of making a mistake, in fear of USAID, in fear of the boogie monster who could be around any and every corner. A place that once was full of folks who weren't afraid to take risks and be creative in the name of excellent development work, is now full of scared children who keep their heads down in fear of making a mistake or getting noticed. My how far we have fallen.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCreate an environment where people can flourish. Otherwise, we are going to continue to circle the drain!

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    10 people found this helpful  

    Good experience, if you can get past the negative culture

    Associate (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsEntry-level folks get more opportunities in the industry at Chemonics than anywhere else. If you manage to be in the right place at the right time, you can get to a level in 3 years that would take you 8-10 elsewhere -- but the key is being in the right place at the right time. Susi Mudge, when she takes over as CEO in April, may improve the culture a bit, as she seems more concerned with employee well-being and development impact than her predecessor. But she's been dealt a bad hand for 2013 and may not last long: she has at least one EVP looking over her shoulder, ready to make his move.

    Cons"Work-life balance" is a phrase you hear often, and Chemonics has little of it. Associates and managers often work 10-12 hour days. Those hours are not necessarily ridiculous on their face, but when you're paid $45k a year and get no 401k contribution from the company (as will be the case this upcoming year), those hours are excessive. Certain divisions (especially those that EVP Jamey Butcher has been involved with: East Africa and Central/Eastern Europe) have an uber-competitive culture that encourages associates and managers to undermine each other to get ahead. The bonus structure is flawed, with some employees in a record year (2011) getting no bonuses while the CEO's bonus was $4.5 million, with little justification for the distribution.

    Senior management only pays lip service to the importance of the actual development work being done on the ground and take no personal responsibility for strategic mistakes made. Case in point: a major budget shortfall this last year was due to gambles on the part of senior management that did not pay off; the shortfall was blamed on the rest of the staff. The gap between senior executive compensation and associate compensation approaches Wall Street levels, with the CEO having made (with bonuses included) more than 100 times what associates made in 2011.

    The employee stock ownership plan is billed as a retirement plan for employees and a way for everyone to have a stake in the company, but in fact it enabled investors and senior management to "cash out" their investment last year when the company peaked. Due to changing USAID strategy, federal government procurement reform, and a general anti-contractor climate in Washington, I would be surprised if Chemonics ever gets back to its previous level of growth and would be hesitant to assign much value to ESOP shares or depend on getting much out of the program for your retirement.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Sinking Ship!!

    Manager (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsGood opportunities for travel, general camaraderie.

    ConsEverything. Chemonics is a sinking ship, and it is the CEO who steered it right into an iceberg! Chemonics doesn't learn lessons from it's mistakes, and that's the heart of their big issue right now, in terms of business development. The senior leadership does not care about work/life balance, they will work you until you break. They do, however, care about their own bonuses. For instance, the CEO received a $1.8m ca$h bonus last year, and doesn't include stock options, 401k contributions, stock bonuses, etc (all totaled ~$4.5million). And most of the 'working folks' didn't even receive bonuses! The disparity between the project managers and the senior management is out of control. Chemonics is in such financial dispair that they have defaulted on several loan payments, and are "laying off" about 120 people. This is all happening under the guise of "attrition and performance managemnt". Transparency and morale are both at an all time low. This is a sinking ship - jump before it goes all the way down!

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet a clue. Be honest with your employees. Stop giving yourselves abhorrent bonuses. Act like you care!!!

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great place to work hard and learn a lot.

    Director (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsA 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 Senior ManagementStay focused on the mission and keep investing in employees.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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