Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  www.gatesfoundation.org
  www.gatesfoundation.org
There are newer employer reviews for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

5 people found this helpful  

It's better than you've heard

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

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

Pros

Working at the Gates Foundation provides an opportunity to be on the leading edge of work in your field with very smart colleagues, generous salary / benefits, and immense resources. People are, by and large, there because they're passionate about what they're doing. The Foundation is working very consciously to improve both their external and internal reputation. The connections you make while working there will take your career in amazing directions.

Cons

Seattle culture infiltrates the Foundation. There's a lot of talking and there can be annoying turf issues. Expensive outside consultants are used too often and consultant-speak unintelligible to normal humans is ubiquitous (e.g. "boil the ocean", "surface learnings", "convening"). It is a family foundation, too, which means that an extraordinary amount of energy and time are devoted to getting and keeping the "co-chairs" engaged in your work. If they don't get or agree with the direction of where you're going, it doesn't happen. There is a definite bias toward technology solutions, even where they aren't appropriate. And it is easily the most narcissistic place I have ever worked. "Tell us more about us! Tell us how bad we are! We want your open and honest feedback!" My biggest frustration is the lack of internal mentors or conscious career development. That and "the matrix"-- which alludes to the number of people you need to involve in anything you do. It's been humbling. Know that it is not a "dream job".

The best way to get there is to be great at what you do in your field. I ignore anyone who hits me up on LinkedIn because they've "always wanted to work at the Foundation!". That starts happening a lot once you begin working there.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Invest in a formal alumni network. Focus on career development, knowing that you are building a powerful force for change even beyond your employees' tenure at the Foundation. (Career development is not the same thing as professional development.)

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

116 Other Employee Reviews for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great professional experience, but the Gates Foundation is often a "use or be used" work environment.

    • 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 as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    The Gates Foundation offers the opportunity to work on a wide variety of challenging problems and collaborate with subject matter experts at the top of their game. Good work-life balance if you are willing to push back a bit on the constant demands.

    Cons

    Too much reliance on contractors, so the programmatic teams are regularly losing institutional knowledge and needing to constantly train new temporary employees. Additionally, with the high-pressure, fast-paced environment of the Gates Foundation it is easy to lose work-life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rather than relying so heavily on contractors, consider a floating pool of FTE professionals that can fill gaps as needed. No need to waste time and resources on constantly training new contractors.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    In a word, disappointing.

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

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

    Pros

    Great mission, benefits, and name to add to your resume.

    Cons

    Contrary to the mission the Foundation doesn’t value people, employee retention, or people management skills in their work force. The craze of competition and murky political waters penetrates even the simplest of tasks and is exhausting even for the most game. The entire foundation lacks heart, caring, and compassion. Intelligence without passion and common sense makes for a giant think tank that isn’t connected to the the people the Foundation aims to serve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Involve the communities that the Foundation aims to help more directly and hire people who actually have passion and experience (including people management skills for position with direct reports).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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