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Enjoyable place to work, but management competency varies between teams, and not best for graduate salary.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Technical Consultant  in  London, England (UK)
Current Employee - Technical Consultant in London, England (UK)

I have been working at Symbian

Pros

Working atmosphere:
Friendly and relaxed atmosphere (no dress code) where people are hired for their talent and then trusted to do a good job.

Work/life balance:
Flexible working hours and 5 weeks' holiday plus opportunity to buy/sell 5 days' holiday make for a good work-life balance.

Senior management:
Senior management bring a clear direction and positive vision to the company and the company's success is well communicated to employees leading to us feeling proud of what we achieve.

People/fun:
The people are great and we regularly head down the pub for drinks after work because we all enjoy each other's company. There are also team days out and a sports and social club which organises company events.

Office environment:
There is an office redecoration program in place and Symbian doesn't underestimate the importance of a good working enviroment. Free tea, coffee and fruit!

Overall benefits:
Good stakeholder pension with company contribution, healthcare plan, free phone, season ticket loan, childcare vouchers, amongst others.

Cons

Job security:
The main downside at the moment for employees is that we are about to be taken over by Nokia which naturally leads to fears about job security and uncertainty about what sort of work we will be doing in the future. Additionally, Motorola have just pulled out of making Symbian phones so we have recently lost a major client.

Compensation:
The pay for graduates is comparable to that on grad schemes in other industries but within the software industry it is lower than many. I am not confident that the compensation situation is likely to improve in the near future, unless I leave and rejoin which is supposed to be the best way of obtaining a pay rise at Symbian.

Feedback/career development:
I don't believe it is that easy for graduates to progress in their career at Symbian, other than developing a technical specialisation. A few will make it to e.g. tech lead, technical architect or project manager but I believe managers generally have a preconceived idea of who is naturally "the best fit" for such a job, rather than encouraging everyone with some relevant strengths and some weaknesses to develop to the level where they would be able to apply.

Few line managers I have come across have been very interested in providing career development advice or opportunities for their reports to develop the skills they need to progress (or even giving feedback on what they believe those skills are) - for instance, in my department, appraisals are frequently conducted late, or even not at all. Having spoken to people who used to work in my department but left, I know it's not just me who thinks this.

However, having said all that, I'd say my department is worse than most at taking career development seriously, and there are a mentoring scheme and plenty of formal training courses available, an internal job board to see what else is available, and the opportunity to do secondments (though those have dried up a bit at the moment what with the Nokia acquisition), so it's not all bad, but you need to be prepared to take responsibility for your own development.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Consistency between teams (singing from the same hymn sheet):
I think that there are plenty of good improvement schemes happening within Symbian, but with the company growing at the rate it is, more needs to be done to ensure change initiatives are taken seriously across the whole company and rolled out in a consistent way - at the moment it seems to me there is plenty of variation between departments and line managers.

Communication/feedback:
While there are good channels for feedback from employees to senior management (employee satisfaction survey, sounding board) which is acted upon in a top-down way, I would also like to see more of a bottom-up feedback culture where employees can give feedback to and via managers.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

20 Other Employee Reviews for Symbian (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Graduate pay is much too low and rises disrespecfully slowly.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Software Engineer  in  London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Graduate Software Engineer in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Symbian

    Pros

    Symbian is a great company with very talented people. A Software Engineer can make a real impact on people's lives with over 200million devices out there. There is a great graduate scheme with brilliant recruitment process - The best I've ever experinced in any Tech company. There are good benefits in general with 5 weeks paid holiday and a 5% company bonus. Possible to become an expert in a certain area very quickly. Current employees about to become Nokia employees which can only be a good thing. Very relaxed atmosphere. market leaders. need eight more words to fill this box.

    Cons

    Pay within Symbian is very substandard. Graduates salaries do not reflect the technical nature of the jobs they do, with graduates in certain "lesser" teams being promoted before those in better teams where the technical side of the role is substantially harder. (Kernel verses System Test).
    There is no salary negotiations, with the CFO dictating pay rises (or lack thereof considering inflation).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat graduates with more respect in terms of salary and grades P1 to P2 should be considerably higher pay increase.
    LMs should be gunning for promotions for graduates, not scolding them when they ask for a pay rise.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Good Place to Work and Grow. Bad and Old Technology for Operating Systems.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Symbian

    Pros

    There are some stupid managers BUT, if you are lucky enough, you can find some superb manager that will help you grow skill and career wise. And you have a certain degree of "possibility to move around", so you would be likely to change manager and, so, try different ones.

    The company, even if relatively small, is structured as a big one, with all the services and processes that are important to manage correctly (and fairly) people.

    Cons

    There are only very few young managers: this made the company being stuck on their dominance position for too long, and today it's going to sink while other companies are entering the market with fresh, modern, new products.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Innovation should be, sometime, rewrite stuff from scratch: Symbian had ages to do that, but the company always preferred to focus on "binary compatibility".
    With all the people hired, it would have been possible to focus on Binary Compatibility AND start a complete new Operating System.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
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