European Commission Reviews

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
101 Reviews

3.7
101 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso
José Manuel Durão Barroso
21 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • the pay is good, the work-life balance is definitely positive, and there is a pretty good esprit de corps (in 10 reviews)

  • Good working environment, working in confortable context (in 15 reviews)


Cons
  • Hierarchical structure that slows down all decision making (in 3 reviews)

  • In the end I was glad the private sector would have me back (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Interesting place to work

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

    I worked at European Commission full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great international experience and possibility to meet a lot of interesting people from different cultures.

    Cons

    It is bureaucracy and career possibilities are very limited.

  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Average experience

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at European Commission full-time

    Pros

    Lots of smart people and opportunities for growth depending on the unit/DG you are in.

    Cons

    Horrific, stifling bureaucracy. The worst management I have ever seen. If you have a good idea it will likely get stuck in layers of bureaucracy and eventually be killed. This is by far the most annoying thing about the place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow good ideas to flourish

  3.  

    Internship at European Commission

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

    I worked at European Commission part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Very good working environment, nice people, interesting work

    Cons

    too bureaucratic, and slow professional development

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5.  

    Stagiaire (intern) over the summer

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at European Commission

    Pros

    Wonderful people and relaxed culture; strong exposure to government work and international relations as it is practiced in the EU (as opposed to the more insular exposure in US government work)

    Cons

    Relaxed culture can be a bit too pervasive (i.e. long lunches, long lulls without much productivity, at times); too much bureaucracy and layers of approval required to get basic things done.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good fellowship, if you survive the administration

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Boston, MA

    I worked at European Commission full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Research independence vis-à-vis your PI
    Decent salary
    Prestigious award (success rate <15%)

    Cons

    the file is a nightmare to fill
    the grant is a nightmare to administrate
    they probably hate trees, given the amount of useless report they ask for

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    avoid contacts

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Interesting work with qualified people, but hard to get in and hard to get on

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

    I worked at European Commission as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Have been working here for a year as a trainee -- loved it!

    - Work: generally very interesting, you work on interesting projects and cooperate with experts in many different countries. Your work makes a real impact.
    - Remuneration and benefits: can be very good depending on your contract type. As a trainee, not so much.
    - Training: especially for languages this is good. Budgets are available for contracted agents and there are many opportunities for practice.
    - Colleagues: the diverse background of everyone makes it a very stimulating working environment indeed, and people are generally very smart and like-minded.

    Cons

    - Career progression: very rigid, subject to all kinds of rules and tests that do not really adequately assess your suitability for the job. Also extremely politicised.
    - Administration: impedes day-to-day work. Administrative personnel is very powerful and use this to their advantage.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make promotion more merit based, invest in a more responsive and employee-oriented HR. Admin is supposed to support the rest of the staff, not control them!

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work with lots of opportunities to work on interesting research projects

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - SCIENTIFIC OFFICER  in  Ispra (Italy)
    Former Employee - SCIENTIFIC OFFICER in Ispra (Italy)

    I worked at European Commission full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Beautiful location near the lake, great benefits and salary, very interesting and challenging research projects to work on with an open international feeling, good work-life balance.

    Cons

    Limited access to services, limited contract types (usually 3 years max), annoying bureaucracy, heavy security procedures because of nuclear reactors on site.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managers at higher levels should do more efforts to promote collaboration between different research units.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Good to try, but not for long

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Contract Agent II  in  Brussels (Belgium)
    Current Employee - Contract Agent II in Brussels (Belgium)

    I have been working at European Commission full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Multicultural environment, good learning possibilities, language training, and why not mention it, many holidays and exceptional holiday when needed for personal circunstances.

    Cons

    Limited professional development, extremely bureaucratic, thouroughly classist, advanced age ranges, long working hours, lack of efficiency in management coordination, lack of leadership, in despereate need of a profound clean-up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Great colleagues but very inefficient

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Officer  in  Brussels (Belgium)
    Current Employee - Project Officer in Brussels (Belgium)

    I have been working at European Commission full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good atmosphere, good location (Brussels)

    Cons

    Stupid tasks, inefficent processes and very unequal management (in terms of skills and recognition)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clerverly choose your department: the atmosphere and the tasks depend a lot on the people around you

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    A great place for translators, but you quickly run into a wall

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Translator  in  Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
    Former Employee - Translator in Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

    I worked at European Commission full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The work-life balance is excellent and so is the pay. For me as a translator, it was a very interesting professional challenge for the first few years. Lots of opportunities for learning additional languages and taking part in other training, you definitely can learn a lot. The department I worked in generally had good working culture, the atmosphere was very friendly, lot of open-minded people who enjoyed working together and helping eachother - it was probably the best aspect of the job beside the very interesting multicultural environment that's generally present everywhere in the Commission.

    Cons

    When I was working there, the workload was high but manageable, but from what I hear, it's getting worse every year. Also, once you get used to the type of documents to translate, it quickly becomes very repetitive and frustrating for anyone who needs some variety and creativity to function properly. The procedures are rigid and often bureaucratic and you sometimes have to deal with micromanagers who want to have every single detail under control, but can't put together the bigger picture, thus wasting their own and everyone else's time. As far as career mobility is concerned, translators have long had the reputation of the most frustrated caste of all EC employees: the ones who most frequently request mobility and least frequently manage to move somewhere else in the service.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As managers, you are supposed to have a vision for your department/directorate, show genuine motivation for your post and act as a role model. Some of the EC managers are very close to this ideal and thank god for them! But if you're just in it for the money and/or the prestige of a senior role in a department or directorate with no interest in its activities, you're casting a long shadow on everyone else under you who's actually doing the real work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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