Exponent

  www.exponent.com
  www.exponent.com

Exponent Reviews

Updated December 18, 2014
Updated December 18, 2014
58 Reviews
3.3
58 Reviews
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Exponent President, CEO, and Director Paul R. Johnston
Paul R. Johnston
30 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Working on a wide variety of interesting projects (often at the same time) is a huge plus for the right personality (in 5 reviews)

  • It is nice to work with so any smart people (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance very difficult (dare I say impossible) to achieve (in 6 reviews)

  • Nearly all of senior management is divorced or is married to a spouse who has no professional career (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to learn

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

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Opportunity to learn a variety of technical areas while at the same time develop client skills. Great comp combined with uniquely academic setting and ability to set very flexible schedule

    Cons

    Sometimes can feel a bit dry - not a lot of office/group events.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend more time/resources cultivating team spirit among employees.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great learning experience, but a rapid decline in the engineering and technical culture.

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

    I worked at Exponent full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The workplace is very dynamic and initially there is a lot to learn from colleagues. A lot of very smart people around and you get thrown right into work that has impact on the world. Very few places have such a collection of experts mixed in with freshly minted Ph.D.s

    Cons

    Over the last several years, the emphasis has become revenue even at a cost of a good technical product. Attrition on a manager and senior manager level has reached a point at which the institutional knowledge is disappearing and is not being back filled. This is also beginning to lead to a large number of associates leaving. Departures are being hastened by the lack of compensation commensurate with the experience and capabilities. People hired away get promoted much faster than at Exponent.

    There only two types of projects you can and should work on: litigation, and supporting "proactive business" (which is mind numbingly boring lab work). Any other project work is not going to lead to your promotion and growth.

    While a promotion to a manager level is fairly straight forward (and in no way implies ability to actually manage people), chances of being promoted higher at this point in time are very low. If you can bring in the revenue required to go up to a senior manager / principal level, you can form your own company and pay yourself more.

    There used to be a policy that no one should be reporting to someone who is less competent than they are. If that were still the case, there would be much fewer people left working at Exponent. The pride in technical quality of the work has long left the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change starts at the top. Hire outside consultants to review the work quality and management capabilities of the managers, senior managers, and principals, and weed out those that have been promoted well above their level of incompetence. Acknowledge that the growth rate stagnated and change the promotion and compensation structure to match.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Interesting work, brilliant co-workers; not enough growth space

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

    I worked at Exponent full-time

    Pros

    Projects were always interesting. Colleagues are super-talented (and fun to work with).

    Cons

    Not enough growth space for senior engineers and managers. Management team drives near-term return, and paid limited attention to employees' career development and company culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More efforts needed on cultivation of leadership skills and business development skills.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Quarterly Earnings Reports Over Employee Well-Being

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

    I worked at Exponent full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic variety of expertise under one roof at the firm, certainly a unique consultancy in its space. Flexibility to work according to your schedule at or above a certain staff level is a huge plus. The autonomy comes with added responsibility, which enables you to get ahead - if you're comfortable with doing things on your own. Like completely on your own, unless you're fortunate to be aligned with someone who cares about the well-being of you or your family in general. General atmosphere of the offices is one of respect for each other and where you are valued and sought-after for your expertise. Working at Exponent, and on projects that are genuinely interesting to their technical discipline is enough for most people to be motivated to continue working at Exponent.

    Cons

    The company values short-term financial performance and shareholder value far, far above the well-being of its employees. Given it's a publicly traded consulting firm - make no mistake about it - health of the bottom line is far more important than anything else at Exponent. The "culture" is one of a small company having serious issues trying to be run like a big one: senior management are all engineers (most of whom have only ever worked at the firm) who take a very quantitative approach to their 'business strategy" of increasing profitability. This "tone at the top" filters down throughout the organization, as it really is every person for themself to stay relevant from a profitability perspective. As a result, the culture management cultivates leaves employees with two chief impressions: "short-sighted and disappointing." For the prospective employee: know that you are potentially entering an environment in which employee satisfaction, morale, career advancement, and related philosophies on treating employees like people are absolutely insulting to a professional who takes pride in their daily life and work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great going on keeping the stock price high. It's a shame that the financial success comes at the expense of any semblance of a company culture that even pretends to value its employees. Exponent could be a great company if just a few things were done better. Sadly, this will never happen as it won't appease the shareholder community. Short-sighted and disappointing to employees and their families.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Interesting work, not so much the culture

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

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Wide variety of projects, high-profile work, opportunities for cross-practice collaboration. Flexible scheduling. No micromanagement; flat organization.

    Cons

    Upper management focuses on short-term financial gains over long-term strategy and professional development. Very limited investment in R&D (computer software, hardware). Primary focus is on utilization - sink or swim. As a self-starter you can do well here, but with the focus on litigation, work tends to lack technical depth.

    Review process, bonus and bill rate structure has almost zero transparency. Compensation is low relative to other firms in the same line of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more on development of junior staff. Don't ignore technical contributions.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Has potential but doesn't quite deliver

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Co-Workers are great
    Benefits are a nice perk
    Nice offices and working spaces
    Compensation Structure is good

    Cons

    Middle and upper managment are a nightmare
    Not a lot of time off
    Misunderstandings abound

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to trust your employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Pretty cut-and-dry

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

    I have been working at Exponent full-time

    Pros

    Good people to work with.

    Cons

    They are so focused on billing, it breeds an atmosphere of "each man for himself"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on the team-building and comradery.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Interesting place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Technology (IT) Developer in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Information Technology (IT) Developer in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Exponent full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great place if you are a PHD/Higher Education individual that values privacy and individuality

    Cons

    Not a good place for IT.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper level IT Management isolates themselves from lower level, and mid-level management is wishy washy with decision making.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Work hard and see a bunch of different projects in a very short time...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Extremely flexible schedule (except when it's not due to client expectations). Salary at higher levels can be good with a relatively low-level risk. Getting compensated for overtime is nice.

    Cons

    Depending on your manager and the expectations of the client, you may have "surprise" commitments that pop up at the last minute that take over your evening. Salary at the lower levels is below market rate.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Smart people, stagnant culture and benefits- keep up with the Bay Area!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Working on a wide variety of interesting projects (often at the same time) is a huge plus for the right personality. Encouragement to publish and cultivate client relationships, while maintaining a strictly unbiased work product is also great. Great people to work with- smart, vibrant, flexible.

    Cons

    The negatives are almost entirely infrastructure-related. We need a cafeteria that doesn't serve terrible food. Yes, it's cheap. Yes, it's also terrible. Everyone knows it. Gym? Recreation? The ban on stand-desk purchasing was a great indicator of short term money saving for long term loss of talent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The writing is on the wall- how many young and very bright Ph.D.s have we lost to Google, Tesla, Apple, and Lab126 in the past two years? Count them. Adjust salary upwards to at least approach the market rate, and provide quality food and a gym or fitness incentives.

    Employees staying past 7:30pm? Allow them to purchase dinner up to $25. I can't tell you how much more productive I would be if I could stay for dinner...but I can't, so I lose about three hours of work potential every day.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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