First Solar

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First Solar Reviews

Updated Jul 22, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

3.2 68 reviews

61% Approve of the CEO

First Solar CEO James A. Hughes

James A. Hughes

(23 ratings)

49% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits, fair salary, wonderful, talented colleagues(in 4 reviews)

  • Fast paced and high tech driven(in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance was a myth, as was the People Matter "core value"(in 3 reviews)

  • The company is no longer nimble in the market place(in 3 reviews)

68 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    In transition; working toward new business model

    Senior Manager (Current Employee) Tempe, AZ

    ProsStrong salary compared to marketplace. Benefits seem to be above average. Lots of challenges as the company is executing on its shift to non-subsidized, international markets. A person can jump in and make an impact. Growth areas in sales/business development/product management.

    ConsBackoffice costs and opportunities tightly controlled. Want the front-side of the business to grow, but slowly grow any of the G&A support structure. Limits opportunities unless in the sales/ business development or construction execution area.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet involved with local employees. Drop-in management makes it hard to form a cohesive company culture.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    dynamic, never a dull moment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Prosgood pay and benefits. Subtle environment

    Conssenior management needs to drop favoritism

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Chaos, Politics & Bureaucracy

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsWinning in the market
    Helping save the planet

    ConsDysfunctional management does not know how to prioritize or communicate.
    Frequent re-orgs seem to slash first, figure it out later.

    Advice to Senior ManagementManaging 5000 people takes effort, not a quick webcast

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Terrible company, Terrible management, Unfair to workers

    Prefer Not to Respond (Former Employee) Perrysburg, OH

    ProsThe money, the bonuses, the vacation time.

    ConsEverything. Culture is terrible, overworked people, money is good but not worth the hours you put in. People are recognized and applauded for doing nothing, while the worker bees who actually do the work are beaten down.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't lie to people about their positions in the company. Unfair to tell people they are "safe" and secure in their jobs and then lay people off two weeks later.

    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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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Volatile Industry

    Associate (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsCash compensation was good, hours weren't too bad, many of the people in the SF office were great to work with.

    ConsCultural challenges given the number of spread out offices and difficulty establishing a common culture; stock price volatility reducing the value of equity compensation, a number of silos which resulted in "us vs them" mentality (EPC versus Project Development); recent layoffs given shift in the market away from historically subsidized markets in Europe

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry to avoid micro-managing all decisions from the Tempe headquarters, give greater autonomy to people in the regional offices to avoid endless revisitations of decisions and a telephone-effect management style

    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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    5 people found this helpful  

    Senior Manager

    Manager (Former Employee) Tempe, AZ

    ProsCompetitive compensation package (or at least it used to be), well qualified co-workers. Newer office environment. Company was exciting to work for in the earlier years.

    ConsZero job stability/ security. Generally unstable environment. Upper management turns over frequently. People get laid-off left and right when they can't grow the top-line.

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    good

    Development Engineer (Current Employee) Perrysburg, OH

    Prostake care of employee
    fast pace

    Consorgnization structure is not right

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Linda Stutler

    Inventory Control Manager (Former Employee) Mesa, AZ

    ProsCulture and opportunity for growth

    ConsTrying to bring the module side of the business together with the construction side of the business

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake sure you have the right people in the right seats

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Downward slide

    Senior Manager (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat mission you can believe in. Their technology is good, some major progress seems plausible -- assuming things go as planned. Superior cost structure -- but it doesn't matter if the comp is selling at a loss.

    ConsCompensation isn't great anymore after their financials deteriorated -- only a select few senior executives get stock now. Lots of great people left through restructuring or due to waning prospects for the business. New management team is MIA.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou need to work from the real office and show your face to the troops. Don't forget good people are what got the company where it is.

    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

    2 people found this helpful  

    Great While it Lasted

    Corporate (Former Employee) Tempe, AZ

    ProsGreat benefits, fair salary, wonderful, talented colleagues. Generally relaxed working atmosphere. Great location.

    ConsSeems to be a continuing problem with bringing in too much outside "help" in leadership, leading to iffy decisions that ultimately led to a mass layoff in 2012, plus factory shut downs. All was going fairly well until they switched leadership in 2010, from the founder to outsiders. Company should have promoted those who built the company, i.e. instead of bringing in Honeywell's Rob Gillette to be CEO (who admittedly had no experience in energy), they should have promoted Bruce Sohn, then President. One wonders how things would have turned out then?

    His heart was in it as he built the factories and processes to make FS the massive success it was. He was an avid promoter, MIT grad, and perfect spokesperson for First Solar and its mission. Once they hired Gillette, and the dedicated leadership saw what lay in store for them, they were either pushed out or chose to leave. Then more people came from outside. And more.

    We lost some very talented people, hundreds of them, simply because of this shift. Gillette was fired within two years with 30Mil in his pocket for helping to bring the company stock down almost $100 a share...the people they laid off in April of 2012, 2,000, equaled his escape money. Bizarre. The founder took the company back, but by then the market had become depressed and it was too late. Enter Jim Hughes, "the cleaner" and lay offs ensued for two years.

    First Solar continues on, but in the long-term, to where? The solar market is a tough one, and will continue to be. Strong, stable, truly dedicated leadership is necessary to navigate through the tough times and make the most of the plentiful times. I wish them every good fortune.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGroom your own people from within. Recognize and reward those who struggle for FS and believe. I would love to be able to recommend this company, but I can't in good conscience as I don't know where it is going from one quarter to the next.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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