First Solar

  www.firstsolar.com
  www.firstsolar.com
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First Solar Reviews

Updated September 4, 2014
Updated September 4, 2014
73 Reviews
3.4
73 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
First Solar CEO James A. Hughes
James A. Hughes
27 Ratings

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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    A reasonably mature company still acting like a startup

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

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Leader in Solar Power Plant EPC
    Flexible work hours
    Independance - No micro-management
    Multiple-geographical locations

    Cons

    EPC side of company is built from companies previously purchased and cobbled together. No attempt to converge into a single corporate culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Identify what the culture should be and ensure it trickles down to all areas

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Roller coaster

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

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Decent pay and benefits. Safety conscious. Physical work environment is very nice. Some management is flexible with work life balance. Good place for self minded individuals.

    Cons

    Constant change in leadership at the top has detracted from what could be a great company. The culture is very cutthroat, so pick your battles very carefully. Very young company with great upside if senior leadership can provide a long term strategy and stick with it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay the course with a common set of leadership and allow experienced associates to thrive instead allowing buddies in for political gains.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Best experience in the valley, multi-national, fast-paced, complex, not your 9-5 (boring) company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director  in  Tempe, AZ
    Current Employee - Director in Tempe, AZ

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The exposure you get at First Solar is unmatched, transactions are complex and thought provoking. You work with top notch, intelligent, results-driven people. "Average" performance is not acceptable. This is where you learn, expand your skill set and are recognized for good work. Analysts work with c-staff. Very entrepreneurial environment.

    Cons

    Must learn independently. Due to global nature of business, hours can be odd for calls.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    In transition; working toward new business model

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Manager  in  Tempe, AZ
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in Tempe, AZ

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Strong 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.

    Cons

    Backoffice 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    This was once a great place to work

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

    I worked at First Solar full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The early days saw great compensation and benefit packages. People enjoyed their work and you didn't mind the long hours and frequent travel. The work was interesting and exciting In the beginning. New plant, nice offices, casual work environment.

    Cons

    The company management deteriorated with each new CEO, and the people matter value disappeared quickly. The group I was in was poorly managed, favoritism, bullying, backstabbing, undermining was the every day norm. It became so miserable, that people dreaded coming into work. Add to that the ever looming threat of a layoff and you can imaging the atmosphere at FS. To be fair, not all groups were like that but then not everyone was so lucky. Only senior management have good compensation packages, the lower level folks were reduced or eliminated all together.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Eliminate the favoritism in management, interact with the associates, learn what goes on day to day. If people matter then really show it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    dynamic, never a dull moment

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

    I have been working at First Solar

    Pros

    good pay and benefits. Subtle environment

    Cons

    senior management needs to drop favoritism

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Chaos, Politics & Bureaucracy

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

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Winning in the market
    Helping save the planet

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managing 5000 people takes effort, not a quick webcast

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Volatile Industry

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

    I have been working at First Solar full-time for more than a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Cultural 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 ManagementAdvice

    Try 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Terrible company, Terrible management, Unfair to workers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Prefer Not to Respond  in  Perrysburg, OH
    Former Employee - Prefer Not to Respond in Perrysburg, OH

    I worked at First Solar full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The money, the bonuses, the vacation time.

    Cons

    Everything. 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 ManagementAdvice

    Don'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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Senior Manager

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

    I worked at First Solar full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Competitive 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.

    Cons

    Zero 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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