Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office Reviews

Updated February 26, 2015
Updated February 26, 2015
17 Reviews
3.2
17 Reviews
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office Secretary of State William Hague
William Hague
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Intern - Great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Intern in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Intern in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Exposed to full role of a policy officer, great working environment, development opportunities, well paid internship

    Cons

    No opportunity to stay on with company

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Enlightening.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Rather Not Say in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Rather Not Say in Washington, DC

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The experience of a lifetime and a hell of a resume builder.

    Cons

    Not much room for advancement if you're an American... unless in-which case you may be a suck-up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Tell the truth to those you fire.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Very good learning & development opportunities but lack of leadership and vision

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Programmer Management
    Former Employee - Programmer Management

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Pros

    training, work-life balance, annual leave days

    Cons

    lack of leadership, lack of vision, bullying and harassment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    enhance capacity of senior staff, they are ignorant and not competent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    More Foreign, Less Office?

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Pros

    Great travel opportunities to be had, improved flexible working arrangements for jobshare, remote working etc. You will have the chance to work on issues of international and domestic importance and have colleagues who are truly global.

    Cons

    Relatively low pay. Few opportunities to progress.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    A culture shock for those who have come from the private sector

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    - Embassy has great work life balance (4.5 day week)
    - Salaries competitive with local ones

    Cons

    - LE staff are considered as disposable with zero strategy or decision making power
    - Many of the diplomats, despite their god-like status, wouldn't survive a day outside of the civil service despite their self-importance, which is frustrating to watch from below.
    - The diplomatic career path doesn't seem to promote any specialisation so diplomats also have a quite shallow depth of knowledge of the issues or sectors they are working on.
    - Focus on bluster and rhetoric with not a lot lying behind it

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create career paths for LE staff
    Professionalise the diplomatic service and make it more aligned to the private sector

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Do not believe all the hype

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Desk Officer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Desk Officer in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance- sometimes. Pleasant, clever people- sometimes. It's an interesting experience for first or second jobbers, and travel if you are lucky. Some colleagues have done really well here and have proggressed up the ranks, had several overseas postings and actually made good money by cashing in on overseas allowances and renting out their homes in the UK. Women married to higher earners like it here because of flexible working and jobshare/part-time arrangements. Those who have not been to university get a better deal in terms of training and salary and can end up as the same or higher grade than grads or post-grads.

    Cons

    Pay, progression, lack of good transferable experience to get into private sector. Staff that stay in the UK and do not rise up the ranks suffer financially. You need to understand that you have to rotate and apply for a new role every few years and this can be a good or bad thing depending on the job, location and type of people you have to work for.

    The culture is very hierarchical and there are many pompous, cunning and ambitions people- mostly in the policy departments- that you need to navigate around. The management style here is directive and critical rather than coaching - 'just do it because I am your manager..please' . Lots of staff are reticent or defensive because they do not want bad feedback on appraisals which impacts the chances of the next job that they can apply for, and hence their promotion. Generally, morale is low unless you are a high-powered fast- streamer and can show that you buy the FCO prestige. Lots of staff just want to work overseas and get to travel rather than really make a difference or do a good job, this culture of 'cashing in' - especially on the travel opportunities- can be seen at all levels.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Wake up and smell the resentment- staff are not stupid and know when the rug is being pulled from under them. Tell the truth about what staff should expect working here (a BIG ask).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Not what it used to be.....

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    There is still a prestige factor in working at the FCO. However, the reputation that it once had as an unassailable diplomatic powerhouse i slightly in tatters. This was recognised by the previous Foreign Secretary who was determined to put the FCO back at the forefront of global diplomacy.

    Cons

    The working environment had been completely diminished from even 3-4 years ago. We are now run by consultants. Promotion is glacial. Salaries lag far behind other Whitehall counterparts.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest. If you want to eradicate D7 and C5 bands - say so and restructure transparently. Don't pander to the elite and top echelons of the office - you have staff in the lower bands who are dedicated and able.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Worst job ever

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

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some training and work - life balance is not so bad.

    Cons

    Discrimination is obvious. Senior leaders do not ensure good conditions for progression and growth. Some jobs are given based on relationships rather than actual recruitment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the double faced culture. You should really start working towards a non - discrimination organisation taking serious actions against UKB that do not follow this principle

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Good working environment!

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Pros

    Good employers with many benefits

    Cons

    Locals have no voice and growth is capped

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Reliable employer, good working conditions, difficult to get promoted

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Pros

    Flexibilty of working, job share, flexible hours, travel opportunities, life-long learning opportunitues

    Cons

    Low pay, no pay rise and difficult to get promoted

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More flexibilty for contract staff

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Photos

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (Photo thanks to Geograph user Peter Trimming, Some Rights Reserved)
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, St James's Park (Photo thanks to Geograph user Ian Yarham, Some Rights Reserved)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Photo thanks to Geograph user David Williams, Some Rights Reserved)

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