Golder Associates

  www.golder.com
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Golder Associates Reviews

Updated August 19, 2014
Updated August 19, 2014
107 Reviews

3.1
107 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Golder Associates President Brian Conlin
Brian Conlin
45 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Employee owned so people have personal interest in work duties (in 15 reviews)

  • Most of the offices allow for an ok but not great work-life balance (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Poor management of some operations, so choose your office carefully (in 5 reviews)

  • Work life balance is a catch phrase and not reality (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Golder is a very good employer providing opportunities to get involved in exciting projects.

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

    Pros

    Golder is an employee-owned company and thus each employee is empowered to help the company succeed. The culture is one of transparency where all employees are provided with information such as financial results and are afforded many opportunities to provide input to the direction of the company. The transparent culture of the company also benefits the project managers who have access to niche experts regardless of what office they are in. It results in project managers having the opportunity to staff their projects with the right experts to help meet client expectations.

    Cons

    Not too many cons -- Golder is a well-run company. Perhaps one con is that local management can sometimes exhibit a culture not consistent with the corporate culture that has helped Golder succeed for over 50 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what is needed for the company to succeed.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Highs and Lows

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

    Pros

    Great people; friendly atmosphere; emphasis on health and safety. (Please note that this review was written by a US employee, but using "US" as reviewer location didn't seem to be allowed.)

    Cons

    People without background in running a company are running the company; maybe hiring some MBAs would make more sense. Principals and associates seem to be the only people whose concerns are heard or acted upon. Group leaders seem clueless about what those in other groups do, and the managers have zero understanding of administrative workers' duties, workload, or other concerns. Often people are forced to "step out of their comfort zone"--a euphemism for doing work that's nothing like what they were hired or have any desire to do. It's as if they shuttle people around without regard for their goals, skills, happiness, or job satisfaction. Junior engineers are used as field technicians. Not enough training is provided to admin people; if they're given new software, they usually must fend for themselves. Admin people, who may have a wide array of skill sets, are treated as if they are interchangeable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to employees at all levels, not just principals and associates. When there are layoffs, give the changes some time to have an effect before you plunge into slashing more jobs. Stop spending money on flying leaders around to meet with each other, especially when times are tough financially--don't just give lip service to cutting out nonessential travel.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Former Support Employee

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

    Pros

    The pros of working for Golder is they do offer a good work/life balance. This is speaking from the perspective of one who was in an administrative support-type role. The pay is decent as are the benefits with one exception, they do not offer paid maternity/paternity leave. Golder is a global company and not all offices are created equal. If you do accept a position here and have the flexibility to do so, and good marketable skills (i.e., you are an engineer or other technical type), it would be advisable to get your foot in the door, get to know Golder and where the good offices are, network, and then transfer as soon as conceivably possible to one of the better offices. If not, it's a good place to gain experience and then leave. Support staff, I can't really say that same flexibility would be available to you.

    Cons

    The company is dysfunctional and is very much a consultancy in that they cater to those who do project work and bring in the money. If your in a support role there is little to no respect for you or what you do, and as another person had said it borders harassment. Want to do something about being blatantly mistreated? You will not have a soul to turn to who will take you seriously or do anything about it. There is also a really high turn over rate in the support roles and for a reason. The only ones treated with any respect are the P&As and the big money earners. Responsibility-wise some support roles have super unreasonable expectations where you are expected to know everything, be everything, do everything and with no training what so ever this includes even knowing technical knowledge many spent years learning on top of being the perfect assistant. Do something wrong, you can expect to be yelled at publicly. This is quite common.

    Annual review time is basically one big free-for-all granting each employee permission to go out and start anonymously ranting about employees and what they hate. It's not really handled with any level of seriousness or respect and you are basically at the mercy of your boss, and bonus your annual pay raise is solely determined by this review. If that person has questionable ethics, you can forget about being treated fairly or receiving any sort of constructive criticism, and for that matter a fair raise. You are given the illusion that you have some say in it by selecting other employees whom you trust to provide a good review of your work. However, you may find in the end little to none of the people you selected were actually approved by your boss to provide said review.

    Office culture wise it is largely really unpleasant although if you look hard enough you will find some really good people. Again, not all offices are the same. I have experienced some Golder offices which provided a much more balanced environment. It is hard to find those offices, and when you do, it's harder to get in. Technical types - network, network, network. The ones that are super dysfunctional make for a really horrible work environment. Gossip and immaturity rules to the extreme. I've never in my life seen anything like it. The gossip grape vine runs wild and deep here. It's advisable watch your back at all times.

    Also worth mentioning, some of the management and policy setters have questionable ethics and are known to do or say whatever it takes to satisfy the client and their wants and expectations, particularly the oil and gas clients, whether it's true or not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop promoting people to management who have absolutely no business being there. Be willing to admit you made a mistake when you do promote the wrong people to high level positions and importantly do something about it. Treat support staff with more respect and have policies in place you are actually willing to follow where there is a defined process and outcome for misbehavior and /or up to complete removal of those in management (even if they are a P or and A). Sweeping it under the rug and ignoring it is not acceptable especially in this day and age. You want your company to do well? Treat all employees with more respect. Yes, even the support staff. If they are happy, your clients will be happy and the company will do better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall good employer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant  in  Mount Laurel, NJ
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Mount Laurel, NJ

    Pros

    High in technical expertise, good benefits and flexible. Corporate leadership is excellent with committed management team. Good for personal growth opportunities

    Cons

    Poor management of some operations, so choose your office carefully. Intra-office competition seems high. Collaborative aspect needs work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Concentrate on supportive atmosphere

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Administrative Assistant supporting the Oil and Gas Industry

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant  in  Buffalo, NY
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Buffalo, NY

    Pros

    Great career development program. Great benefits and growth opportunities.

    Cons

    Working with people who do not always look out for the good of the company. Because it was not a publicly held company many shareholders felt they were entitled to top notch services and wide open expense accounts.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None to offer.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great company for a life long career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal  in  Manchester, NH
    Current Employee - Principal in Manchester, NH

    Pros

    This employee owned company strives to be the best in the industry and rewards dedicated, hard working, intelligent employees with abundant opportunities. To enjoy the collegial atmosphere you will need to take pride in your ownership of the company and be committed to serving clients at the highest level.

    Cons

    We compete with the "big boys" but struggle without their resources. We also struggle to maintain our culture and identity as we grow.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the core business. Fully evaluate the ROI on all investments. Don't waste our limited financial resources.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Golder is what you make of it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant  in  Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Denver, CO

    Pros

    Golder is a great place for those who know what they want and essentially "hire" Golder to achieve those goals. Golder is not a place for "a job", i.e. for someone who wants to be spoon-fed and taken care and just do a good day's work for an average salary. Golder spits out anyone who is not committed to achieving and growing, and so many of the people who come into companies these days have no clue about this. You will not survive nor advance if you look at Golder as a job. Golder is a place for adults and entrepeneurs, not children who wish to be taken care of.

    Cons

    Pay does not match what could be earned in the industries that many of the senior cunsultants practice in. As a result, Golder loses some very good people at all levels, because consulting is stressful, and a salary to reflect that is important.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop worrying about growth and stat worrying about how to be ever more profitable with a static number of employees. Unless and until you figure out this issue, Golder will eventually be sold and become public.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Major disappointment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO

    Pros

    Really nothing. I have worked all over the country and for many different companies,and Golder has been the worst experience of my professional career. However, for a recent graduate looking for experience and travel opportunities for 2-5 years then jump to a better company (which most do) it is OK.

    Cons

    An elitist system of Principals and Associates stiffles growth, morale, and promotes favoritism that inhibits diversity. You need to take out a second mortgage to buy enough stock to even be considered for a promotion to Associate, and then you need to be chosen by a Principal to get in to this club. It is a long shot. Good work means nothing. If you find yourself on the outside, you are on your own. You will need to find your own work because management could care less about you if you are not in their clique. You need to be under the wing of one of the powerful Principals just to keep your job let alone be promoted. As a result, huge turnover and frequent layoffs occur just about on a quarterly basis.

    Culture is like being in a dysfunctional high school - very cliquish and A LOT OF PHONIES ABOUND!!! Gossip in the hallways everywhere. No real leadership despite all the lame attempts at mentoring. The Principals (mostly men) favor the young Millenials and women. I never saw anyone else promoted or given a raise despite productivity. Many times I was the only man in meetings of a dozen or more professionals. A subcontractor actually described Golder as being "estrogen rich". Do not have an original thought or you will have to be "Golderized". Follow the leader types will succeed. No teamwork. During a meeting one C-5 level actually said she will refuse to work with anyone else in the group and that she preferred working with people from other offices. Why have a team then? This not only is tolerated, it is the norm.

    Too many dysfunctional systems promoted by Principals that are useless. Golder is a horrible place for mid-level to senior technical people because the Principals have been gutting the mid- to senior-level people throughout the company for years. There is mostly C3 level and lower, and Principals and Associates on top. Most of the latter are so out of touch with the technical aspects of the business and most of the former aren't experienced enough to provide quality work. I guess Golder doesn't care about quality work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't know where to start. The entire senior management needs to go.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior Environmental Engineer

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

    Pros

    Lots of flexibility and ability to pursue projects that interest you. Ability to form close relationships with clients and develop long lasting customers. Great place to learn.

    Cons

    Pay is low for highly skilled, educated and talented scientific and engineering professionals. Principal and Associate ownership system is an "old boys club" and invitation to be a business partner is dictated more on who you know than how you can impact the bottom line of the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide employees with maternity leave. Require that all office managers have an MBA or some knowledge of general and accepted business acumen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    If you're not a P&A or on the technical side - you will get no respect!

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

    Pros

    I enjoyed some of the relationships I made while at Golder and have some great friends from the experience. I did learn a lot about how not to run a company and how to try to implement projects with all odd against you.

    Cons

    If you are not a P&A or on the technical side, the lack of respect for your skills is embarrassing and borderline harrassment. People in core business positions like accounting, marketing, and HR, etc are degraded and treated like they are nothing more than a highschool graduate who is lucky to have an opportunity to come into the office each day. As an engineer, they believe that they know how to do anything and these core business staff know nothing. Your pay is a very good reflection of this attitude. As a core business staff, you can expect to receive more and more responsibility, possibly even taking on two peoples jobs - but don't expect to be compensated for that - again, it is your privledge to work here! The technical staff throw money out the window with their lack of accountability, but that's not their fault because management does not hold them accountable for anything. In turn, when business is bad, just lay off more core business people to help compensate. Also, people who do poorly at their job get promoted to "move" them out of "wrong positions" - this teaches the that it's ok to have a bad attitude and created a working environment that does not promote hard work and rewards. Those that work hard get rewarded with a good review and a pat on the back - definitely not a raise or a bonus (unless you are a Principal or Associate).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop letting engineers run the office and hire some people who actually have experience and skills running a company. Also, hold people accountable for the decisions they make and maybe the company will make more money rather than throwing it out the window and can stop laying people off.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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