McMaster-Carr Reviews

Updated April 15, 2015
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2.7
312 Reviews
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Jay Delaney
163 Ratings

Pros
  • Good pay and benefits (basically the Golden Handcuffs) (in 43 reviews)

  • Compensation is amazing--very conducive to work-life balance (in 30 reviews)

Cons
  • Management trainees hardly do more work, and the higher salary is not justifiable (in 23 reviews)

  • Micromanagement and no room for advancement at this place (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    Most rewarding job ever

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales in Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Sales in Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles, CA

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    I don't know where to even start. As everyone mentions, the benefits are incredible. But for me what really made this company unique was how it took care of its own. If you worked hard, took feedback well, and met expectations you had a stress-free place to work. I grew more with this company than I have anywhere else- including the military. They have high expectations and show you ways to meet those expectations. I really thought I'd fail and be fired within 6 months, but instead they train so well I succeeded and exceeded expectations, lasting 6 years. I was genuinely upset when I decided to put in my notice- one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. But they had inspired me to go back to school, and I had completed as much as I was able while working there, so it was time to move on. All the people complaining knew they were not performing well and were given plenty of time and opportunities to improve, but they failed. The high expectations set by McM are not meant for everyone. If you can't handle the job, they won't keep you, end of story. But I think a year+ at a job is more than enough time to improve. If you haven't met expectations after a year you aren't cut out for the job.

    Cons

    None. They have high expectations that are explained up front that, if you fail to meet, will cost you your job. But you are given every opportunity to improve. If you don't then, again, McM is not the place for you. It's pretty cut-and-dry. You know what you need to do, so do it or move on.

    Advice to Management

    None, really. When I first started I will admit their style of management was a bit confusing, but it works. If anything, maybe a bit less shuffling of management to give them a chance to know their employee's strengths and weaknesses better?

  2. Helpful (1)

    Great Pay and Benefits, Close-Minded Management

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

    I worked at McMaster-Carr full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The pay and benefits (especially the benefits) are unbeatable. Everyone in the Company gets a raise (albeit a small one), even if they are under a job threat. The health plan and profit sharing plans are second to none. The work environment is usually very positive and clean. Roles are clearly defined and there is no "matrixed" reporting structure.

    Cons

    The management folks that the Company hires come mostly from top-tier public universities. The Company pays a lot of lip service to listening to employees by rarely, if ever, does this in practice. Improvements and changes to the way processes are changed are decided on high levels of the Company, as senior managers are micro-managed by their bosses. This unneeded oversight continues all the way down to the floor employees. Too much time is wasted trying to "nickel-and-dime" employees, rather than allowing them to devise their own novel solutions to operational problems.

    Advice to Management

    Be more open to advice and ideas from employees. Promote more staff employees to managers, if the aptitude is shown. Hire a few more employees to allow for more operational improvements and improvisation.

  3. Helpful (2)

    Great Benefits only go so far

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Distribution Specialist in Elmhurst, IL
    Current Employee - Distribution Specialist in Elmhurst, IL

    I have been working at McMaster-Carr

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

    Pros

    Good Pay, Benefits, family owned company

    Cons

    Negative work atmosphere with little room to advance your career unless you have a degree from a top tier university.

    Advice to Management

    Give more opportunities and responsibilities to lower level employees they are very capable individuals

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  5. good opportunity if you can get used to the culture

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

    I have been working at McMaster-Carr full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    benefits and compensation are as great as everyone says. they give college grads an early opportunity to gain supervisor experience and most attain good jobs after McMaster. management trainee program provides a high level of exposure and engagement and is a good introduction to the company. you can move up very quickly at this company if you prove yourself early and often

    Cons

    expectations are high but often not very transparent. what is expected of you will depend heavily on your background and who you report to. it seems that upper management is not always on the same page and will sometimes not communicate between themselves. many of the folks in charge of running the operation are good managers but poor leaders.

    Advice to Management

    be more clear and realistic with expectations. everyone at the company is smart but McMaster operations are very different from other companies and what students learn in school

  6. Great People, Scary Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager in Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at McMaster-Carr full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The pay, benefits and people are awesome. Every person I met at the company was very smart and talented and most were fun to work with. You will likely move around to different roles quickly, so you are constantly learning. There are high expectations and lots of cool opportunities to make a lot of change.

    Cons

    There is not much training, but the operation is easy enough to catch on. The culture is kind of strange. There is a lot of secrecy and you never know if you are doing well or not, or when you will be moved to another role. Like in any job, your experience really depends upon your manager. Some are very supportive and care about developing their employees, MTs and supervisors, but most don't feel like they should spend time developing others. There is also a lot of value put on where you went to school. There is also a culture of throwing other people under the bus when mistakes are made. They also claim to have work life balance but most folks work 10-12 hour days, and I usually see a handful of managers and supervisors catching up on project work over the weekend.

    Advice to Management

    Use upward reviews and take your employees input when moving them.

  7. Helpful (2)

    Great place to learn, difficult culture

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

    I worked at McMaster-Carr

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity to work on interesting projects, learn from extremely intelligent people. Room for growth (sort of), exposure to many parts of the organization.

    Cons

    Mostly the culture. Its tough, and a very particular personality type flourishes there. If you aren't that way, it makes it hard.

    Advice to Management

    The management trainee program is amazing. One piece of advice is to be more open to different management styles and personality types.

  8. Helpful (1)

    Perfect for the highly motivated over-achiever

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Order Filler in Santa Fe Springs, CA
    Current Employee - Order Filler in Santa Fe Springs, CA

    I have been working at McMaster-Carr

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Excellent pay and benefits. Cool people to work with. High standards. As challenging as you want it to be.

    Cons

    Physically exhausting. Management rotates frequently making work culture inconsistent.

    Advice to Management

    Walk a mile in your employees shoes.

  9. Helpful (1)

    Challenging and Exciting Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Operations Specialist - Finance in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Business Operations Specialist - Finance in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at McMaster-Carr full-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I enjoy getting up and coming to work everyday.
    - Challenging environment that develops knowledge of business to business relationships, sales strategy, finance strategy, and marketing strategy.
    - Potential to work in multiple areas within the company that range from sales to finance. In the 10 years I have worked here I have worked in various roles throughout sales and finance.
    - Great benefits
    - Intelligent Co-Workers who are driven
    - Tuition Reimbursement
    - Other benefits include cafeteria, company outings, generous maternity leave, work stays at work

    Cons

    - Set schedules, but flexible with time off for appointments
    - Nontraditional paths to move into different roles, which can be challenging to navigate.

  10. Helpful (8)

    Great People, Great Company, Great Opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Operations Specialist in Santa Fe Springs, CA
    Current Employee - Business Operations Specialist in Santa Fe Springs, CA

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    This review is a little long, but i'm trying to be as thorough as possible...I was hired into the Business Operations Specialist role and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. First off I want to say that this role is NOT, I repeat NOT, an entry level position. You need to be extremely competent to be able to handle the job. That’s why most of the people that are hired into this role were managers/supervisors at their previous company or at least they were doing complex work—more than just “office work” or data entry. If you’re able to get hired here, you’ll be working with other people of the highest caliber. Let me tell you a little about my time here and what the job entails.

    Benefits and company life—Super competitive salary, great medical and dental benefits, cash and deferred profit sharing, and work/life balance. I came from a retail management background, so I love not having to work odd hours/holidays. Want to work a 40 hour week and have weekends off? McMaster-Carr can give that to you. Like to surf? You have all weekend to catch waves. Want to be able to go to church on Sundays (or any other spiritual/religious equivalent)? Well, now you can. With all that time off, you can do things that you've previously been unable to do for lack of time. Many employees I know spend the extra time with their kids. What did I do with my free time? I jumped into health/fitness and was able to get into shape in about a year. I’m in my thirties now and I've never been in better shape! Going to the gym not your thing? Well you can pursue whatever else you’re interested in because you can go to school for whatever you want (as long as the school is accredited), which by the way would be paid for 100% by McMaster-Carr. I haven’t taken up their offer yet, but I’d be crazy not to. Oh and they’ll even help YOUR KIDS go to college if/when the time comes. How cool is that? I have never heard of a company that offers that. They also sponsor a company football, basketball, softball, golf, and even a DRAGON BOATING team if you’re into that (and more)! Simply put, there’s a reason that some people have chosen to spend their entire careers at this company. It’s because McMaster-Carr is all about helping its employees improve the quality of their lives in any way possible.

    Went through a two week training course (I think it may be a longer course now...not sure) and started working in the Phone Contact Center (the Text Contact Center is the same job, only their mode of communication is strictly email/text). Oh and side note…if you don’t know this…When you call McMaster-Carr as a customer, there’s only one phone number and an actual human being picks up the phone--24 HOURS A DAY. Need to place an order? Need to check on an order? Need help picking out a bolt? Need to know if those bolts meet a certain spec? Need those bolts in a certain material or manufacturer? Need to get 1000 of those bolts to San Francisco by 8:30am tomorrow? Need something you don’t see in the catalog? Need to make a payment? Need any documents? That’s right, you call one number and the McMaster-Carr Business Operations Specialist that answers the line can help you with whatever you need. No runaround, no wasting your time, and no messing around. Sounds so simple but you don’t experience that kind of customer service everywhere. THAT’s the Phone Contact Center and that is the department that provides the fantastic customer service they've become famous for. On the job, I would take calls from customers--10% of the time it’s just an order, another 10% of the time they might need documentation or they might need to check on an order. Those are the quick and easy requests. The challenging and more fun interactions are from customers that are working on a project of some sort and they need your help building things. I once had an engineer from Cal Tech who called in because he needed help building a specialized ducting system for an experiment he was performing. Another time I had a call from the set of the TV show Sons of Anarchy where they needed some security bars that would fit on a specific kind of door. One time I even helped Tim Commerford (the bassist from Rage Against the Machine) build a custom Polyethylene panel for his off road truck. As you can see, it takes a critical thinker/problem solver and awesome customer service skills to be able to handle the wide range of requests from McMaster-Carr customers.

    Anyhow, I’m going to admit that in the beginning I made a few mistakes (like sending someone a wrong quantity on an order or not listening to the customer/missing information or forgetting to include a phone number in some correspondence or accidentally saying the wrong thing on the phone or somehow making something difficult for a customer…stuff like that). But while I was struggling, I was always notified of my errors so I could improve my performance. Each time a trainer talked to me about an error I made, I took it as a learning opportunity and took notes on what I should improve. It took a little time, but I took all the feedback and made the proper adjustments. After a few months, I started to meet expectations and gained the trust of my supervisors. Over time I was given more responsibilities, had more privileges, worked on various projects and was even given a raise after my first year. In fact I've been getting a raise every year because I've been meeting expectations (I think they would have been bigger raises if I did more than just meet expectations…and there ARE people who do!). Eventually, I was able to move to another department and am currently learning about a whole other side of McMaster-Carr. In retrospect I wish I had been able to make that transition a little sooner than I did. Especially because I was starting to see a lot of co workers (some who were hired after me!) get moved or promoted to supervisor. Some of them only spent about a year or so as a Business Operations Specialist before they were whisked away to the Export department, Marketing, Recruiting, Product/Order Support or Accounting. Thought I was jealous, I have to admit that every person who got moved or promoted fully deserved it! They are some of the best and brightest people I know. They were all fully meeting expectations if not exceeding them when they transitioned to other departments. As for me—although it took a little longer—I kept a positive attitude from day one, did my best and when a need presented itself in the company, I was a moved as well.

    Now here is some more of the nitty gritty. Those that don’t meet the clearly outlined expectations are given every resource and opportunity to turn things around, but if they are not able to improve their performance within about a year or so, they are fired. It’s never a surprise though, because you always know where you stand in terms of your own performance. It’s understandable though if you can’t do the job. The most common reasons for under performing---not able to give good customer service, not good at active listening, no attention to detail, can’t think critically, not good at problem solving, not receptive to feedback, or having a bad attitude. I've had friends who were let go and I have friends who have quit (because they weren't doing too well and they knew their days were numbered). Some of them have admitted to me that the role was not for them and they have moved on to other careers. The really disgruntled ones are usually the ones that have a hard time taking feedback/criticism or else they think they are too good for this job…and once they are fired they go on websites like this one and write bad reviews (so take the bad reviews on Glassdoor with a grain of salt). To all those people I say this: don’t blame your incompetence on others…especially your supervisors. I can tell you that the supervisors/trainers/managers that work at McMaster-Carr didn't get to where they are by blaming their shortcomings on others. Do you think a company that is at the top of their industry and has lasted for over 114 years got there by hiring mediocre staff/supervisors? No way! Bottom line is that when it comes to growth and career advancement here—If you want it, you can have it. There are no games here. You just have to earn it.

    Cons

    So there. That is what I have thought about working at McMaster-Carr and the Business Operations Specialist role. It’s a positive experience for sure. The only real negative thing about the role in my opinion…it’s in the largest department of the operation which may make it harder for you to distinguish yourself as a rock star employee. Being a larger department, you may not get "positive reinforcement" on a daily basis--but if you need a supervisor to tell you that you're doing a good job in order for you to do your job well, I think that is a reflection of your own personality and not the way the company treats you. I'm not saying there is no recognition for doing a great job, in fact there is--you get raises, privileges of working on company projects, trust from supervisors and yea even verbal praise when it is warranted. Ultimately the best recognition is that you're moved to other more difficult departments that need good people. Personally speaking, that kind of environment doesn't scare me at all. I've always believed that if you maintain a positive attitude and work hard, you can succeed anywhere. Especially at a company that provides all the resources you need to make it happen.

  11. Helpful (3)

    Great Short-term Workplace

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bin Filler in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Bin Filler in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at McMaster-Carr

    Pros

    Great pay and even better benefits.

    Cons

    Physically and mentally exhausting, unrealistic expectations for most, walking 6 to 8 miles per day (takes a toll on your feet and joints), new supervisor every time you look up. Supervisors are hired based on the school to (i.e. many employees w/ MS degrees are supervised employees w/ BS degrees). Absolutely no upward mobility.

    Advice to Management

    Keep in mind that we are people, not robots.

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