Microsoft

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Microsoft Reviews in London, England

Updated January 25, 2015
Updated January 25, 2015
9,002 Reviews
3.7
9,002 Reviews
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
1,461 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really good work-life balance compared to other tech companies of the same caliber (in 859 reviews)

  • You will get the opportunity to work with smart people solving real world problems (in 991 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is not good in some places but it really depends on your role (in 552 reviews)

  • Performance review system basically encourage competition inside the team (in 400 reviews)

More Highlights

59 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Great Company

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

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

    Pros

    Working at Microsoft was a childhood dream, I've been there 11 years and have found it a deeply enriching and rewarding experience. There is no shortage of exceptional people and good teams - there are few average people in the company.

    I've worked as a software engineer in Redmond and in Europe. There are many opportunities in Redmond to move around, learn, and have a fun career.

    I've enjoyed a competitive package and great working conditions (own office, Aeron chair, sit-stand desk, free drinks, good canteens). For productivity it is hard to beat having your own office.

    It is a large company and it fascinating to watch from the inside. Recommend reading Microsoft Secrets, Showstopper, and Gates for sense of history.

    Cons

    There is a natural bias to Redmond as the focus for all activities. Most interesting stuff is located there and it's hard to get attention/recognition for work outside. Outside of Redmond, career opportunities in engineering are thin on the ground - people seem to settle into jobs and not move so it feels a little stagnant.

    Historically, there has been competition and nastiness between groups. As I reflect on many amazing Microsoft stories, too many involve gratuitous nastiness or non-co-operation rather than building on each other.

    There is a One Microsoft initiative that in theory is great and encourages teams to build on each other, but it seems unevenly deployed and you can't tell who is with the program and who isn't. At this stage it seems 50% chance of having a good One Microsoft experience.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The company is supposedly data driven, but rarely is any data shared top-down, e.g. why are we having open plan offices inflicted when there is lots of data against? Why did we go with Hadoop rather than Dryad where the latter has great integration with the platform and the former entails lots and lots of work (why did we even use Windows for Hadoop, customers would not care on Azure).

    Need to focus on details rather than simply the next big thing and also persevere (e.g. media center was a massive lost opportunity). This is a big part of why in the consumer space MSFT has been a trainwreck - Google and Apple try hard to delight, MSFT is happy to hit limited checkboxes and move on. Next big things always have huge gaps and don't support the eco-system, e.g. Xbox one not running Xbox 360 games nor supporting MCE, dreadful history of media apps (WMP, Zune, Music, Video).

    Need a common build system and consistent access to source code. More Open Source (e.g. all WP apps should be OSS to give serious examples).

    It's a global company, but given current standing in US market, Microsoft would do well to focus in other markets to build market share. Too many decisions are made on the basis of US data, e.g. TV, but there are large and different markets elsewhere that could use a different strategy.

    Think harder about acquisitions :- not buying Nokia maps with Nokia was a painful mistake. Skype client has simply not progressed in any meaningful way (great, it's got ads now so worse for consumers). Yammer is not compelling or useful.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    An amazing company but really hard to get a new role

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

    I have been working at Microsoft as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Benefits (insurance, life, travel and so on) but most importantly the social power that comes with it.

    Cons

    It's a big corporate world, really hard to navigate within it, and it's really hard to get a new role. HR is terrible sometimes.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Social Media Ambassador

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Windows Ambassador in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Windows Ambassador in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Microsoft

    Pros

    Free Laptop & Phone With Job Role

    Cons

    No Opportunity To Join After Great Performance

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Accept Great Performers

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Trying to modernize, but stil "old school"

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

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

    Pros

    The pay and benefits are above the average;
    Flexibility to work from home and flexible times;
    Lots of smart people and experiences to learn from;
    Lots of divisions and opportunities to work in different projects.

    Cons

    Still "rock-star" culture, where vocal / connected people take clear advantage (sometimes over the work of more skilled but less loud colleagues). Little team collaboration;
    Still "bubble" culture: whatever exists or you have done outside MS doesn't mean anything;
    "Old thinking" in most senior/leads, with practices and methods that have been scrapped more than a decade ago (e.g. waterfall, lots of planning and documentation);
    Too many managers, many outdated (above), others totally clueless about the skills for their work (e.g. test leads that don't know unit tests and CI).
    Little autonomy for individual contributors (every single technical decision must go through managers)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Satya seems to have a clue and move the company towards the right direction. Scrapping the stack-ranking was also positive, however there is still a lot of "old culture" built over the years. Reduce the bureaucracy, get rid of the countless middle managers that hinder the renovation of the company, and empower the employees so they can use their expertise together with modern methods and tools in software development.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Good experience

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

    I have been working at Microsoft as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Salary and work life balance

    Cons

    Pressure, salary, flat work structure

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Could do better

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Flexible working

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

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

    Pros

    great work / life balance
    office is a good location but not particularly near customers
    culture is friendly and on the whole open

    Cons

    great benefits selection. probably one of the best in the industry. However i think the great work life balance and benefits selection can sometimes mask very slow career progression opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    doing a good job overall.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent and Inspiring

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

    I have been working at Microsoft as an intern (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great working environment
    Regular training
    Work-life balance

    Cons

    Personal growth and movement up in the company

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great vision and strategy, culture and org are not ready for the change

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing products and services, a lot of talented people across the company, great salaries and benefits. This may be one of the best corporate org to work for. New CEO Satya with few other execs are genuinely trying to get the org more agile, flexible and agile (easier career moves, hacking days, more open communication...)

    Cons

    Coming from an acquisition (Yammer), it has been a shock to discover the pointless number of management layers, reporting tools, metrics and other dashboards which are taking employees away from their passion to technology. The email communication culture, the inability to get rid of bad managers and overall lack of commitment and ownership is making it hard every day to find some passion. Almost impossible to move internally from a division to another due to very conservative and zero-risk approach from managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Flatten the structure, get rid of metrics and useless dashboards, more open and transparent culture, set-up some talent management (not just hiring and firing).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Product Marketing Director

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

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

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits. Good offices. For self-starters development opportunites are there and an ability to make an impression and deliver quality results exists.

    Cons

    Confused poor quality senior leadership. Lack of strategy and direction especially across product groups. Still a very entrenched old-school mentality so unless you learn how to play in this arena you will not fit in. You have to fit in first and change from within.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better co-ordinated strategy. Fewer levels in the org (but don't take out the lower ones!!!)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    A rollercoaster experience. Microsoft is a hell of a ride and no spectators-only allowed.

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

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

    Pros

    People are passionate about what they do and aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in. It is a product company and there are some great opportunities to hone marketing and product skills.

    Cons

    Microsoft pays lip service to work/life balance but it is extremely difficult for working mums to get ahead. Last minute deadlines, constant tedious processes, lengthy review cycles and incessant politics made it hard to manage work and family schedules. Unless you move to the US, there is little progression available in the subsidiaries.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward the team and the manager not the individuals only. Good managers are hard to find as they are not rewarded or even given time and tools to manage their teams effectively.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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