Northern Trust Reviews

Updated July 4, 2015
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Northern Trust President, CEO, and Director, Northern Trust Corporation and Northern Trust Company Rick Waddell
Rick Waddell
361 Ratings

Pros
  • Many roles offer great work life balance (in 120 reviews)

  • The work environment Is very light, despite demanding clients (in 32 reviews)

Cons
  • Management does not care about your home work life balance (in 12 reviews)

  • management in some divisions punishes employees for voicing concerns to senior management (in 18 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

641 Employee Reviews

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  1. 16 hr workday to get a salary increment!

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

    I worked at Northern Trust full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    good # of vacation leaves

    Cons

    If you are to work in systems like EDM team , get ready to sacrifice your personal life, else you will get 0% increment.


  2. Cheapest bank I've ever worked at.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - 2vp in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - 2vp in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Northern Trust full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Decent work life balance. As they are so backward there is plenty of scope to learn and contribute. Good volunteering program.

    Cons

    Narrow minded management. All they do is think about cost reduction. No backbone they should stand up to Chicago more.

    Advice to Management

    Don't forsake quality


  3. Helpful (1)

    Private Equity Operations

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

    I worked at Northern Trust full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good Vacation Time
    Steadily busy throughout the workday
    Decent/Good transportation throughout the city (only until 6:30pm)

    Cons

    Most of the positive reviews were made by employees in other countries (IE: Bangalore), but I can honestly say the environment and moral of the Chicago offices is not a healthy one.

    Low salaries compared to industry standards. Bonuses are few and far between - as are raises.

    The employees are all in a rutt because of the current environment in which the company finds itself. The canal location is called "Canalcatraz" by the employees who work there because of it's likeness to a prison. The employees also have a prisoner mentality.

    Culture of finger pointing and blame game among employees and management. Everyone is constantly trying to save their own behinds because of the cost cutting environment.

    Due to cost cutting environment people are fearful of making mistakes. Management is pressured to find more efficient and less costly ways to do things so employees are vulnerable to being let go. Because of this, employees are often on edge. Employee reviews are often done in a way as to not credit the employee enough so that they can be compensated better.

    They are in a cost cutting mode, and have been for the last 4 years. This means 0 raises for those in Operations or the other entry level areas. Bonuses are often just $500 - hey better than nothing, right?

    Hardly any room for growth, and even if there is a position available the compensation is hardly any better.

    Because they are in a cost cutting mode, there are hardly any amenities. The company nickel and dimes their employees. The gym costs $40/month, which is more expensive than most of the other gyms in the area. Often times a company's gym is free to their employees. Sometimes employees health care costs are lessened if they use the company gym. Not at Northern. It costs $40/month.

    Must pay for coffee as well (i realize this really isn't a con) but the fact that employees are sometimes discouraged/questioned when getting coffee. The coffee is stationed on 1 floor, and people are often questioned as to why they are always leaving to go get it.

    There is lots of turnover among employees. Employees try to leave their position after a year is up because they find themselves doing something they hate - or at least working in an environment that they hate.

    People constantly going to HR. IMPORTANT: HR is always there to protect the company - not the employee. Wrongful terminations. One guy was fired because his manager in Private Equity Operations did not like him or his attitude of just showing up to do his work and not make friends with manager or most of employees. Guy wasn't a bad guy, just had his friends and made it a point to be standoffish to others.

    High turnover among management. 4 different managers same department n(actually in several depts) in last 4 years.

    Favoritism among managers and employees of same race. Obviously this is a pretty serious allegation, and it is just that. It's very hard to be proven so you would just have to take a stranger's word for it on the internet. Many employees would complain about how managers of certain colors allow the employees of those colors to get away with being unprofessional or other things.

    Employees are over worked, and everyone has a miserable attitude because of it. Constantly putting more work on employees and not compensating them for it.

    The IT systems are outdated and constantly crashing. This makes for a more stressful day for some because time frames and cut off times are in place and the work needs to be done using manual systems or far outdated systems. If the work is needed by another department whose systems are working fine there is added pressure. When this happens every other week and improvements aren't made by higher ups, this is an issue. Employees end up in more of a rut.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out a way to change the blame shifting, low paying culture or continue to be among the lower tiered companies


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Personal Banking Investigator (Auditor)

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

    I worked at Northern Trust full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I really enjoy the people I worked with. I had an awesome partner and met some really nice people in other departments that were helpful and knowledgeable.

    Cons

    The pay is way below what it should be for the workload and responsibilities. The management also treats those who are not at management level as less than and with blatant disrespect. Countless incidents of being spoken down too even when I was right. It is also very hard to move around in the company without heavy networking. Promotions are based on who you know rather than what you know.

    Advice to Management

    I would say management need to offer more respect to those working under them.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Dissapointing Experience this company is way over rated, no thanks, pass that kool aid to the next cult member

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager Fund Accounting in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Manager Fund Accounting in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Northern Trust

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    NONE. If you are lazy and lack technical skills, this place is for you. Full of silly politics from non talented individuals who think they are stars. Form over substance types apply here you will do well, actual proven stars need not waste their time here, if you don't conform to your boss's inefficient ways, they will retaliate with termination or if your lucky a demotion. I ran out of space on Cons, so for the reader, a bit of clarification. Pros for lazy untalented individuals who want to get by with only knowing the right people. Forget about having communication or public speaking skills, or real accounting tech skills or knowledge, no just show up if you already know somebody here, and you can coast and be a yes man , you will get a promotion. If you have no clue about fund accounting, have no fear, your free pass is automatic here as long as you know the right people, and I am not exaggerating here. They like to terminate people for no reason before 6 months ,who they may not like due to people trying to make things more efficient, no do not do that here, you must drink the kool aid and be a total follower of mediocrity. If you think a Credit Default Swap only has one leg, just because its more convenient to just reflect the Periodic fixed premium stream that the Buyer Leg pays for protection to the Seller Leg ( since the Seller leg only pays out in the event of a credit event or default of the underlying fixed income security , and its easier to not represent a contingent payout event in the system) instead of the correct answer two legs, simply because every swap has two legs Swap 101 basics, then you belong here. If you do not understand how to be efficient with using sunguard macros in conjunction with red flag exception systems and the accounting system, then you belong here. If you think doing recons on micro soft excel spreadsheets are faster than one click macro oles that can be set up via Sunguard connections, and help you with a real time analysis, then you belong here. It perplexed me that they would prefer slower methods of getting work done when the fund accounting environment is always loaded with various deadlines daily, so fast is essential.

    Cons

    I went to a managers meeting at Northern Trust my first month there, and I must say it actually felt like I stepped into some "CULT" like pass me the kool aid event where some lady from HR was at the podium in some Preachy style of presentation to the crowd of managers from various different lines of business. I also observed the culture there more in depth where the "suits" from the other office would have these presentations that sounded more like info mercials of motivation. Bottomline, this place wreaks of Form over Substance, if you are lazy , and like to talk a good talk, and rely on keep your job via knowing the right people as opposed to performance on the job and team collaboration, this place is for you. There is a trend here of others pointing out that hey so and so is a "superstar" too frequently without that so called super star actually proving that are the real deal. As I said form over substance, its a clique thing purely here, and if you are an outsider, no matter how experienced or good you are , they will not give you credt. They will only prop up their happy hour buddies or weekend buddies from work as "superstars". Its amusing, seeing people proclaim others or themselves as "stars" before actually proving it via performance. Finally, if you come from a collaborative environment where ideas and input are welcome from all team members without worrying about retaliation, well this place is not that. You have to conform to a cult like fashion, and if you variate or try to help with a more efficient way of doing things, they retaliate with politics, to demotions, to even termination without a reason. Not a healthy place for true superstars to contribute to the team goals, it's all conformity here. They like talking a good talk here, but execution is not efficient, and they do not grasp being efficient or working smarter instead of mediocre harder methods.

    Advice to Management

    TMI, cut out the bias treatments, and let objectivity prevail, you will become a more talented and efficient run department . Fund accounting is about being detail oriented , fast, timely deliverables while at the same time mitigating NAV risk. I had zero NAV errors, but was treated as an outsider since I didn't agree with an idea. You hailed those that conform, embrace other's ideas that may be productive in making things more efficient.


  7. Northern Trust Melbourne

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Consultant in Melbourne (Australia)
    Current Employee - Investment Consultant in Melbourne (Australia)

    I have been working at Northern Trust full-time

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

    Pros

    Stable career to do similar daily workflow
    Large US brand
    Friendly working culture

    Cons

    US-centric, not willing to invest/build local talents
    Over-reliant on offshore support team who delivers poor quality. Management only focus on cost-saving, not quality delivery.
    No career progression.
    Inflexible system with offshore IT follow-up provide limited focus.
    Conflict of interest between departments to protect self-interest instead of client interest.
    Culture of no rewards for additional client wins.
    Inconsistent local firm policies as opposed to firm's global policies while managers make changes outside the handbook at their discretion.
    Unnecessary bureaucracy that increase complexity within the organisational structure creating multiple level of free-loaders.
    Incompetent management team with no appreciation of professional skills. They hire over-qualified people to do monkey work at peanut pay.
    Business revenue often under-quote to win business for sale's team purpose while bottom-line often in the red at the expense of the firm and thus staff's compensation.
    Innovative ideas gets shut-down therefore using out-dated systems and process workflow.
    Fancy external hire and next to no chance for internal promotions.

    Advice to Management

    Remove bureaucracy and hire competent people.


  8. worst place

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

    I have been working at Northern Trust full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    No pros except good friends

    Cons

    Partiality, no learning, no growth, least salary in all the companies, no work life balance, no value of your thoughts if you are not in good books of your manager, hike 1-3% in salary max either you are best performer or not, work does not prove ur capabilities.

    Advice to Management

    Try to focus on all employees, increase the salary, make it a proper place to work, reduce politics in teams, try to manage team properly.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Employees Are Not Valued

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

    I have been working at Northern Trust full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There is a pension plan.

    Cons

    Even though 2014 was an excellent year for the company's earnings, most employees didn't get a raise. The only employees who seem to like working for this company are the employees who've worked for Northern Trust their entire careers, and they manage, and are managed, by fear. Everyone else is surviving until they can move on. There's virtually no opportunity for growth, advancement or promotion for most employees, and the hiring practices have gone downmarket to save money. Most new hires are right out of college, or a few years out of college, and not too bright.

    Advice to Management

    How do you expect to reach revenue goals if you don't share your bounty? Where's the motivation?


  10. Helpful (3)

    Run, do not walk, away!

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

    I have been working at Northern Trust

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    At this point, very little to recommend this place. They have a company cafeteria?

    Cons

    All jobs that can possibly be moved overseas are being moved. This even includes functions that may not be legally outsourced, but in the name of bringing down costs and despite high profitability, it continues. Entire departments have been wiped out and the work sent to India. Good senior people are gone, and they have been replaced with people who have no background in the financial services industry but who are cost cutters.

    Advice to Management

    All of this will come home to roost. At some point you will face the Lilly Ledbetter claims that you deserve, as well as the age discrimination claims that will together with the Equal Pay claims cost you a fortune.


  11. Helpful (3)

    Don't Get Sucked In

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Teller/Line Assistant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Teller/Line Assistant in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Northern Trust full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Three weeks vacation to start, higher pay at entry level (though it remains stagnant at that point).

    Cons

    Middle management is unprofessional and, frankly, unkind. I witnessed my manager scream at an an employee while slamming her hand on a counter. This type of behavior was encouraged. Company rarely promotes from within. Employees tend to feel more fearful for their jobs than happy to be there. On a whim, management would move employees to other locations. In the time I was there, I was moved 6 times between 4 locations even though my manager knew I had moved to be closer to the original office. I came with 10 years of banking experience and once I saw how poorly retail banking was run, I began applying for other positions. No one even considered me.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that your employees make your business run. Punishing employees does not encourage desired behavior. Promote from within and work on career goals with them. Actually treat employees like the "partners" your culture claims they are.



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