Penguin Group
3.4 of 5 30 reviews
www.penguin.com London, United Kingdom

Penguin Group Reviews

Updated Apr 5, 2014

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3.4 30 reviews

                             

94% Approve of the CEO

Penguin Group Chairman and CEO John C. Makinson

John C. Makinson

(18 ratings)

83% of employees recommend this company to a friend
30 Employee Reviews
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Company has a great working environment.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at Penguin Group

ProsGood benefits, very nice people, great working environment

ConsLow pay and too laid back.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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After merger it's not the same

Financial Analyst (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Penguin Group full-time for more than 10 years

ProsRelax environment, nice co-workers, 401k match and good Heath benefit options including dental and vision. Vacation time decent for those who have been there for an extended time.

ConsLow pay and with merger jobs (including mine) being eliminated. Environment very tense during merger. People are walking on pins and needles.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe honest with departments about the risk of losing jobs in merger

– I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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OK if you're just starting out, but little promise for mid-career individuals.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Penguin Group full-time for more than a year

ProsIntelligent people who care about the products.

ConsAntiquated in absolutely every category. Slow uptake on trends, technology, and collaborative thinking methods popular in other large companies. Org structure is very top-down with many in the mid- to high-level management having been in their post for several years. This is a pro as well as a con, as the people know the company, but have no other point of reference for current approaches and little interest in change. Promotions are difficult to receive as there is little elasticity in the structure and compensation is very poor.

Advice to Senior ManagementAdvocate for those who are working hard and reward them.
Examine imprints and titles that aren't selling and stop cloning failed concepts.
Don't hesitate to restructure departments with inflated staff.
Challenge employees to keep skills--and thus the product--fresh by attending continuing education classes and media-related conferences as well as industry cons.
Seek consultation outside of the company for innovation.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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6 people found this helpful  

Mixed messages - Company values people, departments don't

Production Assistant (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Penguin Group

ProsA good place to get a foot in the door, strong house with great titles, feels like both a big and little company.

ConsVery difficult to advance by staying in house - promotions and raises do not correlate with the workload of the employees

Advice to Senior ManagementFoster a sense of personal growth for employees and also focus on the work being done instead of personal politics.

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Great books, great colleagues, good benefits, satisfactory workplace, low pay, long hours

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at Penguin Group

ProsManagement avoided layoffs during 2008 depression.

Management is addressing new-media challenges, and being smart about it.

Opportunity to work on fine books with first-rate authors and editors.

Highly intelligent, experienced, and talented, and friendly colleagues.

Civilized and respectful environment with very little backbiting or sniping.

Good health benefits, generous personal and sick-day allowance for salaried employees, a lot of employee discount/membership perks.

Able to purchase company stock at 15% discount. New employees are automatically enrolled in 401k; company matches 4.5% of contributions.

Free books everywhere!!

ConsIndustry salaries are uniformly low, but entry-level salaries are SO low that we lose talent.

Raises generally do not match the cost of living. No bonuses that I know of, except for upper management, and occasional discretionary corporate-wide bonuses ($500-600).

Young staff hasn't a clue about how to manage their 401k investments.

Management frequently rolls out new software and workflow procedures that can make working more, not less, difficult.

At the same time, important, industry-wide software is often outdated. When software is finally updated, staff is expected to train themselves online while still maintaining workloads and deadlines.

In editorial/production, unrelenting increases in workloads, with higher percentages of books on brutally tight deadlines. New imprints, but no new staff hires in years.

Not too fond of the open-floor cubicle-pens and bright overhead lighting: no privacy at all, voices carry. No place to take a private phone call, such as a callback from a physician.

Advice to Senior ManagementPay for entry-level talent.

Make sure that new in-house software and workflow intended to save money and increase efficiency are truly helpful instead of making work even more difficult. Ask and LISTEN to the end-users, not just the proponents creators who don't actually have to work with their innovations.

Recognize that staff is willing to work with new methods, but only if the new methods don't make their jobs even more difficult. Try not to impose yet another new procedure every 3-6 months.

A lot of energy spent on in-house workflow improvements might be better directed to addressing new media, and updating and training employees in industry-wide software that will help merge traditional print and electronic media.

When adding imprints, hire new support staff instead of piling more tasks on already overburdened staff, which is stressed to the breaking point.

Thanks for keeping us employed during the 2008 depression. Much appreciated.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great Learning Experience

Marketing Intern (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Penguin Group

ProsBooks, Fabulous name, Comfortable Atmosphere, Got to attend some great launch events. Meeting big name editors and authors. Overall a comfortable place to work.

ConsAs an intern, I went from building to building (Young Readers is a building down a block). Coworkers complained a lot about poor pay. I didn't hear a lot about how I was doing. I had 3 supervisors

Advice to Senior ManagementIf you cannot pay your employees decently, compromise with company paid insurance, more time-off or other perks. Don't give interns meaningless work to do. I did more mailings than I can count.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great company

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at Penguin Group

ProsLots of room and encouragement of creativity and a casual work environment.

Conslow paying industry and takes a long time to get higher pay

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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best to work for

Manager (Current Employee)
San Jose, CA

I have been working at Penguin Group

Prosteam work, good comp, promotion

Conslots of work, hard parking, requires more managers

Advice to Senior Managementkeep up the good work

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Nice company

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at Penguin Group

Prosit definetely is a great company to work at. Lots of nice people. huge, as it has multiple floors and you can get lost.

ConsAs nice as it is, if you are not into books, this is not the place to be. Can get quite boring at times because of lack of challenges.

Advice to Senior ManagementThanks for doing what was necessary to keep everyone employed - no layoffs. Keep up the good work. We appreciate the fact that you care deeply about the workers.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Nice atmosphere, poor management

Editor (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Penguin Group

ProsPenguin has a good reputation and a lot of talented editors, so there are opportunities to work on interesting/high profile projects and the quality of work is high. Editorial staff here learn a lot and make important contacts. Depending on your immediate supervisor the atmosphere is relaxed and the benefits are good.

ConsMany of Penguin's practices are antiquated - even for the generally old-fashioned publishing industry - and instead of helping productivity end up creating busy work. Promotions are slow in coming and happen haphazardly. Many editors are frustrated by publisher and management decisions, but there is no way to communicate dissatisfaction or problems within departments to higher level supervisors. There is constant pressure to publish "commercial" projects and to steer away from "literary" titles, and you can expect to work late or on the weekends a few times a month.

Advice to Senior ManagementPenguin has an elaborate performance evaluation system in place, but it only works from the top down. Problems with mid-level management often go unnoticed by those in a position to address problems. Adding peer reviews or 360 degree reviews - bottom to top reviews - would be useful in at least increasing communication within the company.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Penguin Group reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Penguin Group CEO John C. Makinson. All 30 reviews posted anonymously by Penguin Group employees.