Sigma-Aldrich

  www.sigmaaldrich.com
  www.sigmaaldrich.com

Sigma-Aldrich Reviews

Updated November 28, 2014
Updated November 28, 2014
177 Reviews
2.8
177 Reviews
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Sigma-Aldrich President, CEO, and Director Rakesh Sachdev
Rakesh Sachdev
82 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance is pretty much what you want to make it (in 13 reviews)

  • Great people doing the best with limited resources (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • No opportunities for advancement at remote sites (in 4 reviews)

  • Not much support regarding career advancement (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Interesting experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Procurement Agent in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Procurement Agent in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good benefits package. Offered both a pension and 401(k) at the time. Pay was decent and some of the work material was quite interesting

    Cons

    The organization was very clique-y, those who didn't tow the part line didn't have a good experience. To meet goals, certain departments were given objectives that directly conflicted with each other. They tended to act like they owned their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect the work life balance of your employees. Give departments a common goal and encourage them to work together to meet them, rather than pitting departments against each other. Eliminate redundant products and trust your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good benefits and work-life balance, hard to advance

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

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

    Pros

    The work is interesting and challenging, definitely not boring. Great experience in the lab. Very useful in acquiring skills to find a job at another company. Great variety in chemistry. Flexible hours a plus. Work-life balance is pretty much what you want to make it. Stable company.

    Cons

    It's very hard to get a promotion unless you are willing to relocate to another site. Even then, it is difficult. Compensation is often under the average for scientists in certain geographic areas. Constant mandates from corporate HQ to develop new policies and procedures, without adequate support to do it. Very hard to hire new people, so employees must work harder to reach goals. Many job functions moving to India, without care as to whether the functions are done well. It's all about cost-cutting. Company does little to support scientific staff. Tries to do too much as cheaply as possible, rather than paying for expertise.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Enabling scientists to improve the quality of life also means enabling your own scientists. We are a microcosm of your customers. Our needs are their needs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Mediocre (and somewhat stingy) Corporation--your happiness will largely depend on your boss

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

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

    Pros

    -Lots of schedule flexibility (although depends on your boss to some degree): eg--flextime is largely accepted and practiced with some employees leaving at 1 PM b/c they come in so early, others work until 7 PM b/c they come in later, it is up to you how you construct your day.

    -Very safety-focused culture.

    -People are generally interested in learning more since this is a science-y company.

    -Generally very laid-back (depends on your specific facility).

    -Employees are very friendly and welcoming to new-comers--most people are very approachable and helpful. Since the workforce is on the older side, there is a lot of experience to go around which is generally a good thing (some of it dated or warped by biases, more in Cons).

    -Sigma makes a sincere and genuine effort to promote diversity and fair dealings with employees: eg--for the most part, people are promoted based on merit (not politics--although I'm sure some of this still goes on). Also, huge fluctuations in number of employees is generally frowned upon, so mass hirings and lay-offs are unheard of (however, this also means the company is very conservative in other ways...more in Cons).

    -If you are lucky enough to be in a "generous" department (more on this in Cons), you may have excellent training opportunities. Again, this depends very much on who your boss is and which chain of command you are in. After switching from one to another, my perks/benefits and opportunities increased exponentially--this makes me feel really bad for those left behind in my old department.

    -Decent matching 401(k) and tuition reimbursement ($5000/year).

    -Very good mental health benefits (up to 8 sessions/year).

    Cons

    Sigma has gone out of its way to try to improve the "employee experience" in recent years (e.g. starting the FUEL campaign to connect your job with how you're supposedly helping solve real world problems)--this is appreciated, but it seems they are not willing to put their money where their mouth is, as it were:

    -Expect salary to be on the lower end of the market rate. Part of this is because the cost of living in St. Louis (and the other mainly Midwestern Sigma locations) is pretty low. However, Sigma is also very conservative and it appears that they would rather shoot for the C-average student than go for the cream of the crop, and they are okay with this if it saves them money and the people they get still get the job done...eventually and perhaps not the best that it could be.

    -As stated in Pros, basic benefits are generally decent, but lots of little things add up that can make your compensation package less than satisfying: absolutely no bonus potential, training/professional development seen as a luxury to be avoided unless ABSOLUTELY necessary, meager raises (even for top performers), stingy office environment (every pen or ream of paper ordered is scrutinized), things like extra Cardinals game tickets are SOLD to employees, etc.

    -To contradict statement directly above (but still a Con)--some departments are quite generous with employees, going above and beyond in training opportunities, team-building and rewards, work-life balance, opportunities for travel, use of company vehicles for official business (as opposed to my old department where you were expected to drive across town in your own vehicle), etc. However, even though I'm in one of those good, happy, generous departments now, it still bothers me that this is just luck of the draw on where you end up. It should be a company wide practice to promote employee training and other basic amenities of doing your job.

    -Again, some old-school managers are very...well, old-school! They watch you like a hawk (this is even for professional, salaried employees), they act like granting vacation requests is a special treat that you need to earn (as opposed to being a standard part of your compensation package, which it is),, they talk down to you, they micro manage, they think training is a luxury, they expect perfection, etc., etc. Just less than ideal management and it really frustrates me that people are treated like this.

    -A culture of stinginess has become very entrenched at some facilities. It is laughable and ridiculous some of the things that go on in the name of saving a few hundred dollars. This really gets to employees morale-wise.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is great that internal communications have improved and I applaud your efforts on this front. I also think the FUEL campaign is a good effort.

    However, marketing alone will not improve employee morale. If you want to attract and retain top performers (or even average performers), you need to kick it up a notch on bonuses, competitive salary, etc.

    Also, it would be great to eliminate stingy little things like selling tea bags for 10 cents in the cafeterias, making interview candidates buy their own $3 lunch in the cafeteria, making employees bring in their own food for the "Company" holiday party, only allowing 2 pizzas to be ordered for a department being honored with 20+ people (come on, shouldn't you at least get them sandwiches or something a little more "formal"?), etc....this sort of thing probably doesn't really affect the bottom line all that much in the big picture, but it does contribute to low morale and sends a message to employees that they aren't worth the extra $3.10 or whatever.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Good people, upper management doesn't value employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    nice people, good planning processes relaxed work environment

    Cons

    promises of advancement not kept

    Outsource, Outsource Outsource,

    Compensation is low,
    Value of current employees,
    Would rather hire 4 outsource with the wrong skills rather that hire skilled workers at market price domestically

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    nurture in-house talent and stop the push to outsource if you want a maintainable & scalable applications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overworked & Overwhelmed. Never enough hours in a day.

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

    I have been working at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very financially stable, benefits are good with a 401k match and good health insurance.

    Cons

    work-life balance is difficult to maintain as the company prefers you to work 11 to 15 hours a day & weekends if necessary to meet business needs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is a strong sense, whether you see it or not, that the employees truly do not feel valued. There are extreme inequities in bonus among upper management only when you need non-supervisory staff to work continuous long hours at every location to meet business needs. Profits are more important than people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Company, although low salary

    Former Employee - Senior CHEMIST
    Former Employee - Senior CHEMIST

    I worked at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very structured, is well-known, and can give you lots of experience

    Cons

    Don't always give credit for work done. Sometimes inflexible, and unnecessarily.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be a bit more flexible on personal leave. If a salaried employee works a lot of unpaid overtime, and they are out of vacation time but has a family issue that needs to be addressed, you should have the capability of either letting them make up the time, or taking the day off without pay (requested once during 6 years of employment, but was denied. It was one of the main reasons I left).

  8.  

    I appreciate my years of experience, education, and the great work environment that I had working a Sigma Aldrich.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Distribution Associate in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Distribution Associate in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The health benefits, 401K, tuition reimbursement, flex-time and the friendly work environment made going to work a lot easier.

    Cons

    I did not have any complaints during my 13 years of employment with Sigma. My department moving to Milwaukee and getting laid off was my only issue.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Things have changed and the changes they put in place make it worse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Specialist in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Product Specialist in Saint Louis, MO

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

    Pros

    Knowledgeable Colleagues
    Well respected company
    Good tools available if you know how to use them

    Cons

    No training
    No Support
    Smoke and Mirrors leadership
    Very Poor Work Life Balance
    Progression is something not possible at corp level.
    Your best is never good enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Talk with the little people about improvements while you can, before you cut their jobs and send it off to India. You treat people horribly. Fail an employee survey, and then conduct a new survey with questions pointed towards positive outcomes no matter what. You as a company have lost who you are. Jai was so proud to have never had a layoff. As soon as his legacy wore off, Rakesh started cutting people left and right.

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

    Nice company to gain experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Chemist II in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Chemist II in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Sigma-Aldrich full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good place to gain experience for future career. Benefits are average for the industry standard. Coworkers are all very pleasant to work with.

    Cons

    The management is more concerned about staying under budgets than investing in proper equipment and resources to perform the job at hand. They are slow to promote unless you are actively applying for new positions. Communication between departments is poor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to find ways to retain the good employes and remove the bad ones. Promote based on competence rather than years of service.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Big corporation, still committed to its mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Milwaukee, WI

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

    Pros

    There are a lot of opportunities to get experience in any facet of the business you would like exposure to. There are lots of bright, engaging people who work here.

    Cons

    With the size of the company comes the lack of communication across any global company of similar size. Many projects are slow moving because of the risk aversion of the company. It's unfortunate, but it is understandable so as long as your expectations aren't of a fast-moving entrepreneurial workplace, then it will be less frustrating.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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