Sinclair Knight Merz
3.4 of 5 36 reviews
www.skmconsulting.com Sydney, Australia 5000+ Employees

Sinclair Knight Merz Reviews

Updated Mar 9, 2014

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3.4 36 reviews

                             

62% Approve of the CEO

Sinclair Knight Merz Managing Director & CEO Santo Rizzuto

Santo Rizzuto

(13 ratings)

59% of employees recommend this company to a friend
36 Employee Reviews
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Great teams, good opportunities, may change with merger

Senior Engineer (Former Employee)
Brisbane (Australia)

I worked at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than a year

Pros1. Work with some of the best and brightest people in their fields.
2. Work on diverse, interesting, big projects with a team drawn from across the company.
3. Learn from your Community of Practice (with practice leader and regular virtual meetings).
4. Take advantage of the mentoring program to be a mentee or mentor.
5. Enjoy the fruits of SKM's business strategy in focussing on valued "relationship clients."
6. Be formally acknowledged for your capabilities as you become rated/certified in technical competence (in an in-house skills/discipline matrix) and known across the company for your skills.

Some or all of this might change as SKM recently merged with Jacobs, a much larger company (name changed to Jacobs SKM).

Cons1. Some managers may not be so great at actual people management, as they are most likely good at being engineers/scientists and project managers, which is not the same skill set.
2. While useful, the custom systems used in-house for project management can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
3. Depsite the extensive use of afore-mentioned systems, undocumented knowledge still tends to lurk in the heads and hands of old-timers.
4. The current economic climate has led to a round of lay-offs (though not as soon or as severe as in similar companies).

Advice to Senior ManagementSome other reviewers put it best: watch out for the rigid, bureaucratic culture that is developing. The internal QA/PM/other systems are well developed but beware that the tools don't become the master. Last, there are a lot of client facing roles and it's not clear whether the company is spending the right proportion of its budget on client management -- perhaps this should be examined by an impartial outsider.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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I still talk about how great SKM was/is to work for. Should be an interesting change being acquired by Jacobs

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Perth, Western Australia (Australia)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 3 years

ProsLeading HR/Recruitment systems/procedures/function. You don't know how good you have it until you leave.
Fantastic people. All working towards a common goal.
Flexible working arrangements are a reality.
Fantastic Learning & Development programs

ConsSuccession planning in support services is limited due to high retention of senior staff. Limited opportunities to progress.
Being professional services, it was all about chargeable hours, and in difficult economic times this become a critical management tool but an unfair tool to measure performance against.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great people, open and collaborative

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 5 years

ProsYou'll work in a very collaborative environment, it's the people here that makes the business what it is. Open, friendly Environment with great investment in its people, particularly around training and development. It's a flexible and relaxed environment where you manage your own time to achieve your goals. Your encouraged to come up with your own ideas to add further value to the business.

ConsThe recent intent to explore potential Mergers/Sale has been a huge distraction to the business where some focus has been lost along the way. The wheels have been moving but much more slowly. A huge distraction to the staff within the business.

Advice to Senior ManagementNow the sale has been announced please move quickly and decisively, creating clarity around structures and future roles.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great company, very flexible and friendly.

Secretary (Current Employee)
London, England (UK)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than a year

ProsGood working across offices.
Good systems.
Good communication.
Flexible.

ConsNo room for promotion from administrative prospective.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Limited opportunities, especially for women.

Civil Engineer (Current Employee)
Brisbane (Australia)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe only pro.. nice location if you live on the south side.

ConsIf you are not part of the MAMIL cycle club (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) than you get nowhere.

Don't work here if you are a woman, don't be fooled by their 'Women in Consulting' promises - you don't get anywhere.

There is so many levels of middle management, that makes the entire company extremely top heavy and full of ex shareholders (after Jacobs merger) that just charge to overheads.

They made all the wrong people redundant during the GFC and consequent 3-4 rounds of redundancies.

The treatment of graduates is very poor, no engagement and very little in the way of professional development opportunities. Make big promises in the interview stage but don't follow through.

If you don't achieve CPENG/RPEQ within 4 years of graduation (A pretty hard ask when you don't get to actually work on projects) then you are automatically career limited throughout the company.

Expect a lot of unpaid overtime - especially from junior staff. If you question their resourcing policy - you get put on the 'list' and even more limited in your project involvement.

Salary reviews are a joke - they don't actually budget for increases ever.

The Jacobs acquisition process promises more pain, and they have started a policy of 'don't tell staff anything' instead of the previous SKM policy of 'give some information out on occasion'.

Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of half of the middle management, and introduce some KPI's that are not $$ focused - like staff retention.

Change your male only management policy to be more female friendly. - Employer of choice for women? Oh Please.

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

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Life changing experience

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Melbourne (Australia)

I worked at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than a year

ProsGood office accommodation. Monthly social events for staff to connect. Good location to public transport. Has some great people working there.

ConsToo heavily focussed on technical workforce. Poor recruitment practices in non technical areas. Policy of attracting and retaining female talent is not adhered, insufficient females in leadership positions. Company values are not followed, and little is done to address poor behaviours, and inexperienced HR team unable to manage some of these issues. Senior management have been there for too long and unable to move with the changing times. Success within the company is dependent on your role (technically favoured) and who you report to (too clicky).

Advice to Senior ManagementIntroduce 360 feedback for performance reviews, yearly opinions surveys for continuous improvement. Employ more females in leadership positions in all areas not just technical.

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

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Not too bad, but somewhat slow and unresponsive to customers and opportunities

Engineer (Former Employee)
Sydney (Australia)

I worked at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than a year

ProsTechnical learning opportunities
One of the less conservative Australasian consultancies
Reasonable interoffice mobility, for those looking to relocate to another city/country

ConsTenure-based allocation of responsibility
All the usual cons of consulting
Middle management generally have very little formal training and commensurate competency

Advice to Senior ManagementEngineering talent is not the same as managerial talent; this attitude is holding the organization back. Because of this, lower level engineers tend to see their positions in SKM as career stepping stones.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Not bad but could do better

Environmental Scientist (Current Employee)
Brisbane (Australia)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 5 years

Pros• The company offers a wide range of project areas both in terms of technical requirements and geographical locations.
• If you join as a graduate there are real opportunities to work in different areas of the business before you become specialised.
• With a reasonably global reach there are many opportunities to move around the globe, something which many staff took advantage of when the UK slowed down in the GFC but the mining boom keep Australia’s markets strong.
• There was the opportunity to become a shareholder (this will cease with the Jacobs takeover though).

Cons• The company has become too top heavy with the ever increasing number of shareholders and client managers floating around in the upper echelons getting paid a lot but not actually generating that much work.
• The middle management in the company is weak (although that is something that can be levelled at a lot of firms).
• The company is becoming a more and more rigid place to work which damages its relationship with staff as well as its ability to be nimble in difficult business environments.
• There is a perception internally that this is the best consultancy and that we have some sort of god given right to have clients knocking at our doors paying whatever we want. This has led us to be less competitive recently than a lot of our competitors.
• Being employee owned is good if you’re in the 10% owners but negative if not. It creates a divide between the 10% and the 90%, something that is bought into sharp focus in difficult times when lots of non-shareholders are culled whilst every shareholder keeps their job regardless of their input to the company.

Advice to Senior Management• Remember what the company is about
• Try to rekindle the atmosphere of old
• Treat the staff in a more accommodating way rather than the rigid one size fits all approach which seems to be prevalent at the moment.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Toxic atmosphere internally

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Brisbane (Australia)

I have been working at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 5 years

Pros- Some good opportunities to progress and travel with the company if you can grasp them
- Some interesting projects
- Good training opportunities

Cons- Don't feel secure, feel like I could be made redundant any minute
- Slow to react to economic pressures
- Complex management structure; including too many seniors and not enough juniors
- High fee rates often make SKM uncompetitive
- Good values, but a feeling that they're ignored when required
- Currently a toxic atmosphere following redundancies and lots of pressure to perform, with different messages coming from different parts of management depending on their person KPIs

Advice to Senior ManagementStreamline the management

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Ok

Engineer (Former Employee)

I worked at Sinclair Knight Merz full-time for more than 5 years

Prosgood projects
Beers on Friday's
Ok salaries
Good inhouse training

ConsNot many options to progress unless you are Shareholder
hire and fire , no security

Advice to Senior ManagementGet the merger over with quick.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Sinclair Knight Merz reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Sinclair Knight Merz CEO Santo Rizzuto. All 36 reviews posted anonymously by Sinclair Knight Merz employees.