The Nielsen Company

  www.nielsen.com
  www.nielsen.com

The Nielsen Company Reviews

Updated December 22, 2014
Updated December 22, 2014
1,286 Reviews
3.4
1,286 Reviews
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The Nielsen Company Chief Executive Officer Mitch Barns
Mitch Barns
179 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • They have a great work life balance with work from home options available (in 89 reviews)

  • Flexible work hours and the ability to work from home when necessary (in 77 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is challenging given the workload is often too much (in 110 reviews)

  • depending on your role, you could be working long hours in some stressful environments (in 70 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Nielsen way."

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

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Nielsen is a great company for someone who has never worked for another professional organization and has no frame of reference for comparison.

    Cons

    To have been in business for over 90 years, you would think Nielsen would be a lot further along. Their technology is completely archaic (their metering equipment is the size of a VCR!), their systems and processes are over-complicated and cumbersome, making it more difficult to close deals than it needs to be, and their management is arrogant and not open to new ideas (very much the "good ol' boy network). As told to us by our trainer, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Nielsen way."

    The 3-week training program was taught completely out of sequence, you are completely overwhelmed with new systems and information, then, fresh out of training, you are held to the same performance standard as tenured employees. In addition, certain aspects of the role were not fully disclosed during the hiring process making it feel very much like a bait and switch. We were also made to sign disclosures and acceptances to policies without being provided the actual policies.

    There is nothing irreverent about Nielsen. Don't work there if you have an original thought in your head.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in overhauling your technology - your metering equipment and your internal systems. Also, revise your hiring process to ensure there are no surprises, as well as your training to better equip new employees for success. People shouldn't come out of 3 weeks of training more confused than when they started.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    You may or may not like working for Nielsen TV Ratings

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Outside Sales Representative in Franklin, WI
    Current Employee - Outside Sales Representative in Franklin, WI

    I have been working at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Ok, let me start by saying that I only took this job for the paycheck and not for a career. I have worked over a decade in 3 leading industries that were worthwhile, fulfilling, financially rewarding and highly desirable. This is a job that a trained monkey (or as my manager put it, any slave—more about being a slave later) can do. So, if you are a magna cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a summa cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a cum laude, this is not the job for you. If you are a rocket scientist, this is not the job for you. If you want to make a difference, this is not the job for you. If you want to use your post-high school education, this is not the job for you. If you are opposed to being a slave (to quote my manager), this is not the job for you.

    That all being said, you may or may not like working for Nielsen TV Ratings.

    Pros…
    There’s NO drug testing, very little to NO background checks (it’s just criminal and motor vehicle), NO psychological testing and NO exams of any other kind.

    You get a chance to earn quarterly IP (bonus or incentives). This starts at $25 (per home over 25 homes signed) and can go as high as $400 (per home once you hit 36 homes signed), albeit the company and management caps your recruitment efforts by capping the number of homes (approximately 28.8) per quarter. Sorry, there is NO sky’s-the-limit earnings here.

    You get the potential for paid overtime (time and a half) albeit they will cap your OT to 4 hours per week. You can get $1,500 language differential if you speak fluent Spanish.

    You will get a company car (albeit, you will have to pay per mile for any personal use) plus $25, $35 or $60 per pay period (twice a month) for access to the company car. The company pays for the vehicle insurance (albeit Nielsen TV Ratings is self-insured). The company pays for all maintenance and gas (business miles only).

    You get a company laptop, printer, GPS and company phone (currently an iPhone).

    You get a lot of autonomy.

    Cons

    Cons…
    Low starting salary of $32,100 per year paid bi-weekly or every other Friday. The 2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines (effective February 10, 2014) for a family of FOUR is $23,850 (at 100%) and $31,721 (at133%) for a family of FOUR. So, yes that’s right, if you work for Nielsen TV Ratings you will qualify for Medicaid and federally funded Food Stamps. I know, I had to apply for food stamps and use a food bank just to make ends meet. Keep in mind Nielsen Media, publicly traded, earned around $18 Billion in world-wide sales during 2013.

    You will be required to attend a 3-4 week sophomoric ‘recruitment’ training program at the home office in Tampa, FL. The company pays for your travel to and from Tampa and puts you up in an extended-stay property (albeit with virtually no maid service they change your bed linens, 2 face towels, 2 hand towels and 2 bath towels just once per week! They also only clean your room/kitchen/bathroom just once per week!). The rooms are just ok, but the property is fairly nice and includes an on-site gym, restaurant and bar. All meal expenses are solely on you (zero is paid by the company per diem for your meals and you cannot expense your meal expenses!). Although you get to share a rental car with your roommate for the 3-4 weeks, gasoline expenses to and from the training facility as well as for personal use are your sole responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the company.

    You will be required work a non-standard schedule including mostly afternoons, evenings and weekends. This means locating and then ‘walking’ and Knocking unannounced on the door of anywhere from 1-90 (or more) ALTs and Knocking unannounced and without appointment on Basic recruit doors within an assigned Spec from 9am-10am, 11am-Noon, 3pm-5pm, and 6pm-8pm (or any other hours the company, your manager and/or your trainer sees fit). These Specs are selected at random (based on some statistical model created by the company to meet the company’s needs) and assigned to you by the Sample Management department, a Sample Manager and your Sales Manager based on a pre-determined outcome they (the company and the management team) are trying to achieve.

    You will be required to locate and go unannounced into some pretty bad areas/homes…drug/violence/roach/rat/mice/tick-infested areas/homes (albeit some nice areas/homes too). Some homes will have fecal/blood matter or bodily fluids in the yard, on the walk ways, on the porch, on the walls and/or living areas, etc. You will go into some very interesting homes and try to recruit and then conduct in-person interviews with people of all walks of life good or bad (ie. felons—violent ones too, rapist, child molesters, child/women beaters, gang members, drug dealers/users, perverts, and/or just plain crazy people, etc.). You will have to go into very dark/private areas of the households living quarters (ie sheds/garages, basements, attics, bedrooms, etc.) to look for and at TV sites alone with one or more persons of the household. You will be required to talk to persons of the household who answer the door in various stages of undress/nudity. You will be required to continue the recruit even when being hated, ‘hit on’ or sexually harassed or touched inappropriately. I had a woman hold my arm and then run and lent roller over my crotch-area to remove her cat’s hairs from my pants after she invited me to sit – not lay down -- on her cat’s pillow that was in a chair. Also, I had a husband and wife talk graphically about threesomes and group sex, before inviting me to a swinger’s party with them although I gave them NO inclination towards liking such activity.

    You will have to use the company provided laptop/iPhone and related programs to input collected data. Most of the systems used will be redundant and obsolete as well as rudimentary, requiring much more human effort than required or normally used in similar industries with similar capabilities.

    You will work very unusual work hours. Nielsen TV Ratings takes pride in its vast study of the ‘best’ time to reach its households to recruit them into the ratings. The primetime for recruitment for Nielsen TV Ratings is 6:00pm-8:00pm (and that’s regardless of if the home is located 3 minutes from your home or 3 hours from your home). You will be required to work some weekend hours, yes, both Saturdays and Sundays. You also will be encouraged to work holidays to reach homes where you have had difficulties contacting household members at 2 different meal times (breakfast/lunch or diner) on 2 different days as well as weekends. At times you will be pressured to skip vacations and planned days off to maintain production numbers/goals. From time-to-time, you will be sent to SWAT (recruit) in other geographic locates for 2 or more weeks at a time while your work in your assigned area waits unworked until you return (keep in mind, you will be penalized for not working your assigned area while you are away).

    You have to pay a pretty high deductable ($1,000 or so) for any/all accidents you have in the company car, be it during business or personal use. Let’s say you are traveling within your assigned area within the posted speed limit to recruit a home in an assigned Spec at 6:00pm and its dark outside and a deer collides with your company car. You will be required to pay the deductable out of your pocket, even though the company is self-insured!

    You have to pay a pretty high deductable (around $100 or so) if your company laptop, printer, GPS or company phone is lost, stolen or damaged.

    By all accounts, turn over is extremely high for Membership Representatives (don’t go into any new debt -- credit card, car or home, etc. with this job!). The turn over rate is around 70-80% with less than 1-3% or Membership Representatives lasting 1-2 years on the job.

    Benefits package including medical, dental, vision and 401K, effective first day of employment; however, they have some of the highest medical/dental deductibles of comparable industries around.

    Career development opportunities don’t really exist as the management teams in place concern themselves with primarily protecting their own jobs/careers and will often derail your career (hence high turn over rate) for the fear of being replaced by younger, brighter, more educated, and more resilient talent.

    Back to being a slave. You will be recruiting families and getting them energized and excited about participating in the Nielsen TV Ratings as a Membership Representative. However, recently, several local and state governments as well as the federal government forced Nielsen Media to change the title of the Membership Representative to reflect what the role actually is – an Outside Sales Representative. One thing you will do as a Membership Representative or Outside Sales Representative is, in essence, work for the Field Representatives or FRs. Your real job is to initially build rapport, sell and recruit homes for panel participation and then immediately after they sign up hand that home off to the FR for the next 2 or 5 years. That’s right; you are a salve to the FR by making sales that the FR isn’t capable of making, because of a lack of training or knowledge. Once the sale is made, you are no longer needed on that folder or account. As my manager put it, it’s a numbers game and you are a salve to it, pure and simple.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    No job security, Do not work here. Very high turnover rate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Membership Representative in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Membership Representative in New York, NY

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    company car (which they strip from you even though you are paying for it monthly)

    Cons

    They have an agenda meaning they will find a way to make you NOT succeed by giving you crappy work and sending you on 2 hour drives to homes that have already told another Rep NO. It's definitely a hamster wheel, every week you have to meet your signs if not you get cut. The Nielsen name looks good on a resume, so work their for the name recognition and leave before they get rid of you like a dog. This company does not care about their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more supportive with your staff so they can be successful, do not set them up to fail. I have seen some great reps lose their job for no good reason.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    ruthless idiots

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    the Nielsen name on your resume, which isn't even worth very much any more. Your power point and excel grunt-work skills will be great after a few months here. By then you will also have more than enough material to write your own dilbert comic strip series.

    Cons

    Extremely cutthroat environment. rampant scapegoating, rumors, lots of people throwing each other under the bus, and trying to escape the blame because most of the products have chronic issues and the data is always screwed up (business units like BASES and OCR have better product & data quality but culture issues still remain). It doesn't help that people here also take themselves and their jobs way too seriously. Clients often return data; even the non-research/data clients find glaring mistakes on a regular basis. Several syndicated products are in such poor shape that every single year they have a team of black belts come in, spend a week putting up post-it notes and reformulating all their processes, but inevitably nothing helps and the exact same thing happens next year. The roots of this culture go back to the management history; after the company was saddled up with debt and sold to private equity, they wanted to do anything they could to cut costs, recoup their money, and have a successful IPO. During that period before the IPO, which lasted several years, clearly managements priority was milking the business enough to have a strong IPO, not running or growing it in a way that was any way sustainable. Those same management practices have continued. The only 2 circumstances I would recommend working for this company - 1) if you are a huge jerk you will fit right in, or 2) if you are a fresh college grad who has gotten into the Emerging Leaders Program, AND don't have a better offer elsewhere. That rotational program actually provides quite a bit of exposure to different businesses and can be a good experience.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    put up more motivational posters. those really helped.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Long work hours; Poor prospects for career progression

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Nielsen Company

    Pros

    I can't think anything good about Nielsen HK

    Cons

    Long work hours; Poor prospects for career progression

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve employee morale

  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Nothing really, but free drinks, join a ERG Group get to meet other people from other teams, ERG groups are always fun. I enjoyed the ERG groups more than my actual work the people too

    Cons

    Low pay, over worked, expect you to always give up you lunch, discrimination against those who do not have kids, especially if your young they will want you to always stay late for those who have to leave bc of their "kids". lack of communication, bad management, HR is terrible and always sides with Managers. Just stay away and run. Worst place ive every worked.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a more friendly team enviorment. employee morale is at a all time low.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Worried about ratings not about the people who make them possible.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Columbia, MD
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Columbia, MD

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    It's funny that Glassdoor makes you enter PROS even if their aren't any!

    Cons

    Company is too big to effectively and efficiently create quality products. Organized chaos that forces the employees to work their fingers to the bone in an attempt to meet deadlines. What makes this worse is the outsourcing of IT projects to a 3rd tier Indian company. Company claims to be diverse but they weigh heavily on the minority side, often laying off people with years of experience while hiring right out of college "experts". Leadership has a "steady as she goes" mentality that results in broken technology, lingering IT projects and budget overruns. Infrastructure projects that are managed by IT outsourced Indian labor are ineffective and awkward. TCS is in over their head and their inability to manage projects are examples of that, however, no manager raises concern.

    Benefits are horrible. Very expensive, complicated and poor coverage. The benefits costs are calculated on how much money you make. Lower payed employees pay less for health coverage. Coverage is mediocre at best.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do other companies a favor - stay at Nielsen. We need to contain incompetent leadership.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Beware the cost-cutting model

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

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Many leadership programs are in place to grow talent like the Emerging Leaders program and leadership conferences. Some of the leaders were wonderful like Dave Calhoun and Mitch Barns- visionaries that really want to bring Nielsen into the next century. Very bright engineers and technology experts.

    Cons

    This is a company that is 100% reactive in nature. As technology changes, Nielsen is constantly trying to stay relevant to their markets. The diary side of the tv rating business is finally being retired but it took decades to get there. Nielsen's focus is always around saving money because they are expanding into emerging markets and to do so they have a huge upfront investment, bringing them into severe debt. In 2013, they had no growth in europe and emerging market growth was not where they projected it to be. Just know that if you're in this kind of model where every dime is spend on future investments, they will be finding ways to cut corners.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop saying you're investing in your people and culture and actually do it. A past leader at Nielsen, Mitchell Habib, always preached about his say-do ratio to his direct reports. Well, actually act how you preach. If you are going to invest in your people, don't have such stringent terms for meritocracy- managers play favorites, ratings are highly subjective, and bonuses are constantly being slashed because Nielsen isn't making enough to pay out all bonuses. Invest in culture because that is the only way you will be able to stop the crippling effects of poor middle management and attrition.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Would not recommend Nielsen!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Manager in Istanbul (Turkey)
    Former Employee - Research Manager in Istanbul (Turkey)

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Global company and have opportunities to have a global role if lucky.

    Cons

    Nielsen has become very focused on revenue and profits and not on its employees hence the high turnover rate. Very long working hours and does not care about employee satisfaction and development. Also has decided to change the bonus system in the middle of the year! Definitely would not recommend to a friend.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    De-Evolution from Art Nielsen ideals to bait-and-switch

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Nielsen Company full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Holistic solutions. Great training ground. Vast career development options. Mgmt has done well aligning businesses under the Nielsen umbrella. Trusted name, great resume item.

    Cons

    Beneath the idyllic surface, short term gains undermine long-term company direction:

    Let's talk about where it is going to hit your pocketbook:
    - Vanishing merit and bonus compensation. Be very aware going in. Pay raises - IF given - may take affect up to 30 months from previous raise. Over time, it will take most employees years to realize a raise from their date of evaluation. Likewise, the bonus plan is engineered to lower potential earnings over time for the vast majority of employees. It's called meritocracy but it is giving a dog a good name.
      - 32k+ employees worldwide and I can buy single payer insurance for nearly the same amount? Their health benefits are bare bones.
      - Stingy 401k contributions; There is a reason Businessweek ranked Nielsen #232 out of 250 companies in their 7/24/2014 edition.

    It goes beyond you:
      - Numerous instances gaining long-term client agreements only to fire SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) with lower paid junior account personnel. Just as bad, colleagues witness SME removal after years of struggle gaining the business. Not a good motivator nor client practice.

    As a stock analyst, I rate Nielsen a SELL over the long-term based on these fundamentals; The economy is getting better, employees already see the misdeeds and clients are starting to figure it out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your services are good; Take better care of your employees and clients

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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