The World Bank Reviews

Updated March 27, 2015
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3.4
205 Reviews
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The World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Jim Yong Kim
120 Ratings

205 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great place to make a difference

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Decent salary, good benefits, very smart colleagues, many opportunities to change the world for the better, always intellectually challenging, interesting travel.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic, poor managers, crony promotion system, hard to advance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve employee value proposition, use a different approach for internal promotion.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. Tough place to be an STC

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Short-term Consultant (STC) in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Short-term Consultant (STC) in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    International environment, great speakers and presentations

    Cons

    Cap of 150 days/year, hard to advance, no computer or workspace offered, no benefits, double taxation for US citizens

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat STCs who work as full-time staff more like full-time staff

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. I can see how this may have been one of the best employers a few years back - unlike nowadays

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunities for learning and professional development
    Challenging, exciting and fulfilling work in various countries
    Flexible lateral mobility in between regions and themes
    Good work-life balance

    Cons

    Difficult career path, further slowed down by ongoing "change process"
    No performance management whatsoever
    Innovation and client delivery models kept separate - not a culture to foster innovative solutions at the front line
    Continuous pressure for fundraising despite widespread operational underspending

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

    Mid level

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Mid Level in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Mid Level in Washington, DC

    I worked at The World Bank as a contractor (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Global environment, and your intellect is challenged constantly. Good benefits (for the moment) , salary is somehow competitive, and it provides some flexibility as far as work schedule.

    Cons

    Competition. ..lots of competition .....you'd better be friends with your boss, or belong to the "circle" of ivy league colleagues, so you can move around and "up" !

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A lot more diversity, not just diversity of being white, black, or blue, but being able to have a full spectrum of diverse ideas and thoughts from a "diverse" background of NON-IVY LEAGUE institutions.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Research department

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

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The people there (for the most part) care deeply about the work they do, and you get lots of access to tools, data & policymakers.

    Cons

    There are some very brilliant folks in the research department, but a few duds as well, and duds seem to trend to management

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  7. Worked as an intern in private sector development focusing on Africa. Enjoyed it greatly.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank

    Pros

    The team I worked on here was very results oriented. I was encouraged to work creatively and was rapidly assigned additional responsibility according to my ability to take it on. I was immediately able to make valuable contributions and have my work recognized.

    Cons

    I didn't personally experience many cons, though I heard about some. Typical cons I hear are that it is hard to get a staff job, and that things can be overly bureaucratic. My unit was not overly bureaucratic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation could be improved for entry level workers to make more competitive with private sector opportunities. Also, benefits for consultants could be better. For example access to the gym would be appreciated.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. If you're lucky enough to find a good manager/mentor, this is an excellent place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Evaluation Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Evaluation Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Bank has a great reputation, in certain units there are many chances for travel. Interesting research and work.

    Cons

    Short term consultancies are awful, it's very difficult to live on the low salary you make as an STC.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think more strategically about how you use lower level staff. Hiring young staff as short term consultants and not providing career development is extremely short sighted

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Great organization, great exposure but had a difficult time working there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Financial Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The WBG is a great institution to work if you enjoy the exposure to other cultures. I really enjoyed my time there sharing with people's backgrounds, experiences and culture. It has a great deal of professional and engaged people. People who really care about helping poverty ends. It has great benefits if you are a full term employee.

    Cons

    It is difficult to grow in this institution. If you have plans to learn and advance your career this place is not for you unless you don't care to spend 15+ years or even more here. It also people that abuse of the power...Specially on your reviews.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. Fun place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of interesting people
    Everyone I met was committed to their work and extremely intelligent.
    You meet people from all over the world

    Cons

    People can be a bit staid and formal. Also, some cultures don't like to shower as much as others. In the DC summer heat, this can sometimes be a problem

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 7 people found this helpful

    What it's like to be a short-term consultant (STC)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Short-term Consultant (STC) in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Short-term Consultant (STC) in Washington, DC

    I have been working at The World Bank as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    One of the only ways for young (under 40) people to get into the World Bank. There is no guarantee however that this will translate into more formal, permanent employment.

    If you look at other development NGOs, it generally pays better (but see my caveat below about maximum days you can work).

    Colleagues are generally very smart and worldly. This does not mean, however, that they are competent or caring.

    Interesting and important issues. It's a big institution so there is always something new to learn and there are lots of free talks, conferences, etc to attend.

    Cons

    The World Bank enjoys immunity from domestic judicial processes so this means that the terms of your employment is not, in any way, protected by US labor law.

    You are cheap, fungible and therefore disposable labor. You receive no benefits (no paid sick, vacation or holidays, no health insurance, no transportation, no pension, and as US citizens you pay your full tax burden as self-employed).

    You are paid on a time vs. deliverable basis (days) which means TORs are written very generally and even if they are not, you can be expected to do work that is not in your contract.

    While you can contractually only work 150 days per fiscal year, there is often an expectation that you work more-- for free. (i.e. a manager will ask that you work throughout the year but only with pay for about 1/2 of that time).

    Because historically STCs were the way to enter the Bank and get more permanent positions, you will feel pressured to take the abuse and exploitation with the elusive and non-monetized value of promise.

    Individuals are generally not bad but they are the product of the institution's system of incentives: your managers may understand it to be "unfair" but they have to operate within the system.

    But then there are those who really are bad and will use the systemic problems to screw you over (ie. give you a contract but randomly cancel it or change the TOR because again, you have no legal recourse and are replaceable.)

    If, after this, you are still interested in becoming an STC, you can safely know that there is zero transparency about the process and is highly founded on nepotism. Positions are probably 99% word of mouth and not posted publicly and even internally, most of them are not announced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Human capital is your greatest asset and yet it's the most underutilized. People are leaving in droves. You are losing your best talent and when you look demographically, the Bank is aging, and you won't have people you need in the future.

    Hire more ETCs and less STCs. Let the ETCs follow a clear predictable track to employment with a clear career manager and mentor. In other words, invest in people.

    Negative Outlook

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