Unilever Reviews

Updated October 19, 2014
Updated October 19, 2014
748 Reviews
3.7
748 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Unilever CEO and Director Paul Polman
Paul Polman
418 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance was certainly fair, never had to fight for time off when it was needed (in 63 reviews)

  • Flexible working hours, great remuneration and understanding line managers (in 27 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance, lack of opportunities to move up unless you relocate (in 52 reviews)

  • decision-making can be complicated & slow since this is a matrix organisation (in 28 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Awesome

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

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

    Pros

    great pay awesome opportunities as far as growth

    Cons

    gives out alot of over time

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep up great work

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Huge company with a small company feel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Scientist in Trumbull, CT
    Former Employee - Lead Scientist in Trumbull, CT

    I worked at Unilever full-time

    Pros

    It's a huge corporation, with a global presence. They do a lot of community involvement and charity work, which always made me proud to work there. It's also one of the most diverse workplaces I've ever worked in. The department was relatively small (30) and the site was relatively small (400), so you could get to know a significant portion of your colleagues. Benefits were on the high side of average.

    Cons

    R&D was funded like a small company, and so actually had less money to budget than some smaller companies. Upper management is overwhelmingly white male. There was a significant push to "work lean, work smarter" in other words, they cut back on the number of people in the department, but not on the amount of work they expected to be done. No-one worked 40 hour weeks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They talk a good talk, and overall the values are sound. However, the implementation of the policies depended on the managers, and varied widely. Some managers let people work from home if their kids were sick, others did not. Some managers would let you work from home if the weather was gross, others would make you call it a vacation day.

    Recommends
  3.  

    Complicated matrix

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

    I have been working at Unilever

    Pros

    Work life balance is great

    Cons

    complex matrix can make it hard to get goals accomplished

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Not so great any more, headed downhill fast... and now I hate it...

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

    I have been working at Unilever full-time

    Pros

    Nice name to add to the resume
    Experience and exposure to learn so much.
    You have lots of tools and training (until cut backs)
    Health benefits are good
    Retirement benefits are pretty good
    Company perks, like cars and covered expenses for certain positions are good (but beware they are starting to cut back and dwindle)
    Salaries to start off are okay, but raises are so minimal and the work load increases exponentially in the same position
    Some WFH flexibility in some positions

    Cons

    Micro-managers
    Worklife balance is horrid
    People who work till the wee hours of the night and weekends are looked upon highly as if that's what defines work ethic and if you refuse to join this craziness, people think you don't take your job serious or you don't care which is so far from the truth - Unilever has no idea what work ethic is and how to instill that in people
    Budget cuts are ridiculous - everyone is always out of money and you have to get permission to do anything now
    Ways to move up are getting harder and more competitive as Unilever is going "lean" - they claim they brought "oxygen" to the organization (aka a bunch of consultants to figure out where to cut staff to cut costs as opposed to investing more to generate more, just rely on the tried and true tactics of bad corporations, so basically they miss a sales goal, then they cut back expenses and start with the staff and quality of products, but don't dare touch the CEO bonuses or VP perks)
    Unilever has cut staff but preach that you don't need to worry you'll keep a healthy work life balance, yet Unilever expects the same amount and level of work to get done - SO RIDICULOUS
    Salaries are becoming less competitive but since Unilever likes to compare themselves to industry "averages" they think they are above, which is ridiculous - Unilever as a global company and one of the largest CPG companies in the US should hold their standards far higher than the industry averages, if they want to attain and retain good talent, it's complete BS
    Raises are so minimal & bonuses aren't much any more - but super competitive to get
    Rating system is so flawed - pretty much every one will fall in to average buckets, those on growth businesses will get higher ratings
    Directors and Managers can be very judgmental
    Sales goals are ridiculous - they like you to increase sales but wont invest even a little more to make more - typical issues in selfish corporations, Unilever wants to generate more profit, cut cost but not invest in anything
    Staff working in HQ drink the Unilever kool-aid and become criticizing know-it-alls (not all them but a lot)
    Product quality is questionable some times especially when you aren't drinking the kool-aid
    Supply chain is a nightmare - they expect you to sell more product, but they can't even keep up with manufacturing it and getting it out there, lacks so much credibility
    Lots of pointless calls to get on and pointless discussions
    Always connected - every one wants something from you ALL the time and if you don't get back to them people freak out, emails at all times of the day
    Unilever is now a place to stay 2 to 3 years max, get some great experience but you'll need to broaden your horizons

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    DON'T micromanage, stop being judgmental, fake and trying to intimidate, be real leaders and down to earth...AND PLEASE stop the criticism of everything, do you think we don't see business issues we need to address - it's insulting and we can't snap our fingers and solve everything...trust in your people and they will deliver. Fight for us, don't accept the direction the organization is taking, stand up for us - you want good people and good results, voice what it takes to get there - write a controversial white paper or something, get your hands dirty.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Golden Handcuffs is used by many to describe working here

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

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

    Pros

    Flexibility. They truly embrace agile working... allowing people to have better work-life balance. The motto is that work is what you do, not where you go every day. There are several social initiatives that the company support. These are all very commendable. They've saved lives, made commitments to improve the environment and supported developing countries in the development of new business initiatives.

    Cons

    Minimal advancement. In order to get ahead in an extremely competitive environment, you are practically killing yourself by working crazy hours and doing the work of 3 or more people. Have seen cases where people are with the company their whole career (30+ years) and never get a promotion. Opportunities for advancement are scares in certain functions and specific countries. Very UK/IN focused.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've run your organisation so lean that you put yourself at risk. As well, some of the recent promotions and reduction in force practices are putting you at risk for legal actions. Making someone redundant but filling their role is very unethical.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    can be great, with limitations

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Brand Manager in Englewood Cliffs, NJ
    Current Employee - Brand Manager in Englewood Cliffs, NJ

    I have been working at Unilever full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    It's a good place to grind your teeth when you start out in brand management. Great resources, talented people, lots of education and networking opportunities, ability to gain experience in various categories and brands, all while learning 'classical marketing' which sets you up well to move onto most companies.....as long as they respect classical marketing, and many do not.

    Cons

    The company goes through changes quite often. The culture changes, strategies change, everything. The intent is clearly change for the better, but this isn't always the case. Each new leader brings their own agenda, and often their own buddies, displacing people who are well respected long-timers, and tossing them out. There's been a tendency to flatten the pyramid....more and more at the lower levels, and fewer positions as you try to move up. From assistant to associate to manager isn't too difficult. It's trying to move up to sr. mgr. or worse yet, director where things seem to grind to a halt. Too few positions, too much politics. Politics exist in any organization, some worse than others. Overall its collaborative here depending on which group / category you work with, but it often doesnt feel like a meritocracy. The goal posts seem to move. Despite your best efforts and accolades/kudos, you can get a horrible rating or bonus based on factors that were out of your control. The attrition rate in marketing the past couple years is quite telling. Also, more Europeans and South Americans seem to be brought in especially at director level. The common sentiment is that this is because the pay rate for expats is much lower. The downside is a feeling of frustration among the Americans waiting to move up, and also given that these folks know there rotation is limited in time, there tends to be much less focus on building strategies and long term viability for a brand, and more on doing whatever it takes to deliver this years numbers, since they wont be living with the long-term repercussions of a lack of strategy/vision.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Disorganized, demands a lot, good benefits

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Quality Technician in Kansas City, KS
    Current Employee - Quality Technician in Kansas City, KS

    I have been working at Unilever full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good benefits: medical, dental, long-term disability, tuition reimburssment
    Company store, can buy a lot of personal products for discounted price
    Decent salary...exactly average for the position type and region of country
    They pay OT for some positions

    Cons

    Limited locations
    Demand A LOT from you - have to wear their uniforms, hairnets, earplugs, painful steel toe shoes
    They keep the staff spread pretty thin so you are always moving

    Work Saturdays AND Sundays
    Work 12 - 16 hour shifts
    Have to work at night./overnight/ very early in the morning
    Terrible work/life balance...feels like I'm always at work. Used to have a life... not any more

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire enough people so the job can be done right and your people can have a decent work./life balance

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Going global has dehumanized the company

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

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

    Pros

    After a period of time, you may have the opportunity to work from home occasionally.

    Cons

    Bringing all of the components and regions of the company together has been over-whelming for the employees. There is no work-life balance anymore. And it is rare that you have an 8 hr day. You work until all issues or time sensitive tasks are completed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is no work/life balance anymore. The majority of the employees are very stressed, overworked, and burnt out.

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Procurement Manager

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

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

    Pros

    Opportunities to learn and grow your career experience. Collaborative environment within a performance culture. Appreciate agile working for work/life balance. Strong company values

    Cons

    Compensation is lower than average and challenges to be recognized for hard work to achieve results. Cost of living near corporate office is high, so commutes are long.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very strong organization with talented people and powerful brands.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Brand Manager in Englewood Cliffs, NJ
    Current Employee - Associate Brand Manager in Englewood Cliffs, NJ

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

    Pros

    The people are very talented and offer lots of opportunities to learn.
    Powerhouse brands.
    Strong global footprint.
    Food and Personal Care blend offers a rare opportunity to get wide experiences in one company.
    Dedicated to making a difference.
    Strong foundational training.

    Cons

    Given the size of the organization, there inevitably is a lot of levels, bureaucracy, etc.
    On the brand side, sizable and frequent budget shifts make it difficult to plan ahead and cause a lot of strain in the system.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For the most part, very driven, smart, and caring leadership. Ego occasionally gets in the way, but my experiences with senior management were quite favorable.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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