Mission: To become the number one construction and infrastructure development company in Canada, a national player who safely, profitably and sustainably delivers best-in-class integrated services, products and solutions to meet our customers’ needs.
I have been working at Aecon full-time (More than a year)
Honestly, there are very few positives to being here. Of those, we have solid benefits and, personally, my co-workers are a lot of fun and help me make it through the week. Sadly, that's about it. Aecon is doing very little to retain me as an employee.
Get ready for a good read!
There's a clear difference between what Aecon says it is and what actually happens here. Aecon is continually on the "Best Employers in Canada" list, but our scores - which are shown to employees in HR-led meetings/witch hunts - are laughably low. Despite the Best Employers survey being anonymous, management tries to figure out who gave low scorings or made negative comments that are meant as discussion pieces toward positive change. Anything brought up in these meetings is made an action item and quickly forgotten about. Nothing ever changes and the same mistakes are made year after year.
Management continues to take on more work when there's no capacity for it. There are weeks where you can't even get out of your chair for lunch in order to make a deadline. In meetings, management stands behind the fact that there's no budget to hire more bodies to take on the ever-increasing work loads. They blame the company's target EBITDA. Meanwhile, the existing team members are miserable and disengaged. If someone quits (happens a lot), their work load is cut up and distributed to the team. We are severely understaffed and demoralized, which leads to a semi-toxic environment filled with passive aggressive behaviour.
Aecon's career advancement system is severely flawed. Without exaggerating, everyone here is a vice president of something, even if they have no one working under them. Everyone is entitled to advance their career every few years with little to no raise, so employees move up until they hit a fictitious ceiling. There's a lot of lateral movement where employees change job titles but do the exact same job.
Right now, I do the work of three employees on the same pay grade that I started at two years ago. A large portion of my work load right now isn't even in my job description. Talk about the company getting bang for their buck. I'm over-extended and completely disengaged.
Management will make decisions without your expertise on projects you're expected to deliver. You're hired for your skill set and knowledge but they won't tap into it to build an efficient foundation for success. Instead, they will drive the project without knowing what it takes to reach the end product. It's like forcing a ship captain to fly an airplane. All that matters is getting it done as fast as possible. This leads to a lot of wasted time, mistakes being made and immense frustration. Voicing your opinion about concerns leads to hostility and defensive behaviour from management. There's an unnatural obsession with over-delivering when everyone should be managing expectations and grounding promises in realism.
Aecon is very reactive to situations, at least in my department. You're never given enough logical time to complete a project. You're expected to perform miracles in half the time that's physically needed. If you do turn water into wine, you're given a handshake and told to do it again. Aecon will take everything you give them with very little reward, which I suspect is universal within corporate culture.
Meetings are of very little value and last way too long. They're often scheduled to meet the needs of someone in senior management, which means they will almost always be at the end of the day an hour before you normally go home. Expect to stay late listening to the same three people talking for three hours about subjects that are of no concern to your deliverables.
Work-life balance is hit and miss. You will receive emails all hours of the day, will be called on your cell while you're driving into work at 6:30 a.m., and will have to come into work on a scheduled vacation day (no joke). I've received emails on holidays and at hours when you should be romancing your spouse.
By far, one of the worst aspects of working at Aecon, or in Toronto for that matter, is the commute. I spend 12 hours a week driving. That's a work day and a half with no pay. I also use a tank of gas in five days. I arrive angry, perform my job angry and pull into my driveway angry. This is no way to live your life.
I'm sure all of these things are universal issues people have with their jobs, but I'm over being beaten down. I invite you to stand up against the same if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. You will always find another job and life will go on without you. Find happiness for yourself while you're still here.
Advice to Management
They won't read this, so it doesn't even make a difference. They need to read my "Cons" and figure it out for themselves. I make it pretty clear.
The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Aecon (Lynnwood, WA) in June 2012.
I applied through the university I study in. They contacted after 3 days confirming they received my application. After 2 week I got email saying my resume is still under review and they will contact me within 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks a senior manager called me and invited to his office for interview.
On the interview there were 2 senior managers including the one who called me. The next day after the interview they called me and offered the position.
I was able to negotiate a starting day (they were looking for a person starting right away, I am starting a month later)