The location of the office, right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, was great. The city of Pittsburgh itself, underrated by most who have never been there, is terrific. There are lots of things to do and see and being right next to the city was a great benefit to working at Alcoa.
The benefits are pretty good outside of the vacation time. The good thing about a large company like Alcoa is you know you don't have to worry about having decent health care packages available.
In addition, there were many good people at Alcoa that I still remain in contact with. A number of managers I worked for were easy to get along with, helpful when asked for advice, and good at what they did.
Alcoa also had a number of programs set up to help young professionals advance in their careers. A CPA program allowed employees to take CPA classes and exams while being reimbursed for any cost. Additionally, management support helped those looking to get their CPA fulfill all the requriements Pennsylvania had outside of simply passing the tests, such as obtaining audit hours and a referral. Other classes, at local colleges, could be requested if necessary for the job.
Finally, working in the corporate offices for a Fortune 100 company was a great exposure into the inner workings of such a large company. I really got a feel for how the company functioned and what was fueling the overall corportate strategy more than other new hires might have in different jobs.
Let's start with the most important cons, the salary is not good. In fact, I would go as far as to say they are terrible compared to other employers. The difference between my salary from Alcoa to my current job, both of which were entry-level hires, are like night and day. The vacation time is also not great, though it is probably standard for the industry. I won't go into specfics, but they are not very competitive compared to other companies that hire often off the campus.
The work itself was fairly simple and easy. Which was not a good thing. Having to stay in an office for eight hours a day with little challenging work to do is as boring as it gets. This means you don't learn or pick up any new skills unless you participate in the above training programs, which makes you less attractive for future career opportunities. I literally felt as if I was wasting months of my life at times.
The headquarters is filled with managers, many of whom manage regions of the business. What this means for a fresh hire is that they can be reporting to anywhere from five to ten different people at once. So even though there are quite a few good managers, as mentioned above, at the company who are fun to work for, there are just as many who make the workday unbearable.
And finally there was the corporate environment. Where, because of the failing economy, everyone was afraid to say anything wrong in front of the wrong people. When a question was asked to the CEO about why the company's top fifty executives maintain an expensive New York office, private planes with a hanger, and other seemingly unnecessary assets at a quarterly conference call (note, this question was from an outside analyst) while the company planned to lay off thirteen-thousand employees, he snapped and said he wouldn't answer questions on the subject.
You got the feeling working there that you would be in trouble if you brought it up to the controllers or management. And who wants to work in an environment like that, where they are basically forced to sip the company Kool-Aid? And who is going to trust a CEO who refuses to answer simple questions while publicly facing lawsuits from the previous company he was CEO at (Siemens)?
In summation, the job sounded great in concept when presented by recruiters, and as an entry-level you may think, as I did, that it is OK to sacrifice a little in salary and benefits for a better learning opportunity. But based on my experience, I would not recommend following through on that thought process. Look elsewhere or stay unemployed for a while, it will be better for you in the long run then starting a career with this company in my opinion.
Advice to Management
Be more transperant and less hostile when asked tough questions. People who are losing jobs don't like to hear answers such as "I am not going to answer that question" or "Please do not ask that again."
Alscoa is a good place to start adavance and to increase your knowledge of manufacturing.
They tend to treat there Senior Management and experienced employees like crap and tend to let senior employee's go and replace with less experienced employees at cheaper pay rates.
Advice to Management
Learn to treat your employees with respect and hold onto your experience and well trained employees instead of trying to save a buck for cheaper wages. If Klaus had an idea of the way his Plant Managers were treating his people he would decide to make some changes of his own.
Huge company with lots of locations and business units, excellent name recognition, opportunities to learn if you want to take it upon yourself to do so.
Extremely political and if you are not one of the group or if someone in the group is threatened by you, your skills and abilities or education level, then look out. You will not have the opportunities to advance as you should.
Advice to Management
You go to great lengths to recruit very talented and educated women and then you devalue them and their contributions to the organization...as evidenced by the large numbers of senior level women leaving the company.
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Good salary, decent benefits, the product is excellent and safety is important. You must negotiate for a good salary because the raises are small but the performance bonus can be very good.
Alcoa is a company that has businesses everywhere so you would think that it would be easy to find another job in another location but the HR department is so poorly structured that to move from one location to another is difficult. HR is only concerns with dealing with grievances and complaints.
At our location there are many from the hourly that have to work twelve hour shifts with mandatory overtime. The salaries are expected to work overtime without compensation. Once you had up those hours your salary does not look so high. It is a good deal for Alcoa who does not need to pay taxes on that free labor.
Our business was reorganized and our sales management team was completely ousted, people who truly understood our business (aerospace forgings) were replaced by people who came in like carpetbaggers from extrusion. There was no transition just high jacking of key positions with fancy announcements.
The headcount is reduced to the lowest possible level for the non-managerial group so it means that issues are slow to be resolved, employees are afraid to lose their jobs and don’t cooperate. It is a culture that breeds back stabbing and knowledge is not share. I would never recommend to people who like a healthy work environment to apply at Alcoa until they make major changes right at the top.
Advice to Management
Stop parading interns and quickly promoting them above your older more knowledgeable employee. Instead bring people in to learn the work alongside employees that can mentor them without fear of being replaced as happened in our office in two months. Ease people into retirement so that their knowledge is kept in house and they can train their replacement properly. Also take a look at equal pay for equal work, you are in violation. Your HR department is not doing its job.
Medical and dental plan if you don't have coverage. Parking and security for your Car the work inside is easy no skills just need to know someone
Major Idiots running the place,three weeks of no work and one week of run like hell!!!! Over and over again torrance ships more than 50% of there goal in the last week every month after month after month.
Advice to Management
Dump those stupid people you got running the company. They have no American skills when it comes to running an American company
-Lots of smart and talented co-workers to draw knowledge/experience from and a willingness from them to share it
-Large, well-established multi-national corporation with top shelf resources/technology
-Got some experience in an area I otherwise might not have (accounting) that will likely serve me well in the future
-In a year, I never heard a manager tell an employee that they did a good job
-Overreactions to small mistakes as if you almost personally caused the company to go out of business
-Culture was unbelievably dated with unwillingness to change and long-tenure employees who would sometimes go out of their way to make your job alot harder than it needed to be. Very few young people working there
-Would rather save a few dollars than adequately staff the organization. My workload at Alcoa was 30-40% higher than at my last job. I'm a fast worker, and me and the rest of Finance were always in the office
-Organization is rather flat, so there aren't clear division of responsibilities in alot of cases
-I was expected to catch mistakes of other employees all over the world that were making journal entries daily. In a ledger with 1000's of transactions spread across an entire month, I was expected to close the ledger on a $1 billion annual world-wide business, bridge variances to forecast/plan down to a microscopic level, AND review all the transactions for accuracy by 6:00 PM on Workday 1 (1 Day Close)
-I don't mind the extra work, it just seemed like management either had no idea how much we had to do or just didn't care enough to say anything. It wasn't until they saw our group's Life/Work balance scoring until they communicated to us that we shouldn't work so much. One group had so much free time they came up with all these new bridge analyses that senior management liked. Instead of having his group of 5 analysts be responsible for these recurring analyses, I was forced to do them all by myself. The other group simply had to copy/paste our work into a summary.
-Senior management was not visible and didn't adequately address our legitimate concerns. For example, the bridge analyses went from 0 to 10 a month to 10-15 a week within a quarter's time. We weren't just bridging the important business scenarios, we were bridging all kinds of random scenarios. Eventually they started forcing us to re-do our entire Forecasting process anytime something changed. So if Marketing decided we could sell 10,000 more units the day after we did our forecast and a round of bridges, then I had to immediately re-do the Forecasting and resubmit the exact same bridges with the new data instead of waiting until the next update. During my time there, they added probably 40 hours a month of work to our plate while the group with 5 analysts didn't take on 1 new thing.
Advice to Management
My advice is that Alcoa has alot of smart/talented individuals working there that give their all and make the company the success it is. Senior management doesn't seem to realize just how smart/talented these people are because they are never really visible and instead overvalue manager types whose largest contribution to the company is tactfully schmoozing with the right people at every opportunity. Because the company is so flat, there are plenty of checks in the process and employees that go above and beyond to make up for any productivity lost due to managers socializing instead of working.
They get away with their old school style/approach because the majority of the workers are old enough to have Pensions, which keeps them with the company. I honestly felt terrible for alot of my co-workers there, because I recognized how outstanding they were at their jobs despite all the curveballs being thrown at their head constantly, sometimes having to work past midnight, and receiving a salary that wasn't very competitive relative to other Fortune 500 companies. And when the quarter finally closes and the company delivers strong results, guess what happens? The underpaid employees chiefly responsible for the success might get a "good job", while ALL of the middle/senior management employees receive gigantic bonuses tied to the performance.
If they ever want to attract and RETAIN good young talent regularly, they have to be willing to make some serious adjustments. When I was there the age gap was already one of their largest concerns. Our business consisted of a few 20 something's among a much larger group of employees 5 years or less away from retirement. The employees close to retirement have been with Alcoa for long periods of time, sometimes in the same position for 5-10 years. I believe the age gap developed organically because the experienced employees were highly effective in their positions, unwilling to start developing the next generation, and knew they would never have to move unless they wanted to. Because of this culture, young talent turnovers like gangbusters.
I have been working at Alcoa full-time (More than 10 years)
Pay check, the people you work with, excluding the company people that have no business being managers.
They don't stand behind what they tell you!
Advice to Management
Grow some balls and stand up to what is right!
I have been working at Alcoa full-time (More than 3 years)
Salary, most co-workers are friendly, Health benefits are great
If you like wasting your time, then work here. It takes forever to get anything done as there is a massive papertrail. You cannot buy anything without 10 different people approving first. And if you have a breakdown, you need approval before you can get a part of out the warehouse. Then you get questioned on why it took so long to fix the problem. They keep reducing people (contractors, hourly, salary) in order to cut costs. No one is backfilling the old duties and everyone is getting over worked. They have unrealistic expectations that each person is going to have the next greatest idea to save millions of dollars. And demand that each person implements and tracks 2 of their ideas in a computer system. All they look at is costs, would rather not spend to save than to spend and save in the long run.
Advice to Management
You are putting too much pressure on every employee. Major reorganization needs to happen. Instead of adding layers of upper management that do nothing, restructure at the lower levels. I have never worked somewhere so disfunctional.
I worked at Alcoa full-time (More than 5 years)
There is nothing positive to share about the LaPorte IN facility
Worked at the La Porte location for quite a few years. It used to be a good place to work, not any longer. I watched it go from good to very bad. I can only feel sorry for the employees still there. Jobs are hard to find these days so they don't have much of a choice. Terrible upper management. HR does not care about or help anyone "don't let the door..." Managers only care about numbers and nothing else. They are cruel to the employees, supervisors and engineers; in other words they treat them awful, intimidation, retaliation, belittling, chauvinism etc., It's sad to have worked at and watched such a great company with such happy employees turn into such an awful place. Another company that brings in new management that tears the heart and soul out of the employees.
I have been working at Alcoa full-time (Less than a year)
The company has great benefits, which include lots of discounts with AT&T, Verizon, Staples, GM, Ford, Apple and many others. Their dental is excellent along with their vision plan. Their medical, is closely monitor and would ask you a tabacco free statment, but most of the time they all completed and they do not follow it. Even though is rough enviroment to work, very similar to working with construction workers, you will find common ground with some of the employees. Of all the employees, they are family oriented and willing to help out other employees. They policies are very strict and you must follow. The work shift are 12 hours, so most of the time you will work 3 to 4 days, but later they give 7 days off. So it's a vacation every month for 6 to 7 days and it's paid. Now if you work over the 40 hours you will get paid time and half, then after that is double.
Due to the great number of employees and heavy equipment in the facility, there is high risk for an accident, so they tend to enforce their safety rules to the point that they treat the employees as little children. Specially the corporate employees and supervisors who feel they are better than the floor production employees. The sad part is that their equipment is very old, dating back to WW2 and they do not have training manuals. The training is very poor, but they do give some basic electrical class room knowledge. They have a mentoringship that supposely rely on for the senior Techs to teach the new Tech, but most of the time they do not know how to teach. Only very few who are friendly enough and will teach you. They also make you filled out a Pre task form that supposely will make you aware of what you are about to do and the risks, such as possible electrical accident, fall accident, or other types of accidents. Most ot the time, they used this ticket form to incriminate and make you feel as if you do not know nothing and you are not doing the company way. They think the company is far better than the military and their expectations are higher. They also expect you to be there 30 minutes before clock in and if you are not there, they count you as late. Also you do not get paid for those 30 minutes. Would not recommend working for the Mill Plate facility, to much anomosity if you are a new employees and they would rather have older people.
Advice to Management
Recommend management to stop inciminating people, is just like if they are waiting for someone to do something bad so they can write you up and stop treating people as if they do not have any common sense. Most of the employees are older than 40 years of age and they have families.
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