Barclays Reviews in London, England | Glassdoor

Barclays London Reviews

Updated October 15, 2017
783 reviews

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London, England (UK)

3.5
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Barclays CEO Jes Staley
Jes Staley
145 Ratings

783 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance varies around the group (in 169 reviews)

  • Senior management can get a bit out of touch sometimes (in 143 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (28)

    "Investment Bank: Big Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Software Developer in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Barclays full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I wrote a review just over 2 years ago and I'm still here at Barclays Investment bank – on the whole it's a good place to work. Unfortunately due to lack of career opportunities I feel it's time to leave but decided to write this review so others can learn from my experience over the past 3 years working at Barclays.

    First of all, it's a big bank. A lot of your experience will be determined by those around you rather than the company as a whole. Also, the banking group led by CEO Jes Staley is actually made up of smaller parts – as of 2017 it’s essentially two major legs:

    Barclays UK
    - The retail bank (typical high street stuff),
    - Barclaycard (UK only)
    - UK wealth business (rich clients)
    - Corporate banking (small and medium firm finance)

    Barclays International
    - Corporate banking (large global firm financing)
    - Investment bank (trading global markets)
    - Barclaycard (outside UK)

    These two legs (designed to ring-fence risky stuff away from conventional banking) are both supported by a service company, Barclays Services Limited. The service company is where all the non-revenue generating parts such as IT and other operational back office teams are (they share the same resources); this company supports both the UK and International legs. Each bullet point is a separate company so it’s a very big group. Barclays predominantly focuses on the UK and US markets, clients and firms. Someone working in the retail bank will experience a totally different career to those in the investment bank -there are pros and cons for each of them.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I work in the investment bank middle office (supporting front office – sales and traders).

    Jes Staley, CEO. He knows what he is doing, comes across as humble and has sensible plans. Jes makes sure his ‘generals’ carry out what needs to be done, especially around restructuring Barclays for the future (thankfully a lot of big changes are now done). Totally agree with Jes about the need to have a diverse set of people to work with (i.e. no old boy clubs) and the need to have better technology; he understands the bank today is actually a tech firm and IT is not a cost center – it is the bank. Also emphasizes that Barclays has a role to play in society and the greedy self serving banker has to be stopped (not too sure how this works with him taking such a large salary though…)

    The brand. It looks good on your CV.

    Learn on the job. You don’t need to be up to your eye balls in fancy qualifications to do most of the jobs. Studying finance helps but honestly, it’s not something that everyone needs as the roles across the teams are so varied you have to just have a good attitude and work hard to get it. Like I said – most a just well paid grunts with easily transferable skills to other offices in any industry.

    Diversity. People don’t care about your background, ethnicity or anything like that – it’s what you bring to the table and your ability to do your job. We have people fresh from school, 18 years old on apprenticeships and those that have PhD maths doing some very clever stuff.

    Work Hours. The culture of “lunch is for wimps” is long gone and working hours are pretty good. No one frowns at you for going to lunch or leaving on time, although most stay beyond their contracted hours to finish the job. A big cultural shift from the days before the 2008 crash. Also everyone is being encouraged to work from home occasionally as this saves desk space (in turn saving the bank money from building costs, etc)

    The People. On the whole they are a nice bunch of people to work with. They are always busy but are approachable; I can’t recall anyone saying “avoid so and so because you’ll get shouted at”. Everyone is down to earth and very hard working (except a few management types). Some people here are very smart with PhDs and other big qualifications – don’t worry though as not every role needs a rocket scientist.

    Work Environment. It’s quite good to be fair – you get multiple monitors, virtual desktops, access to a lot of software. Some of the systems are old but they are looking to update them over time (will take years). Realistically it’s doing alright though – haven’t quite got to everyone using touch screens but it’s not ancient (Win 7 or Win 10). Nice open plan office area, canteen, meeting rooms, etc but certainly not like Google (unfortunately).

    Cons

    Okay, so now you know the scale of the firm it’s become apparent that it is very hard to climb the corporate ladder. Each company such as the investment bank has its own large hierarchy with thousands of people working for it; due to the numbers involved it is often the case of not what you do but rather who you know which will allow you to progress. You can get someone incredibly talented at analyst level (bottom rank) but will never get chance to move up and really shine due to the odds against them – this means that good people leave as they aren’t progressing as quickly as could have been or they get bored and want new work. Based on what I’ve seen people usually leave the firm after 2-3 years (sometimes just after 1 year) at lower levels as it dawns on them that you are playing a numbers game.

    Politics. Okay, I’ve yet to work for any company where people don’t play politics; it’s a fact of life. Unfortunately I feel that those that have made it to pretty good positions (VP, Director level) are reluctant to do good job and end up falling into the politics game. I hear very senior people saying “work together as one company” but in reality in each team managers are playing politics and looking after their own interests. No one from very high up ever visits the ‘ground troops’ and so they are out of touch of what it’s like back on the floor (I assume they are always in important meetings being told everything is fine).

    Pay and bonuses. I said this a few years ago and it’s still the same – unless you are one of the lucky few forget about being handed a cheque with a long number on it. Those days are well and truly over. Sure, some lucky senior people will get a big reward but most of us are just well paid grunts. Speaking of which the pay is good (not amazing), however when you work it out per hour it’s honestly not above and beyond any other place. My contract states my working hours are 9-5. Every day I work 08:30 – 17:30, which is alright (it used to be a lot worse 3 years ago!). I don’t get rewarded for all those extra hours though so it makes my bonus almost insulting each year. Every year people go into “the room” expecting to be told you’ve just got a big fat pay check and every year you get told “here is your 2% pay rise and £1,000 bonus”. Grateful for it but believe the media hype of millionaire lifestyles.

    Annual reviews. Seriously – there isn’t any point if I’m honest. There isn’t a structured career path for most to take. It’s like most jobs – take your seat, work hard based on your role, think outside the box by making stuff better and learn some things along the way. There isn’t anything I’m aware of where they have a structured career path, despite HR making out there is such a thing. My manager is woeful at best; it’s like taking career advice from a fast food manager with politics thrown into the mix.

    Leadership. Same as everywhere else I’ve been. Lots of managers but not natural leaders. A lot of managers are not real leaders, despite what they view themselves as; happy to delegate and be the chief getting paid the most but somehow avoid listening to concerns, helping nurture talent, provide knowledge to those below, working with other teams. Usually a case of “I’m in charge do what I say” rather than “I have something to teach”.

    Pigeon Holed. People feel like they are stuck in certain roles and are not given the chance to move. For example those in middle office have a huge barrier to those working in front office. A complete “us and them” attitude – both don’t know what is really involved by either side. The front office see everyone else as a cost and waste of time; the middle office see sales and trading as people making constant mistakes and not appreciating what we do for them (nothing would go through unless other teams are there supporting the money makers).

    You made it! Now you can read about that dreaded one star rating that makes you question if the whole company is rotten to the core (it’s not; it’s down to who you end up working with, promise). :)

    Advice to Management

    Take the time to go back to the grass roots - there are lots of rough diamonds that are being hidden by a political layer of middle managers. A lot of these people are being lost as they never get a chance to shine.

    Barclays Response

    Aug 25, 2017 – Head of Resourcing

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Really well balanced and factual which is great as often people write with emotion in their reviews.
    I really hope others take the time to read... More


  2. "Great secure place to work with fabulous benefits."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Secure Company
    lots of career opportunities
    dynamic/flexible working
    Good Sick pay and maternity package
    Compassionate leave offered
    Private healthcare package

    Cons

    Salary is not as competitive as other banks
    Climbing the ladder can be difficult as it doesn't go on how great you are it's more about who likes you.

  3. "Overall positive experience but leadership quality is inconsistent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Barclays full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Opportunity to progress if competent

    Cons

    Overly bureaucratic, internal politics across divisions

    Advice to Management

    Walk the talk in terms of the group values and behaviours


  4. "Solid place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in London, England (UK)
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Barclays as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Excellent teamwork; good work/life balance in the department that I was in; good decision making by senior management

    Cons

    Constant review of costs affected morale

    Advice to Management

    Do what you say... don't give lip service.


  5. "Great progression"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Barclays full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very good progression for self-starters and ambitious people.

    Cons

    Stiff, inflexible hierarchy which means decision-making takes months rather than weeks. Burdened by legacy issues.

    Advice to Management

    Make it easier for everyone to make decisions, at every level.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Finance - ok place to work but very top heavy and serious lack of progression"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President Finance in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Vice President Finance in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Barclays full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    CV
    good place to work temporarily to understand what you don't want and how a large organization works despite having robust reporting.
    A lot of learning opportunities however the politics are a hinderance with a very strong blame culture.
    Pay reasonably good however being squeezed for new recruits due to stagnant external market.

    Cons

    High attrition in finance roles with Head Office driving a lot of the chaos due to a lack of understanding of the business issues.
    Finance is very top heavy (MDs/ Directors) and now you have highly competent AVPs and VPs leaving out of frustration as the senior managers hold on to their roles in desperation.
    Lack of progression due to a number of average talented people who have been at the bank for a while blocking the way.
    Anyone who has been there more than 3/4 years seems to miss the good old days and more of a hinderance to progress as it will mean more work for them.
    HR is very switched off.. and do not help or provide any guidance.
    Culture and Values are non existant as the CEO's own integrity has been questioned re:whistle blowing.
    Bonuses are used to align total comp and not performance.


  7. "PA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Personal Assistant in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Personal Assistant in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Barclays full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits
    Ability to earn a good bonus if work hard
    Flexible working & supports family life

    Cons

    location
    Communication can sometimes be delayed

    Advice to Management

    Continue to support flexible working (allowing colleagues to work from home & work flexible hours) for those employees who perform well

  8. "Graduate programme review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Barclays full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Very good training for entry-level employees

    Cons

    - Need to upgrade on technology.
    - Too much focus on values and corporate image instead of efficiency


  9. "working at Barclays"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Vice President in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Assistant Vice President in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Barclays full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    good overall benefits and working environment

    Cons

    lots of change in the leadership seems to affect the vision


  10. "IB Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IB Intern in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - IB Intern in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Barclays (More than a year)

    Pros

    great people, great exposure to real work

    Cons

    Strange culture can be both hot and cold

    Advice to Management

    clear strategy on culture


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