BuroHappold Reviews | Glassdoor

BuroHappold Reviews

Updated November 15, 2017
140 reviews

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3.3
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BuroHappold CEO Roger Nickells
Roger Nickells
51 Ratings

140 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance is a challenge at times (in 9 reviews)

  • Lack of organisation and sometimes honesty from senior management (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Electrical engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time

    Pros

    Nice Projects to work on

    Cons

    Overloaded with work as most other consultancies, work life balance poor.


  2. "Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Structural Engineer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate Structural Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BuroHappold (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    They have a good selection of work and talent

    Cons

    Not very detailed in terms of production and development.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Don't waste your time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time

    Pros

    Business casual atmosphere, good/ intelligent people, global presence, moderately interesting projects, I.e. Same pros you will find at most engineering firms.

    Cons

    This company is as disorganized as it is dysfunctional. The turn over rate speaks for itself. I've witnessed several rounds of mass layoffs during a time of economic growth and stability! That's a sad reality for a global firm. Engineering standards are all over the place and there is a severe lack of corporate structure resulting in instability/ loss of repeat clients and above normal levels of frustration on a constant basis. In addition, there is a lack of upward mobility where promotions and raises are a rarity. The company seems to be struggling nation wide to solve crucial business practices.

    Advice to Management

    Hire management who knows how to operate a company and get organized. Embrace upward mobility within the company allowing those who perform well to grow.

    BuroHappold Response

    May 31, 2017 – Manager

    Hello
    Thank you for your feedback. Regarding promotion/reward, it was concerning to read that you feel there is a lack of upward mobility. We were pleased to learn that in a recent survey, a high... More


  4. "Growing Team with Exciting Projects"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Mechanical Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Mechanical Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Modern open plan office located on the 16th floor Penthouse in Downtown LA.
    Vibrant and Diverse relatively young team (Avg. age <40)
    Challenging complex projects in the US and internationally

    Cons

    Driving to downtown can be slow at certain times of the day but luckily public transport is constantly improving and expanding.

    BuroHappold Response

    May 15, 2017 – Manager

    Hello
    Thanks for your comments. We are keen to ensure our office environments create effective working spaces with a focus on employees' health and well-being. It's great to hear you are enjoying... More


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Senior Technical Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA

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

    Pros

    Great history and reputation.
    Quality of expertise is the highest.

    Cons

    Can feel far from the company core ideals in England.

    BuroHappold Response

    Mar 3, 2017 – HR team

    Hello
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. We are exceptionally proud of our talented employees and the expertise they share. Our aim is to be one interconnected global family and... More


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great Global Firm, Awesome First Year Experience"

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

    Pros

    A great firm working on great projects. Treats newly hired graduates well and is a great environment for college graduates seeking first job.

    Cons

    Large company means some of your hardwork may go unnoticed.

    BuroHappold Response

    Dec 9, 2016 – HR team

    Hello
    Thank you for your feedback. We're really pleased to hear that you've had an excellent first year with us ! We view our graduates as an integral part of BuroHappold and as the future of our... More


  7. Helpful (12)

    "A rapid decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    • Able to work on some unique and exciting projects with good clients
    • Fellow coworkers were some of the best in the industry
    • Fringe benefits better than average for the industry
    • Some really good intermediate managers (which unfortunately don' have much of a say in operations anymore)

    Cons

    • Workloads not evenly distributed among staff. Some people end up working lots of extra hours while others get to skate by at 40 hours. Work/life balance is not a top priority.
    • Top heavy organization has left little room for promotion opportunities for senior staff (unless you have the right connections at the UK partner level).
    • Little respect and voice given to the people actually producing the work. It has turned into a my-way-or-the-highway culture. Morale in the office is quite grim, but it seems to be lost on the people that are supposed to be managing the office.
    • Minimal BIM help. Engineers have to do most of the drawing and model setup, which is atypical for the industry.
    • Reactive, rather than proactive hiring strategy. Will let people get overloaded with work rather than hire to even out workloads.
    • Employees are all treated as expendable. Too many good engineers have walked out the door without much effort to retain them. Little effort has been put into correcting their reasons for leaving. Went through several cycles of junior engineers getting trained then let go at the first sign of a slow down, and then starting over with a fresh new hire. Your only asset as an engineering firm is your people and having to retrain every cycle becomes expensive and resource consuming.
    • Leadership clearly does not get along and is extremely fragmented. It is palpable at every level of the company and is another cause for the decreasing morale.
    • Switched from a team based approach to a structure that puts the responsibility of project scheduling into each project manager. This has led to weeks of constant deadlines, multiple deadlines, and no ability to coordinate them because every project manager is only looking out for their own projects. This was managed much better under the team structure.
    • All of this contributes to what one would imagine is one of the highest turnover rates in staffing in the industry.
    • Salary is below average for the industry (but not according to leadership).

    Advice to Management

    • Find a way to work together.
    • Keep your finger on the pulse of the office. It is not a good sign when you are acting like this is the first time you have heard of the rampant discontent. The lack of empathy impacts office morale.
    • Take a look at the number of people who have left and the quality of their work and ask yourself, "What are we doing wrong here?"
    • Make some effort to make your employees happy, or the current cycle will continue.
    • The ability to get by on reputation alone will eventually catch up to you.

    BuroHappold Response

    Dec 2, 2016 – HR team

    Hello
    Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are very proud of the projects that we deliver and are honoured to work with great clients. It’s great to hear you speak so highly of your... More

  8. Helpful (23)

    "Bad Career Choice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some interesting projects.
    OK for some internships and first-year employees, depending on their supervisor.

    Cons

    It is clear that the partners simply don't know the basics of how to manage people.
    - Office politics is horrendous at Buro Happold. The partners work closely with senior staff who cause problems but ignore those who try to fix or work past the problems. It's best to stay quiet around anyone who has been there for more than 5 years, particularly if you are not from the UK. Turnover is high among American employees and some senior staff has been replaced by people who are from the UK. There is definitely a British bias in the US offices.
    - Communication is a real problem. Organizational changes often occur without letting affected employees know. Some managers never meet with their direct hires and provide little or no guidance on job performance. Expectations and guidance on projects are rarely provided and asking for it can be tricky.
    - Career advancement is inhibited by a lack of cooperation between regional offices.
    - They have had problems with quality control which consistently pushes projects way beyond budget and it's beginning to hurt their reputation as well as their business. They deal with it by being very heavy-handed with inexperienced engineers instead of bringing in senior engineers and working with them to identify and fix specific problems. Again, bad communication.
    - An employee's annual review is typically conducted by 2 managers together. Sometimes they will focus on a single instance that they will claim was a serious problem (it wasn't) but never said anything about at the time, so you are caught completely off guard during the review. That "problem" is used to reduce your scores in all review categories and eliminate any bonus, performance raise or advancement for the year. This exact tactic was used on 4 different people that I know of last year. 3 of them have since left.
    - They have had sexual harassment issues over the past few years. Their sex harassment training was little more than an outside lawyer going through a list of "don't"s and had little effect.
    - They have considerable trouble hanging on to HR staff. At least 2 HR managers left because the partners were uncooperative.
    - Their record keeping is a joke. Simple things like tracking vacation time became impossible this year. Also, their system was set up a couple years ago so that no one, including managers, could read or retrieve performance reviews once they were submitted.

    Advice to Management

    Check your egos.
    Make sure you and all your managers talk with (not at) their direct hires regularly - preferably on a daily basis. Tell them if they are doing a good job, often. It is also the only way you will know how you are doing as a manager.
    Make sure group and project managers inform anyone affected by a change of plans.
    Having an open office without managers talking to their staff or the collaborative environment that is intended is just weird and does more harm than good.
    Most important: all partners should get formal training in Employee Management.

    BuroHappold Response

    Feb 17, 2017 – HR team

    Hello
    Thank you for your review. We take your comments seriously and are looking at implementing new strategies to improve our internal communications to ensure information can be shared easily and... More


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Pass - you'll find a happier place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    complex projects, a challenge is always fun

    Cons

    staff, management, the UK trying to run an office in CA

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention, got off your cell phones-talk to your staff. Be human


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Global reach, interesting projects with world class architects, strong career development initiatives for young graduates.

    Cons

    engineering based management isn't the best, private partnership structure doesn't filter down enough of the profits made.

    Advice to Management

    invest in the management processes of offices especially in England.

    BuroHappold Response

    Feb 17, 2017 – HR team

    Hello
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. We're exceptionally proud of the projects we deliver and the architects who we work it, it's great to hear you are engaged and excited by... More


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