CalPERS Reviews | Glassdoor

CalPERS Reviews

Updated April 17, 2018
62 reviews

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3.4
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CalPERS Interim CEO Douglas Hoffner
Douglas Hoffner
10 Ratings

62 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Calpers offers a good work life balance with good upward mobility opportunities" (in 12 reviews)

  • "Benefits, work environment, and people" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "They preach core values but only practice at exec level and low staff level" (in 4 reviews)

  • "There is no accountability in those who are making investment decision either" (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "State of CA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CalPERS full-time

    Pros

    Benefits, work environment, and people.

    Cons

    None at this time to mention

    Advice to Management

    None


  2. "CalPERS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CalPERS full-time

    Pros

    work-life-balance
    parking (but you have to pay)
    variety of jobs

    Cons

    cliques
    café can be redundant with food choices

  3. "Student Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CalPERS part-time

    Pros

    People are nice. They will find projects for you to learn.

    Cons

    Limited full time position available


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Rretirment Program Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Retirment Program Specialist in West Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Retirment Program Specialist in West Sacramento, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at CalPERS (More than a year)

    Pros

    Environment great, Coworkers great, training provided, equipment provided

    Cons

    Oversight has become too "private indistry" to privide members with desired information or extensive questions. New regime being driven by board members' perceptions rather than client needs.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being manipulated by outside entities who have no experience or knowledge of actualday-to-day customer needs. If the goal is to provide the best customer service, talk to the individuals who are actually providing it and consider the retirment recipient's position, not the race for private business' stats, which are inconsistent with the supposed goals of the agency.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Very sad executive office is in leadership positions"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Officer in Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Investment Officer in Sacramento, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at CalPERS full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance and benefits (let's hope I get them). I have an excellent manager now since switching to a different asset class. If you want to have a good paying job (if above IO 1 level D) that has a positive mission, CalPERS can be a good place to work if you care about wanting to make sure public employees have a retirement.

    Cons

    What can I say, a current board member was accused of sexual harassment and never fired. The board has made many poor political decisions that has led to the increased unfunded status that is projected to worsen over time. Leadership makes political decisions, i.e. the fund lost $9 billion in divesting from tobacco. Decisions like that are made without doing appropriate scenario analysis or impact to returns of the fund. Executive staff doesn't seem to understand basic math as allocation to the different asset classes and their expected returns never seem to enter the formula otherwise they would see they can't reach the expected rate of return. Duh. There is no openness in the decision making process and staff is often lied to by management about what is going on. Current leadership seems incapable of handling negative P.R. There is no accountability in those who are making investment decision either. CalPERS has high standards for external managers but if we rated ourselves as an investment manager, it would be laughable. Be prepared to be dismissed by the CIO and COO. They treat lower staff like they are idiots and annoyances to be rid of which is why it is not a surprise at the open committee when they discuss "talent management", it is only manager level positions they talk about. It is ridiculous for an Investment Officer I position, they expect 3- 5 years of industry experience while your manager more than likely doesn't have the demanded level of skill, education, or knowledge (my experience). The majority of asset class leadership is so toxic, good luck ever getting a promotion. The INVO department heads fight with each other about what positions will go where. So if you work in an asset class that management doesn't like or is politically hot, sorry, your promotion opportunities are swiped from you and given to another team. This is why people get stuck at IO 1 and IO 2 positions for years...and years. However, if the CIO likes you, he will allow for a whole new department for his favored person to lead even though there is no analysis on how this new asset will impact overall fund return or actual investment opportunities. Further, CalPERS loves to create committees that serve NO purpose or actually produce anything that goes into a decision. This wastes hours of professional time with pointless meetings where extra work is created for no purpose. CalPERS loves to talk about Core Values but the top leadership doesn't have the human capability of demonstrating them. I find it very sad that as a lower level employee, how much I care about providing and safeguarding retirement for public employees while executives and leadership do not care at all. I really think either the board structure needs to change in requiring a minimum level of investment knowledge or actual accountability of decision makers to have alignment of interest with fund returns.

    Advice to Management

    You are a sad bunch of individuals who are doing so much harm to the public pension. You continually lose so much talent at lower investment staff due to not promoting individuals and leaving bullies in management.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Investments Branch = Unethical & Dishonest"

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

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

    Pros

    good benefits, lots of days off

    Cons

    Communication from senior leadership is often dishonest, what they say is rarely actual reasons. Challenging assignments given to consultants. Division leaders, especially fixed income, scream and bully staff. Key skill is networking. Way overstaffed. Culture is one of backstabbing like gangsters, loyalty to own team and doing whatever to advance self.

    Advice to Management

    Resign


  7. "Portfolio Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Portfolio Manager in Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Portfolio Manager in Sacramento, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CalPERS full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great mission working for benefit of those who serve California. Great reputation outside of Sacramento.

    Cons

    Under funded. Team not likely to achieve overall mission without drastic political action. It is a public state job and sometimes too much is made public.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Not Recommended Employer"

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

    I have been working at CalPERS full-time

    Pros

    I have no pro's to share

    Cons

    Non-Modern Autocratic and/or Military type of Management style dominates at all levels of management at CalPERS. Management at all levels are low-skilled, do not demonstrate professionalism or have a normal management education background or experience for their level of the position they obtained. Questionable hiring practices include “reclassifying” a favored employees position classification without requiring them to compete in “State classification” examinations. Many workers promoted or hired do not have a related college degree or meet K.S.A. job posting qualifications. Calpers does not demonstrate equal opportunity for all and is biased toward favoritism, nepotism and special interests. Hiring, training and promotion practices are often arbitrary and not equal. HR is low skilled and does not follow employment regulations. Getting another job at another State of CA agency is not easy or fast as expected. Contracted pay terms are not always honored.

    The employee environment can be described as bullying, retaliatory or negative. There is pervasive perfectionism, false witnessing, high production expectations. Employees are over-stressed and unhealthy. Co-workers, human resources and management all contribute to making the work environment hostile and non-team orientated. Most of the managers will be there for decades to achieve their pension, control, power or money, so the environment will not likely change for the better soon. This organization allows too much power at the Unit level management level, which appear unaccountable for their actions. This organization is not employee orientated, fair or ethical. Some workers stated it is like being in a prison and they don’t like how they hand pick people for positions.

    Calpers hires too many contractors/consultants who get to do the more interesting, challenging or creative work leaving the State worker with non-challenging tasks. There is an excessive management to staff ratio. The work environments tends not to be team orientated and too many are chasing the few growth career opportunities.

    I have many years of work experience at Calpers, a State of CA government agency with strong K.S.A.’s and not recommending employment there.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Ok to put on the resume. Fairly low paid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great work life balance
    Large team - access to every asset class
    Opportunities come up fairly quickly
    Opportunity to get well rounded experience
    It’s a major player in most financial markets - access to best managers

    Cons

    It’s a giant and as a result very beurocratic and inflexible.
    Too many unnecessary functions and groups
    No accountability, promotions are not always merit based
    Poor leadership of the investment office


  10. "Accountant Trainee"

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

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

    Pros

    Laid back work environment, friendly people

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for promotion


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