Conservation International Reviews | Glassdoor

Conservation International Reviews

Updated December 13, 2018
80 reviews

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3.8
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Conservation International Chief Executive Officer M. Sanjayan, PhD
M. Sanjayan, PhD
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Friendly environment, great work/life balance" (in 9 reviews)

  • "Good benefits, they care about your professional development, important conservation mission, kind, impressive and inspirational CEO" (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • "There is the usual office politics and drama, but no more here than any other average workplace" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Upper management is a joke with no skills to guide and direct work or people" (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work with a great mission!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    Benefits, Location in Arlington, VA, People, Mission, Culture

    Cons

    I can not think of any cons about working at CI


  2. "Good organization, could be a bit more focused"

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

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    In general CI values employees, has great benefits, and has a big vision.

    Cons

    They could use a little more focus in what they are trying to achieve. I struggled at times to always link what we were doing with the overall mission.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees and allow them to assist in making improvements.

  3. "finding their way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Director in Arlington, VA

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

    Pros

    Talented colleagues. Important mission. Great pay and benefits for a non-profit organization. Travel.

    Cons

    Less diversity than an organization of its size should have, especially in management positions. Less support for women than would be expected given the progressive values that the organization embraces. Many silos. Mission drift.


  4. "Researcher"

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

    I worked at Conservation International part-time

    Pros

    Collaborative, inspiring work, and innovative approach to environmental goals

    Cons

    Seemed more like an environmental communications company than a conservation organizations. Employees seemed to prefer professional perks to allocating surplus budget to beneficiary projects.


  5. "Good place, but it can be better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good job environment, passionated people.

    Cons

    Too much stress and work extra non paid hours


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Disorganized, ego driven"

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

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits, theoretically interesting projects

    Cons

    No work life balance. Nasty interpersonal relations and extremely poor management on the part of supervisors. Complete nightmare.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Innovative environmental nonprofit with stellar benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends

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

    Pros

    Working at CI means you'll spend your days alongside highly motivated, capable people dedicated to creating a sustainable future. HR is focused on work/life balance with a 35-hr workweek on the books, though expect to work more, plus some odd hours if corresponding with field teams in 30 countries. You'll thrive here if you have a tendency for entrepreneurship; CI as a whole is generally innovative and open to new ideas.

    Cons

    Many people are overworked, so tasks that you need input on might not be their priority. Teams don't always keep each other in the loop as well as they could/should. Since it's a somewhat small organization, there isn't much opportunity for career advancement, depending on the position; several people have left CI and then came back at higher positions.

    Advice to Management

    Think about career pathways to retain talent, and get more people in HQ out into the field to experience the work firsthand.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Not "one CI" - too bad"

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

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

    Pros

    In so many ways, CI is an extraordinary organization. Many passionate, intelligent staffers working all over the world. While it can be difficult to determine what the actual impact of the organization is on protecting nature, there are a number of projects that do good work.

    The physical space of the office is nice and if you are accepted into the cliquey "in" crowd, you can have a lot of unique and fun experiences. Pay can be fair and the benefits are very good.

    Cons

    Unfortunately the cons vastly outweigh the pros. The founder and former CEO used to like to say that we are "one CI" meaning that all of the many components and locations of CI are working together toward a common goal. While I have enormous respect for Peter S, this couldn't be farther from the truth. CI is one of the most siloed organizations I have ever known.

    For an organization that brings in A LOT of money from some of the wealthiest people and institutions in the world, they always seem to have money problems. They can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to host a board meeting, but can't seem to fund some of their mainstay programs.

    The office environment at HQ can be incredibly stressful. Not necessarily because all of the jobs are so demanding, but due to nepotism (or some other poor decision making), many people are put into managerial positions that have no business leading others. Obviously this can happen at any workplace, but something at CI makes this seem sewn into the fabric of the org. I witnessed many of my colleagues either leave or betray their own conscience when put under this pressure.

    Human resources is also a bad joke. Make no mistake, they are there to represent the best interests of the organization and that will never translate to what is in your best interest. I was once told by an HR person that the best way to get ahead at CI was to step on my coworkers and pave my own way.

    That leads to another major problem with CI. They like to think they have this pseudo-entrepreneurial spirit because of how they were founded. You will constantly hear things like "you can be the master of your own job, if you see a gap in our work, fill it and we will create that role for you." This may sound nice, and may have actually worked out for a few, but it is absolutely ridiculous. Back in the real world, people have bosses and are responsible for answering to the specific tasks they are assigned, they can't just go do other things that interest them.

    I worked at CI for nearly four years and I would be hard pressed to name a dozen tangible accomplishments of the org. This doesn't include the accomplishments of the smaller organizations that CI would grant money to, but the conservation work that actual CI staff did. Go to the website. Most things are very abstract, not really specific about what they do.

    CI has often been accused of "green washing." I won't go so far as to say it is true, but I understand why people may think it. They work with some very questionable partners and businesses and get a lot of money from them to do it.

    Advice to Management

    I'm not really sure I have any. There are a number systemic problems that start with the top. Have someone in HR, or better yet, someone else that actually cares about staff, sit in on meetings with staff and their supervisors. Set up policies on how teams should operate. Hold leadership accountable for failures and don't let them find scapegoats. Be very aware of selective opportunities for staff, especially those offered to young, good-looking women by their male superiors.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Fantastic organization"

    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 Conservation International full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Top-notch benefits; diverse workforce; engaging culture; smart, passionate employees; and most of all, the chance to be involved in incredibly meaningful work. Business operations (HR, finance, etc) all seem to be staffed with agile, helpful, competent individuals.

    Cons

    While it’s a 35-hour workweek, it’s highly unlikely you’ll only work 35 hours; 40-45 is more realistic. There is the usual office politics and drama, but no more here than any other average workplace.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on ways to streamline internal processes to maximize efficiency. Much of the aforementioned 40-45 hour workweek can be directly attributed to bureaucracy.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Takes Initiative to succeed but worth it for this amazing organization"

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

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people at CI are some of the most intelligent and passionate people I have ever met all working on the most critical issues of our time. You are constantly challenged at CI and constantly inspired by our brilliant team and leadership. There are tremendous opportunities for those that take initiative and amazing benefits.

    Cons

    Tackling global environmental issues can be daunting at times