Foreign and Commonwealth Office Reviews | Glassdoor

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Reviews

Updated August 3, 2017
127 reviews

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3.3
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
5 Ratings

127 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • locally engaged staff work excessively as compared to expatriate (in 10 reviews)

  • Salary not good especially for locally engaged staff with respect to expatriate even though mostly locally (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great Entry level position for LE"

    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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good hours, responsive management, work life balance

    Cons

    Locally Engaged staff salary


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Review of Foreign Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - N/A in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - N/A in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work life balance and great for entry level positions.

    Cons

    The pay is not relative to the job market in the metro area.

    Advice to Management

    Update pay scale so that it is competitive with the job market in the area.

  3. "Trade and Investment Adviser"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trade and Investment Adviser
    Former Employee - Trade and Investment Adviser
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    High visibility and a lot of respect
    Full ownership of the segment
    Lots of networking opportunities

    Cons

    Since this role requires full ownership, most tasks are done with no team to help you. Heavily reliant on outside vendors to meet deadlines on events which is a great experience but can also bring you a lot of stress.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "British Embassy Washington DC - Great introduction, learn all you can then get out fast!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Specialist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Generally a good work life balance. Relatively interesting projects which are often diverse - a great opportunity for a recent grad to gain experience, knowledge and network within greater DC policy community. Looks good on the resume and can lead to similar, but better paying jobs with added responsibility.

    Cons

    Lots of grunt work for Locally Employed Staff with well below market wages (guessing around 50% below) and shrinking benefits due to austerity measures and Brexit pressures. As a consequence, local staff is a mixed bag of talent - some are talented, ambitious, etc, while others seem to use the job as a stop gap while they look for better.

    Absolutely no learning and development opportunities and with very high turnover, there are few people to turn to for example and mentorship. In addition, high-turn over ~30+% will leave you in constant stress as projects fall behind, problems with knowledge retention arise and overall business continuity... stops. Add to that absolutely no room for career advancement given the very small teams you'll work in and the poor dynamics between locally employed and career diplomats and the high turn over becomes quite understandable.

    Most people stay about a 1-2 or 3 years, before moving onto to better opportunities. Also, as one user indicated, there is also obvious favoritism toward the Brits. They get all the perks, high-profile projects, and security clearances. There is a complete disconnect - a lack of understanding between career diplomats and local staff. I will also say that for a Brit on a diplomatic assignment, the Washington DC embassy is sometimes more of a vacation, possibly even their final posting before retirement. Don't expect mentors; don't expect managers to take interest in your work and career goals!

    Advise to young and idealistic employees/candidates: Brexit outlook will likely lead to cuts here. Do not expect job security going forward. Do not expect to make a massive contribution or "change the world". Things happen at snail pace here or not at all. Keep your head down, use diversity to your advantage and get as many projects under your belt as you can all the while looking for your next career move. This can still be a good steeping stone into a number of policy careers. Good luck!

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your people! Pay a real living wage, provide better benefits including opportunities for learning and development. At best, current practices will yield high turn-over with business interruption, and problems with knowledge retention. At worst, they may give rise to security breaches (Embassy personnel are prime recruitment targets for espionage)!


  5. "Working for the FCO"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    Flexibility on working shedules. Good annual leave days!!!!

    Cons

    Low salaries comparing to market outside!


  6. "Political Officer"

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

    Pros

    Travel, Working hours Flexibility and Location

    Cons

    Pay, Career Advancement and Career flexibility


  7. "Excellent experience"

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

    Pros

    My work at Climate Change and Energy section was challenging and interesting. My colleagues were professional, talented and friendly. Besides, there were plenty of training opportunities and very good work life balance.

    Cons

    Limited career opportunities for local employees.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more incentives for local employees.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Immigration Liaison Officer"

    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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    Good working hours and conditions. Decent annual leave and salary. Some opportunities for promotion and good to have on your CV. No real complaints.

    Cons

    Too bureaucratic which is probably just typical of any government department or agency. There are some promotion opportunities, but these can be quite limited.


  9. "Finance Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Finance Officer in Airport Road, WY
    Former Employee - Finance Officer in Airport Road, WY
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Stable, lots of training opportunities, reasonable working hours

    Cons

    little to no salary increment, no career growth


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Poor wages and benefits, No career advancement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Locally Employed Staff, Administrative Role in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Locally Employed Staff, Administrative Role in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's a fun to place to work. The culture is laid back and the people are friendly. The workload is balanced because you cannot work overtime. This place is fine if you need a job, but it's not a place for career advancement. It's not a terribly demanding place to work. Most of the Brits view this as a vacation and are always faffing about.

    Cons

    Very low (poverty) wages and not enough to survive in DC. The organization is well aware of this but will not increase salaries due to austerity measures. They are now starting to slash benefits, as well. If you are locally employed you have to pay your own taxes on a quarterly basis as the British Gov't cannot take out taxes on our behalf. It is a bloody nightmare, to say the least. They do NOT provide any tax assistance or help, either. Employee turn over is at 20%. It's a revolving door. There is also no growth opportunity. They hire locals for lower level clerical jobs with no option for career growth or advancement. Most people stay about a year or so before moving onto to better opportunities.There is also obvious favoritism toward the Brits. They get all the perks.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees a living wage and provide us the same benefits that our other American counter parts receive. You cannot expect to recruit good talent if you cannot pay proper wages in this market.


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