Foreign and Commonwealth Office Reviews | Glassdoor

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Reviews

Updated October 29, 2018
165 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.5
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
20 Ratings

165 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
Cons
  • "limited opportunity for locally engaged staff" (in 13 reviews)

  • "no growth path for locally engaged staff by design since it is a diplomatic organisation" (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "British Embassy in Washington, DC"

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

    I have been working at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people, interesting issues to work on, and a unique perspective

    Cons

    If local staff, little to no room for career advancement


  2. "Great team"

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

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    Great team, friendly environment

    Cons

    Not so much opportunity for a professional development

  3. "move on"

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

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    work life, fun things to do. expand network. travel. L&D

    Cons

    intellectually underwhelming. no career growth. salary!!


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Locally-engaged staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    Interact with interesting people. Learn about the UK and it's a great resume boost.

    Cons

    Lots of bureaucracy, low salaries. Diplomats can tend to look down on locally-engaged staff.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Administrator"

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

    I worked at Foreign and Commonwealth Office full-time

    Pros

    Work with great people from the UK. Nice environment to work. Great vacation allowances

    Cons

    Salaries are not very good, have to pay your own taxes as they are not withheld

    Advice to Management

    Sort out the tax situation and pay a bit more will decrease the high turnover of staff


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Was great, then Brexit happened"

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

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

    Pros

    Some interesting speakers to go to, a lot of characters are employed there. If you're lucky, you might get invited to an event at the Ambassadors.

    Cons

    Since working here, things have become worse in terms of management, and compensation. Brexit has taken a toll on management (all Brits of course); they are very sensitive and have become increasingly hard to work for. The change in the pound has killed local budgets meaning lay offs and a reduction in our compensation package.
    Things are unstable here. Only take a job here if you have to. Until the pound stabilizes/goes back where it was AND Brexit is worked out, it will be a negative work environment.


  7. "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

  8. "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.


  9. Helpful (9)

    "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)!


  10. "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!


Showing 165 of 185 reviews
Reset Filters