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Gensler Reviews

Updated June 2, 2017
44 reviews

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Gensler Executive Directors Andy Cohen and Diane Hoskins
Andy Cohen and Diane Hoskins
19 Ratings

44 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work-life balance is a challenge (in 28 reviews)

  • You have to be passionate about the work to survive long hours and high pressure deadlines (in 28 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Technical designer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good for the resume
    High profile projects
    Talented people

    Cons

    Little room for advancement, unless you're a brown-noser
    Hard to switch projects/ types/ roles in studios (they highly promote this in interviews)
    Project managers plays favorites, won't listen to other's opinions
    Very profit driven, Project managers care more about the project budget than employees
    Inadequate training
    Lack of collaboration/ coordination between project & design staffs
    Pay lower than industry standard, trick you with the overtime pay in the compensation/ benefits, but they don't encourage overtime
    PTO below industry standards
    More of an interior design firm than architecture.

    Advice to Management

    none


  2. "management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    When I first started, I was elated! Now.... not so sure. :-(

    Cons

    Can't trust anyone - backstabbers can easily destroy your career without having pertinent information. no assurance that "management has your back". They can easily lose VALUABLE staff by operating IN A VACUUM.

    Advice to Management

    Value your managers vs. making them feel like they are going through an inquisition when someone complains about being held accountable for doing their job. You risk losing critical staff members over the "slackers" who try and take the focus off of themselves!

  3. Helpful (9)

    "Very dissatisfied"

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

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

    Pros

    Large projects, lots of work, 401k, medical insurance,
    Work in NYC, polite and friendly receptionist, lunch hour, basic vacation of two weeks, close to transportation

    Cons

    No professional growth, micro managing, work hard, but not respected of your efforts on projects, not credited for your work or contributions, management takes credit for your work, favoritism by principals, work hard ethic not rewarded, no respect from management, no salary increases, no mentoring , no room for growth or position growth, lots of promises but very little action, principals get lots of professional credit and great bonuses while staff are ignored and are expected to just work hard and stop complaining, overtime pay isn't given unless approved , so staff still expected to work for free


  4. Helpful (21)

    "Avoid FIRMWIDE!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Gensler full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great and cool offices throughout the world.
    Vibes are good, the designers/fellow architects are creative, projects are interesting.
    They host a lot of social events with tons of alcohol, weekly beer cart.
    Brown bag vendor lunch & learns.
    Great access to contacts and vendors.
    Highly structured corporate environ.

    Cons

    Do NOT work for Firmwide.

    Bureaucratic, abusive, dictatorships from leaders who have been around too long, pushing employees out, don't care about your future.

    Firmwide managers in the Oakland/SF/DC office are despicable, fake.

    Thoughtful design is not appreciated, tons of favoritism (esp to those who have either been there too long and nepotism), labeling is rampant, and if a leader doesn't like you, better leave because you are screwed.

    Low salaries so be prepared to negotiate.

    Benefits are not competitive. No 401(k) employer match. Offers ESOP. Vesting after 5 years. No wellness benefits. PTO is horrible (vacation and sick time is only 14 days per year) plus 10 holidays. Leave benefits are bare minimum. Annual bonus program is 2 weeks pay in Dec then % based on company performance in June. Salary increases rarely happen. Annual Associate promotions are biased.

    Advice to Management

    Stop telling employees to post their fake positive reviews on Glassdoor just because you are paying for the page.

    Get off your high horse, quite doing the talk and start doing the walk.

    Discipline managers that are abusing employees. The teams are suffering yet you do nothing to discipline those who are keeping the glass ceiling 20 ft thick.

    Gensler Response

    Dec 9, 2016 – Gensler Response

    Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback on your experience. At Gensler, we pride ourselves on maintaining open relationships with all of our team members. We endeavor to hire the ... More


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Architect"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Architect in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Architect in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great clients and a wonderful portfolio of projects. An abundance of happy hours and social activities. Such a large company with many personalities.

    Cons

    Highly political- people often out for themselves. You are in your own to make your own path and advertise yourself.

    Advice to Management

    Genuine care for the individual- need more sincerity from the principals


  6. Helpful (10)

    "Lack of Appreciation"

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

    I worked at Gensler (More than a year)

    Pros

    Twice Yearly Bonuses were nice.

    Cons

    I worked on the San Francisco side of the office and the 1 Firm Firm culture does not exist. I was constantly made to feel unappreciated and like a low level nobody. Unless you are rich and in a high level position you will not be taken seriously or respected. I was consistently being manipulated by a passive aggressive superior who enjoyed controlling others and giving little to no praise for hard work. Any suggestions to improve procedures were turned down and inefficiency and lack of communication was constant from management.

    Advice to Management

    Please focus more on your employees and give them more opportunities to showcase their strengths and positive contributions to the team. Focus less on happy hours and boozing it up in the office.


  7. "Intermediate Architect"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Networking, side research projects, academically stimulating

    Cons

    My first week at Gensler I put in 65 hours plus. Working hours we just like school--when you leave work at 5-530 people look at you weird. Most weekends had to come in on Saturday or Sunday to work. Terrible management also!

    Advice to Management

    Mentorship and guidance to new employees

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Project Coordinator"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Gensler full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good salaries, fairly decent benefits, lots of free food, central downtown LA location, beautiful office, the company puts out lot of good design-

    Cons

    After 3 interviews I got the job! Beware: After being hired I had almost nothing to do for 2-1/2 months due to a severe lull in new work coming in, which is pretty darn stressful. On a Friday I had a a very cordial meeting with one of my managers to see how things were going. On Monday, they let me go. The reason: they said I didn't fit in. Honestly, I've never been told that before. If you work here as a Project Coordinator in a certain studio you will have to deal with someone who gets hysterical at the drop of a hat, and principals who are not interested in you as a person.

    Advice to Management

    No advice. They wouldn't listen anyway. Gensler is the world's largest design firm, and it's amazing how much more they resemble a machine than a company. Lesson learned.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Great for Designers - Horrific for Firmwide (Ops)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Former Firmwide Employee in Oakland, CA
    Former Employee - Former Firmwide Employee in Oakland, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some smart, talented designers
    Gorgeous offices and incredible products
    Lots of parties with tons of alcohol
    Great place to work if you're a white male

    Cons

    Insanely political - who you know matters way more than how well you perform
    If you are part of "Firmwide" (aka Operations), you get treated like absolute crap- zero respect or support
    High-level executives with zero knowledge of the non-design areas they manage (former designers oversee Ops)
    CEOs and Office Directors get involved in areas they have no business in
    People are condescending, rude, egomaniacs from the CEOs to the Receptionists in some offices
    Broken or non-compliant systems, processes and tools with no interest in improving them
    Terrible place to work if you are a woman, person of color or non-conforming

    Advice to Management

    Examine your horrible culture and fix it. People treat each other terribly because executives/directors treat employees terribly (in offices across the nation - not just Oakland). You should be embarassed that you allow that treatment in your firm. Hire qualified people and support them don't berate them till they quit. Support women and people of color. Take some of that party and furniture money and create a scalable infrastructure.

    Gensler Response

    Dec 9, 2016 – Gensler Response

    Thank you for sharing feedback on your experience at Gensler. Our firm prides itself on an openness to feedback of all kinds and a willingness to accept constructive criticism. We certainly agree ... More


  10. Helpful (12)

    "Yikes!"

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

    Pros

    The clients are the best part - if you are lucky - you'll get to work on good projects. But it really depends on what team you are on and what projects are in your specific "studio".

    Cons

    Where to begin... The lack of ethics in project management is terrifying. People bill to whatever project they are told, with no real hours accounted for (poor clients!). The ethics in actual work is also terrifying. People just copy and paste from one project to another - so work is never original or top tier (poor clients!). There are a couple of studio directors in the Boston office who seem to run more professional gigs, but the studio directors on my floor were both totally nuts. They fought with each other like school girls, were incompetent managers, and lacked any true leadership qualities.

    The revolving door gets old too. There are always "new" people on your team - and having to tell who can really accomplish actual client work is super difficult.

    Advice to Management

    None. I'm not sure this place could be helped - and I'm positive management doesn't listen.

    Gensler Response

    Aug 10, 2016 – Gensler Response

    Thank you for the feedback on your experience at Gensler. We appreciate your candor and will share your comments with the firm’s leadership. We’d also like to take this opportunity to stress that ... More


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