HSBC Holdings Reviews in Toronto, ON | Glassdoor

HSBC Holdings Toronto Reviews

Updated June 21, 2017
55 reviews

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Toronto, ON (Canada)

3.4
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HSBC Holdings Chief Executive Stuart T. Gulliver
Stuart T. Gulliver
15 Ratings

55 Employee Reviews

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Pros
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More Pros and Cons

  1. "HSBC Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Global Markets Intern in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Global Markets Intern in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - People are friendly, very approachable, including senior managers.
    - Pay is hourly, and you get overtime after 40 hours a week.
    - Nice location in Toronto. In the financial district.

    Cons

    - Long hours. Normally get in around 7 and leave around 5. Although this isn't too bad compared with banking, and is in line with industry standards.
    - Company is fairly hierarchical. Lots or layers.

    Advice to Management

    As I have just started with this job, I currently do not have any advice to management. However, I will update this section, as well as the pros and cons as I start to get a better feel for the company.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "It can be good or it can be bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Customer Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at HSBC Holdings (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Very flexible working arrangements. You can work from home whenever you want. Some people basically work from home all the time and only pop in to the office once or maybe twice per week. Other people go to a branch and work from there instead of making the trek in to downtown. Essentially HSBC doesn't care where you work so long as you work. It's an interesting perspective.

    - Good use of technology. Related to above, use of tech in HSBC is high. Laptops all come with soft phones that actually work as well as video conferencing. In the downtown offices, video conferencing is normal and pretty much everyone knows or figures out very quickly how to work the tech on laptops and in the various meeting rooms. The state of tech in meeting rooms is taken pretty seriously and if something is broken, it gets fixed very quickly.

    - Opportunities for international placement are incredible. HSBC is perhaps, the most international of the global financial companies. They really do operate basically everywhere. Moving from one geography to another is actively encouraged if that's what you want. When you do move, there's a well-oiled machine to take care of you. Movers will come and move your stuff; they actually pack and unpack everything. A tax expert will take care of your income taxes for a couple of years to ensure that everything transitions properly. A very informative website will help you figure out how to rent a new place at your destination, how to hire household help if applicable, how to find a good school for the kids, what you need to know about getting a driver's licence, where the good restaurants and grocery stores are ...

    - Related to above, working with international colleagues is baked in to the company DNA. You're never in a national silo; it's very normal to work with people around the world and to share ideas effortlessly.

    Cons

    - Training at HSBC is nil. You do get the usual web-based training modules but those are all so that HSBC can claim they've trained all employees on ethics, anti-money laundering etc. The training you need to be successful at your actual job simply doesn't exist. You need to figure it all out on your own and you need to figure it out very quickly.

    - Management politics completely obscure the ability to be truly successful. Middle, and I suspect upper, management spends inordinate amounts of effort and time managing up instead of taking care of the people who report to them. This is not isolated as I both saw and experienced this phenomenon across roles and across different departments. Middle management is mostly concerned about presenting a good story as opposed to managing the issues. Real business problems and correspondingly, real business opportunities go unresolved because it's more important to spin a good tale than to actually move things forward.

    - Because of management politics, motion is mistaken for progress. As long as you can show that you're "busy" you'll generally be OK. But actually accomplishing things is of relatively minimal importance.

    - Again, because of management politics, coming up with a good tale to make your boss look good is of paramount importance. With an attitude like this, it's really no wonder that HSBC has been plagued by scandals and multi-million and sometimes multi-billion dollar fines from regulators. If you think HSBC is operating above board on everything, you're completely off base. People are working to show that they're adding profit at any cost. So long as the profits roll and so long as no one is caught, that's perfectly OK.

    - Your immediate supervisor will be given wide latitude over your progress at HSBC. If you get a good boss, you're golden. If you get a bad boss, you could end up in a very bad situation. This is made possible because HR is completely non-existent at the employee level. There is little to no local HR support. Calling HR gets you to a call centre in the Philippines where you can "press 1 for ...". Once you get to a live agent, you generally get some useless answer.

    - I called HR once for an issue I was trying to deal with. The agent gave me the name of someone I could email. When I looked that person up, it turned out that I was being referred to the Senior VP of HR in my country as opposed to an HR business partner which is what I asked for in the first place. (I did not email the SVP and my HR issue was never resolved.)

    - Management politics (are you seeing a theme yet?) means that senior management tend to treat certain geographies as stepping stones. So they parachute in, do their tour of duty for 3-4 years, then move on to bigger and better things. This leads to a somewhat short-term focus on (the illusion of) results as opposed to tackling real business issues. It's the old focus on quarterly benefits instead of looking to play long-term.

    - The time off policy is bizarre. You get say, 20 days off which sounds great. But if you're sick, that counts as a day. So you really have to manage if you should call in sick or if you should drag yourself in to work just so you can save a day off.

    - HSBC is huge on security. You can't print without swiping your passcard. Everything you do with HSBC equipment is highly monitored. I get it that it's company equipment and the company reserves the right to check up on things. But the degree to which HSBC takes this is, in my opinion, extreme. Certain documents for example, cannot be printed without filling out a security requisition form. Again, in some cases I get it but in many cases the degree of security becomes a barrier to doing your job effectively.

    - As a result of the focus on security, the ability to just talk to your colleagues about various work issues is curtailed. Some projects are code-word only and employees are forced to sign very strict NDAs. Of course, once the project is implemented everyone learns about it. I never did see a project implementation that I felt justified this level of internal security. Certainly there are some things you don't want the competition to find out ahead of time, but internally I think things can be handled differently.

    - There is a high level of entitlement at HSBC. If you've been there x number of years, there's a general attitude that you're due a promotion or some level of benefits. Earning your benefits is secondary to time served.

    - In part because HSBC is such a giant beast, and in part because HR is essentially non-existent at the local level, employees are treated as assets. Which is to say, they are used in the production of various bank services, and they are depreciated over their useful life span. At the end of their life span, they are written off then disposed. In other words, don't expect any corporate thanks just because you may have done a good job.

    Advice to Management

    Stop worrying about yourself. Tackle the real business problems and let your work speak for itself. If sales or profits are down, say it. Then work on solving why sales or profits are down instead of trying to find different ways to spin things to upper management.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Empoyment Details"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at HSBC Holdings full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very flexible in work life balance. Great company to work with.

    Cons

    Poor pay. Frequent changes to job assignment.

    Advice to Management

    Reward employees based on skill level and out puts


  4. "Manager, Business Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager, Business Management in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Manager, Business Management in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Knowledgeable and supportive coworkers
    Good compensation and bonus if you achieve your targets

    Cons

    Banking culture has not changed, still sales obsessed and the only measure of success that drives bonuses
    Chaotic environment with outdated legacy systems and processes where people manage from crises to crises. This cause unnecessary stress and poor work life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in people development and value effort in addition to sales. A lot of what you want your teams to sell is not necessary needed or wanted by your customers


  5. "HSBC"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary, good benefits, good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Large organisation with bureaucracy, etc.


  6. "Compliance Remediation Administrator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Compliance Administrator in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Contractor - Compliance Administrator in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HSBC Holdings as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Management style is hands off with good room for support and growth, good corporate culture, great work-life balance.

    Cons

    Needs more room for growth for contractors, better on the job learning opportunities instead of monotonous admin tasks would be great

    Advice to Management

    Focus on your strengths of good management style and micro-managing and delegating tasks, but provide opportunities for employees to grow organically within the company.


  7. "Too much admin work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Premium Banker in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Premium Banker in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HSBC Holdings full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Staff is good, they support you and benefits are good. International capabilities is an unique feature and makes HSBC stands out from others.

    Cons

    Sales pressure, too many changes with the policies that are sometimes hard to explain to the clients. No training provided.

  8. "Account Services"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    No pros at all. Nothing to write about.

    Cons

    Overload with work with unreasonable pay. Overtime are required often. No proper training.

    Advice to Management

    No chance


  9. Helpful (1)

    "HSBC Bank Canada"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at HSBC Holdings full-time

    Pros

    Flexible time available
    Work from home option
    International bank
    Possibility of transfer to other countries
    Good work life balance

    Cons

    Constant changes
    Not a lot career growth opportunities in Toronto
    Vancouver centric


  10. "Solid Employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior R M in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Senior R M in Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Large, stable organization. Great Global brand.

    Cons

    Matrixed, layered organization. Career progression is very slow on a relative basis.

    Advice to Management

    More engagement.


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