IMF Reviews | Glassdoor

IMF Reviews

Updated March 28, 2017
82 reviews

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4.0
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IMF Chairman and Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde
42 Ratings

82 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • This is a place where work-life balance is valued (in 22 reviews)

  • Great benefits and fun environment (in 16 reviews)

Cons
  • Depending on the assignment, work life balance is a challenge (in 7 reviews)

  • Dominated by Europeans, a lot of discrimination, you have to be part of networks to have career advancement (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great exposure and resume builder but lots of glass ceilings."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Systems Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Information Systems Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Front seat to global economic policy work, diverse staff, good benefits relative to traditional US firms. Management is trying hard to work on diversity within the institution but it's a stubborn and risk-averse work force. It's a very lean organization at the bottom but very heavy at the top. So there is no shortage of work or opportunity but this has significant downsides.

    Cons

    Glass ceilings: : graduate education, education pedigree, nationality, gender, and especially age - if you're young and haven't done graduate studies yet, don't stick around.

    Sink or swim culture - and proud of it.

    Very traditional/regressive culture: women need to talk passively and persuasively to be heard, young people (anyone under 40 is called young - under 30 you are treated as a child) are expected and are sometimes told to just sit and listen, a substantive amount are homophobic, and how well you speak and persuade often times matters more than your actual ideas - and this hurts you if you are not a native/fluent English speaker and/or do not speak up for yourself confidently.

    Worst of all - it is the most hierarchical place I've ever seen.

    Advice to Management

    You're not changing fast enough. Be bolder and move harder and faster in changing the culture. Environnent is a big factor. Offices are so traditional that people will keep behaving traditionally - this is still true in the new HQ1 renovated spaces. Enforce zero-tolerance policy (it's not enforced). There are a lot of managers who take credit for the work of their subordinates but treat their staff terribly. Reform the ratings system and feedback mechanisms. Hire a behavioral economist to make this work.


  2. "Research Assitant Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IMF as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    A great way to learn about multilaterals. Staff are genuinely nice to each other. Great way to get publications, do econometrics, market analysis etc.

    Cons

    How much you can do almost entirely depends on your team and your supervisor rather than your ability or contribution. Even if you are very capable, you may still get limited opportunities as it is a very structured company.


  3. "Great Employer"

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

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

    Pros

    Very diverse staff, enriching culturally and professionally.

    Cons

    The institution is too bureaucratic.


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  5. "Excellent pay and benefits for staff members"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Freelancer - Anonymous Freelancer in Washington, DC
    Former Freelancer - Anonymous Freelancer in Washington, DC

    Pros

    Excellent pay and benefits if you get hired as a staff member. No income taxes if you're not a US national, home leave, education allowance, health insurance. IMF pays your taxes if you are a US national.

    Cons

    Very traditional management style. Not many opportunities for promotions
    Heavy workload

    Advice to Management

    More flexibility


  6. "Monetary and Financial Statistics Expert"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Monetary and Financial Statistics Expert in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Monetary and Financial Statistics Expert in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IMF as a contractor (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Opportunity to work on global economic problems, with people from countries all over the world.

    Cons

    Depending on one's assignment, may have to accommodate demands for extended periods of international travel.


  7. "Great Place to work in"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at IMF full-time

    Pros

    - Very active work environment
    - Great place to learn

    Cons

    - Not everyone can work on research


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Chief"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chief in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Chief in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Interesting work, intellectual and stimulating environment

    Cons

    Challenging environment to work in, very closed

    Advice to Management

    Be leaders, expect high standards from each other and mangers
    Facilitate the culture change that needs to happen


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work, if you're an economist"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Diverse, intelligent, educated workforce. Challenging work. Interesting assignments. Management is working hard to change the culture, to embrace more risk-taking, more soft-skills, better people-management.

    Cons

    The institutional culture is management-by-consensus, which takes a very long time and much work to achieve. If you like to act quickly, this is not the place to work.

    Money is always an issue. We are well-funded for our key role of surveillance, but funding is tough to come by for new or untested ideas.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pitching new ideas at the institution. Some of it is catching on down in the ranks.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Good for out of grad school, great for Econ (RA)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    IMF is a brand name in economics. Like Coca-Cola to the beverage industry. As a Research Analyst (RA) you'll get a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of country economics and data setups in Excel. You'll get to work with a good number of people and meet enough to build a decent network. You'll probably never get fired. It's 9-5 with every other Friday off. The salary is not bad r even good for junior people like RAs, although DC is expensive. Location is fine or good, depending on what you think of downtown DC. Looks good on a resume, and sounds good when you talk to someone at a bar in DC, but move to another city and no one will have ever heard of the IMF unless they have a background in policy, multilaterals, or economics/finance. Bosses were all very nice.

    Cons

    There are not many opportunities for advancement at the IMF if you are an RA. You can become an economist if you have a lot of experience, preferably also outside the Fund at a Central Bank or Treasury Department, but it is difficult to get this promotion unless you are seasoned and/or very very good at economics. RA jobs get a little repetitive after a while, since most of what you do is make charts and graphs, and download data, all day. If you are there long enough, you can start to get involved with research or things that economists do, but that didn't appeal too much to me. If you want to make more money, go to a bank but pay the price in hours, stress, and poor management.

    Advice to Management

    None really. I don't follow the policy stuff so no comments on that. I'd say create more internal opportunities for RAs but that's ultimately the employees job vis-a-vis their own career.


  11. "IMF"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Information Security Risk Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Information Security Risk Manager in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good and smart people at the FUND

    Cons

    So far so good s


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