Optiver Reviews | Glassdoor

Optiver Reviews

Updated June 14, 2018
145 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.8
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Jan Boomaars
8 Ratings

145 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
  • "Good work life balance with 25 vacations a year" (in 25 reviews)

  • "You'll be surrounded by smart people that know their stuff" (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • "Long hours are expected, management doesn't allow for mistakes, there is a lot of pressure" (in 7 reviews)

  • "Not many exit opportunities, discriminating between dutch and non dutch and firing rate is very high" (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Continuous Improvement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've worked at Optiver a long time. Every year it gets better.
    - The company is managed on the basis of principles and values, not process or politics.
    - Those principles and values align very nicely with mine:
    -- Autonomy: there is very little hand-holding and extraordinarily high expectations of individuals in the company. The company rewards those that keep pushing those expectations higher with greater responsibility and authority.
    -- Collaboration: there are a lot of great fights over the right way to approach a given problem. When we're at our best, everyone in the fight has a strong opinion but is also listening to everyone else and continually re-evaluating that opinion as new information, ideas, and opinions are expressed.
    -- Prudence: the company carefully evaluates risk/reward trade-offs both when it comes to trading and technology decisions. The latest fads (cryptocurrency, esoteric programming languages, etc) are carefully evaluated, but reckless pursuit of them is frowned upon.

    I'll end with a sports analogy. Working at Optiver Chicago is like playing for the Patriots or the San Antonio Spurs. It certainly isn't for everyone. But if you like competing for the championship every year and always pushing yourself to be better, there's no better team to join.

    Cons

    If the company values do not align with yours, you will find it an increasingly frustrating place to work. Honestly, just read the cons from other posts and you can see how that plays out. If you find the principles above strange, out of fashion, or backwards, you'll agree with other people's cons. If you think those principles are refreshing, you will have a hard time coming up with many cons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep preaching principles, keep ensuring the best people are happy, keep pushing us to ever higher standards, and don't worry about the noise from people who should be playing for a different team anyway.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Go to Akuna or Citadel instead"

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

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

    Pros

    free food
    free coffee
    weekly massage
    good 401k matching

    Cons

    1. senior management is made up of a bunch of cronies who are put in charge because of an old boys club mentality
    2. Younger people see the obvious lack of meritocracy and are leaving for competitors, 5-6 young people have left Optiver for Citadel/Jane Street/Akuna in the last 2 years but not a SINGLE person has come from those firms to Optiver, that should be an obvious red flag to anyone thinking of joining
    3. More than 70% of interns who accepted a return offer have quit within the first 10 months of joining
    4. Seniority is valued over talent

    Advice to Management

    leave

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Great for the right type of person. Bad otherwise."

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

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

    Pros

    Fantastic perks.

    Brilliant coworkers, smartest group of people I've ever been around.

    Bonuses have been great in recent years.

    Work can be quite interesting and there is no red tape in between you and getting your ideas out there and implemented if they show promise. I've seen new employees hit the ground running and make significant contributions quickly.

    Great trader training program.

    If you are very motivated (or a genius, although I've seen some really smart people get cut) you can do really well for yourself here.

    Decent hours relative to some firms in the industry, although you can get better hours elsewhere.

    Cons

    Lots of pressure to always be on top of your game. They will not hesitate to cut you if you can't keep up with management's standards.

    A sizable portion of your compensation is determined by your individual performance, where the standards of judgement can be unclear. Management, who is responsible for this, clearly plays favorites (usually the top performers, but not necessarily). They are also very unforgiving when you make mistakes or need help to get something done. The management claims there is no stack ranking, but you're performance will be measured up against your peers come review time.

    Not much meaning behind your hard work other than making more $$$ if you care about that sort of thing, so you will need to find motivation elsewhere. Guess it comes with the territory.

    I've seen certain members of management lash out and/or demean certain employees.

    Abysmal profit sharing/bonus scheme relative to other firms in the industry, especially for dev roles. Skews very heavily towards the top who's contributions are not clear. That being said, pay is still great for junior and senior employees alike.

    Usually not something thats brought up, but a large group of the particular type of brilliant person that Optiver attracts can get annoying or frustrating sometimes if you don't fit in well. Big egos, pretentious personalities.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "They have great perks because they don't want you to stop working"

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

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

    Pros

    Transit reimbursement, paid health / dental, weekly massages, in-office barista, catered breakfast and lunch

    Cons

    Long hours are expected, management doesn't allow for mistakes, there is a lot of pressure

    Advice to Management

    Stop setting your employees up for failure. Have more frequent performance reviews, as well as clearly defined goals. HR should also be involved more if an employee is not living up to company standards.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "awesome employer"

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

    Pros

    pretty good worklife balance

    Cons

    no need to mention cons


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Optiver full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of Intelligent folks
    Interesting problems to solve
    Good work life balance with 25 vacations a year
    Casual dressing
    Good Food
    Fast growth

    Cons

    Compensation can be more fair

    Advice to Management

    Allocation of profit pool can improve
    Encourage people who are doing good work
    Discourage people who are not doing any work


  7. Helpful (4)

    "One of the best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Optiver full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Junior level (<5 years) compensation is extremely competitive.
    The best (or at least top 3) on most products that we trade.
    Smart people with not that much ego.
    Pretty transparent bonus structure encourages people to help each other, promoting a friendly culture compared to other silo-ed firms (etc. Jump)

    Cons

    Not that much upside for the best guys - some talented traders are moving to other competitors to get paid more.
    In contrast, there are also some people who can't get paid not even half of what they get paid at Optiver if they leave, hence lowering the morale.
    Not much incentive for shareholders to take risk (e.g. exploring new products -
    cryptos, equity options, swaps and swaptions, etc)
    The best traders don't always make the best managers (see what happened at Intel vs IBM), but there is no choice because managers get paid more.
    Reviews are getting little obscure as traders get more specialized, and its hard to compare apples and oranges.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the cons.

    Used to have a BPTW survey and I don't know why we stopped doing that. I think it was a great tool to gather what employees think.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "By far the best place I have worked in my 15+ year career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Applications Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Applications Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I have worked at two large and successful companies and one smaller government position since graduating college. Working at these other companies really lets me appreciate working at Optiver and all the benefits therein.

    Compensation - salary, bonus, health insurance, 25 vacation days on top of all the market holidays, and the dollar for dollar 401k match make the compensation is top tier.

    Culture - incredibly strong culture. Almost everyone working here checks their ego at the door and the best ideas win. The focus is on long term growth and doing the right things not only for Optiver but for the market.

    Executives /leadership - The people steering the ship at Optiver not only have great vision and insight they know their employees and hang out and have a beer on Fridays after work.

    Outlook - Amazing outlook and growth. Optiver Chicago is the best at pricing options on the SP500 complex globally. Seeing the current trend of money moving into passive index funds Optiver is poised to keep growing even in a low volatility market.

    Work/life balance - The after hour and weekend work here is very limited and much less than when I worked at other large companies. You are treated like a person here and if you have a family emergency people will go out of their way to cover for you.

    Perks - Coffee barista, catered breakfast and lunch, huge variety of snacks and drinks, ping pong table, pool table, weekly massage, beer and wine available after work. All free.

    Cons

    Optiver is flat organization. Overall I think being flat is better but it could feel like growth is limited.

    You have to work at a high level each and everyday. Once again I feel like this is a benefit. If you are not performing over a sustained period you will eventually get cut but this makes Optiver stronger as there is no dead weight.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Business Operations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Optiver full-time

    Pros

    Flat Structure
    Great Office
    Good Food and Company Trips
    Great Compensation
    Great Teambuilding Events
    Fun Smart People
    Opportunity to learn and develop new skills in a great environment

    Cons

    Team leads and managers have inconsistent skills as managers--sometimes making it hard to evaluate your performance. Also, because of that fact, people stop trusting their managers.

    Advice to Management

    Take time to formally train managers on how to be good managers and make good management a criteria for determining bonus awards.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Amazing place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Trader in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    People, technology, pay, work/life balance, great office

    Cons

    Always slightly understaffed which makes it hard to grow as fast as we would like.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


Showing 145 of 155 reviews
Reset Filters