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Schlumberger Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
3,558 reviews

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3.5
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Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard
Paal Kibsgaard
1,307 Ratings

3,558 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Compensation & Benefits, Work/life balance (in 74 reviews)

  • Oilfield jobs generally come with a Good pay (in 172 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance can be challenging as you will have to devote loads of time to work if you want to succeed in the company (in 475 reviews)

  • No work life balance; always work on holidays; Working from home even you are on vacation; health issues of most of the employees (in 122 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (14)

    "Good, bad and ugly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Advisor & Manager in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Advisor & Manager in Houston, TX
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I feel I should preface this review by saying that in SLB (and may be any company so large and geographically spread) there's going to be a spectrum in any category (e.g. I remember good managers I've had (2) - thru well-meaning but inept (several) - to incompetent and vindictive (1)). It also probably depends on what division/function (field, sales, technology) you've experienced. Also over the 25 years I was there the company changed (and grew) significantly. Initially the mantra was "Profits, Technology & People" - gradually I stopped seeing the "& People"; recently it seems that's now "Profits & Data Analytics").

    After that preface over my 25 years with SLB by FAR the biggest "pro" is the quality of the other technical staff you can work with - some really smart people with huge experience - and the company does invest serious resources in allowing you to find technical information, share your own work and learn. This is the only reason I stayed 25 years. As with so many other aspects of the company (see Cons) YOU have to take the initiative to leverage this - formal training is more patchy, in my experience.

    Compensation is good for the Oilfield Service sector - but not as good as that for the same positions in the Oil Companies themselves. The official line is they aim to be at the 50 percentile of analogous organizations and roles (per the Hayes classification system). In practice, they pay what they need to, to fill the role. You could and will be paid much more for the same job if it's located in a city where you could easily find another job with your skills (e.g. Houston), than if the competition is a (generally lower paid) university say.

    If you take the initiative you can learn a lot from (the largely web-based) in-house "Professional Societies" (known internally as Eureka). It's a great resource.

    Finally, the employee population is extremely diverse from a nationality/ethnic perspective. I happened to like that aspect. The company would LIKE to be more gender-diverse - that's tough in a STEM-heavy business and it's had limited success (due in part to limited effort - see Cons)

    Cons

    Senior Management:

    I had a friend who rose to a VP role reporting to the CEO who told me "god help this company if it ever has a competitor run by competent professional management". (It was a joke - but not entirely). I guess that reflects on SLB - and on its competitors.

    My own perspective is that executive management is promoted from within (good) but with little formal training (bad) except experience from middle management roles on the way. That's compounded by at least until recently very short stays of said senior management in any one role, e.g. the current CEO resume shows, before his current job, hardly any roles which he occupied for more than two years. One person who worked for him in an earlier role told me "he put in place some procedural changes . . . it's too early to tell if they were good or bad !" (hmmm!).
    Specific examples of inept executive management include (on the biggest scale) the $ 3 billion loss on the purchase and sale of SEMA back in 2003, and on a much smaller scales spending $120 million in 2007 on relocating a research facility to a different city "to encourage academic collaboration" but not increasing the collaboration budget. Both cases where failure could have been, and was predicted, but dissenting voices were ignored.

    Middle Management (These are the people most employees will deal with as managers). My experience was there were a few good (effective, organized, caring of their staff, strove to get the job done despite "the system") - many well-meaning but ineffective ("box-tickers", more interested in themselves than their staff, follow the system even if it was obviously not working) - and a handful bad (self-serving, disingenuous, arbitrary).

    The Culture: Chronically secretive & dis-functionally unclear lines of command, BUT a strong "we in the trenches need to get this done despite the management/system" attitude among co-workers. For example - it's almost impossible (even as a manager) to find out what the salary bands are. Not "what is Fred paid" - that's reasonable in my view, but "what's the max and min for a grade x (my grade) employee". Also there is no way (except the unofficial water-cooler) to find out what other jobs within the company are available. Trying to find out is frowned upon - A LOT. The shareholders - e.g. via yahoo finance - know more (and sooner) about the company performance than the employees (via company communication). All marked contrasts to my current employer and SLB competitor.

    Decision making and chains of command are frequently confused with many stakeholders and it unclear who is making decisions. This is compounded by the perception that people have multiple managers (direct, functional, "other managers" - no-kidding there is an entry in the company directory for that). A colleague once showed me a Dilbert cartoon (with the comment "he works for Schlumberger"). It shows an inversion of the usual management pyramid, i.e. one worker reporting to 6 managers, each of whom reported to 6 managers.

    A big deal is made out of the mentoring of less experience staff by older staff - that sort of makes up for the lack of career guidance by management. I NEVER in 24 years received meaningful career guidance or development through the formal chain of management. I did try to initiate the formal process once (after 24 years) and was laid-off shortly afterwards (probably a coincidence . . . probably).

    Quirks - you have to propose yourself for promotion: fill out a self assessment with 5 categories (Technical Understanding - Solutions Experience - Input to Business Strategy - Mentoring & (Technical) Community Leadership - Professional Visibility); write a Proposal Letter (your manager is supposed to do it - but in my experience he will always say "draft it and I will sign it"; get letters of reference/support. The process is cumbersome (enough to discourage people in my experience) and favors "self-promoters". In practice this discourages some groups (e.g. some (but not all) women, certain cultures where "blowing your own trumpet" is regarded as distasteful). I've actually had people (women) tell me "I don't want to have to boast about myself to be recognized" and "I didn't want to embarrass you if you had to turn my request down" (I was her manager). When this failing was brought to HRs attention the (senior HR manager's) response was "tough, that's the system, they need to get over it". As I said in "Pros" the company says it would like more women - I'm skeptical that extends to changing the culture.

    If you are smart, accomplished, hard-working and - critically - prepared to tell everyone about how smart, accomplished and hard-working you are, you will do well. There's a grain of truth in the criticism I've heard "Schlumberger people are so arrogant".

    Advice to Management

    My experience has been "Management" put limited value on my advice.


  2. "No a bad place to work, learn, grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Processing Geophysicist in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Processing Geophysicist in Houston, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Schlumberger full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of training, You can cross train in different area and build up your knowledge, You get to work different projects with different clients this help build your skill set/knowledge base, A little bit of consulting experience

    Cons

    Can feel siloed at times in the different teams, You could get lost in the crowd (it's a big company),

    Advice to Management

    Get teams working together more to leverage all that knowledge and varied experiences housed in the teams

  3. "Yes"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Director in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Project Director in Houston, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Best it is a great company

    Cons

    Best . Deep cuts when there is a downturn

    Advice to Management

    Keep going


  4. "Cement Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Field Engineer - Cementing in Midland, TX
    Former Employee - Field Engineer - Cementing in Midland, TX

    I worked at Schlumberger full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Scheduled of 10 days on 4 days off, every other weekend was a 4 day weekend, good pay, Lots of responsibility, Good training

    Cons

    When you are on you are expected to be available 24-7, Management tends to focus more on failures than successes


  5. "Software Software Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Product Manager in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Software Product Manager in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Schlumberger is never short of technical challenges, and for software engineers, that is a dream life... Solving one problem after another.

    Often, these challenges span multiple product lines, and you will be rewarded with recognition and even bigger challenges if you are able to master the politics associated with these problems. It can be quite fun, but does require extraordinary energy with the silo'ed product lines.

    Cons

    The HR policies for software engineering are out of date, with a stick and carrot approach to appraisals. This has caused a culture of pleasing your manager (or their manager) and helping them with their annual objectives over solving the problems that clients or the business needs. Yes, this can work out when the annual objectives match client needs, but in software, the problems change so rapidly the team needs freedom and autonomy to respond without fear of their boss's reprisal.

    Advice to Management

    When it comes to software engineering, don't just follow the technology trends, but also the organization trends and the better ways to foster team growth and innovation


  6. "Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Katy, TX
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Katy, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Schlumberger full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Excellent work culture, Opportunity to travel and work with cross-functional teams

    Cons

    process heavy, different verticals not integrated


  7. "Mechanical Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Rosharon, TX
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Rosharon, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good Salary, flexibility of hours, Clear career advancement track, Discounted Stock Purchasing Program, International Travel, Potentially very interesting technology and work, highly skilled and intelligent coworkers, 9/80's at some locations, reputable place to work

    Cons

    Location (in Rosharon, TX), Lots of support functions, HSE can be cumbersome and prohibits productivity sometimes, poor healthcare benefits, Interest in work highly varies, highly dependent on O&G industry, very bureaucratic and process-oriented,

    Advice to Management

    Need to empower your employees more. It seems you often put more faith in the process than in the people. Schlumberger's motto is "People, Technology, Profit" but often it feels like the reverse --"Profit, Technology, then maybe People." It's become clear that younger engineers are leaving in droves because the market is bad and in this time Schlumberger chose to stop caring about the welfare of its people.

  8. "Progression"

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

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

    Pros

    Name alone will build good references for your resume slot of technology to learn

    Cons

    Near impossible progression system that's built on someone finishing a G11 project rather than actual development of tech. Low morale and only ask to work more without compensation

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees. Be more people focused rather than chasing clients and making promises you can't keep because you don't know the capabilities of your lab, including techs.


  9. "Lots of Opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Schlumberger full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Big company, good pay, good employee 401 K matching / benefits, opportunity for advancement if you're a technical professional

    Cons

    Hard to understand promotion process, especially for HR / non-technical people; convoluted processes; "me-first" culture is promoted and rewarded throughout the company


  10. "Not the same Company from 2005"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great training program for Field Engineers. Great opportunity to travel. Great chance to repay college loans. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Lost ideals of 3 core values: People, profit, technology. More managers are promoted to level of incompetence. Managers lost connection with direct reports.

    Advice to Management

    Role back to values of 2004 and ask employees for lifelong work commitment. Put names with faces. Don't sacrifice your morals and disrespect direct reports. Push teams to develop and collaborate and celebrate milestones.


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