System1 Group Reviews

Updated Sep 5, 2020

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3.1
50%
Recommend to a Friend
67%
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System1 Group CEO and Founder John Kearon (no image)
John Kearon
14 Ratings
  1. "Good place to get introduced to Market Research"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The office culture depends on which office you work in. Some offices have more people and some have less. But overall, it is a small-ish company and at times you will be have experiences to grow beyond your job descriptions. Also, there's travel opportunities and a good number of paid time off. The top execs hold monthly meetings on how the company is doing and is transparent about the yearly goals.

    Cons

    Health insurance can be a bit expensive. The company is trying to grow and has undergone several changes. Since it is ad hoc research, Sometimes you have to work later hours or come in earlier or work weekends. Also, HR and other branches are located in London which can be inconvenient at times.

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Toxic Workplace"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at System1 Group full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Employment is always good. But: check out the "cons".

    Cons

    I was inspired to write this after a LinkedIn post went viral - the post listed 15 signs of a toxic work environment. My experience at System1 checked at least half of the boxes. The first major sign: lots of people resigning, and a shared understanding that everyone is looking for another job. I was at the company for 16 months, and I had a total of 8 supervisors. There is no space to grow: the first level position of Research Associate, which I occupied, was tasked with the same duties as two levels up. So basically you are doing the same rote tasks for at least 5 years, regardless of job title. There is no merit-based promotions - you must do at least x amount of time before being considered for a promotion. You also aren't welcome to make your own decisions - emails must be checked by your supervisor (even the most cursory ones) before sending.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Green Grass"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Innovative approaches and tons of implicit trust in staff. People are free to work their own hours in their own environment as long as the work is getting done. Generous benefits and 5 weeks of vacation per year. Recent changes are opening up room for a revived culture. Young employees are given tons of opportunities to take the lead on projects, interact with clients, and participate in industry events.

    Cons

    Had a poor fiscal year in 2017/18 which led to an obsession with "the numbers" and subsequently not enough focus on the people. Management has acknowledged this and is actively trying to turn things around. It's not an easy task, but there is definitely commitment from many to get there.

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  4. Helpful (4)

    "Not great at the moment"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time

    Pros

    Some nice people, able to work from home on Fridays

    Cons

    While there was positivity and good work happening years ago, the company has degraded into quite a mess. Looking around the office, no one is happy or motivated, and the culture is pretty bleak. It is difficult to find inspiration or purpose, because the overall vibe in the office is so poor, and most people are looking to leave. While there are some more junior managers who really care about their employees, in the US, the top level management is very young, lacking experience in effectively running a business. Management has been making some pretty serious mistakes and misjudgments, meaning that the company as a whole is not doing well, which further brings down morale. There is no support from upper level management for ideas that come from the actual employees who do the work, and instead all policies and procedures are pushed down from the top, meaning that the way that the company is run is very out of touch with client needs. While the company sells itself by being the "most innovative" market research firm, the core of their methodologies haven't changed for 20 years, and there is little investment being put into doing anything truly new or cutting-edge. Instead, change is happening in the form of marginal improvements, and as a result System1 is struggling and failing to keep up in a rapidly changing industry. With a lack of a positive culture, effective management, and innovative products, all of the good employees are looking to leave, and the company feels like a sinking ship.

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  5. "System1 is a great place to work!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Very fun group of smart and caring people. Although there are challenges, everyone works very hard to overcome them. Always pushing to be on the cutting edge of behavioral economics and research. Opportunities are available for upward movement, although you must advocate for yourself.

    Cons

    When business gets busy, work-life balance sometimes suffers.

  6. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting projects, great people, but poor motivation from management"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time

    Pros

    Great, smart people. Unique and innovative approach to market research and brand building. Work on a variety of projects ranging from ad testing, brand tracking, new product development, to pack testing.

    Cons

    Struggling company culture, low morale, ineffective management

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  7. Helpful (2)

    "Research Executive"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Executive in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits, 5 weeks vacation, flexible with working remotely

    Cons

    Outdated technology and managers who are stretched too thin puts a strain on business

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  8. "A Great Team"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at System1 Group

    Pros

    Wonderful, smart and fun people. Collaborative environment. Excellent benefits. People really care about helping each other learn and grow. More interesting research methods than major players.

    Cons

    Ad hoc business model means waves in workload. Need to be able to self-manage your time. Some of the work can run back toward more traditional and less interesting research methods.

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  9. Helpful (2)

    "Maximal Hours at Minimal Pay, Grunt Work"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at System1 Group full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The workplace is casual and modern and the culture is young. There are many opportunities to learn, if you take it upon yourself to seek out resources. In the market research industry, BrainJuicer is considered to be progressive and inventive. Numerous opportunities for conversations with company leadership.

    Cons

    Management is young and inexperienced, frankly lacking in good management skills. Co-workers were openly disrespected in front of the entire office, making other associates squirm. Generally poor morale. Although the market research methodology is touted as cutting-edge, many of the back-of-hours tools (survey platform, powerpoint templates, the company website) are outdated, sluggish, and hassles to work with. For being known for innovative research methods, this company certainly does not have a culture of innovation. Pay is below market and staffing is always low due to high turnover and dissatisfaction. Because most of the work is outsourced internationally, there are a lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekend hours. Don't expect to ever work less than 55 hours/week. Don't expect to take any of the generous vacation time, and if you do happen to take a day off, you'll be checking your email every few hours. The company attracts top-tier talent who are overqualified for entry level roles. The role doesn't even require a college education, as much time will be spent checking work and finding errors (survey links, datafiles, data tables, presentations). Because the company uses budget-friendly outsourcing, inevitable everything is riddled with errors. Instead of hiring interns to find errors, perhaps it would be a better investment to find decent suppliers.

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  10. Helpful (4)

    "Time to looking for something new"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at System1 Group full-time

    Pros

    The emotional take on market research is interesting. They give you a laptop, a phone, a lot of vacation, free snacks, and a couple of mandatory team nights out a month. A fair amount of independence - good place for self-starters. If you don't suck at your job, you'll get a title and pay increase every 18-24 months. And with such high turnover, it's fairly easy to rise quickly. They do a good job of dangling carrots to keep junior staff keen. Ability to work from home occasionally.

    Cons

    Very high turnover, so teams are always changing and struggling to keep up. With no actual training process in place, it takes months to get new people up to speed, especially since things are constantly changing in how we do things. The laptop and phone they give you mean you're always working, even when you're not. They never hire enough people to do all the work, so most of us work crazy hours, including nights and weekends. Great place to work if you love corporate burnout though. Lots of senior executives hanging around not helping. Lots of vacation days, but it's always too busy to use them. Management is basically a good old boys network - a lot of overweight white guys. Very little diversity in management or in the workforce. US management especially can be very petty, hypocritical, passive aggressive, and negative. It has created a really negative culture over the past year or so. Their claims of being innovative get old after a while, especially since our survey software is barely functional and everything we do is very traditional. We just use the words "emotion" and "behavioral economics" a lot in our reports. Promotions are pretty routine. If you don't suck, you'll get one every 18-24 months, but the job never changes. It's just a different title and a little more money. Even when you're in a senior position, most of the work you do is still intern level. It's more of a research factory than an agency. Not a good place for someone trying to learn how to do market research. Pay is lower than the industry average, but they try to make up for it in the extra vacation days you can never take.

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