The World Bank Reviews | Glassdoor

The World Bank Reviews

Updated March 22, 2017
32 reviews

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The World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Jim Yong Kim
18 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Workers exploitation (they hire short term consultants, and pay them peanuts) (in 18 reviews)

  • Be ready to travel a lot, which can take a toll on your work life balance (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Urban Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Urban Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Urban Specialist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you are into international development, the kind of projects and challenges that you will get are worth the politics that you will have the fight through to make it in World Bank.

    Cons

    - Workers exploitation (they hire short term consultants, and pay them peanuts)
    - Too bureaucratic (Your skills matter very little)
    - Not the best place to make friends (lot of cocky people in there)
    - Mostly untalented people at the top / management level who don't deserve the spot

    Advice to Management

    Clean up your act, and learn to recruit AND RETAIN good talen.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Honest review of WB"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - STC in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - STC in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The World Bank as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    International exposure
    Fun exciting work on impactful topics and projects
    Access to many helpful and vital resources pertaining to research and development initiatives
    Smart, very diverse colleagues
    Decent pay for work done
    I know this may not be the case for other STC's but I had a decent work-life balance
    Exposure to other agencies, particularly when working on joint projects with other development agencies (UN).
    Looks great on any CV

    Cons

    Absolutely nefarious internal politics and flagrant disrespect of STCs at times
    Exploitation of short term consultants
    Very little guidance or mentor ship in STC role
    Depending on team lead, sexual harassment and politics run rampant in some departments with no accountability. This can lead to liability issues for the organization- this needs to be addressed.
    At times, there can be immediate demands for work done in a very short amount of time
    Little to no feedback on work done so as to improve/guide performance
    No benefits as STC, you're simply given income for work done
    Very hard to move across departments and procure a permanent position

    Advice to Management

    I would really take a close look at managers and senior management, as they are supposed to lead by example. Harassment and egregious politics hinder the work and talent of consultants and staff who are actually passionate about the works and mission at hand. Ease the bureaucracy so that tasks can be done in an efficient manner.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Too much politics"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Officer in Annandale, VA
    Former Employee - Information Officer in Annandale, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Being part of a global organization working to end poverty.

    Cons

    Inept management, wasteful, and extremely political. Everyone manages up instead of focusing on the task at hand.

    Advice to Management

    Time to clean up shop and use an objective, performance based method for evaluating management effectiveness instead of rewarding loyalty.


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  5. "STC"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Short Term Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Short Term Consultant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The World Bank as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Brand name. Lots of networking opportunities

    Cons

    Horrific exploitation of consultants-no mentoring, no career traction or ability to enhance your skills

    Advice to Management

    You are the worst and most untransparent corrupt nepotistic body out there. Please revamp your hiring practices and fix your broken systems before you run out to end global poverrty


  6. Helpful (6)

    "SR. PROGRAM OFFICER"

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

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The work itself is very interesting and global. The topics are extremely relevant for the world and there is a feeling that you work in the center of the universe. The work is quite sexy.

    Cons

    The processes at the WB are their own worst enemy and the management could care less about their effectiveness and/or pain points. Almost everyone there has sold their souls to the organization in order to live in the USA. The king of every day is always the one who is the better politician.

    Additionally, at the WB professionals become de-skilled very quickly. The tasks are menial and there is a tremendous compression of work everywhere and in every field. You have PhDs oftentimes doing clerical, menial tasks. They are there for the prestige and living in Washington. The environment is also very classist and some feel like slaves. Managers are very angry, narcissistic and controlling. Consultants are treated very poorly and they have no benefits. Once you look closely, it's all pure show. You have graduates from Oxford, MIT and Stanford typing and doing data entry day after day. But they travel around the world and they think that's good enough. The glamour of the organization dazzles many without giving any consideration for how their pitiful, menial tasks are hurting their careers.

    DC. Folks, it's a world of economists. Almost everyone else there lacks value. I don't believe I would ever return to a place where my spirit and soul would die every day I walked through those doors. By the way, I'm a US citizen so I didn't have to sell my soul to the organization just to live in this country. I've also had REAL job in corporate America and US government so I have a basis for comparison as to how much my own career suffered and lost by staying 4 years at the Bank.

    Advice to Management

    Put aside your egos and try to care about poverty and the real needs of your employees. There are other development banks emerging so if you don't change you'll be overtaken by these new institutions who are fed up with the inertia, bureaucracy and lethargy of your institution. Start caring about your broken processes and about your people. How can you say you care about the poor when you don't care about those who work with you day in and day out? That never stopped surprising me about you.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "ETC"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Financial Consultant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at The World Bank (Less than a year)

    Pros

    International network, complex operation, and world wide well-known insititution

    Cons

    Very political. Impossible to have a career if you do not have somebody behind you.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency Transparency Transparency


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Worst place for talented mid career professionals, you will be poorer for it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Intelligent people working for the Institution (refer "belligerent comments" below)
    Some folks are genuinely passionate to reduce global poverty and achieve its mission
    Compensation is great (especially those who don't want to be held accountable to goals)

    Cons

    The World Bank is a poor place to spend 3-5 years on a fixed term contract if you have 15-20 years of professional experience under your belt, particularly if you are coming from the private sector. You will be working alongside and perhaps supervising staff who can be negative and belligerent, working with bosses who are outright bullies and dealing constantly with politics and optics between Directorates and Vice Presidencies. I learned nothing technically, aside about how to write in a Washington DC tone which is not an appreciated skill elsewhere in the world. I view my time at the World Bank as a complete waste, and time that I will never get back. Sure looks great on the CV, but if it is true professional growth and development that you are looking for, then look elsewhere. Working for a Fortune 500 in a senior role, I have had to relearn many managerial skills unappreciated, downplayed or even belittled at the Bank: pragmatic and quick decision making, explicitly scoping out what is in and out, execution based on plan-do-check-act (versus the Bank's plan-plan-check-plan approach), open and transparency with my team members and strong internal networking (without having to go to the VP first).

    Advice to Management

    US Treasury and Executive Management should work on a managed close down of the institution over 5-10 years. It has lost relevancy in a world where poverty rates have a declined in the last 20 years, not because of the work of the World Bank, but because of the strong economic growth rates in emerging markets such as China. Alternative is to go back to core mission of reducing poverty and get out of areas that are on the periphery.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "WBG is a great place to work; HR Operations representatives unprofessional and have worst service"

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

    I have been working at The World Bank full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's a wonderful place to work. I have always wanted to work in international development helping others who have less. The bank itself is a 5-star. As an economist (PhD and MBA), I love what I do in the realm of my practice, though it wasn't my first position choice. My manager and team are supportive and I get along with them fine.

    Cons

    For applicants, do your best to get in and don't mind the little people that man the online HR Operations. I'm quite new so I'm still figuring out how these HR operations folks who only identify themselves with their first names in their email responses get hired by a prestigious multilateral organization, given my experience with their unprofessional customer service, poor writing and condescending tone while I was requesting help with issues re my documents while I was an applicant. I have a feeling they outsource these jobs to a certain part of the world who, ironically, do not have professional culture-sensitivity training. The low star rating is for this experience PLUS the WBG's crappy and unintuitive online application portal and interface that is stuck in 1991. Past that, the senior recruiters and professionals who are actually doing real work in the organization and are the ones you will meet later on are very professional and congenial.

    Advice to Management

    Train staff that work behind the help emails in proper customer service and review their outgoing emails (I.e. Some HR Operations Reps, while not all, are rude and condescending); have them identify themselves fully when corresponding with applicants; teach them how to write proper English in a context that is universally understood and train them to actually help applicants with issues about your antiquated online application system. Development must start within—your online portal invites corruption because applicants are unable to control application details and will need to be at the mercy of this semi-anonymous condescending person at the other end identifying herself/himself as HR Operations. Are online application detail issues properly addressed? An applicant will never know because the HR Operations person at the other end is unhappy with dealing with said system issues and started responding with prima donna warnings instead of helping. Note: I was eventually invited for interview when I was referred by a WBG employee—after 2 years of applying online and dealing with insecure helpline folks I've mentioned above.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Current employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD

    I have been working at The World Bank (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Diverse, unique expertise, global reach

    Cons

    Demanding, long working hours, time difference

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Good for Short Time, Unrealistic to start a career here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at The World Bank full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    good brand name, possibly good exposure to projects depending on your immediate supervisor

    Cons

    toxic work environment, consultants are second class citizens, reforms create environment of job insecurity and drastic risk aversion,

    Advice to Management

    change contract types; give consultants more security like other international organizations


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