Vanguard Reviews | Glassdoor

Vanguard Reviews

Updated February 18, 2017
1,581 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.2
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Vanguard Chairman and CEO William McNabb
William McNabb
898 Ratings

1,581 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work life balance, good prospects for those that are identified as high achievers (in 278 reviews)

  • Vanguard is an excellent conservative company to work for with great benefits" (in 180 reviews)

Cons
  • Also there is a high turnover rate because it is more of a call center position once you get through training (in 119 reviews)

  • Work life balance is great but more flexibility is needed in some of the departments" (in 45 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (11)

    "Purpose driven company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Strategist
    Current Employee - Marketing Strategist
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    A virtuous mission backed by a truly unique structure, significant investment in employee training and continuing education, best-in-class retirement and benefits package, generous time off and work-life balance, collaborative relationship-based culture, lots of rotational and promotional opportunities for top performers, improving at weeding out low performers and cultural cancers

    Cons

    Compensation could be greater, culture can be too nice and conflict averse, people can rise/fall based on a few or old impressions with influential people

    Advice to Management

    Figure out a way to better engage middle management and longer tenured employees.


  2. "Company with Admirable Mission"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Organizational Effectiveness Consultant in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Organizational Effectiveness Consultant in Malvern, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Vanguard has an amazing structure and organization that allows it to provide more value for its customers and its competitors. It is an honor to be apart of an organization that has helped shaped the industry as a whole.

    Cons

    The organization could be more nimble.

    Advice to Management

    Reward failure to increase crew risk taking and innovation.


  3. Helpful (61)

    "From a TL's perspective"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Team Leader in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Team Leader in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -- People. Most are dedicated and trying to do the "right thing" and make the company great. I have formed many friendships that continue outside of work.

    -- Benefits. The 401k matching is top notch. There is also a significant amount of PTO (which you can use for sick time, vacation time, personal time, etc.). In addition to what the company provides, you can also buy up to a week. We observe a lot of holidays. Medical care is also very generous (for the crew member only. Add in spouses/kids and not as competitive). They instituted a lot of hoops to get some money back as well (BMI, smoking, blood pressure, etc.), but a lot of companies are doing that these days and since it's up to $500, you can end up paying very little out of pocket with plans. Recently, they have added severance, parental leave, loan paybacks, etc. Some people balk at this saying it's how VG is trying to get out of lawsuits, and that might be true, but for the average crew member, these are only seen as great things.

    -- Certifications. They pay you to study and get your licenses needed for the job you're in (which is 63, 6, and/or 7 for most jobs), but you can also get more if you need them for certain roles (53, 65, 24, etc.). Anyone can sign up to get the CFP or CFA and in addition to other tuition reimbursement, VG offers an in-house, accelerated MBA program (you have to sign up and qualify).

    --Training. There are a ton of in person and online training courses for crew to take. Of course, there are some specialized ones for those who want to become supervisors as well. A slight "con" in this section - once people become leaders, there is zero required training. So, you can have someone with this as their first supervisor job and some with 20+ years of experience and there is no additional training for any of them in their new roles.

    -- Vision. Being at VG for over six years, I have seen a lot of changes within the company, and for the most part, I applaud them. The reason is that VG was very much a "sit back and they will come to us" mentality when I first joined. Since I had a lot of service and sales experience, I couldn't believe we were letting so many opportunities pass us by with clients. So, I'm happy to see that we're finally getting more competitive.

    Cons

    -- People. Three main camps of people at VG. The first is the long term crew member. They're the ones who have been here from the beginning and are really feeling the pinch of the changes the company is making. Some are leaving voluntarily ("this isn't the VG I know") and some are being pushed out via metrics and strong performance management. For what it's worth, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing as some people who have lived their entire careers at the company just don't embrace change or have any experience from outside the company to help with growth. Some are used to doing to most minimal amounts of work and sitting back while VG pays giant Partnerships, free lunches, extensive PTO, etc., and they truly don't add value any more. There are others who are being pushed out and are GOOD PEOPLE, but are caught up in the undertow or just aren't willing to put up with the shite they're seeing. That's unfortunate. The second is the "just out of college" newbie. They are coming in, getting their certifications, putting in a minimal amount of time, and then leaving for bigger and better jobs. VG is trying to counteract this with recent pay increases to be "competitive" but you have so much more to fix to get these guys to stay. The third is the folks hired externally over the past ten years. So much experience brought to the table and because the senior leaders are all long term VG people, they don't recognize this. These people have had to shut up and drink the kool-aid instead of doing what they were hired to do and that's inject another view point into things. People in the VADP program are handed promotion after promotion with ZERO experience actually leading others. They often are stepping on the backs of their crew in order to get ahead for themselves. You can put a one pager together? You wear a suit? You network with the right people? YOU'RE PROMOTED. Ugh. It's pathetic and such a waste of talent. This group is starting to leave in DROVES. Can't wait to see the impact over the next couple of years when VG realizes what they lost.

    -- Politics. I have never seen anything like it in my life (and I have worked at several other companies in various industries). If you don't network with the correct people, you do not get promoted or the job you want. There are "back room" deals happening all of the time. A job is posted, people apply, and then the person they already had in mind for the job gets it, even if they're not as qualified. When a senior manager moved into a new group, they bring all of their old colleagues with them. The people already there have no chance.

    -- Environment. It's dependent solely on your direct boss. There are people who should never have been in leadership treating people like absolute trash. It's stressful. I know multiple people who have taken "stress leaves" because of VG. It's a financial company, not the POTUS, for god's sake. It shouldn't be this bad.

    -- Workload. Where do I start? People are overworked. I won't even say underpaid, because that's relative to the person and role, but the amount they expect people to work (hours and volume) is incredible. People get burned out quickly. We are supposed to "right staff" but in reality, we "under staff" on purpose in every group, especially in the cost centers. Upper management used Gallup polls as "scorecards" for TLs, even though most of the questions are about how VG is running and we have zero control over any of that.

    -- Reviews. Calibrations, differentiation sessions, "unofficial" bell curves. Yep, we have it all. And in reality, it comes down to how much your leader can tell your "story" as to where you fall in your annual review. I've seen poor performers with year over year bad reviews stay in their jobs and/or get raises and/or get promotions and I've seen top performers with year over year great reviews stay stagnant for no reason. They're not a good indication of performance.

    Advice to Management

    You spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out what's wrong, and yet every survey and focus group is a bust because people are AFRAID OF RETALIATION to tell you the truth. Even when you take the time to try and understand what's happening, you never follow through. The rotations of senior managers, department heads, and principals means that once someone comes in and tries to start fixing things, their two years is up and they move on and we all start again. Start retaining leaders in roles for longer to drive some actual change and HOLD MANAGERS AND ABOVE ACCOUNTABLE.


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  5. Helpful (32)

    "Everything you've read in the papers is true"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Vanguard remains the best asset manager in the business. They will be successful in spite of themselves.

    Cons

    There are many. But I had been a long-term crewmember and I have seen better days. It is also important to know that I loved working at Vanguard most of the time I was there. Unfortunately, the last few years have been the worst. Crew engagement is spiraling out of control and senior leadership seems to be apathetic with understanding why. My three biggest cons are:

    1. Mid level leadership: Becoming worse by the day! Vanguard believes that their next generation of leaders is coming from the dozens and dozens of MBA new hires. These young and driven neophytes may be book smart, but they have no idea what it means to lead; nor do they understand the responsibility that comes with being a leader. Their goals are entirely self serving and they make it very clear they want to get to the next level. While this is common in many large financial service companies, it was never the Vanguard way... hark back to Jack Brennan's Back to Basics leadership initiative. Jack understood the importance of good leaders, this leadership team doesn't.

    2. Rank and Yank.... If there was any doubt that this is common practice, I assure you it is. They use their forced ranking system to performance out older workers and minorities. Google Vanguard Lawsuits and you will see the multitude of articles written about these practices. It is a pervasive practice.They instituted a new severance policy last year to combat the influx of lawsuits.

    3. "Pay for performance" translates to "the chosen ones get all of the money". The vast majority of crewmembers suffer with very low merit increases and bonuses.It doesn't matter how much you accomplish. It simply comes down to how much advocacy you have with your department head.

    Advice to Management

    There is a reason crew engagement scores are falling... You can have the greatest job in the world, working for the best company, but if your manager treats you poorly, you are going to be unhappy... you don't need an MBA to figure that out.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Portfolio Implementation Associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    Good environment and pleasant company culture

    Cons

    Lower than industry average pay


  7. "All around great employer"

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

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

    Pros

    -Great work-life balance.
    -Good amount of PTO (vacation time).
    -37.5 hour work week.
    -Affordable benefits (medical, prescription, dental, vision).
    -Really nice people.
    -Big company, so many various job opportunities.
    -Cafeterias, gym, wellness center all on-site.

    Cons

    Most entry level is in call center environment, which isn't ideal. However, most people, including myself, were able to move out to something new within 1-2 years.

    Advice to Management

    Mostly all management I had was great, but I know it wasn't that way for everyone. Best advice to call center supervisors is to remember that your employees are people, not machines that take phone calls.


  8. "Great work environment, plenty of opportunities within the company to move both laterally and vertically."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Administrator in Valley Forge, PA
    Former Employee - Project Administrator in Valley Forge, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities within a strong organization. A place you can spend your career. They want you to move within the organization to continue to learn and grow.

    Cons

    Typical challenges with any large company that has a lot of layers of management. It would be nice if there was more of an opportunity to work remotely.

    Advice to Management

    Make a stronger effort to identify high achievers that are early in the career, specifically those that don't enter the organization in an excellerated program.


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Terrible. My god."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Specialist
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Specialist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The 401K is nice, if you're prepared to stick around forever.

    Cons

    Read the other reviews. They don't lie. Terrible, terrible starting gig. Jump asap. No future in the company and they push advice services which do nothing for clients.

    Advice to Management

    Don't be such cheapskates


  10. Helpful (18)

    "The Walmart of Investment Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Processing Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Processing Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits: paid time off, 401(k) match, closed during major holidays
    Easy job, you don't take your work home
    Nice people
    Some departments have a 4 day work schedule
    Unlimited overtime

    Cons

    Lack of advancement opportunities - not a place for a long-term career
    Mind-numbing job - no learning and growing
    Harder to move internally than switching to a competing firm
    Low pay compared to competitors
    Big corporation feel, you're just a number
    Extremely high backlog
    "Leaders" don't lead, they just manage
    High management turnover
    Too much micro managing
    Working Saturdays (operations)
    Lack of flexibility and schedule change

    Okay job to start out of college. The lack of client facing experience during this role will make it extremely hard to move on with your career, unless you're looking for a position that doesn't deal with clients. My advice is to try to apply internally after 1.5 years of employment to get your series 7 and a client facing role. Your resume will look very poor with just the processing associate role on it. If you have high career aspirations I would advise to look elsewhere. Most of my training class peers quit after 1 year at the company.
    Career advancement are extremely difficult and plagued with politics. Even if you’re exceeding the required metrics, they’ll find ways to take away your merit increase or offer a promotion. After almost 3 years at the company, new hires are starting at a higher base than my current one. Managers say “productivity doesn’t matter, it’s all about quality”, but they will still have unpleasant talks about increasing your numbers (even if you’re at 100% quality). Some people are lucky to have nice managers (they’re labeled “leaders”), but you’re lucky if you have the same manager for over a year.
    So just like Walmart, it’s a great company for the consumer with a narrow focus on low cost, but not a good place for a career.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Good first job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    Pay was higher than most companies offered recent college grads

    Cons

    Glorified call center with little flexibility



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