Vanguard Reviews | Glassdoor

Vanguard Reviews

Updated December 13, 2018
2,075 reviews

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3.3
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Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley
Tim Buckley
138 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Good work life balance every day" (in 366 reviews)

  • "Great benefits, culture, work-life balance" (in 242 reviews)

Cons
  • "The entry level call center environment is brutal" (in 169 reviews)

  • "recruitment process is full of lies about work-life balance" (in 55 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    "Awesome culture and great people"

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

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

    Pros

    People are great, culture and environment are fun. Very client focused, you can feel good about the job you do everyday.

    Cons

    Very process driven, can be slow moving. (Speed is improving)

    Advice to Management

    Keep us moving forward. Sometimes we need to acknowledge our weaknesses not just focus on our strengths.


  2. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Help Desk Analyst in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Help Desk Analyst in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits for employee and family. Co-workers are fantastic and caring.

    Cons

    Not as many opportunities for advancement due to headquarters being in PA.

  3. Helpful (46)

    "Oppressive sweatshop atmosphere - Avoid"

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

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

    Pros

    Series 7 training is good
    Cafeteria, gym, and medical care onsite.
    Good insurance.
    Good 401k match (but vesting takes 6 years)
    Good PTO, but hard to schedule it
    Good firm for clients (miserable for employees).

    Cons

    Vanguard will constantly tell you how great it is to work there, but there is a reason they have by far the lowest Glassdoor rating of any major brokerage firm. Half the employees wouldn’t recommend Vanguard to a friend. You’ll note that the positive reviews are brief and non-specific, while the negative ones are long and detailed. If you're a fan of founder John Bogle, be aware that Vanguard is distancing itself from him and his principles, and is more concerned with accumulating assets than anything else.

    The company is in major disarray. Departments are constantly being reorganized and systems are failing right and left. On March 29, 2018 the Wall Street Journal published an in-depth article titled “Is Vanguard’s Success a Problem? Some Customers Think So”, a detailed review of Vanguard’s systems and customer service failures. Read the two-sentence reply from Vanguard in which they shrug it off. Then, a major press release went out that a high profile individual was taking over the advice department. Then he mysteriously left the company, and references to his name were scrubbed from the internal website and no explanation was ever given. See "A rising Vanguard executive is tapped to run a key unit, then mysteriously leaves", published August 7, 2018. Similarly, the announcement that the failing Singapore office will be closing, was buried in a minor memo, and never mentioned again. Six new ‘factor funds’ were created (for which we received zero training), and two months later, four of them had ZERO investors. None of these failures were ever discussed with staff. We had to find out about them in the media, or when clients blindsided us. Take all the time you need to digest this, or to verify it with a quick internet search.

    Vanguard’s aim is to break every job down into assembly-line simplicity, keeping the responsibilities very narrow, while giving employees as little decision-making authority as possible. Nobody is trusted to think for themselves. Advisors and salespeople work from a script when conversing with clients, with little room for your own input beyond “How’s the weather?” A computer chooses investment allocation, and even a CFP advisor can only adjust it by 10%.

    Managers tend to be standoffish and unhelpful, and they tend to micromanage every aspect of your work and keep employees on edge about their performance. You feel you have to compete on a daily basis to keep your job. Get 99 things right, and you’ll hear nothing. Get one thing wrong, and you’ll hear about it for months. There are restrictions on when you’re allowed to use the restroom--not during the first or last hour of the day, or the hour before or after lunch, or near market close, or if phones are busy, or if other members of your team are already on break. So you can get reprimanded pretty much any time you go, even if you just finished a 2-hour call. Everything you say to a manager is noted and used against you, including conversations you thought were informal or confidential. I’ve personally heard a senior manager telling team leaders to rate employees low even when meeting expectations, in order to “keep them striving.” Training is mostly done by people who have not done the job they are training you for. The average client is transferred six times before being connected to the right person, and if they mail in paperwork, it can take three weeks before it’s reviewed. Paperwork is often misrouted, and managers instruct workers to conceal that fact in the event of a FINRA investigation. You’ll read the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” here often, and it’s no joke. You’re constantly told how wonderful Vanguard is and how lucky you are to work there, even as your PC crashes and you’re apologizing to angry clients for other people’s mistakes, and your manager glares at you for daring to take your break.

    You work off the clock. It’s common to have training or meetings scheduled during your unpaid lunch. Because of the never-ending phone calls, you end up having to read and respond to emails on your own time. Due to continuous system glitches, people are scheduled to be in multiple places at once. Meeting rooms are often doublebooked, or meetings get scheduled in rooms that don’t exist. The software is so clunky that you have to arrive early to restart your PC before you can even clock in for the day. It’s hard to schedule PTO because of the constant understaffing. Technology is glitchy and antiquated. One department recently installed Windows 10 without making sure it was compatible (it’s wasn’t), and so there was a massive systems failure. The clocks on the wall are broken, drinking fountains are broken, toilets don’t work, and the elevators get stuck between floors with people in them. During renovation, fire exits are illegally blocked with temporary walls. So your own safety is not a high priority. Employees are given wrong or conflicting information by leaders and trainers, and then blamed for acting on it. But if you suggest that any of these problems need fixing, management tells you how grateful you should be to work for a company that “always does the right thing.”

    Lack of employee engagement was supposedly a major concern, and for years in the annual survey, results never improved. Finally, when Tim Buckley took over, they switched to a new survey company and rewrote the survey in order to get the results they wanted. Problem solved! Lack of response to employee suggestions was another complaint. Your manager pretends to address it by scheduling a few meetings, you write up a few bullet points . . . and nothing happens. It’s all for the sake of appearance. You soon learn not to make waves.

    I’ve never seen blatant age discrimination, but the average age is very young. 23-year-olds are promoted into management positions with zero experience. There are some older employees on the phones, but managers older than 40 are nonexistent. Either they’re deliberately driving out the older employees, or they all leave on their own. Draw your own conclusions.

    Management and recruiters tend to lie about compensation—they’ll promise bonuses, commission, and overtime pay that never happen (there are no jobs that pay commission, but recruiters still promise it). Management sometimes sends out fake recruiter emails (supposedly from other firms) to staff to see who responds. At Vanguard, nothing works and you always have to watch your back. Do yourself a favor: avoid this toxic environment and apply elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    No point in offering advice. Management isn't listening.


  4. "Consultant"

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

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

    Pros

    It truly CARES about the investors and doing the right thing

    Cons

    Small opportunities exist in pockets just like any where else, but the company is good at working on those


  5. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Great Benefits. Good company, family focused.

    Cons

    Change in focus strategy. They were ready to get rid of the tenured associates


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Downhill Slide at Warp Speed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Retirement plan; profit sharing plan

    Cons

    Extreme politics; unfair labor practices; archaic technology; ineffective organizational structures; top-down management style; outdated performance management practices.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Great company for clients but could be better for employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    You have the opportunity to learn a lot at Vanguard. Company is very client focused and offers great products.

    Cons

    Compensation is lower than elsewhere. Plus loyalty and hard work are not rewarded with career advancement. Higher level positions are usually preselected or hired externally. Additionally, the company focuses on promoting people fresh out of college who are selected for their launch to leadership programs. These people with little experience are routinely promoted above those with years of experience.

    Advice to Management

    Reward people who work hard and have been with the company for a while over those fresh out of college.

  8. "Vanguard is decent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Charlotte, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Supportive teams
    Diverse opportunities
    Many areas of growth

    Cons

    Slow to make decisions
    Slow to innovate
    Low risk tolerance
    Tip* avoid making long term friendships with contractors

    Advice to Management

    I hear a lot of "shoulds" in Vanguard's vision in company culture. Don't expect much to change without changing the rules to the game.
    Improve in explaining change to people.
    You are 1000% cool if you do the yearly dunk-tank.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Processing Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    * Wide range of work experience and development (CRM w/ various parties, completing various client requests, project work, etc.)
    * Friendly work environment
    * Benefits

    Cons

    * Compensation
    * Frustrating work due to lack of resources to effectively complete work.
    * Along with this, most of management, leadership, etc . chooses most often to maintain inefficient status quo, most likely as is extra work to critically change.
    * Department changes frequent, haphazard, and not well thought out.
    * Performance and merit evaluations are skewed and non-objective (subjective to opinion and likability of leader most often).
    * Overall fairly deceptive / manipulative (no connotation intended) - guidance and expectation is misleading to put it lightly. Will be told you will receive accreditation, opportunities, etc. if work, efforts, and certain things done, however very infrequently followed through.
    * Ability to move departments and outside opportunities are very limited due to bottleneck of employees in retail.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "No"

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

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time

    Pros

    good paid time off, nice office

    Cons

    the upper management is not in it for you.

    Advice to Management

    pay attention to everyone at tthe office!