Vanguard Reviews | Glassdoor

Vanguard Reviews

Updated April 17, 2017
289 reviews

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Vanguard Chairman and CEO William McNabb
William McNabb
140 Ratings

289 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work life balance, good prospects for those that are identified as high achievers (in 286 reviews)

  • Vanguard is a great company to work for and they offer great benefits (in 187 reviews)

Cons
  • Also there is a high turnover rate because it is more of a call center position once you get through training (in 124 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "Personal Investor Experience Mostly Negative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Representative in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Representative in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    1. Coworkers overall friendly and genuine
    2. You'll talk to a lot of different clients and have wide variety of client experiences
    3. Paid Series 7/63 training
    4. Acceptable ancillary benefits like PTO and a gym on campus

    Cons

    1. "37.5 hour work week" = you don't get paid for an hour lunch. Enjoy working like you are in retail or in an internship. Better hours than other jobs but don't fall for the gimmick.
    2. No transparency. Textbook definition of passive-aggressive: management avoids confrontation but talks behind your back. Will hint at problems, not actually tell you how to improve.
    3. Internal hires are on whims not on actual experience or networking (see #2 about non-helpful feedback on why you might get passed up for promotion.)
    4. Becoming obsessed with metrics. Clients come second when you are chasing numbers.
    5. The epitome of red-tape, nonsense bureaucracy -- many rules/policies based on wishes and dreams, not reality. Be ready to follow rules that frustrate clients needlessly in the name of 'security.' Even though we live in 2017 and there are better ways to be secure.
    6. The pay is beyond a joke. Bonuses and raises are pitiful.
    7. Clients are catching on to the decrease in quality and management support. Expect a ton of negative interactions.
    8. Most of the technology systems are outdated, crash for no reason (I've seen 4 servers issues in one year) and are pointlessly complex for both clients and crew.
    9. Get ready to rip through calls all day, every day. That's all you'll do. Don't listen to HR who will tell you about 'projects' or other opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    1. Working 37.5 hour weeks sounds great when recruiting but it's deceptive. Much like the overall culture at Vanguard, it sounds nice on the surface, but underlies a darker truth.
    2. Actually pay your crew a working wage. Starting at ~$42K for PI is not white-collar money.
    3. Be honest and open with crew members on performance, promotions, etc. And take complaints/critical responses seriously.
    4. Expense ratios can go up slightly and allow you to fund technology improvements, pay crew better, etc. I promise you very few clients will notice. More clients will appreciate a better level of service.
    5. Y'all are just beginning to notice how frustrated your crew members are becoming. A mass exodus is more than likely going to happen unless you make some substantive changes. I certainly plan on sending my friends to Fidelity, NW, or others before y'all.
    6. Partnership is a cool idea but super outdated and a GIGANTIC WASTE OF MONEY. Pay out bigger bonuses or use the money to pay better base salaries or improve tech. Crew members will thank you.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Would Not Recommend"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corrective Coding/Account Corrections -Title IS Processing in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Corrective Coding/Account Corrections -Title IS Processing in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Health insurance, open to moving to other areas within the company

    Cons

    Treated like a number. Performance measures are to be 100% perfect all the time, at a inhuman rate. Cannot clock in and out 1 minute off (literally). No job flexibility. Strict hours. No overtime. Minimal pay. $36K per year starting pay- 200% below poverty level for a family of 3 with 1 income. Constantly berated. Unrealistic expectations. The company is more concerned with how much you "process" than the participants they serve. People have literally said that and it was agreed that was best practice. I was literally told I care too much when I have a positive people first attitude. Once we were told when are busy we can't get breakfast down the hall. We are not allowed to talk. No sunlight. Constantly told to work faster and "produce more", even when 100% green across the board. This is a financial factory- do not work here.

    Advice to Management

    Departments should not be required to give data metrics based upon "productivity". It causes people to do sloppy work to show they're fast (or close items out when they should be open-further delaying participant needs). Promote a client and participant first attitude instead. It is a culture of uncaring except for making oneself "look good" for numbers. We are treated like numbers and discouraged from caring about participants, clients, good quality work or supporting peers (or making lasting developments). Instead we are told to work as fast as we can and not look up from our screens and that the above is discouraged. I am disappointed with the lack of core values. Softphone is unnessary and between that and data metrics causes incredible stress & anxiety (car accidents on the way to work, heart attacks, unhealthy behaviors). The 100% perfect mentality is inhumane. Save on wellness by encouraging a healthy work environment instead of a high pressure factory of production with little emphasis on caring, helping (actually discouraged), and pay that we can support our families on. Most people have two jobs and Master's Degrees and barely can afford basic needs.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Client Relationship Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Specialist in Devon, PA
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Specialist in Devon, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    120 PTO hours starting day 1. Tuition reimbursement if approved. Health benefits is not bad. Can't say it is best I ever had, but it's good enough.

    Cons

    You should undergo through a every month evaluation. It is very annoying to have your performance reviews every single month. If you will be a slightly below required stats, you will be dead locked in your position until fired. They are not giving a chance to try yourself in other department where you can potentially be able to utilize your skills at best. Beware to enter into a wrong position. This can be a dead trap. Same about their every position and department.

    Advice to Management

    Do not stress your employees with this monthly performance reviews.


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  5. Helpful (40)

    "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 (3)

    "Good place to start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible PTO, Initial Training is good

    Cons

    Management knows nothing about the actual department they are managing.


  7. Helpful (49)

    "The Wal-Mart of the investing world"

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

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You start with great PTO and potential for working 4 days a week. They don't technically lay-off, but they do fire you if your metrics are low.

    The organization as a whole does not have conflicts of interest in their investing with no greedy shareholders to appease (minus partnership). They truly care about their clients and they should extend this unyielding care to their employees.

    Cons

    THE PAY. I cannot even fathom how this organization gets away with paying as little as it does. This is true of a ton of jobs in this industry. Just to give you an idea, since leaving Vanguard, I have tripled my salary in just a few years outside of "financial services" aka the absolute worst industry to be in unless you're an investment banker or love sales.....

    The licenses are basically worthless as the industry forces so many people to have them. They're literally a dime a dozen. If you plan on staying in the low paying financial services world fine, but I didn't and they were worthless when I left.

    Vanguard tracks literally your every single movement that feeds into your "metrics." These metrics determine your fate with the organization. Use the bathroom? They know. Use it too many times? They'll have a conversation when it pops up on your metrics. Metrics, metrics, metrics. It's so impersonal and dehumanizing. I happened to be a high performer when it came to these metrics, but to many it was very stressful. I didn't like feeling like a number on a piece of paper instead of an employee with great ideas and aspirations. Since leaving Vanguard I have helped to think up ideas for companies to save literally millions of dollars. Could I have done the same at VG? Maybe....

    Some of the "management" are very little more than inexperienced kids with degrees. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing manager while at the organization who had over 20 years management experience. As soon as I found out some kid was going to be put in charge, I knew my time was up.....well that and an offer for double my salary from a former employer.

    As a former "graduate" of one of the financial services management training programs (not VADP, but a higher equivalent at a competitor), I can tell you they're political BS. The kids thrust into these roles that, on average, do not have what it takes to manage people or complex processes. Are there exceptions? Absolutely.

    So why does Vanguard do this? MONEY. They don't want to pay what true managers command. I have not had a manager since leaving Vanguard that made less than six figures and I hope I never do. You get what you pay for.

    Advice to Management

    Stop calling "management" team leaders. These are not team leaders, there are managers. Whatever consultant or HR person told you that should be fired. This is now an area of expertise for me and I have a suspicion this is being done to artificially deflate wages. I highly suggest you look at RESPONSIBILITIES of the role before aligning it to a person who DOES NOT manage people (Team Leader).

    Stop hiding executive compensation. What do you have to hide? Are you embarrassed by the disparity between your workers and CEO? Well you should be.

    Vanguard isn't really a bad place, but you have the opportunity to make it a GREAT place.


  8. Helpful (25)

    "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.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tech Intern in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Tech Intern in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good work/life balance, don't have to work crazy hours.

    Cons

    Boring work. Not very exciting place to be. Maybe a different team would have been better though.


  10. Helpful (22)

    "Take this job and once you get it immediately plan to leave"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Service Associate in Valley Forge, PA
    Former Employee - Client Service Associate in Valley Forge, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people. A solid group work here and have the best for their clients in mind. Sadly, that will come at the expense of your sanity. Vanguard is good to have on your resume. I worked here for 3 years and even though I regularly look back and wince, it got me a job comfortably paying twice as much.

    Gym, expensive cafe (which closes at 2pm which is when your lunch will be), car services, health benefits, the whole Corporate America 9 yards.

    Cons

    If this is your first job get ready because you will be worked to AT-COST death. Simply enough, look at the amount of people who took the time to write thousand word reviews on how poor it is. Don't close your ears when you hear that "white collar slavery" joke because you'll only have yourself to blame.

    The summary: you will be managed by a mediocre mid level supervisor who has been there 10 years and has "made it this far." That person will have no idea what s/he is doing because s/he's so far displaced from the job. Your phone will ring every second of the day that you are there and clients wait on hold for an hour which naturally makes them yell at you. If you want/need time off, yeah right. You will make requests via Aspect, which treats you exactly like Vanguard views you: a number. When you look down the career line you will see two paths

    1. Become that miserable manager who got a raise twice in 10 years and has dealt with a decade of misery

    2. Take your talent elsewhere

    TLDR; read the title. This review is truth.

    Advice to Management

    Stop treating people like numbers. And you know what, if that's really what you want to do fine, but hire a lot more numbers so they aren't quitting left and right because they are overworked.


  11. Helpful (24)

    "After 11 Years All of a Sudden I didn't Know How To Do My Job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Associate in Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - Administrative Associate in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Benefits and your piers help you through the day.

    Cons

    Managers lie!! Also there are managers who should be out the door. They are more two faced than regular crew members. I just don't understand how this can be. When you get to a certain age this is when they start picking you apart and make you feel like crap!

    Advice to Management

    Get real, you suck.


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