Vanguard Reviews | Glassdoor

Vanguard Reviews

Updated February 20, 2017
1,584 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.2
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Vanguard Chairman and CEO William McNabb
William McNabb
903 Ratings

1,584 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 120 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 (12)

    "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. Helpful (9)

    "Start but don't stay"

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

    Pros

    Start here but don't stay even if you think you are in the "in crowd". Very very political. One day you could be "in" and then the next day you are "out". I have seen it happen to many employees with years with the company. You have to go to the right school to get ahead. It was not always like that when the founder Jack Bogle ran the company but that is what you have to deal with now.

    Cons

    Medical benefits are not very good especially for a family.

    Advice to Management

    Have some turnover.


  3. Helpful (20)

    "Bastion of Mediocrity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Specialist in Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - IT Specialist in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Little work for decent money. Most Fridays, no one does any work at all, they just socialize. (I'm glad I'm not a shareholder trying to get service on a Friday.) They let you go early on the Friday before a holiday and sometimes have casual days. The rest of the time guys wear a tie and women are all dressed up with nowhere to go. If you like working in a newish warren of cubicles, you'll love this place. Just follow the rules and you'll be fine.

    Cons

    This used to be a great place to work when Jack Bogle was running the company. Since then, it has become a bureaucratic maze full of self important managers who don't have a clue. The company is skating on the ludicrously positive press that it always seems to get.

    Advice to Management

    Management by buzzword is an insult.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Not for the young, ambitious, or talented!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Service Associate - Flagship in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Client Service Associate - Flagship in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Stable (never had corporate layoffs, probably never will), low stress, easy hours, good-to-great benefits, overtime pay for most employees. It is a good company in many ways; a solid, ethical company that is generally run very well, and is based on a brilliant business plan. I will continue to invest there.

    Cons

    Absolutely uninspiring place to work. Little opportunity for growth or advancement. Incompetent and unintelligent mid-level management. Stifling to those with any bit of ambition. Very low pay, rigid compensation guidelines so as to discourage jealousy or griping among employees (you know that what everyone else in your department makes is very similar to your pay). This is bad business - controlled competitiveness among employees allows room for talented employees to actually achieve.

    Advice to Management

    Create opportunities for young talent to rise and replace the terrible middle management.


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Vanguard: They will hire anyone!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Brokerage Associate in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Brokerage Associate in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits are the only reason to work for Vanguard. Vanguard also has a fairly comprehensive training and development program to train new hires.

    Cons

    The managers are completely incompetent. The managers treat their workers with no respect. The way to become a manager at Vanguard is based on the number of years wirk experience you have- not on your intellect.

    Advice to Management

    Please listen to your subordinates. They are very smart. Vanguard has a reputation as being a mutual fund company full of a bunch of average intelligent people. If you want to excel, then listen to the people you manage.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Vanguard: Where lackluster mutual fund performance can be emulated in your professional career!"

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

    Pros

    Free coffee. Honestly, without bias, this is the worst job I have ever had.

    Cons

    0% raises, hours worked cut below 40, bonus decreases, Orwellian employee monitoring, nepotism, no flexibility in shift preference, promised tuition reimbursement that really doesn't exist because you work 3rd shift and can't attend school, starting salary of 33k WITH a college degree and possession of FINRA licences, the promise of a "financial career" when really you're answering phones in a call center where business needs are cited as reasons why you are unable to change positions, even laterally.

    Overall, the moon is promised and once employed it is clear of the company's intention to keep workers as cheaply as possible. Turnover rates are atrocious, but they hire en masse, throwing spaghetti against the wall.

    Advice to Management

    Just because you ran a credit card collection call center in the past, by no means should you have sought a career in a financial organization. Not each call center is alike, and having phones call last an average of 5 minutes or less does NOT help a customer worried about his asset mix. Additionally, just because your complacency is intrinsic, please do not feel threatened when an associate shows initiative. No one is gunning for your bottom rung management position. Paranoia strikes again...


  8. Helpful (19)

    "Blood, Sweat, Tears, Therapy, Medication- almost 20 years of service all for naught"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Various Over Long Tenure in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Various Over Long Tenure in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good place to get started, great training, looks good on a resume. You can learn a lot here about the investment industry. You can get your securities licenses on their buck. You can gain valuable skills in various areas that translate to "real-world" worth. It's a great place to make friends.

    Cons

    The basic deal here is you are used. They sing a song of "work-life balance", but depending on your position, that balance is weighted toward work- as in work is your life. The Peter Principle is alive and well here. Incompetent people are many times rewarded with management titles- and put in charge of talented people whose jobs they barely comprehend. These managers then micro-manage and terrorize their staffs in order to feel "important" and in control. These managers are too afraid to push back at Snr. Management on rules that should not be "one size fits all". Super talented, intelligent people have been lost by this organization by their insistance on shoving square pegs into round holes over and over and over. Interestingly enough, there are a lot of Vanguard veterans that have drunk enough of the kool-aid to remain.

    Advice to Management

    Read and heed the exit reviews of people who care enough to be honest about their experiences! Don't let talented vets talk to the smart people who have left- you might lose them too!


  9. Helpful (14)

    "Vanguard, stay away!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Brokerage Associate in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Brokerage Associate in Philadelphia, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent benefits. This is literally the only pro. I could only imagine this being a good place to work for someone who only has a high school education and 7 kids.

    Cons

    Low pay, unintelligent coworkers, zero motivation to exceed because raises and promotions are rare, and even promotions come with LOW raises. You are treated like a robot. And, if you work here long enough you will become one.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to management is to keep doing what you're doing. Obviously, the company has it's own niche and is good at increasing AUM, but, employee treatment at Vanguard is awful.


  10. Helpful (28)

    "Vanguards Report Card: from a 10 year employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Various From A to E Level in Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Various From A to E Level in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Employment at Vanguard is best suited for students looking to gain experience and for a certain types of individuals with families. Students will gain insight on how large corporations work (good and bad), however should refrain from setting up expectations for long-term employment. Most recent grads are pleased initially to work for a large and well-respected employer, however this predictably changes over time. I worked for Vanguard for nearly 10 years and learned that while salaries company wide have gone up, they can substantially lag industry standards. After about 5 years of employment, due to the compensation structure and hiring policies, you will likely find that new hires I making similar or more than your tenured salary. For example a good friend with little industry experience acquired a job at the same level as me (5 levels up in the company – considered to be a good level of employment), however she started at 4k more than me. Once again, experience matters, but stay too long and you only hurt yourself.

    If you are not the primary breadwinner of your household and are looking for good benefits, some (depending on the role) flexibility, and are not necessarily interested in potential advancement Vanguard may be good for you. If you want to advance within the company I advise that you network aggressively and be prepared to “peacock”. Many of the individuals that have advanced at this company are well-connected self-promoters, it is difficult to do so as an outsider. You will not do well at this company if you feel uncomfortable with promoting your work, your compensation and advancement depends on it.

    Cons

    Vanguard is the Walmart of the investment world - A good place to shop, a bad place to work long-term for most.

    Most individuals that employees directly report to are taught “in house” and lack ability to balance corporate initiatives and fair employee practices. During the course of your career at Vanguard you will likely find yourself working duel positions for extended periods of time with little if any recognition, nor will you be compensated for your additional work. Salaried employees occasionally have flexibility in their schedule to attend a doctors appointment, however all in all over the course of nearly 10 years I likely worked on average 45 hours a week while being compensated for 37.5.

    Advancement is determined by individuals despite a process being in place, therefore you will likely encounter instances where the friend, child, or family member of a higher level are selected for a desirable position. Vanguard does support diversity and this is good thing for the work environment, however management attempts to diversify the staff can be sudden, inflexible, poorly prepared, and haphazardly facilitated. Advancement and hiring are determined by race and gender in many cases and it is true to state that if you are a minority woman you will garner more opportunities at Vanguard. I have personally been pulled from a promotional opportunity, despite starting the job, to satisfy diversity requirement. I willingly agreed to the retraction of the position because I was told another better-suited opportunity would soon be available, I was eventually promoted but it took nearly a year to do so.

    The mid-year and year-end process it daunting and does not yield fair results. Your year end raise and bonus (applicable over a certain level) will be decided during a group management meeting by members that may not even know you, unfortunately the due date for your documented accomplishments are often after this meeting takes place. The year-end process does not work. Vanguards “pay for performance” policy is boiled down to an average raise that nearly the entire workforce receives (1-3% depending on the economic climate). If you are lucky the person you directly report to will be in good favor and can speak comfortably to upper management. If you have a newer or “out of favor” direct report you will likely not be compensated for your achievements.

    Additional Problems: Job roles change constantly and are not communicated well by management, management programs are offered exclusively to recent college graduates only while overlooking talent in the employee pool, salary is below average, excessive changes in management personnel hurt the work environment (I had 6 different direct reports in my last year), work/life balance varies dramatically depending on position and direct report, and a “kool-aid” corporate culture discourages independent thought and feedback. The company was not always as bad as it is now, however the problems are becoming substantially worse.

    Advice to Management

    Vanguard needs to focus on hiring and developing quality management that is respected enough to fairly represent their employees, salaries need to be reconfigured to match national averages, "pay for performance" should be based on work accomplished not by who is friends or related to who.


  11. Helpful (10)

    "Stay Away From The Incompetent Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Malvern, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are great and the locations is convenient to the Turnpike and 202.

    Cons

    Wow, where should I begin....at Vanguard, you are nothing more than a calltaker; you have no opportunity for career advancement and management has their heads so far up one another's rears that they never notice let alone recognize a job well done. The culture is very conservative and insincere. There is a sense of fakeness with which people treat one another. Management has no interest in develping those that they supposedly manage; they only care that you continue taking as many phone calls as possible like a hamster on a wheel.

    Advice to Management

    Hire competent management who has the ability to actually develop and exude an interest in the people they are supposed to be supporting.



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