Vulcan Reviews | Glassdoor

Vulcan Reviews

Updated May 18, 2017
74 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.3
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Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf
Bill Hilf
5 Ratings

74 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work/Life balance can be a challenge at times but the company works to offset that with great benefits and fun perks (in 9 reviews)

  • Upper management plays favorites (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Fast-paced and rewarding"

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

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

    Pros

    -Unique perks like Cinerama movie nights, themed happy hours, Mariners suite tickets, office lounges with games and snacks, massages and manicures.
    -Incredibly passionate and talented coworkers. Some of the smartest people I've ever met. They encourage you to be the best you can and the team camaraderie makes it fun to come to work.
    -A lot of new upper management but they are working hard to be more approachable and communicative than previous leaders. For example, they have started doing breakfast with the CEO where you can ask questions in a casual environment.
    -Exciting projects and philanthropy like ocean conservation, wildlife conservation, AI and cell research. You feel like all your work is actually making a difference.

    Cons

    It's definitely a "work hard, play hard" environment which is not for everyone. Communication from the top down could still be improved.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Unique place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've worked as a software developer for Vulcan in a ton of different fields and learned a lot. Learning new things in new domains is why I show up every day. Pay is reasonable and benefits are good. I like my colleagues.

    Cons

    There are deep layers of management hierarchy. In my sector, they come from traditional business centric corporations which ship products using large teams which is not the situation at Vulcan. There are so many projects to work on and so few engineers that sometimes the engineers are outnumbered by managers. Management churns constantly and every manager has their own particular way they think teams need to operate. Few of them have domain expertise. I've had 3+ different project managers on a single project within 1 year, and none of them has experience in the domain. Engineers rarely get promoted to management.

    Advice to Management

    Please empower engineers or hire domain experts to run projects.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Growing Pains but Otherwise GREAT. Brilliant people working on amazing projects."

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

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

    Pros

    Great salary, benefits, and other perks such as free movie nights at Cinerama. Health and community conscious company -- free FitBits, year round employee wellness programs, health club reimbursement, staff sports teams, volunteer events, etc. Many people have loved the company enough to stay - many people have been there 15+years. The various levels of leadership spend continous time and energy on improving the organizational structure, work processes, and employee satisfaction.

    Cons

    It is a 20 year old company with so many new leaders that it has a bit of a startup feel - which makes for some growing pains (which has some positives but also downsides while the departments figure out what works).


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Best Place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Senior Java/J2EE Developer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Java/J2EE Developer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Vulcan (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Most Friendly environment at work and lovely people

    Cons

    none, I found nothing


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Digital Content Producer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corporate Communications Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Corporate Communications Associate in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vulcan (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great small-team environment with plenty of opportunities to interface personally with different groups and divisions within the parent company. Incredibly talented and skilled workforce. Working at Vulcan gave me the opportunity to work with high-caliber individuals with varied skill sets.

    Cons

    Instances of bloated bureaucracy and convoluted reporting mechanisms. Visible high turnover didn't create an air of optimism regarding long-term career opportunity within the company.

    Advice to Management

    Delegate more decision making powers to division heads and develop a culture of trust. Status and progress reporting is obviously a necessary part of working at a company this large, but fear of missteps results in a culture of asking permission for even small decisions which can cause productivity to grind to a halt.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "LOVE working here."

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

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

    Pros

    Every day is different, learn new things every day, get to work on projects that change the world and make it better, fun, really great benefits, care about well-being of employees. Intelligent, open-minded, outside-the box thinking employees.

    Cons

    Pay could be better, incredibly busy 24/7, which can be a plus and a minus, they talk work/life balance but that doesn't really exist for many positions.

    Advice to Management

    Lead the way with work/life balance. If calendars are booked solid with meetings, hard to get the work done that is a result of those meetings.


  8. Helpful (20)

    "Vulcan has a lot of room to improve"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Unknown in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Unknown in Seattle, WA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Vulcan pays well above market and their benefits are excellent.

    Cons

    Vulcan has a very hostile work environment that comes from the top. The environment is so negative and the employees are not happy. I never felt valued as an employee but instead, I was fearful every day in this unpleasant atmosphere. This is a family owned company and they treat their employees horribly.

    Advice to Management

    Learn what a healthy and happy work environment is and foster it from the top down, invest in the success of your employees and actually care about them. If you do this, you will attract top talent that will dedicate themselves to your success.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Manager"

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

    I have been working at Vulcan full-time

    Pros

    Generous 401k matching (50% up to federal max.), other benefits and perks are nice and unique. Impactful work locally and abroad.

    Cons

    Company doesn't recognize individual successes; often unclear direction from senior leadership.


  10. Helpful (29)

    "Culture of fear"

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

    I have been working at Vulcan full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Talented, smart, hard working colleagues. Good benefits and compensation.

    Cons

    Several previous posters mention a culture of fear and they are spot on. It's a culture of fear that will not change because it comes directly from Paul Allen. "Owner meetings" as they are called are unpredictable and can go well or poorly depending on Paul's mood. Senior management operates on his whim and therefore the company lacks strategy and clear level-headed directional planning. Senior management will do anything to keep their well-paying jobs: they repeatedly move/alter project goals/direction and blame their employees when projects don't go as planned. Self-preservation at Vulcan is senior management's primary goal. A series of poor hires at the C-suite level have sent the company reeling. The technology department, in particular, is in upheaval and the new leader has a complete disregard for his team. Company morale has taken another massive beating.

    Advice to Management

    The stress and the pressure is intense, we see it and feel it, but what's the worst thing that can happen if you don't make Paul happy? You can lose your job. It's better to lose your job than lose your integrity and your moral compass. Be authentic, do better, do right by people.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "We're engineering solutions to world problems."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    The projects and programs are so interesting, it makes the sometimes unclear mission (just help the world?) worth it. Looks like they are trying to clarify that mission to everyone, and we recently had an all company meeting where Paul Allen shared his vision for tackling hard problems like climate change and extinction with data and technology. He was very positive and enthusiastic about what we are doing, and it felt very validating. Great and recently improved benefits and vacation + great location across from the stadiums. Instead of making products to sell like Amazon or Microsoft, we're making products that will actually help people live better lives and create a better world for my kids. Each team is different, but I trust my coworkers on a professional level, and they are also genuinely nice, fun and interesting people.

    Cons

    Can be high stress, and people expect a lot out of you. Many of my peers do take work home, or are attached to their phones. Though that's more a personal decision rather than pressure from management. I tend to "turn off" in the evenings and it isn't a problem as long as you go 100% during the day.

    Advice to Management

    People here genuinely care about what they are doing; trust and empower them.


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