ZGF Architects Employee Reviews about "zgf"

Updated Sep 23, 2018

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3.2
43%
Recommend to a Friend
70%
Approve of CEO
ZGF Architects Managing Partner  Ted Hyman (no image)
Ted Hyman
18 Ratings
Pros
  • "Good exposure to projects and nice work environment(in 6 reviews)

  • "Highly qualified and talented staff, great projects and clients(in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "ZGF could get involved with more diverse project types(in 4 reviews)

  • "Disorganized, disinterested in employe growth, flawed design process(in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

Reviews about "zgf"

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  1. Helpful (7)

    "LA Office - Great people, Great atmosphere, Opportunity for Growth"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ZGF Architects full-time

    Pros

    - A lot of opportunity for growth and experience. - Great mentorship & patience with young professionals. - Willingness to tackle big firm-wide goals: sustainability, education, diversity, etc. - Great people who work hard and care about each other. More collaborative than competitive. - Upper management is willing to work with you if you state your goals and intentions clearly

    Cons

    - ZGF could get involved with more diverse project types. It would be great to see ZGF take more risks in the type of work they go after.

  2. Helpful (9)

    "A Mixed Bag"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ZGF Architects full-time

    Pros

    Lots of high profile clients and incredibly knowledgeable staff, the people at this firm really know their stuff. The company has lots of resources in-house, and so you won’t go wanting in that department. The starting pay is higher than most places—but the raises can be meager in comparison, so it more or less evens out. The understaffing does come with the benefit that you’ll have to wear multiple hats, so you will learn a lot. The firm has a diverse portfolio of projects in some very resilient market sectors, so the fear of job loss is slim. Overall ZGF is a great place to grow, despite the frustrations.

    Cons

    The project I worked on required insane hours; I pulled 60-80 hour weeks on average for about 10 months. During that time I was doing documentation and presentation work. The middle management seems a bit bloated, with managers whose sole role is to manage managers. The culture is really left wanting, it feels a bit soulless working here—people often get caught up with the, albeit important, technical and logistical aspects of architecture and design often takes a seat on the back burner. There are a few egos in the office, but there’s no clear culture built around design, so if this is something you value it can be a frustrating place to be.

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  3. Helpful (4)

    "Your experience may vary. 3.5 stars would be my true rating."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ZGF Architects full-time

    Pros

    Strong focus on integration of sustainability into projects. Great resources with model shop, 3d printing, VR technology is being explored. Dedicated. talented visualization crew to help concepts look awesome.

    Cons

    Politics between offices was an issue. Disagreements between partners and divisive behaviors that was visible to staff. This means there are disconnects between experiences at each location and tensions between how resources are shared, where the profit flows from/to, etc PDX is still somehow considered the center, but LA runs DC and NY. SEA is it's own entity in many ways, and tries to exert strong influence over the partnership with ZGF Cotter in Vancouver. A few years ago, ZGF hired a CFO to make the firm run more efficiently, but it also led to some bloodletting with loyal seasoned employees. The big family vibe no longer exists at ZGF.

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  4. Helpful (10)

    "Associate Partner"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at ZGF Architects full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    ZGF is the largest architecture firm in Portland, so has great resources and attracts great talent. If you are looking to work on large projects, or national and international projects, it's among your best bets in Portland. Coworkers are talented and friendly.

    Cons

    Many of my coworkers, myself included, would say that what kept them at ZGF was the dearth of other options. While there are many firms in town, the list of those that: get high profile projects, are large enough to have good resources (i.e. you don't have to take turns answering the main phone and fixing the plotter), and isn't known for TOTAL mismanagement and COMPLETE chaos, is very small. The partnership is pretty dysfunctional. They don't trust each other - and for good reason. The dynamic trickles down through the whole organization. It's a "me" not "we" culture. And very little genuine transparency. There are also endless tactics to "create a design culture" that appear to be veiled attempts to get junior designers to work for free, i.e., "Let's make the conceptual design phase for this project an internal design competition!"

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  5. Helpful (8)

    "The industry's impression of ZGF is based on the work from Portland (HQ), and is not reflective of the other offices."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at ZGF Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    From an HR stand-point, ZGF takes good care of its people. If you are given the opportunity to work in the Portland office, the work is exciting and you may have a few good projects for your portfolio.

    Cons

    The other offices are completely different from the Portland office. The Seattle office is doing some good work, but is definitely more conservative. The Los Angeles office, while being a top-producer ($) for the firm, is very conservative, and the projects are frankly just boring. The East coast offices are small and fairly insignificant at this time. Unless you are in Portland, ZGF is not a place for promising architects/designers to stay and grow long-term. But if you are a mediocre architect/designer, this is probably a great place for you to just park it for the next 20 years.

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  6. Helpful (4)

    "Sustainability Focused"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at ZGF Architects full-time

    Pros

    ZGF is a sustainability focused architecture firm with five offices. They have been fortunate to get some good clients and projects.

    Cons

    Not everyone here is honest although they're cloaked in a shroud of pride about integrity. The openness they say they have is totally manufactured.

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