Defra Reviews

Updated 1 Mar 2021

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4.0
80%
Recommend to a Friend
86%
Approve of CEO
Defra Permanent Secretary Tamara Finkelstein (no image)
Tamara Finkelstein
15 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "A lot of changing of colleagues as people flit between jobs a lot in the civil service(in 4 reviews)

  • "Instead we have to piggy back on other organisations infrastructure(in 4 reviews)

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

    5.0
    Current Employee - Communications Assistant in London, England

    I have been working at Defra full-time

    Pros

    Really welcoming team environment and very friendly atmosphere

    Cons

    Hard to find permanent roles often fixed term only

  2. "Working at DEFRA"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Case Manager in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Defra part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Diversity of roles, purpose and has great values

    Cons

    Bereaucracy, getting into the building and finding a desk

    Continue reading

  3. "Very demanding but fun!"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Executive Personal Assistant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Defra full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Whilst your constantly under pressure to deliver, I really enjoyed my time working here. Here are the pros: -Everyone looks after the general wellbeing of all colleagues regardless of your level -Lots of learning and development opportunities from Apprenticeships to external training -Great flexible working arrangement and the work/life balance can be met, especially as many of us working from home. As they are not extremely London centric, there are many Offices across England you can move to without any hassle -The work is really interesting and I had the opportunity to be the backbone of many Projects. Everyone is passionate about the Environment and we all play our role to make a difference. Generally with colleagues on the same grade or just 1 grade above you, you will get along well and teamwork will come naturally -You can really see your work come into full force and the change it is making. The data team are really helpful and collaborate with you constantly -Great colleagues! Honestly, I expected everyone to be very serious headed and mundane when I first started but everyone is really energetic and bright which is great as some work can be repetitive -As it is the civil service, the job security is incredible and many people are loyal to the Department

    Cons

    You may perceive the cons overtake the pros, here it comes: -It is extremely demanding despite me saying above flexible working is available, you will regret it as the workload is endless. Due to the incredible workload as a Personal Assistant, you will be forced to stick with 9am-5pm or 9am-6pm. Work emails are a nightmare! You will always need to watch your emails and I remember having to reply to emails at 11pm. Senior Management frown upon flexible working as it leads to an overall disorganisation -The pay is terrible compared to the private sector. With the expected output, they should be paying us a lot more especially as we are sometimes made the Director's slaves! -Lot's of office politics and red tape. Being one of the youngest in the Department, I was treated like a toy by some senior management and directors. Particularly, colleagues from BAME background's told me that they feel uncomfortable near Directors and some where unapproachable. -Lack of career progression. You will find yourself applying to more senior positions with different Departments (also being a Civil Servant and an internal candidate, why do you need to go through the same procedure as an external candidate?). In addition, Senior Management tend to "bring in" their friends from the private sector or from other Departments. Hence, if you are an external candidate or an internal candidate from a lower grade, your chances are really slim. -Poor IT systems. A Government Department. 2021, yet half your computers are on Windows 7, which constantly crashes! -The hierarchy is somewhat unorganised. Nearly 70% of all colleagues were on fixed term contracts, that is really unorganised especially how in 3 years the staff turnover has been sky high and I am often baffled and left isolated when 4 Managers have different strategies for the same thing.

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  4. "Communications generalist"

    4.0
    Former Employee - Senior Communications Manager in Leeds, England

    I worked at Defra full-time

    Pros

    Great people and varied work

    Cons

    Limited progression and uncompetitive salary

  5. Helpful (1)

    "Positive first job experience"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Policy Advisor in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Defra full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good work life balance, interesting work, focus on general well-being, great colleagues, flexi time

    Cons

    Often demanding, some areas have low resource for the amount of work that needs doing

  6. "Generally good"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Policy Advisor 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Defra full-time

    Pros

    Interesting work, flexi time, good work life balance

    Cons

    Terrible IT equipment, generally quite old fashioned culturally

  7. "GES Mainstream Assistant Economist"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - GES Mainstream Assistant Economist in London, England
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Defra full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Friendly environment, good learning and development opportunities

    Cons

    sometimes too bureaucratic, salary could be higher

  8. COVID-19

    "Fairly good place to work if you get on with your manager and team members."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Capability Development Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Defra full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Good flexible working arrangement. Permanent secretary and directors doing their best to support colleagues during this pandemic lockdown.

    Cons

    Low pay. Things can be tricky if you don't see eye to eye with managers. Promotion prospect for BAME colleagues can be slow.

    Continue reading
  9. "Good employer"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Commercial in Bristol, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Defra full-time

    Pros

    Good breadth of roles, good working environmemt,great colleagues

    Cons

    Buracracy and slow to change

  10. COVID-19

    "Good culture, bad IT"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Higher Statistical Officer in York, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Defra full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Everyone is very professional and solution oriented. Management are always very understanding and flexible to people's individual needs, which has been really important over the pandemic. Some of the people in senior leadership are incredibly driven and capable, which is inspiring.

    Cons

    The IT is really bad. I have an old windows 7 computer that frequently crashes when using standard MS Office applicaitons. As a data analyst I need to do a lot of coding, but there is no real DevOps solution. Instead we have to piggy back on other organisations infrastructure. Data is passed around in spreadsheets rather than being held in robust, practical databases.

Viewing 1 - 10 of 99 English Reviews

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