Odgers Berndtson Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Odgers Berndtson Reviews

Updated 15 January 2019
56 reviews

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3.4
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Kester Scrope
21 Ratings

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Pros
Cons
  • "Fee-earners are treated as royalty" (in 4 reviews)

  • "Some have a VERY high support-staff turnover rate" (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "I have worked for Odgers Berndtson for 5+ years"

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

    I have been working at Odgers Berndtson full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of autonomy but with the power of a global business.

    Cons

    No downsides come to mind.


  2. "Good company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Odgers Berndtson full-time

    Pros

    People are friendly and supportive. Good team spirit. Collaborative. Room for growth, development and promotion. London office is well positioned.

    Cons

    Like every company with humans, some issues arise but the company appears to be working hard to address unhelpful behaviours when they are made aware of them.

  3. Helpful (7)

    "Beware an internal culture that breeds fear, greed and bullying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Odgers Berndtson full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The firm ranks externally as one of the leading UK search firms. A (relatively small) number of consultants do interesting, high quality and important work. If you're considering working there make sure you spend a lot of time interviewing/meeting with the person/people with whom you'll be directly working.

    Cons

    I worked for Odgers Berndtson for a number of years as a consultant. When I joined it had a culture that reflected its then CEO Richard Boggis-Rolfe: traditional, if not slightly old-fashioned, courteous and decent. Under his successor, the firm has pushed to be, and be seen as, modern and thrusting. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a sea-change in corporate culture to one that is grasping, aggressive and, shamefully, in many aspects bullying and threatening. From a corporate perspective this is witnessed primarily in partners and consultants falling over themselves to try to take business from each other and, worse, from junior members of staff. But on a personal level it is seen in downright abusive behaviour, a number of examples of which have seen consultants leave the firm or be censured (although, unsurprisingly, not the firm’s higher billers!). The firm is keen to trumpet buzzwords and PR-speak about diversity and inclusion yet does little in practical terms to promote and support those ideals. Sadly, a number of the worst examples of bullying managers are female, with passive aggression a common tactic for those safe in the knowledge that their gender seemingly protects them from reproach. The CEO and COO appear completely disinterested in putting a stop to this.

    Advice to Management

    Put simply, if any of my friends or family asked me whether they should join the firm I should answer with a resounding and unqualified “No!”. management needs to take an honest look at the behaviour of practice managers, partners and senior consultants, rather than just at their revenue numbers, and do something before they ruin the firm's reputation for good.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Poorly managed dinosaur business"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some lovely people, especially the support staff / admins. Smart grads and a few decent Partners. Great offices and a very shiny, polished, professional 'front' to the business.

    Cons

    Desperately old-fashioned. Very ageist when it comes to promotions - will not promote (even excellent) people if they aren't of an acceptable age for that specific level. Many Partners are sharp-elbowed and scraping around desperately for fees so a huge amount of time is wasted with internal fighting over fees. Zero collaboration and a lot of secret keeping across the business. Sadly a few of the practice heads are just un-pleasant greedy people. This sets the tone in their department. Most importantly the CEO is weak, he has no control over his team, the Partners ignore him and he seems to make repeatedly bad decisions. The turnover (in certain teams) is very high and yet little is done to understand why, or to address the main issues. The Partners do as they wish and the senior management seem too afraid to stop them, or keep them in check. People are purely valued on their billing no's and there is no positive or negative assessment of leadership, behaviour or anything else. Their view of diversity is playing some Pet Shop Boys music in the cafe and handing out free samosas. Shocking policies re working from home and flexi hours etc. Overall, OB is a business which is too old fashioned, no longer servicing clients well, not a great place to work and no longer relevant in 2018. Other companies are moving forward, adapting and OB is simply not keeping up (the old school British 'thing' only goes so far).

    Advice to Management

    Change the CEO. Manage the Partners properly. Promote the Researchers / Grads (where suitable) faster and let some young blood rise up. Create some policies that are relevant for 2018!!!


  5. "Consultant"

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

    I have been working at Odgers Berndtson full-time

    Pros

    Excellent place to work and build a career

    Cons

    The matrix environment can be frustrating at times


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Go elsewhere"

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

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

    Pros

    Location is good. That’s about it.

    Cons

    1. PAs and Researchers deliver most of the work whilst Consultants are the “face” to the clients. Little gratitude shown (sometimes barely even a smile let alone a “thanks”).
    2. Consultants talk about “diversity”. The understanding of this at OB is laughable. Sadly this filters down from the top end of senior management. Regularly referring to their standard list of successful women or BAME candidates, because they are too lazy to look outside the box. The same poor 10 women must receive calls day after day from OB.
    3. “Flexible working” is discussed with clients as a positive initiative. In reality, OB staff are penalised for any suggestion of flexible working and, those who were lucky enough to have flexibility agreed many moons ago, are treated like they have murdered somebody.
    4. “Developing staff” is again encouraged with clients. In reality, there is zero opportunity for development (unless you want to be a Consultant). Professional qualifications are not recognised in any way. If anything, OB appear to discourage CPD because people may actually question the lack of opportunity. Find candidates, make money for Consultants - that’s the option on the table.
    5. Do not dare to have children. This is highly discouraged at OB and, again, filters down from the top end of senior management. “Come back to work after 3 months” and “find yourself a cheap foreign nanny” are regular phrases within the walls of 20 Cannon Street.
    6. Annual strategy days. A joy to hear about the achievements internationally. Something that is not seen on a daily, or even monthly, basis when you are turning cog after cog to keep the Consultants’ pockets lined.
    7. Come in late and finish early at your peril. Who cares if you have a doctor appointment, a close family member has died, or you’ve been hit by a car. Life only happens to fee-earners, who will come and go as they please.
    8. Never speak to HR; the place where rumours begin and hostility never ends.
    9. The senior management of OB needs a fundamental overhaul. Bollinghaus is the only member who seems to recognise the mere existence of Researchers and PAs, often popping by for a chat. Other members of management disregard anybody below Principal Consultant.
    10. Client understanding is, at best, false. And at worst, completely fabricated.

    Advice to Management

    Read exit interviews. Recognise that Partners and Consultants have faults which, at times, count as gross misconduct and bullying. Think about sustainability and look at turnover statistics below Partner level. Listen to what you preach to clients and check whether this is being conducted within OB.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Terrible place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in London, England
    Former Employee - Associate in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Odgers Berndtson full-time

    Pros

    Variety of work, some good people, interesting assignments

    Cons

    Everything, poor management, work intensification

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to manage staff properly

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Good for what it is, but think twice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher
    Former Employee - Researcher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Can be very friendly, loads of intelligent people around. Depending on the practice, some opportunities for boozy lunches. Great reputation in the market, don't have to struggle too hard to speak to potential candidates.

    Cons

    Research is taken for granted and undervalued. The work is repetitive and does not reflect the calibre of people recruited. They won't consider you if you don't have a Russell Group degree. Which doesn't make sense, because you don't really need to think too much in the role. You need to be able to sell and make intuition-based judgment-calls.
    Most of the work is done by PAs and Researchers, but the wealth is split between fee-earners.
    Not a lot of training provided.
    Have to push hard for your own progression. You won't be promoted unless you're already doing the role you're shooting for.
    High-earning partners can say and do anything they like. Some have a VERY high support-staff turnover rate. "Banter" often has sexist/ racist undertones, although management has been pushing diversity & inclusion recently. Not really a culture that welcomes complaint when you know the fee-earner will not face consequences

    Advice to Management

    Value your Researchers. Be stricter with fee-earners.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "May appear as a good opportunity, but don't be fooled."

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

    I worked at Odgers Berndtson full-time

    Pros

    Chance to work on an array of interesting roles. Has a generally great work/life balance. Basic pay is very good.

    Cons

    Despite having the appearance of a friendly atmosphere, the environment and culture is riddled with backstabbing, greed and bullying. Partners are treated like royalty and are able to get away with treating support staff with contempt. The senior leadership team are completely removed from the reality of what happens in the wider company.


  10. "Excellent"

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

    I have been working at Odgers Berndtson full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    An excellent business, with a strong strategy and clear direction. Leadership team who are authentic and set a good tone for the business to follow.

    Cons

    There really aren't many cons at all

    Advice to Management

    Continue to do what you do