Very patriarchal management culture. Coworkers are friendly, but management makes it clear there are hard boundaries on behavior, dress code, internet usage, and generally the need to always look busy even if you are on a temporary break at your desk.
Support from management
It's a numbers game. Even though your financial numbers are heavily affected by the economy, you are held to arbitrary goals. If you make it, all is well. If not, management is very much in a "throw you under the bus" in mentality. Managers blame subordinates when numbers are not met. HR backs up managers no matter what.
It varies. There are pockets of competitive people who simply will not share. And there are others who are super cooperative. Beyond that, you're affected by the quality of your team. They mean well, but might not have the ability.
Freedom to work independently
Sometimes you feel micromanaged, but there is too much too get done, so management simply doesn't have time to micromanage you. You have a laptop, take it home, wherever, and yes, work independently a lot.
Very good about sharing financial results and projections with employees. Sometimes you feel like you are being spammed by stupid stuff from personnel and you can't filter it, so it is very distracting. There used to be an internal message board but it was banned when management decided it was too negative.
Most women in the company are admin/ secretary type positions, but of the few who are in engineering most are treated favorably. There is not an overt statement that women are the be favored, but in proportion to the number of women hired, a very high proportion of them in engineering are on management track. Engineering tends to be male centric so supply of women is low, but the proportion of women in management is not as low as the overall proportion in the engineering areas.
Attitude towards older colleagues
Once you pass 50, you are sort of diverted to the "retire in place" path. When new management opportunities come up, younger workers are favored. This creates a sort of decline because the older you get, the more stagnant your job gets and the less respect you get. Periodically they have a early retirement carrot and stick incentive to encourage over 55 to leave, but with a threat that if they don't they are at risk for lay off. But the early retirement bit has rules that managers cannot early retire someone unless they give up the position, so sometimes they just make older workers' lives bad enough they want to quit anyway (and the manager keeps the position). HR supports this.
They pretend to care, but truth is only about 10% are on a success track and everyone else is out of consideration. They have a very complicated annual review process that includes a "career development" section, but it is just for show, to go through the motions. If you are an entry level employee, yes, you have a lot to learn and you'll be given many opportunities to gain expertise. Yes, you'll go from I to II to III, so to speak. That is expected. But 90% get parked at "senior" level. There's no hope for them to advance beyond that.
Overall compensation for your work
They say they are "competitive." Which means they conspire with other companies to make sure they don't pay too much. Once you arrive, whatever your starting pay is, you will only get cost of living increases and even that may be paused if business is bad. There is an edict passed down from upper management that "merit" ratings will only be "performs as expected" no matter how hard you try. So, on paper, they look legit. This company pays slighty less than other companies and they take advantage of engineers who just want a comfortable life and not disrupt their lives by changing jobs just to get better pay. You won't get what you're worth unless you go to work somewhere else, and they won't try to stop you from leaving because that would set a bad precedent with other employees. But they do have to pay competitive rates on new hires. It's just that after that, it's just cost of living, no matter what.
Office / Work Environment
New-ish building, good air, lots of sunlight, you can get a special chair if you think you need it at your desk. Lots of cubicles, shortage of offices and conference rooms. Noise level is not so good if you are on a conference call and concerned about your background noise coming in on the call. Like a lot of cubes, you work with your back to the walkways, so people can walk right up on you and read your screen.
Free coffee, hot beverages. Refrigerator in breakrooms. Microwaves. Sinks (but no garbage disposals in sinks). Snack machines. Lot of people bring cookies, cakes. Sometimes when a catered lunch has extra food, it will be put out in the break room for anyone who wants it.
There are recycle bins. However, there are styrofoam cups. Company tolerates employees charging their electric cars in the parking garage. A lot of paper gets printed and recycled.
Among engineers, even the jobs you expect to be "out at five" are pressed for unpaid overtime for extended periods. Among managers, everyone has a laptop and mobile phone and is expected to participate in teleconferences in early mornings and late evenings. Lots of people take work home to "catch up" in evenings and weekends.
Everywhere I went, when I told people where I worked, they seemed impressed. Customers seemed to have a good opinion as well.
The business, oil & gas, is cyclic. When it declines, there are layoffs. Probably about eery 4-5 years. Some people are more at risk than others, and it had nothing to do with your performance -- just bad luck to be in a department with a lot of layoffs, or maybe if you are an older worker who is perceived as making too much money, has too much annual vacation and implied insurance costs.
The main doors are not automatic and are a little hard to open. There seems to be accommodation in restrooms -- handicapped stalls and stepstools. Wide-ish hallways. Elevators. Lab areas are less maintained for accessibility.
If anything, it is too high, to the point of inconvenient. There are unarmed security guards. The general environment is pretty safe. There are frequent drills to evacuate the building, and training in how to respond in case there is an armed attacker. The person in charge of safety is about 180% on top of things.
Assuming you make some effort to move towards what you are interested in, you find work you enjoy. It won't last forever, and you'll have to periodically move around. It will be difficult, so it will be challenging. Even if you are doing something you don't enjoy, you will be faced with a load or difficulty level that can be called challenging. A few people are not doing challenging work. The assumption is they chose that path.
Inclusive / Diverse
Not many black or hispanic people. There are a whole lot of Phillipinos imported from Phillipine branch, and a lot of green card and H1-B. No one shares salary info, so we have no idea if green cards or H1-B are wage busting or not. But that is the general opinion -- that they are paid less to keep other engineering wages down. Why else would there be so many of them? It is hard to believe it is hard to get engineers to move to Austin.
Suggestions for improvement
- Emerson needs to loosen up on the patriarchal management mind set. The employees are treated like children sometimes. Scrutinize your managers better, not just in an employee survey every 3 years. Emerson claims they have a psychologist screen managers. It is definitely not working. They need to fix that.
What I like about the company
To the extent you can be part of the 10% on career track, it can be super exciting. There are opportunites to travel the world, attend conferences, publish articles and make presentations, meet people from other business units and be on the cutting edge of commercially available technology.
What I dislike about the company
The annual review process is a complete sham, a parody of reality. It should be junked, as it is just a thin excuse to avoid rewarding people for their attempts to advance. You have to be really careful about which managers you work for. Some are great and some are horrible. In either case, HR always backs them up, right or wrong. If you end up with a bad manager, your options to move are limited. A lot of people are just hanging in there hoping a miracle will happen and a reorganization will save them. There are frequent reorganizations, so even if you have a good manager, it is not a permanent thing. You really need to think ahead and move while you can.