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What people are secretly saying about some of Ireland's biggest employers

‘The worst place I have ever been in the past 10 years.’

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

WHEN LISTS OF the best places to work are pulled together, the same names often crop up.

Google and Facebook, with their free food, on-site gyms and other perks, are always near the top of the charts overseas, while multinationals make up many of Ireland’s top workplaces as well.

But how do some of the country’s key home-grown companies fare? TheJournal.ie sifted through employer-review site Glassdoor, which this week unveiled its dedicated site for the Republic, to find what people were saying – although it’s worth noting all the reviews are anonymous and people need only an email address to post.

Here’s how some major Irish employers fared, among those firms with at least 40 reviews:

Top of the table

IT consulting firm Version 1, which employs about 700 across offices in Ireland and the UK, scores a remarkable 4.3 out of 5 across reviews on the site, putting it in the same league as top international companies.

00155066 Version 1 founding director Justin Keatinge, left Source: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

The company has already been declared among Ireland’s best large workplaces several times in recent years and this, from an app developer, was typical of the Glassdoor praise:

The core values say everything about how the company works, and everyone believes in them.”

But there were still those who didn’t completely buy into the corporate spiel, like a senior consultant for gave this feedback:

Core values are espoused by many companies and start sounding jaded and even a bit patronising when they are attached to just about everything without qualification.”

Cork-founded recruitment company Morgan McKinley, which has about 600 staff across offices in 10 countries, also scored well, with an average rating of 4.1.

Morgan McKinley big photo Morgan McKinley's Shanghai office with CEO Pat Fitzgerald, left

Reviewers praised the firm’s “global feel but with a warm atmosphere”, although several took aim at a workplace built around never-ending targets.

College life

Two of Ireland’s largest colleges also ranked well among reviewers, with UCD and Trinity College getting ratings of 4.0 and 3.7 respectively.

Much of the feedback for UCD praised the friendly work culture and the facilities at the campus, while Trinity’s location and reputation also won plaudits.

However a few marked the historic college down for red tape and bureaucracy, with one former researcher highlighting a “clan-like behaviour in administration”.

HDR Trinity Source: Trinity Digital Exhibition

A pack of bankers

Over at the Bank of Ireland, reviewers also appeared a fairly contented bunch despite swingeing job cuts and pay freezes since the financial crisis and the bank’s bailout.

The lender had an overall 3.7 rating. One former “senior project manager” labelled it as a “great place to work … like a family until the downturn”.

Meanwhile, another recent reviewer provided this pragmatic insight into their work at the bank:

BOI Source: Glassdoor

However the reviews weren’t quite so favourable for fellow pillar bank AIB, which scored only 2.6 on the site. A lowly 32% of those leaving feedback said they would recommend working at the bank to a friend.

One, who listed themselves as a former risk analyst, described it as being like the “public service without all the perks” – although that came with the pro of “staying (after) 6pm being very rare”.

90378277 AIB chairman Richard Pym Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Household names

Working for a major company with instant brand recognition wasn’t enough to lift the scores from reviewers at two of Ireland’s best-known firms.

Paddy Power scored 2.9 on the site, although nearly two-thirds of the workers still said they would recommend the company to a friend.

The opportunity to work on interesting projects and chance to learn rated repeat mentions, as did the long hours and absence of any work-life balance.

90332433 Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

In a long list of complaints, one anonymous staff member in Dublin said there were “politics galore” at the company, which had an “easy trigger finger” when it came to firing employees.

At Dunnes Stores, where staff have gone on strike over work conditions, the average rating was a lowly 2.7.

One reviewer offered this constructive advice for the company’s management: ”Be more human – we are people not machines.”

00159519 Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A wing and a prayer

At the bottom of the pile was Ryanair, which scored an average 2.4 from reviewers on the site.

While many said the budget carrier was a good training ground where people could clock up experience quickly, it appeared few were fans of the work culture coming out of Swords.

00150560 Source: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

One reviewer, who listed their job as a former senior web developer at the company, had this blunt assessment: “The worst place I have ever been in the past 10 years.”

READ: This is how much tax Google paid in Ireland last year >

READ: Dunnes Stores are the big winners in the latest supermarket polls >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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