Here’s what employees love and hate about working at Amazon, Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Whether you’re thinking about working at a big tech company or just are interested about the inner cultures of places like Amazon and Microsoft, there’s a website similar to Yelp that provides an inside look at some of the biggest corporations in the country.

Glassdoor hosts a load of information on job compensation and company reviews. One of the more interesting parts about the site are the company reviews written by employees and they certainly say a lot about company culture.

Here are some examples of what employees think about working at Amazon and Microsoft, two of the biggest corporations in Seattle. Note that Jeff Bezos has an 87 percent approval rating, while Steve Ballmer has just a 46 percent approval rating (that’s up from 29 percent one year ago).

You can see all of reviews for Amazon and Microsoft at Glassdoor.

AMAZON

Pros: “everybody is pushing for the same goals centered on the customer (big difference with Microsoft). Promotions are gated by well written promo guidelines with focus on delivery, and impact, not on internal politics. People spend less time campaigning for their own promotions (seen cons). Much better healthy relationships between teams/orgs/people. TOP performers are heavily compensated.”

Cons: “Less levels than at MS, hence promotions are farther apart. Most individual contributor job families only have 4 levels (junior, mid, senior, principal) with very few people in the upper two levels.
Big raise on promotion happen less frequently. Average raises for the average people. Most people from MS usually come at one level down (principal -> senior, senior lead to MGR III).”

— Amazon Manager (who reportedly previously worked at Microsoft) (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “If you work for an influential technology department at Amazon, it is a fantastic place to learn what it means to launch a business from the ground up – from the inception of an idea to getting a public launch across the finish line.”

Cons: Performance reviews are less about your actual contribution at the workplace than they are about managerial opinions about your leadership skills and growth potential.”

— Amazon Program Manager III (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “You’re always going to have opportunities to grow within the company. You have a great way to gain experience through mentor-ships. Amazon has a very casual work environment.”

Cons: “Amazon is a very frugal company, therefore no free lunches daily. Restaurants around campus are somewhat expensive. No free Amazon Prime or Kindle Fires.

— Amazon Digital Specialist (Seattle, WA)

MICROSOFT

Pros: “Great pay and benefits, great technology.”

Cons: “Top heavy, everyone trying to get to high level jobs instead of doing their jobs. Higher levels taking credit for work done by their employees. Very internally focused, MS competes more internally than it does externally.”

— Microsoft General Manager (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “Good benefits, stability, 40 hours per week work.”

Cons: “Hard to truly impact product decisions, review process is tricky”

— Microsoft Senior Software Engineer Development In Test (Redmond, WA)

Pros: “Great access to latest technology, you get all the tools you need. Excellent challenges, always keeps you busy. Sounds like a cliché, but you get the chance to work on products used by everyone.”

Cons: “Culture is definitely changing. It’s up to you to “manage your career” and find good work-life balance.”

— Microsoft Director of Product Marketing (Redmond, WA)

Glassdoor landed $20 million in new funding from DAG Ventures; Benchmark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Battery Ventures in October. Total funding now stands at $42.2 million. The Sausalito, Calif.-based company is growing rapidly, with 13 million unique visitors checking out the website each month.

You can check out thousands of other company reviews at the site, including Seattle’s own Expedia, F5 Network and Limelight Networks.

Previously on GeekWire: Facebook is the best place to work; Steve Ballmer, Amazon enjoy better approval ratings

  • Guest

    Congrats to Glassdoor on scoring these free inside scoops!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kinger12 Niall King

    meh

  • Amazonsucks

    They pay well. I was on a computer most of the time and I ended up with a sprained hand and tendonitis on the other one. FUN! Oh and yeah, they denied it happened there. They are terrible when it comes to work related injuries. They have the worse doctors.

  • balls187

    Not a good sign when employee’s tout “Pay and Benefits” as a pro of your company.

  • Guest

    At Amazon, one’s success largely depends on one’s manager. While an employee certainly is responsible for his or her performance (e.g., one can’t expect to be spoon fed one’s career), an employee with great potential might never realize that potential; there are managers who are terrible leaders and who are inept at people management and development. One of Amazon’s leadership principles is “Hire and Develop the Best” and I have seen managers fall flat on their faces in this regard. However, they march on perhaps because they deliver results in other aspects of their jobs. Their employees suffer, however, and in the long run that ineffectiveness will hurt their unit.

    I have also seen employees make some real contributions, deliver value for their team and the business, improve, champion ideas, and become big-time advocates for customers, but get literally no reward — whether it be praise from their manager or an increase in compensation — for doing so.

    When one reaches the top of their level, there’s no hope of compensation increase, regardless of performance, until promotion puts you into a new pay band. And then there are the politics around promotion… a whole other topic.

    • Tanya

      I work at Amazon and I see every day exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve seen people work their tails off, push hard and contribute a lot to the company, yet they can’t get a promotion. Its really sad that political and the ‘good ole boy’ system is the only way to move up. Amazon warehousing works strictly on productivity, and if ur good with managers (ie. Kissing ass) then u can slack off and get away with it, or get a promotion while the rest of the people are working to death. Literally doing twice the work to meet quota! I’m working on getting a promotion and I’m going to do all I can to help fix those issues and make sure that those I manage get all the praise, glory and help they need. People fail to realize that a managers job is actually a person being a server. A good manager will work down in the weeds Luke everyone else, who will defend and help their employees, who will take responsibility of their actions versus rather than on the employees. I was a manager for Dollar General for 4 years and I’m still a firm believer in taking care of the employees under myself, that they come first and always in helping them. If you care, help instead of abusing your position to bully others under you. If you do so, your employees will do anything for you and they will improve the work environment and productivity. Always remembering that your employees are your equals because they are still people is key. Amazon is losing sight in what they preach all the time. I feel that with the right attitude and good leadership and people respecting others, will get them to a better plac and make them more money. In a nutshell, Amazon only cares about its bottom line. They need to get it together or they are going to lose good people who do a lot for the company and lose their business to another company that comes along and does better. Step it up Amazon! Wish me luck that I can get the promotion I seek, comes through and that I can provide what the company is missing and that I can help others get what they work so hard for. Good luck all and thanks for listening to my rant

  • lolita

    Hello. I’m working in amazon UK in Peterborough .Having been manager of four stores each one with 15 people … wonder how it’s possible Amazon have head line chief that does not know what he is doing???
    My God… his name is Robert … until a chicken that is considered the most stupid animal in the world could manage The shift better then him! ONLY AN EXAMPLE … The other day the line was full of boxes and stop!But we continue paking…After a half hour that chicken brain comes up with an idea… Stop packaging…were boxes everywhere!On the floor, in the stands … first will put the boxes on line and then you paking again! LOLO HEY STUPID Robert … we have targets to reach and amazon also! so we not gonna stop just to put the boxes in the line! You need to put more 2 guys to hellp us with this ! Piking the extra boxes!!!

  • Andi Zee

    I worked for the CSR Work From Home division. I was really disappointed. The pay is extremely low with no benefits at all and it takes forever to get your benefits or a promotion. We had to do homework every night and would be fired if we didn’t do it. I have never seen this in my 10 years of CSR and tech support work. Their system is awful. There were times the homework would show up as incomplete or not even started even if it was but don’t dare say you did or you are a liar and an idiot. I couldn’t believe the sexism and the overall treatment of the women working there. We were just dumb bobble heads who owed all our thanks and praise to the god of Amazon. They often forgot who people were and would deliberately humiliate you for the smallest of things. Can’t get your toolbar to work and you can’t put a check mark next to your name for attendance? You will be called out and blamed. They may also send an email on how to put a check mark in a box. Thank you, Amazon! My simple little mind can’t understand how to do it! It is always your fault and never theirs. I quit because I was called a liar and treated like an idiot. I had another job so screw it. They harassed me for an entire week, mocking me and threatening me. Its a big joke and the people are rude zombies. Its may be good for beginning CSR’s or work at home beginners but this is not the right job for experienced people. You will be disappointed and treated like a child.