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Grayling Reviews

Updated 4 January, 2018
87 reviews

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3.2
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Loretta Ahmed, Sarah Scholefield, Peter Harris, Jan Simunek
38 Ratings

87 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work from home Fridays is nice to avoid the toxic environment of the office (in 13 reviews)

  • Grayling does more to promote work/life balance than any company I worked for in the past (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Some senior management were out of their depth and hanging on to positions for their salaries instead of committing to continuous improvement (in 9 reviews)

  • As second in command to my colleague, no one could say I wasn't capable and that it didn't make sense (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A good place"

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time

    Pros

    Care about clients and their needs.

    Cons

    Doesn't care much for employees.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Discriminated against for being a woman and pregnant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Vice President in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Vice President in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Grayling Europe has an excellent reputation.

    Cons

    I was a vice president in the Los Angeles office of Grayling when my managing director, a talented friend of mine with about a year more time in the biz than me, resigned to take an in-house position. He had been at the helm about a year. After 3 months in the role, he was promoted from interim managing director to full managing director. After he left and upon his recommendation, I lobbied to take his place to our CEO Peter Harris. I had an excellent rapport with the global team and had helped improve the Los Angeles office since joining the company. As second in command to my colleague, no one could say I wasn't capable and that it didn't make sense.

    My lobbying was met with immediate resistance. "It's a big job." "Are you sure you want to do this at this point in your life?", etc. I had just gotten married and am of child bearing years. A first strike.

    Begrudgingly, I was allowed to assume the role, but was offered only a promotion to SVP and an extremely low raise for that title (though I wouldn’t know how much less I was making than my male predecessor and future MD in SF until later, when the CFO accidentally shared a document with salary allocation to the entire leadership team - in case you’re curious it was a full 70K less at first and then 30K when I insisted we close the gap further after 3 months. I was never was paid equally, even when I asked specifically to make what was being paid to men in the same role.)

    During the SVP promo conversation, I asked about interim managing director title. I had seen my male predecessor's trajectory and given our identical qualifications, I expected to follow suit. I was told, “we are not sure we’re going to continue with individual office MD’s.” I accepted, and towed the company line, requesting/demanding quarterly reviews to ensure I was crystal clear on expectations and progress. I had to hammer Peter Harris to get those meetings, and get clear and measurable goals and timelines for my “earning” the title of managing director. I was told to meet the numbers for the office, reduce turnover and maintain the client roster, as well as grow the new business pipeline from zero. He refused to set timelines with me. Point blank.

    In addition to saving clients from other offices, maintaining my team and growing my clients organically, toward the end of the year, I secured a six-figure project with a former client due to my work and reputation. This not only closed the numbers for LA, but also went toward closing the gap for the U.S. I was concerned about not being in the office, as it was an on-site 100% allocation project, but Peter told me it wasn’t an issue and that the lack of momentum on new biz wouldn’t be an issue.

    While I was off-site for the last quarter of 2016 with this project, I found out through the grapevine that the leadership has been searching for a new MD in SF, so obviously the managing director structure was to continue. I pushed immediately for a review. it was November.

    In February 2017, literally the day before my maternity leave was to start, I was finally granted the check in conversation - not even a formal review. I was told that I wasn’t creating enough new business momentum through the prior quarter and that I “just wasn’t ready.” So not only did he back pedal on what he had said previously, but the reasons for not promoting me were nebulous. I had earned it and then some, clear and simple.

    To me, there is no clearer example of discrimination on the basis of sex than my experience described above. I was pregnant, young and a woman. Despite constant meeting of a consistently and randomly raised bar, I was still not paid or titled equally to my male counterparts.

    While this did happen at Grayling, and I strongly suggest you do not work there if at all possible, it happens everywhere in this industry. I hope this is a call to other professionals to shine a light where one is so desperately needed.

    Advice to Management

    I hope the responses to negative reviews on here are true, but the environment I was in just 10 months ago can't have changed as much as you say. It's obvious the new leadership - since the CEO resigned or was fired, the MD in SF was replaced AGAIN, and a remote worker was named to a largely ornamental C-suite role - is needing to paint a rosier picture of the agency to get people to work there. Pretty transparent guys.


  3. "Account Coordinator"

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity for growth, flat hierarchy, interdisciplinary

    Cons

    Company should provide better compensation


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  5. "Good to begin, bad long term"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Director in Bukowno Warszawa (Poland)
    Current Employee - Account Director in Bukowno Warszawa (Poland)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Many international clients, from whom you can learn

    Cons

    Grayling does not invest in is employees. Few or no international roles

    Advice to Management

    Train your employees


  6. "London AM"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Account Manager in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Account Manager in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Grayling full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Working for largely excellent and high-profile clients across a range of sectors. Work is varied – and therefore interesting – and success is recognised and rewarded. You get significant client-facing responsibilities at all levels, as well as training and genuinely valuable line-management which all assists personal development.

    My team colleagues are a pleasure to work with – diligent, fun, intelligent, creative, empathetic – and there’s an ever growing culture of inter-team working which engenders a positive environment in the entire office.

    Annual reports, client retention, new business, new hires etc. all evidence a business that has excellent people, which is full of energy and which is thriving.

    Cons

    As with most agencies, sometimes there’s overtime. However, colleagues are always on hand to offer support and overtime is recognised by team and senior management.

    Advice to Management

    Keep recruiting, retaining and encouraging exceptional people. It’s highly valued that Sarah Scholefield and Richard Jukes operate a truly open-door policy and are excellent at communicating their vision to employees.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "My best opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Grayling full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I took a position at Grayling from a small boutique agency, which had very little opportunity for growth - it was the best decision I ever made. Grayling offers me constant learning opportunities. I love working for a global agency and collaborating across boarders on a daily basis. It's a fun fast-paced work environment, where hard work is acknowledged and rewarded.

    Cons

    Working on a Microsoft based IT system can be challenging and frustrating at times. Many clients want to collaborate on other types of platforms, which are not allowed for security reasons.

    Advice to Management

    Continue rewarding and offering opportunities to your best employees.


  8. "Striving for innovative comms with a growth mindset"

    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 Grayling full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    An open, collaborative atmosphere.

    Being able to blend the different PR disciplines all under one roof.

    The ability to run with ideas when put forward.

    A willingness to adapt and integrate digital with traditional methods.

    Cons

    As with any global organisation, the ship can take time to turn, but the culture now instilled means it's happening quicker as time goes on.

    Advice to Management

    Stay brave, keep listening to those around you and empower them to push Grayling forward.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Great Clients and a Solid Team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Supervisor in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Account Supervisor in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Grayling full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Grayling has gone through a transition over the past 12 months, but it feels like it has found a good groove. The west coast offices have a really interesting mix of FinTech, consumer, healthcare and enterprise clients and the teams are super focused on delivering for each one. In SF in particular the roster is growing almost weekly.

    The agency blends a good mix of traditional media relations, digital content and public affairs, which I’ve found rare in Bay Area PR firms. I also like that management is open to new approaches and is super accessible.

    Cons

    Like most agencies, there’s a strong focus on client service which can lead to occasional long days. Likewise, as the company is very much in growth mode, teams can sometimes play “fast and loose,” but that actually appeals to me as it definitely opens up opportunities. Coordination between the offices also can be tough with different time zones.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on building the team and identifying high performers. There’s some great talent in the office that’s waiting to be unleashed. Communicate more with employees about company strategy and management changes across the agency. Lose Outlook and get Google!


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Take a closer look"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    As someone with more than two decades of experience in the communications industry, who has worked for agencies big and small, good and bad, I can say without fear or favor that Grayling is a damn fine agency.

    I do not recognize the way some people have attempted to characterize it on this site – although I do know some of the people who have left negative reviews. I worked with them. Let’s just say there’s a reason they are not employed by Grayling anymore.

    Context is everything, so here’s some that I hope will be helpful to would-be employees: Grayling is not a big agency. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not small either - it has the ability to compete (and win) against some of the biggest agencies in the world - but there is no fat. There is no room for passengers. Everyone has to bring something to the party. The agency is not of a size where anyone gets to sit in a corner office and pontificate. Everyone has to pitch in. And while in the five years I’ve been with the company there have been a number of changes, one thing is consistent: The people who do not fare well are the ones who don’t get that. The ones who come with a sense of entitlement. Who lack the experience or wisdom to realize no-one is going to hand them anything. Success, recognition, reward… these things have to be earned. And those who do work hard, are rewarded. They do advance.

    Is Grayling perfect? No.

    But I have seen the company pay to relocate people to different countries or continents in order to retain their talents, or provide them with the growth opportunities they crave.

    I have seen the company invest in new ideas and initiatives that come from junior staff.

    I have seen junior consultants thrive in the hot house, and go on to great things.

    This is the Grayling I know.

    So go ahead, read all the reviews. All of them. Make up your own mind. And if what I have described doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other agencies out there. You’re probably not the right fit for Grayling. Good luck.

    Cons

    There are bigger agencies, with more and better resources


  11. "Good employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Account Manager in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Grayling full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Variety of work; fun colleagues; good atmosphere

    Cons

    Pay is awful, far below the industry standard.

    Advice to Management

    Look after staff as well as you look after clients.


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