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Grayling Reviews

Updated 11 May, 2018
93 reviews

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

93 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work from home Fridays is nice to avoid the toxic environment of the office" (in 14 reviews)

  • "Grayling does more to promote work/life balance than any company I worked for in the past" (in 7 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 olace to start as a corporate communications professional"

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time

    Pros

    being a part of an international network, multinational clients, work& life balance is good, good interaction between colleagues in other countries

    Cons

    low salary compared to its biggest competitor


  2. "Learned a lot but highly doubt the agency has a future...."

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

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

    Pros

    Grayling is very small, so you get the opportunity to jump in on projects and learn things you wouldn't at a large agency.

    My direct manager and account director really let me take the reigns on projects I was interested in, and was very invested in my career growth.

    Cons

    Cliquey -- in my office, there were definite cliques, even though there were only 6 of us. It was an open office space, but instead of sitting with your colleagues, there were a few girls who would lock themselves in a conference room and alienate themselves.

    There is absolutely no senior leadership. Our office has a managing director who is rarely there, because of family priorities. It's hard to equally prioritize family and career, but running the office suffered. There was no guidance for what the company's mission is, and where Grayling wants to grow. No mission or goal for the particular office.

    THERE IS NO CEO!!! Grayling is an international agency, headquartered in the UK, and the international branches' CEO is Paul Taaffe, but the US has no permanent CEO. While Paul is technically overseeing the US offices, pretty sure he's just letting them fail.

    The client roster is extremely small. Small to the point where it's detrimental. Grayling US has recently lost their largest client (ZTE -- which is also now banned from US operations) and there is very little drive for new business to make up for the loss of revenue. The loss of ZTE resulted in multiple senior employees getting laid off, and multiple employees quitting. Out of the 6 people in the office, two have left in the last 2 weeks.

    Not enough effort to secure new business. Most new business efforts I was privy to, didn't follow through. The Los Angeles MD insists it's fine but if your largest client leaves, why are you not trying your hardest to secure new business?

    Clients are served by multiple offices, but when the agency is so small, many things get lost.

    Advice to Management

    GET A US CEO!!!!!

    The LA office needs an MD who is actually in the office.
    Don't rely on one big client for the majority of an office's revenue. Clients leave all the time.

    Communicate the agency's mission and vision to employees.

    Have an office meeting at the start of the year to develop office goals.

    Keep clients. Proactively pitch new business.

    Keep clients in one office, to prevent miscommunication.

  3. "Great company and an exciting time to be part of the UK team"

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

    I have been working at Grayling full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Interesting range of regional, national and global clients which is continuing to grow
    Huge range of talent in the business and a great place to learn – corporate, consumer, public affairs, digital and creative teams all work together to share expertise.
    Fun people to work with and an open/relaxed office atmosphere
    Everyone is approachable
    Flexible home working and flexi-time options help with my work/life balance
    Opportunity to work with international network and travel
    Great to have ‘Finish Early Fridays’ and Thursday drinks!

    Cons

    It’s unsurprising that as an agency the hours can occasionally be long, but the flexible working perks help make up for that. Generally, the hours stick to 9.00 - 18.00 and my colleagues and I rarely face PR horror stories! Although there was one particularly bad week in 2016….!

    Advice to Management

    There have been some strong hires recently following challenging times, but the boat is steady now. It’s an interesting time to be at a company that is pushing itself to be at the top of its game, which in turn is raising eyebrows across the industry.

    Really enjoy working with Sarah, Richard, Jonny, and Jo, who are open to and supportive of new ideas/initiatives, wherever they come from. The teams, not only in London but across the UK, are really pulling together in a way they weren’t a few years ago, so my advice would be continue to grow the company’s burgeoning collaborative culture and make it thrive!


  4. "Account Executive"

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent people to work with. Patient colleagues were fabulous teachers and helped all new starters get up to speed. Good considering there is quite a lot to take on board! Managers were fantastic, any downward pressure was held up well by them. The office in Bristol is/was beautiful, socials are well organised and regular and all kit/tech is up to date. Overall great start to the field. Also great team chemistry in the Bristol office. The business has great media relations acumen also.

    Cons

    The business wasn't doing terribly well (as a whole, our office was more than fine), which may have contributed to the fact that progression wasn't clearly defined - or it may have just been me. Pay wasn't actually that bad to start out with but didn't go up from Trainee Account Exec to Account Exec level (which I later learned wasn't really the norm).

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!


  5. "Questionable leadership and lack of recognition for work"

    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 Grayling full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun and lively team, good colleagues, not too bad clients, clients cover a few industries, flexibility to work from home at times

    Cons

    Barely a bonus, lack of recognition and no business direction or targets shared with employees, unproductive long meetings with no resolution


  6. "Negative experience with this organization"

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time

    Pros

    Worked with some excellent consultants, most of whom have now left

    Cons

    Weak leadership; no long-term vision


  7. "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.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "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.


  9. "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


  10. "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


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