SWCA Environmental Consultants
3.5 out of 5 stars.
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SWCA Environmental Consultants Employee Reviews

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3.3Work-Life Balance

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Worked with many thoughtful and engaging young biologist/botanist/geologist etc

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I really enjoyed my time at SWCA. The teams that I worked on were enthusiastic, eager to share knowledge and willing (almost every day) to GET WORK DONE without compromising the ethics that are inherent in being a good environmental consultant. I worked with fun, like minded individuals that loved to learn...always a great atmosphere. I was there as the COVID crisis was ramping up. Our supervisory teams went out of the way, sometimes many many miles to ensure that our teams could keep working in a safe and productive manner. I could not have felt more cared for by my immediate managers...much further up the ladder... in some areas CYA and keep it in the black... but altogether...I would work there again and again.
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Extremely Toxic

The company culture here overturns staff in a few months. There is a culture of male dominated conversations and intentional misleading of female employees
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Amazing Environment if you love to travel

You will never find a company where the people are as good to you or as wonderful to be with as SWCA. That said, as an environmental specialist, your apartment is an expensive storage unit. You will never be home. If you love to travel, GREAT! If you want to be home and actually build a life for yourself... it's very difficult until you've had several years under your belt and get to start doing more reporting and office work. Even then, until you are in a project management role, you will still be traveling a lot.

Pros

Great people, great learning opportunities, lots of travel

Cons

Pay rate can be low, traveling all the time.
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Bad place to work

This company looks very good when you're applying but the reality is much different. There's terrible pay for field work employees and all the normal corporate tactics apply. A few examples would be: the person who decides your wage before and during employment is someone so high up you'll never even meet. Management at all levels above your immediate boss are very out of touch with what happens in the field and only make decisions based on their immediate views and interests.

Pros

None

Cons

Bad working conditions, unsafe
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Positive people - good culture

I enjoy the people I work with and the work I do. When there are issues, I'm able to collaborate and work through even in the toughest of scenarios. It can get tough, but all jobs are. I appreciate the focus on inclusion, and work-life balance. I love the flexibility of working from home! It's just a really good culture with a lot of good folks around me!
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Fine place to work other than no job security and no mentoring.

I was thrown assignments here and there, never in an organized fashion or with clear direction. There was no mentoring from day 1. Job security is a joke. I was hired under the premise there was plenty of work be done. It was quite the opposite and I ended up being an "on call" employee and eventually quitting after 18 months of hearing nothing.

Pros

Friendly coworkers, Relaxed environment, Come/go as you please and having a family and outside life was recognized, Salary was ok; not what I asked for, but not too low either, Team atmosphere

Cons

No clear direction on assignments given, No mentoring, No due dates, Exempt from meetings with client (feds), No "training" by taking you with them to such meetings, Didn't get the feeling I was trusted to know what I was doing
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Great company to learn, but is HARD work.

Generally, CRM jobs are hard work and most of the time are undervalued by the archaeology community. I assure you this company is good at what they do, they care for the cultural materials they find, and they allowed you to learn. But, in the fieldwork everything it's a bit unexpected: you never now where you're going to be, the conditions of the area, and if the team members really work well with the pace of the day, which is usually fast (really fast). So, every day it's an adventure! A typical day at work have a ten hour of constantly moving with a break of 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the crew lead, and your best friends are going to be the bugs spray and a couple of weather apps. Some projects are easy, other ones are terrible; the season is another factor that will make everything great or not. Also, if you are lucky you will get a project manager that cares for you and your safety. Other project managers just care about finishing the project on time without going over-budget, they overwork and disrespect you.

Pros

Good benefits, can travel, great accommodations.

Cons

Hard labor work, digging under the rain, fast.
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Solid, small consulting company with a casual feel and good people

SWCA is generally a great place to work and provides a nice alternative to the multi-national consulting firms out there. Work is tied to the rises and falls of private sector clients, such as energy and infrastructure companies, so be careful. Your best path for advancement is through project management and NEPA acumen.

Pros

Very good work culture, respectful colleagues, good scientific practice is recognized and supported, employee-owned

Cons

Grow-or-die mentality, not enough focus on small things that would improve efficiency, upper management getting stale and needs fresh thinking
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Extremely Low Pay, Pseudo-safety, Underequipped

"100% Employee Owned" needs some clarification. Employee ownership is paid out in the form of the "Employee Stock Ownership Program" commonly referred to as "ESOP". Employees only start to see returns from ESOP after 3 years of full time employment. Even then, I hear payout is still pretty low ($500-$1,500/year) until you gain more ownership at 10 or so years. Since ESOP Payout is based off of company profits, I found that this provides incentive at a local level for management to mistreat lower level workers by not purchasing vital equipment, skimping on PPE and and general cheapness. This general cheapness rewards the local managers in the form of a larger profit margin and ultimately a larger ESOP payout for them. This incentive is on top of the normal pressures on local management by senior level management to turn a profit simply to stay in business resulting in extreme incentive to keep costs low at every possible chance. For the reason stated above, this company is terrible to work for if you are new or low on the "totem pole". Someone low on the "totem pole" would be considered anyone who has field work as the majority of their work. Your pay will be low. The lack of proper equipment is made up for by grueling and unsafe manual labor. For the same reason, this place would be good to work for if you could get into an upper level management and stay there for a few years. You won't have to deal with the effects of cheapness, and possibly, benefit from them if you stay there for a few years. If you work in the field I recommend you heed these specific - 

Pros

Co workers, Travel, Positive world impact

Cons

Don't invest in employees, Brutal labor conditions, Few advancement opportunities
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Great culture, family feel, cares about the people

SWCA has a great culture that has evolved over the last 40 years. It is a large company with a family feel. SWCA is competitive and offers great benefits. SWCA is 100% owned by an ESOP, which is a retirement plan for the benefit of the employees. This creates a sense of ownership in peoples work, and helps foster teamwork across the organization. The plan is completely funded by the company and employees do not contribute to it to receive the benefit. It is so great to be a part of an organization that is committed to technological advancement, diversity, health and wellness (mental and physical), giving back to the community, and sustainability. The company has experienced success through sound science and creative solutions to evolving problems, and by demonstrating SWCA is a name that can be trusted in the field of Environmental Consulting. The company continues to grow and thrive, and offers opportunity for employees to learn and grow with it. The company has strong core values including Never Settle, Gives Back, Always Learning, and OneSWCA and I see the values being lived by our people every day from the top down. SWCA values its people and gives them a voice. There are employee engagement surveys and the company takes the feedback and implements changes in response to the surveys. For example employees expressed they didn't always have a clear career path, so the company invested in the most comprehensive career pathing program I have ever seen that was developed over 2 years to address those previous concerns. On these surveys when benchmarked against industry standards, - 

Pros

100% employee owned, great culture, excellent leadership

Cons

Growing pains
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Good for people w/no responsibilities

This job is great for adventurous people with no familial or financial responsibilities.Job security doesn't exist. Stability and work/life balance are not a thing. You either work 6-7 days a week/12+ hours a day or you don't work at all. More often than not, you will not be working. Anytime you are working, you will be traveling wherever they want you to go. Often at a moments notice and often for long periods of time. You will be put into dangerous situations whether its terrain, wildlife, or people. Usually a combination. Women, you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings. You will be traveling to remote areas with little to no cell service. You will be staying in areas & towns that have a high rate of violence against women. You need to watch out and advocate for yourself because no one else will. I strongly suggest having some form of personal protection. You will experience nature in a way that most people dont, sometimes good sometimes bad. You occasionally get to see some pretty cool places.You'll meet some of the best people you ever met and some of the worst. Also know, you are on your own. Management and leads will not have your back. They will not look out for you. They do not care if you are struggling. They will test your limits and then surpass them. You will not be compensated with raises or promotions. You will be left in the dust if it means protecting the bottom line.

Pros

Interesting stories to tell after you leave

Cons

See review above
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Production

Good place to work. It is employee old enough for five years you are fully vested and they have a very supportive staff job I was and keep you very busy very detailed
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Company at an executive level is great

This company at an executive level is great. However, often in my experience in my region and in others there are mid level and upper level management that simply aren’t great. For a myriad of reasons despite the resources made available to us there are many people at the staff level looking for work elsewhere.
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Alright

Lots of very nice people who are willing to help. Fun environment and good benefits. Its hourly and managers expect you to have work all of the time, but sometimes theres just nothing to do...
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Excellent company to work for

I worked with the Flagstaff office monitoring Willow Flycatchers. Organization, communication and leadership was excellent. I would work there again if I had the chance.
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Employee owned- they care about the employees

Great corporate culture with the opportunity to create your own path and succeed. Great CEO who cares about the employees and making a difference in the world. Sustainability, giving back are common themes within the company. Fair pay. Great place to work.
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Good stepping stone; typical contract/consulting work

Employees were mostly nice people. Inconsistent work (contract labor); ex. two 60 hour each weeks in a row, then a month of no work. Felt like a button pusher with no room to advance despite my potential. They said you can advance to permanent but no guarantee; it could take a few years at least. Seems like they didn't want to promote temps to permanent status in order to avoid providing benefits... Hard to balance work and life due to inconsistency and travel required. Your reputation depends on you accepting every single work opportunity even if they tell you you can request time off anytime. If you do not accept every opportunity you may not be offered any more and/or they will let other employees take your opportunities even after you accepted the job first. With that said...a bit cutthroat and unprofessional (ex. monthly happy hours, drinking at meetings, gossip in the office) work environment. Wouldn't go back due to the shady culture, but I don't regret the experience. Fun outdoor work if you like your field partners, which I did.
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Great Staff

I enjoyed working at SWCA and loved the field work opportunities and projects that I worked on. My supervisors and mentors were easy to work with and provided guidance whenever I needed it while also giving me the space to grow individually and learn through my own research and experience.
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Fantastic Work Environment!

SWCA is a very impressive organization. The leadership team in place is top-notch and the organization is clearly committed to investing in their people in order to achieve key business objectives. SWCA lives its core values of Always Learning, Never Settling, Giving Back and Organizational Collaboration (One SWCA). This is a great place to work.
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Great work environment

Great time working army SWCA Family feel, employee owned and a good mission and vision Benefits were competitive and PTO was good Highly recommend
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Management

Management does not focus on the employee engagement. Management is greedy. Training and tools are not provided for employees to be successful. If the management issues can be addressed, this would be a terrific place to work.
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Overall rating

Based on 54 reviews

Ratings by category

3.3 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
3.2 out of 5 stars for Compensation/Benefits
2.5 out of 5 stars for Job Security/Advancement
3.2 out of 5 stars for Management
3.6 out of 5 stars for Culture
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