European gentle giant
Capgemini consultants appear to be very happy with their company's culture. “Our company is a great place to work, where you can turn ideas into reality. It understands that its people are its brand, and it treats you as individuals,” a contact states. It’s also a fun place to work, with managers who believe “that when you have fun with your work, you work to your best.” One consultant even describes the culture as “pretty gentle and European”, while others highlight its “flat hierarchies”, “informal style” and openness to diversity. “People can do what they want, as long as they deliver the desired results and do not conflict with the corporate values of Capgemini,” says a source. Personal development is also a high priority at the firm, we’re told, and sharing knowledge is part and parcel of company policy. Most senior employees are “extremely approachable” and “down-to-earth”, and you can “approach anyone with your input at any time”, insiders note.
Living for the weekend
“Capgemini promotes work/life balance, but the client does not, and that makes finding and keeping a balance difficult,” a source comments. Consultants give pretty mixed reports on how successfully they are able to balance their work and life commitments. “It depends on the project, but in general, it is possible to balance work and life,” says one, while a colleague admits, “I feel I have to cram my life into the weekends, as well as catch up on sleep and domestic chores.” There is also a “culture that weekend work is acceptable”, and a high per cent of consultants admit to doing just that. “Strategy engagements are particularly intense and demanding, with 14-hour days proving common,” says a source, and consultants spend much of their time at the client site. When possible, though, in-office Fridays are encouraged. “I would say 66 per cent of the projects allow for Fridays in the home office,” says a Munich-based consultant. And the company is very open to flexibility when it comes to working location, sources say. “Capgemini has a good policy regarding mobility: You get a budget to allow you to be mobile. For me, that means working from home using VPN, a company phone and other communication tools,” a consultant shares. A cohort in the Frankfurt office feels that Capgemini’s “main benefit is flexibility. I can fit appointments around work, leave early and catch up the next day or work from home if I want”.
For returning mums the consultancy is more than understanding, too. “I am a returning new mum, and I have to say the company is very considerate to my needs, and is working with me to get the right balance for me and them. They are looking for clients either close to home or ones where we can balance on- and off-site working,” shares a source in London. So while finding the right work/life balance can be tricky, an insider notes that, “compared to other firms, work/life balance is very good at Capgemini.”
A necessary evil
International travel isn’t something that consultants at Capgemini do a lot of, as most projects are based nationally or locally. That is not to say that travel is not part of the lifestyle at the company. As insiders will readily admit, “travel is a necessary part of the job.” One Belgian contact claims he travels for three hours every day, while a cohort in London says he can “spend anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week travelling, and has been doing so for the last two years”. “It’s part of the job. I’m away from home and on the client site usually from Monday to Thursday,” explains another insider. “In my practice, a number of people live out of a suitcase, sometimes for over six months at a time,” a colleague remarks. But at the end of the day, how much travel a consultant does is “very project dependent”, and we are told that there “is an attempt to find local projects”.