Cengage Learning


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5 days ago

Engagement Specialist - Higher Education - San Antonio, TX, Dallas, TX

Cengage Learning Dallas, TX

): •Identify high potential high volume opportunities that will contribute to… Cengage Learning

Cengage Learning Reviews

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Cengage Learning CEO Michael Hansen
Michael Hansen
205 Ratings
  1. 16 people found this helpful  

    Some good here, but things have gone sour

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
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    Former Employee - Managing Editor in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Managing Editor in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Cengage Learning full-time (more than 10 years)


    Cengage Learning is a decent place to work. There are many good people there who are genuinely into what they're doing. The new(ish) executive team led by Michael Hansen has been encouraging innovation and "outside of the box" thinking to create game-changing digital products for the higher education market but, unfortunately, the Product teams are not well-equipped to comprehend what developing truly good digital products actually entails from a cost, resource, and time perspective.

    The benefits at Cengage are generally quite good and there are some nice perks given to employees (tickets to ballgames, company outings/parties, etc.). All in all a solid company to work for as far as big educational publishing houses go, and if you can stomach the low publishing industry salaries.


    The culture at Cengage (at least in the Higher Education division) can be very political and when things go wrong there is often a lot of finger pointing. Some of the General Managers and/or Product Managers are not afraid to throw other people (or entire teams) under the bus to make themselves look better or to grab more power and control. And there are too many people calling the shots on the Product teams who have little actual knowledge and experience in developing good quality digital products, which results in more crummy digital products that only aggravate the customers. Hopefully the addition of some newly created technical positions will help to change that, as the company is still too much in the old textbook publishing mindset even though upper management repeatedly says Cengage Learning is a "technology" company.

    There is also an element coming down from the Executive team about "total accountability" of the Product Managers/Owners for the success of their products that, in my opinion, only works to create a sense of fear amongst the employees because too many are panicked they are going to lose their jobs if a mistake is made or a product isn't delivered on time or underperforms. There is even one member of the executive team who seems to revel in this sort of fear-based bully tactics management style. While such an approach may get some results in the short term I don't think it can be healthy for the corporate culture over the long-term. Coupled with a recent crackdown on flexible and work-from-home hours, the culture is becoming increasingly less worker-friendly. Additionally, groups or divisions within Cengage that have, or try to, create their own culture are stifled and told to get in line with the "Cengage culture."

    There were also no bonuses for a couple of years before the bankruptcy filing in 2013 and the company's new bonus plan pays less and applies to far fewer employees.

    NOTE: My scores for "Culture & Values" and "Work/Life Balance" would have been higher had I written this three years ago.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you really want to be a technology company that creates truly dynamic and useful products, and not just a textbook publishing company, then keep looking to fill your Product teams with actual tech people who understand digital content and how to develop it and who appreciate the importance of good design and UX. And hire more engineers who can effectively implement the product vision. There are still too many of the same old-school textbook folks there who are calling the shots but who don't truly understand what an effective digital product is or how to develop it.

    And back off on the crackdown on flex-time and work-from-home hours. It's only making people miserable. It's not like employees were working from home that much in the past. It was usually just a day or two per week at most.

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