Jagex

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Jagex Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014
Jagex – “140 Cambridge Science Park (Photo thanks to…”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.5 53 reviews

19% Approve of the CEO

Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard

Mark Gerhard

(21 ratings)

33% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The people are great, all interesting, capable and all care about the finished product(in 6 reviews)

  • Other benefits such as free fruit(in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • In the past senior management was ignorant of the competition and thus lacked vision(in 8 reviews)

  • Generally very poor relations between upper management and development teams(in 6 reviews)

53 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    If Jagex is ever to succeed, the CEO must go

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsDecent staff benefits including a great canteen, bike maintenance, legendary parties, but this doesn't make up for low salary which can buy a lot of this.

    If you work at Jagex, you will meet some truly great and talented people.

    ConsPoor salary, unless you make it into the clique.
    Poor job security. Lay-offs and departures at all levels are common. Staff turnover is high.
    Poor job satisfaction as staff have to pander to last minute changes instead of using the time to excel at their profession.
    Proprietary systems which hamper rather than assist developers.

    Jagex has some very talented people, but the company relies on a steady flow of starstruck, talented youngsters, as it does not pay a decent salary and staff turnover is high, so a lot of effort goes into glossy recruitment.
    If more effort went into staff retention, they might strike a happier balance.
    The hours are long "as it's not an overtime culture", yet staff regularly have to do overtime - why?

    This is why. Gerhard has a knee-jerk, last minute change style of "management". He has an ego the size of a planet so it's a shame he has no planning or people skills. He prefers to grandstand in one of his APVs and court the press. He surrounds himself with yes men. If you can get into his clique, your job is a little more secure but not guaranteed.
    Anyone who disagrees with him, better have another job lined up.
    He rarely, if ever, walks the floor and talks to the people who work for him, he certainly never listens. Once a year he might give a long-winded, bizarre and repetitive speech at one of the company "jollies".

    Under his leadership, he tried to grow Jagex into a "games studio", but many games were built or licensed and failed and many people were laid off due to bad planning (or lack of planning) and bad decision making.
    A lot of hard work is wasted as decisions are made at the end rather than at the start of a project lifecycle. Listening to experienced staff at the start would help overcome this.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGerhard, move on and give Jagex a chance to recover from the damage you have done.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Lovely place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe benefits are like nothing i have ever seen before when working for other companies.
    Lots of lovely, driven people.
    Everyone willing to help each other out.

    ConsI don't feel there are any cons

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Much promise, little delivery

    Marketing (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsThe people are great, the benefits strong and the office/culture are great. With such a large, young and passionate employee-base it makes for a fun culture.

    ConsThe company is rudderless, with poor senior management and crippled by a failure to launch a second successful product after RuneScape.

    Advice to Senior ManagementClear out the executive team and start afresh with people who know and understand games and what makes them successful. A little trust in their employees would go a long way.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great work with interesting people

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsJagex had lots of incredibly talented and passionate people. Everyones incredibly supportive and no one ever says "That's not my job I'm not helping you".The games the Jagex make might not be AAA but that really care about getting the best work possible and aren't just looking to make a quick buck.

    Jagex likes to promote from within and doesn't expect you to have had X years of experience or be the next person in line for the job or to get the best pieces of work. As long as you've shown you're good at your job you will be rewarded and noticed, Jagex is very good at spotting people that are working well and remembering them.

    There aren't many business analyst types at Jagex and lots of work on a project tends to happen at the same time, this means as a developer you get early exposure to a project and often get to shape the way that it works. It also means that you get to see all parts of the game / web process for the systems that Jagex makes.

    Jagex likes to make lots of things itself so you often get to work on internals of systems and libraries that you wouldn't get the possibility to work on in other places.

    As a company Jagex treats it employees very well with the perks, office and benefits being very good. The Onsite canteen, games consoles and relaxation areas mean that the office is a relaxed office with a good atmosphere.

    ConsCertain parts of Jagex don't like to use much standard technology so if you like plugging standard technology A into standard technology B or using the latest buzzword framework then Jagex is unlikely to be for you. The homebrew nature of Jagex's technology means that lots of time doing something simple can be more frustrating than it should be and if you're ever stuck you can't just look on StackOverflow, but it makes the learning process more fun.

    Jagex puts of really emphasis on quality so if somethings not good enough then there's a real chance that it will be scrapped and the work won't see the light of day. This can mean that there's often lots of iterations of a project with something that were pushed in often being take out or visa versa. This combined with often tight deadlines can often lead to some late nights or longer days every once in a while. Final sign off or adjustments often go up to the executive team who will see the final finished product so any changes or amendments often and up coming in at the last minute leading to rushing to the deadlines and lots of panic to get things finished before they launched.

    Lots of the departments at Jagex seem to operate on the same level but independently this can lead to lots of being pulled in separate directions all at once sometimes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEnsure that people under you take and make decisions without having to have executive team members approve them. Let people be accountable for decisions they make without saying "Let me just run that past X"

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    OK as a job, forget it as a career

    Development (Current Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsNice people to work with.
    Some fun team events.

    ConsNo training, no personal growth.
    Terrible management with continual changes of direction.
    HR team haven't a clue of what goes on.
    Free fruit doesn't make up for no career progression.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBeing 'agile' doesn't mean it is OK to change direction every day. That just wastes everyone's time and makes management look like idiots.
    Making changes to RuneScape inevitably upsets some of the established players. Unless the changes bring in many more players then the result is an overall loss. Changing things back again doesn't bring back the players you lost but can lead to more losses.
    There are plenty of MOBA games; Transformers needs to be much better than the competition to succeed - which it isn't.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Wasted potential

    Services Team (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsOutside of management, the people are what make the company
    Some of the benefits are a nice addition (free fruit, gym membership)

    ConsLike all other reviews on Glassdoor, management are what makes working for this company infuriating. Constantly changing direction with no explanation as to why, forcing overtime on employees (while not paying their employees for it) to hit unrealistic deadlines, employing "Yes" managers who take directions from above without questioning it or trying to improve processes by challenging ideas made by the SMT. This also includes completely ignoring feedback from employees not lucky enough to hold a job title that forces managers to listen. Oh and job titles are everything in this company; Vice President of the smallest department in the world but the VP sounds good in your email signature.

    Time is never given to housekeep code and tidy up after a rushed feature is implemented, leading to boulders of code balancing on a pin head. There is little investment in infrastructure, meaning employees are using inappropriate computers and customers are relying on reliability from old servers never intended to serve the amount of traffic seen by RuneScape.

    There is not attempt to retain staff. If an employee leaves, the recruitment team are just expected to ensure the revolving door shows more people in that it does showing them out. So much expertise, experience and passion is lost because no effort is put into listening to individual problems and trying to resolve them (even if that individual problem is felt by a large majority of the company).

    There is not attempt to kick the trend of low salaries due to being in the gaming industry. Even when record revenue and profits are recorded, none of this is reflected in annual salaries. There are bonuses to compensate hard work but these come with the small print that they can be cancelled at any point in time with no explanation.

    Little to no time is given to personal development due to the ever increasing demands from management to change direction and to implement ideas that are broken at the design stage.

    Advice to Senior ManagementReduce the levels of management, focus on what makes Jagex a successful company (i.e. everyone but the managers) and stop thinking you're a big player in the gaming industry. RuneScape has done well but it will eventually die and there is currently nothing backing the company up. Multiple failed projects (FunOrb, 8 Realms, Mechscape, Stellar Dawn, original Transformers Universe) just shows how much the company is struggling given its direction since RuneScape took off.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Aimless

    Technical Developer (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsExcellent technical and design staff.
    Fruit basket
    Good canteen
    Spectacular (and probably very expensive) parties

    ConsUtterly appalling and aimless management. Comparing them to headless chickens would be unfair to headless chickens. They waste money on so many things, yet routinely fire talented and experienced staff for no apparent reason. They are resting on the laurels of Runescape, and are utterly unable to produce another quality game, despite the technical excellence of their staff. The lower managers, middle managers, senior managers and executives (and all the in-betweens with imaginative job titles) spend all their time passing bucks, while the little guys work their butts off for waaay below-average wages.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGive up. Buy a farm. Milk cows. Just don't ruin talented people's careers when they don't do things quite your way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Talented passionate staff, constrained by visionless and inexperienced leadership.

    Game Designer (Former Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsColleagues are creative, talented and passionate. Facilities are good. Company jollies are impressive, if you like that sort of thing.

    ConsMost of the executive layer have no experience of making games. Ineffective execs seem to get shuffled sideways rather than leave. Execs and senior staff with Industry experience, who challenge decisions, get pushed out or leave in frustration. I left a year or so ago, and hoped this might change, but all the signs suggest it hasn't.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCompletely re-think your approach to making games. You have the talent and resources to be making multiple quality games a year, and give Jagex a chance of a future after Runescape, but you haven't managed to produce one. Why is that? Making games is always a gamble. Don't risk everything on one or two over-ambitious projects, then pull out of them when they don't look like they'll be next 'Runescape' on day one. Spread your bets on smaller innovative projects and allow the talent you have a chance to shine, and then let PLAYERS decide which ones deserve the big money to progress.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Lovely.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Pros- Free gym
    - Other benefits such as free fruit
    - Great co workers
    - Overall great
    - Generally a good atmosphere
    - Good salary
    - A high skilled amount of co workers

    Cons- The CEO should have some more trust to the employers.
    - Salary COULD be higher
    - The work hours can be a little long some times

    Advice to Senior Management- Remember to listen to the people who works for you. You have to start listening some more to the players too.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Terrible upper management

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    ProsSome nice people working for the company.
    Good location.

    ConsAtrocious management.
    Cancels company bonus due to lower than expected profits, spends money on a new tank and crushing cars with it.
    Fires employees then expects other members of staff in entirely different job roles to cover the members of staff that have been fired with no additional training or reduction in their current duties (some staff are now working in 3 different job areas, and expected to perform in all 3 of those as if it was their only job).
    Rigidly stuck in using systems that were out of date 5 years ago and created 10 years ago.
    No fore-sight in to potential issues with projects. No analysis of whether the technology planned to be used with a project will actually support that project.
    No oversight on vital areas of the business.
    Anonymous feedback provided to the company is not anonymous.
    CEO gets company employees to fix issues at his home on company time and money.
    CEO has departments order technology for his personal use at home.
    Seizes ideas 6-12 months too late, attempts to move in to market areas only once those areas have already proved popular and have been filled by other companies.
    Fails to innovate.
    Fails to recognise and hold on to talent.
    Makes major changes at the last minute to projects and still expects that project to be on schedule, if the project then falls behind the last minute changes are not at fault - the staff working unpaid overtime are at fault.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGrow up, learn from your mistakes, stop repeating them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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