How AT&T and Time Warner cultures compare via Glassdoor review data

8 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Features

Now that the AT&T ($NYSE:T) and Time Warner ($NYSE:TWX) merger is a reality, time is quickly arriving for the two companies to begin behaving as one. The companies have already figured things out at the top: Time Warner CEO CEO Jeffrey Bewkes will walk away with close to $100 million, CFO Howard Averill will collect $32.3 million, and general counsel Paul Cappuccio will snag a tidy $26.7 million. Several others will walk away with more than $10 million each.

Not bad for a pink slip.

As for the rest of the company (companies?), however, well, they're in for some culture clash. As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, AT&T is a "staid phone company" looking to merge with an "entertainment behemoth filled with larger-than-life personalities." Consider this: AT&T executives fly coach while their Time Warner counterparts roll into town like Hollywood stars, complete with handlers.

But those are executives who will either be protected from the merger or will walk away with healthy severances of their own. What about the rest of the company? You know, the people who do the work? The people who will be most effected by this merger? The people who will have a new boss? The people who may get laid off due to redundancies?

One way to quantify an upcoming culture clash is by looking at how employees rate their own company via anonymous workplace review site Glassdoor. We have that data, and its history. Here's how the two companies compare.

First, to understand the data pool of reviews we're talking about, here's how many Glassdoor reviews each company has.

In terms of number of Glassdoor reviews, the companies differ vastly. This is partially because AT&T simply has more employees while Time Warner, across its multiple entities: CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros., is more siloed.


On a 5-star scale, Time Warner currently beats out AT&T with a 3.6 to 3.4. However, Time Warner's overall rating here has been on a bit of a slide — at the end of January 2018, its rating was a more handsome 3.9 out of 5.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is on a downslope when it comes to his approval by employees, moving from a high of 70% last fall to a below-average 63% today (Glassdoor tells us that 65% is considered average on its site). Meanwhile, outgoing Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has enjoyed a bit of a surge. He had an impressive 95% approval rating just this spring and has now settled into a still-comfortable 89%. 

If patterns are a thing, then AT&T Business Outlook rating is a pattern. After hitting 54% last fall, AT&T's "Business Outlook" rating has slipped below 50% to 47% as of today. Meanwhile, Time Warner hasn't fared too much better, settling in to an even 50% after a winter high of 57%.

The "Business Outlook" rating is telling as the two companies head into merger. That's because it's how employees of the two companies answered the following question:

Do you believe your company’s business outlook will get better, stay the same or get worse in the next six months?

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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