Employees from corporate to manufacturing love the team-oriented and people-friendly environment, with Mars' family roots they say make it a responsible, well-managed place to work.



This review is based on 1287 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.60. It was published on Jan 14, 2014. 9490 Visitors

What They Do

Make pet food, chocolate, gum, confections, food, drinks and other products.


What Makes {company-name} Great

Working at Mars, Incorporated, has a certain Willy Wonka appeal, complete with bragging rights and chocolate bars. Not everybody can say they make something as fun as candy, one employee says. "There is a sense of pride that I feel when I see someone eating a Snickers, M&M's, Dove, etc."

While Mars may be best known for its sweets, the company’s employees – or associates, as they are called here – also make pet care products, food, drinks, and Wrigley chewing gum, and run a Symbioscience business.

Unlike the eccentric and demanding candy factory owner in Roald Dahl’s famous book, though, associates say the McLean, Virginia, company takes good care of them and encourages work-life balance, even for production and other hourly workers that comprise close to 36 percent of its workforce. Half of Mars’ U.S. employees have flexible work schedules, and everyone starts with three weeks of paid vacation during their first year on the job. In fact, 92 percent of associates say they're able to take time off when they need it.

Employees see flexible schedules and their ability to take time as needed as part of a larger, people-centric focus. "Associates are not just nameless, faceless resources,” one worker says. “They are unique, thinking, driving forces, and each one is important to the success of the business."

Inside Story

Even though the $33 billion in company is one of the country’s largest privately held businesses and runs 83 U.S. plants and offices, employees say the family-owned enterprise retains a sense of fun and treats them as valuable members of the team. "The small headquarters and operationally de-centralized way of working give lots of responsibility and make you feel like it's your own business," one associate says. On a lighter note, the company also shows its team spirit by providing ice cream bars for people to enjoy hot summer days. Whatever the reason, 93 percent of them say they're proud to tell others where they work. Notably, this positivity isn’t limited to a select few at headquarters: 85 percent of associates working in their manufacturing plants say that the company is a great workplace.

Most Mars facilities have employee event committees that plan activities. An associate group at a Wrigley plant in Chicago has sponsored summer ice cream socials, school supply drives and Hispanic heritage events. Departments at a Hackettstown, New Jersey, plant compete in a volleyball tournament and tug-of-war as part of a summer celebration. One department at the same facility holds monthly potluck luncheons where people swap recipes and socialize. Associates throughout the company dress up on Halloween to vie for best costume awards, and paint pumpkins and host trick-or-treating for their children, and in the pet care division, for their pets too.

Employees in entry-level positions through C-suite jobs maintain an open-door policy so they can interact or problem-solve more freely, part of Mars’ commitment to collaboration and mutual respect. "The open office policy is awesome," one associate says. "It shows that management gets the same treatment as the lowest employees. It really makes me feel like management is in the trenches with me instead of watching from a mountaintop."

A few people say they’d like to see managers do a better job of treating all workers equally. In all, 67 percent say managers avoid playing favorites, and 70 percent say promotions go to those who best deserve them and that people avoid politicking and backstabbing to get things done. When asked how to improve the company, one employee says management needs to "support everyone's development. Don't play favorites." However, in other important ways, employees say the company demonstrates its commitment to fairness: 80 percent of staff across the organization feel associates are consistently paid fairly for the work they do. Considering the company overall, 92 percent still say Mars is a friendly place to work and that they feel good about the ways the way the organization works together to contribute to the community. One way is through a Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, which helps cocoa farmers around the world earn a living wage and secure their farms' futures. Mars also runs charitable foundations, including the Wrigley Company Foundation, which works to improve oral health, environmental stewardship and healthy communities. Since 1987, the foundation has donated more than $50 million to charitable groups around the world. Another is the Pedigree Foundation, which since 2008 has awarded more than $3 million in grants to thousands of U.S. animals shelters and rescue groups. As one pet division associate put it, "We have the opportunity to create events, activities, processes and products every day to make the world a better place for pets through our passion for pets. It doesn't get much better than that!"

Employees throughout the business say they respect one another and appreciate the company's fun, team-driven culture. One associate summarizes Mars as an “excellent environment where we're surrounded by talented people. I'm proud to work for Mars."

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Great Perks

  • Flexible Work Hours: Depending on their position, associates may start work anywhere from 6 to 10 a.m., or request a four-day work week. Some positions can choose days to work from home, and 20 percent telecommute. Employees can also take vacation hours in one-hour increments or use hours on one day to offset taking off an equal number of hours on a different day within the same pay period.
  • Mars Scholarships Program: Children of Mars’ North America associates can apply for undergraduate scholarships of $1,000 to $7,000. The company uses an outside program called Scholarship America to make sure the selection process is unbiased.
  • Retirement Savings:: Associates can contribute up to 75 percent of their salary toward their 401(k) retirement savings plan, the IRS limit. Mars matches up to 6 percent of people’s contributions even when they don’t contribute. Employees also get a pension that they start collecting as a monthly annuity when they retire. Mars deposits 6 percent of an associate’s annual salary into a pension account each pay period and the money earns interest based on consumer price index plus 3 percent.
  • Product Discounts: Associates get 30 percent off products at Mars’ owned retailers and e-commerce sites, including Ethel M. Chocolate, M&Ms World stores. They also get 20 percent off on Alterra coffee beverages, My M&Ms and MyDove[MR3]. Wellness Incentives: Associates who take an annual physical and complete a health assessment with blood pressure and cholesterol screenings can get up to $500. Spouses or eligible partners who complete the same screenings and assessments also get $500.
  • On-site Fitness Centers and Wellness Activities: Several Mars plants have on-site fitness centers, outdoor walking areas, plus activities such as yoga, weight loss programs and stretch breaks. Associates in the Mars Food division can get reimbursed for half of the cost of enrolling their families at a local fitness center or YMCA.
  • Health Centers: The company’s large manufacturing plants have on-site health centers. A nurse routinely visits the sites and monitors workers for hearing loss and other risks associated with working in a factory. "This company is very real in expressing their true feelings about the care and safety of every individual employed with them," one employee says. "I find this to be very rare in other industries."

{company-name} Facts


How to Get Hired at {company-name}

If you thrive in a team environment and can be responsible for maintaining quality and improving efficiency, then you could be a good fit for a job at Mars. The company also looks for potential job candidates who embody its principles of quality, mutuality, responsibility, efficiency and freedom.

When jobs open up, Mars gives first preference to current associates who have the necessary skills or potential to grow into a role. Otherwise, hiring managers find potential candidates through use social media, employee referrals, university career fairs and the Mars.com careers site. Associates who recommend someone who’s later hired can earn up to a $2,000 referral bonus. If the company decides you’re a qualified candidate, you may be asked to do a phone interview. The company uses phone interviews to pre-screen qualified candidates.

From there, you could be asked to do a phone or in-person interview. Advance to the final round of on-site interviews, and you'll likely meet with a cross- functional panel of interviewers. Often these include behavioral and competency-based questions so interviewers can understand how you problem-solved or communicated with a team in the past. Depending on the type of position you’re up for and the division you’re talking to, you may be invited to an on-campus event to get to know the company better. Candidates interviewing for positions with the company’s pet care division, for example are invited to attend a two-day leadership development program at the division’s headquarters to get a feel for the company culture. Programs typically include presentations, social events and other activities, and meet-and-greets with Mars’ senior leaders.

Check out job openings at Mars.

Hiring Outlook

Hiring Outlook

61Average number of applicants per opening 8%Total voluntary turnover in past year
112525Applicants in past year 1840Openings in past year

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What Employees Say about {company-name}

Great Rated! collected feedback from {company-name} employees via an anonymous survey.  Following are quotes that the data indicated represented common themes in employees’ feedback.

"I have always been able to be myself at Mars. My opinions are taking openly and I am respected by everyone I meet."
"I think the amount of responsibility and accountability given from day one is a difference (with other companies). In little over a year with the company, I have been able to design and launch a new product. I am also deeply involved in longer-term projects that will affect the company in the future. I was able to achieve this without anyone looking over my shoulder and trusting the work I do."
"People genuinely care about each other; very much a family environment. Benefits are terrific - 3 weeks of vacation a year on your first day! Profit sharing is phenomenal-company contributes 3 times what we contribute! They are always feeding us. Attire is casual, comfortable."
"I would (like to) have more opportunities for advancement without having to relocate.
"Being a pet company, we're able to bring our pets to work. It creates for a more humanizing experience to be in the company of animals. It improves associate interactions when dogs are there to encourage a quick desk-side chat."
"I'm amazed at the level of information the company/management shares with associates. I've worked for Fortune 50 companies that didn't share half (the) information that we are entrusted with."
"The only change I can think of is that communication across different chains of the business could strive to communicate/work better together. I believe that there is a communication gap between people that work in the corporate office versus people that work in the plant. However, I think this has a lot to do with different work environments/jobs."
"The development and advancement opportunities at Mars are exceptional. I have never worked for an organization that offers classes, mentoring and support to be better, both personally and professionally, like MARS does. I have had the opportunity to attend classes that have empowered me to be a better leader, a better mother and all around individual. I am grateful to Mars for their investment in me every day."
"I would like to see senior management value the contributions of all associates whether they are considered high potential or not. It seems that if you have not been identified as a high-potential associate you can't have developmental assignments or training that high-potential associates enjoy. Then we have to compete with the high-potential associates for promotions when they have had far more developmental opportunities."
"Everyone is encouraged to drive change, and this is usually rewarded in different ways, whether it's through the Make the Difference forum, Tie and Scarf Club awards, or Corner Candy Shop awards."



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