What it does: A multinational financial services corporation that offers charge and credit cards, rewards, travel, business services, personal savings, and insurance.
Best known for: Its premium green, gold, and platinum cards with 'experiential' offerings (eg early access to concerts, concierge and travel planning, and access to airport lounges).
Staff stats: Around 59,000 with headquarters located in New York City
The good bits: American Express (Amex) claims to offer its employees leadership skills, lots of opportunities, and an inclusive culture to help them thrive. Amex is praised for its diverse workplace with great benefits, work-life balance, and flexible working hours.
The not-so-good bits: A bureaucratic workplace that can be very 'hierarchical' which slows decision making.
Hiring grads with top marks in: A number of entry-level jobs are open to graduates from all fields, but more specialized roles require graduates from the fields of Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration; Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences; Psychology, Human Resource Development; Marketing, Advertising, Mass Communications.
Founded in March 1850, American Express was established through the consolidation of three companies focused on the transport of valuables, coins, and goods between New York City and Buffalo, New York, and several points in the Midwest. These companies are Wells & Co. founded in 1846, Livingston, Fargo & Company founded by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo of Wells Fargo fame, and Butterfield & Wasson, founded by James D. Wasson and John Butterfield. The company started out as an unincorporated association of investors with Wells as president and Fargo as secretary.
The business flourished with 900 offices sprawled along 10 states during the end of the American Civil War and began attracting competition in 1866 when the Merchants Union Express Company was formed. The rival companies competed for two years until they finally merged in 1868 to form the American Merchants Union Express Company where Fargo was appointed as president. In 1873, the company was renamed American Express Company.
Fargo’s younger brother James Congdell Fargo took ownership of the company at his death in 1881 and led the company for the next 33 years while introducing several innovations including the American Express Travelers Cheque, the American Express Money Order, and opening the first European office in Paris. In the late 1890s, offices were opened in international locations like Germany and England, while services were offered in China, Argentina, Egypt, Brazil, India, and Japan in the early 1900s.
The famous American Express travel and entertainment Green Card was developed in 1958. Between the 1960s through the 80s, the company was in a constant process of diversifying its holdings and acquiring companies in insurance, publishing, and investment banking.
American Express has operated in more than 40 countries at the advent of the 21st century. Today, the company is one of the world’s leading issuers of small business, personal, and corporate credit cards with several travel-related offerings that include corporate and personal travel planning services, credit cards, traveller’s checks, agencies for hotel and car-rental reservations, and tour packages.
The recruitment process varies from role to role, but applicants usually begin with a technical or behavioural phone or video interview with an HR representative. Here, aspiring software engineers are tested about their knowledge in coding. This is followed by an invitation to attend a series of on-site technical or behavioural interviews with HR managers or department heads. In this stage, aspiring customer service representatives are gauged in their mastery of English, fluency, and pronunciation.
Amex offers an above-average basic salary with a variety of benefits that may include health insurance with unlimited dependents, medical reimbursement, vision insurance, performance bonuses, annual salary raise, paid holidays and sick leave, and retirement plan.
Employees in India reported an above-average salary. The average annual salary for a Customer Service Representative is Rs 281,361 and Rs 700,000 for a Business Analyst. Benefits reported include health insurance, annual bonuses, performance-based bonuses, free meals and transport, and paid sick leave and vacation leave.
Amex fosters diversity in the workplace, so you're most likely to work with a group of individuals from different cultures, races, and interests. The high-intensity work environment is often padded by opportunities for rest and play, thanks to the company's flexible schedule, an option to work from home, and various employee engagement activities.
Amex's travel division has a sizeable telecommute workforce, actively hiring telecommuters in the U.K., U.S., Australia, and Canada. Several other corporate jobs are also telecommuted, though many of these are not instantly hired as telecommuting jobs but a transition to it.
Amex is often praised for having a collaborative culture and supportive management.
Amex's corporate social responsibility is rooted in grants to thousands of global nonprofit organisations. The company focuses on the environment, civic processes, disaster relief, poverty, humanitarian assistance, and historic preservation. Its focus countries include the United States, Argentina, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, France, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Some of Amex's projects include the following:
This program matches social enterprises and nonprofits with employees on short-term consulting projects to address needs and challenges.
Amex has assisted in the preservation of around 146 sites in 63 countries over the past years, including sites included in the World Monuments Fund Watch List, as well as those who have received sustainable tourism grants.
This annual program trains emerging nonprofit leaders on how to lead their organizations in the future. To join, emerging leaders from various non-profits must be nominated for the program and compete for slots in each class.
If you thrive in a high-intensity workplace, value flexible work arrangements and inclusive culture, American Express may be the right employer for you, so long as you have the patience to handle decision making that can be slow at times.