Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
3.6 of 5 91 reviews
www.fhcrc.org Seattle, WA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Reviews

Updated Mar 5, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 91 reviews

                             

68% Approve of the CEO

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Director & President Lawrence Corey

Lawrence Corey

(34 ratings)

77% of employees recommend this company to a friend
18 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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2 people found this helpful  

Sliding downhill; needs to strive for better times.

Systems Analyst/Programmer (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 3 years

ProsAcceptable salary and benefits, particularly for non-profit, and, with the right supervisor, it is very possible to achieve a good work-life balance here. Very friendly work community, with a diverse set of talent, both scientific and technical. The Center still conducts world-class research.

Despite taking my star rating down a peg from a couple years ago, I still would recommend the Center to job-seekers. Although the list of "Cons" below is quite lengthy relative to the "Pros," hardly any of them apply to me or my position in particular. I enjoy my position, and the Center too, for the most part, but am aware that my situation may in some instances be the exception.

ConsThese have more to do with how the Center is managed as a whole, rather than day-to-day work experiences, with a couple of exceptions.

Annual raises aren't what they used to be. When they are provided (usually less than 3%/year), they are often lost to increases in insurance premiums, cost hikes in the cafeteria (more on that later), and other employee-borne costs.

Given the current funding crisis (due to NIH cuts and sequestration), the Center is perpetually on the brink of money starvation. During these times, Center leadership will often make some foolhardy fiscal choices, such as building a flashy skybridge across Eastlake while simultaneously conducting layoffs or cutting funding to vital research programs. The Center has stepped-up its fundraising efforts and, much to my chagrin, has undertaken the practice of continually pestering its own employees to donate through payroll deduction; this practice has left a very bad taste in the mouths of many here, including some at senior levels. In a way, may of us already donate the opportunity cost of a better compensation package elsewhere to the Center's noble research causes.

The Center in recent years has also "off-shored" many campus services and amenities. Most notably, food service has been contracted out to an overpriced, out-of-town outfit. Lunch used to cost $5, now it's closer to $10 for less quality, smaller portions, and bad attitudes (undoubtedly the fault of inept food services management). Many of the employees are ex-Hutch food services staff, who I feel were ripped off in this transaction. The cafes are a sad place.

Finally, and very importantly, your mileage at the Center will vary greatly depending on your principal investigator. The Center is a community of much smaller research groups. Most of the scientists here are great, but a handful verge on sociopathy. Be sure to ask very pointed questions during your interview, and try to "feel out" other members of the staff to see whether they're happy. Scientists here have carte blanche (HR policy, nor labor laws, nor sometimes even hard reality, can touch them), and can practically get away with anything, and Center human resources is entirely useless when it comes to resolving workplace issues, so it is of crucial importance to figure out whether a particular position is a good match.

Final note, the Center often advertises positions that are actually based at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), its clinical partner. Do yourself a favor and steer a wide path around that place.

Advice to Senior ManagementGet the fiscal house in order. Prioritize research and faculty/staff over silly "pet" projects. Put scientific and non-scientific staff at parity with regard to company policy. And, for Pete's sake, get somebody else to run the food service venues!

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Get rid of longtime admin employees

Administrative Assistant I (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 5 years

ProsWorking for a world renown institution. Good benefits. Good working conditions as far as the facilities. Ability to move up with the institution.

ConsPeople who have been there for years in admin positions are often gotten rid of so they can be replaced by someone paid less.

Advice to Senior ManagementValue longtime admin staff and treat them better.

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Program Assistant

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

ProsThe Lake Union area is lovely - great restaurants, parks and cafes.

ConsThe culture has changed with the new leadership. No longer feels like "family."

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

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Fantastic place to work for an institution that has a successful mission to fulfill

Administrative Assistant (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 3 years

ProsGreat community feel to all colleagues and staff members. Most are looking out for your advancement and personal goal achievements while still maintaing a high level of professionalism. Beautiful and secure campus located in the heart of downtown South Lake Union amidst waterfront and mountain views.

ConsParking is terribly crowded and almost impossible to get for a reasonable or reduced rate. Waiting list is extremely long and research staff tend to take priority over administrative staff, no matter the seniority. Senior management is a little disconnected from the rest of the institutition in the sense that they cannot identify with the needs of those support workers who help to run the day to day operations of a research center. There is also not a lot of room for growth above your hiring position that you came in under. This has seemingly been why a lot of people tend to leave the center after a few short years when they come to realize they can no longer further themselves in support roles.

Advice to Senior ManagementUpper management need to take time to listen to some of their support staff and lower management heads. They have great solutions to a lot of the problems in the center but have not been given enough autonomy and authority to handle those issues before they escalate up to the senior management. Upper management should also be aware that lower senior staff are also less technologically driven as those underneath of them...which has caused some issues before in the past when it comes to responsibilities and completion of tasks for all positions.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Pretty much what all the others say

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than a year

Pros*great mission, with projects in Uganda and South Africa.
*campus: across the street from South Lake Union (the new, clean and safe(er) part of Seattle), each building has roof top decks and break rooms with beautiful views of the water - watch sailboats race and seaplanes take flight/ land.
*nice cafeterias with lunchtime performances by musical ensembles from Cornish College. Bring your own food, as the food is flavorless at best.
*salons and presentations by the scientists doing the research: all inspiring and informative to the non-scientific.
*transportation benefit seems to be better than other area employers ($15/month for unlimited busses, trolleys/ street cars, ferries, light rail and trains).
*on-site child care, though VERY costly and with VERY limited space
*very diverse population, and very accepting of all: policies and benefits extend to same sex and unmarried couples. It truly is a great feeling to work for such an accepting organization.
*work-life balance: leave early, take long weekends, whatever you want.

Conssame as everyone else says:
*ridiculously old-school, total resistance to change
*pay and benefits below industry and area standards.
*unqualified people at all levels, which fosters a very unhealthy hostile environment with no accountability.
*no career development.

Advice to Senior Managementthe org has such a great mission and should be thriving in our philanthropic community and beyond. demand accountability and cut loose the ineffective, under producing, dis-engaged work of unqualified people. Re-invest by offering competitive compensation packages to attract qualified applicants.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Tremendous opportunities wasted

Program Assistant II (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than a year

ProsExcellent support system of a large, well-respected institution

ConsNo performance review process or access to training for someone in a support level position.

Advice to Senior ManagementImplement a performance review process in order to optimize productivity for both employees and management

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

A good place, if you have a PhD

Statistical Research Associate (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 8 years

ProsGood benefits, decent workspace. Staff are generally nice/friendly. Pay level is moderate

ConsThere are two types of people, Faculty and everyone else. Doesn't matter how good/smart you are, if you aren't a faculty you're a 2nd class citizen. Limited room for advancement if you don't have a PhD. Once you've been there for a while (~10 years) you then hit the glass ceiling - the only higher positions are restricted to PhDs. They're glad to fill the position with dumb PhDs, but no way will they consider an MS level candidate.

Advice to Senior ManagementA PhD degree is not a source of intelligence, it's merely one reflection of it (and not always one...)

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Good job for a few y

Project Coordinator (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 3 years

ProsGood casual working environment, benefits are good, pay is decent, and people are friendly.

ConsNo real opportunity for job growth or promotion. HR department seems to lack any real substance. Very little sense or promotion of a community within the overall organization, only small cliquish-type groups. In essence, the politics underlying the work environment drive this ship--which is unfortunate.

Advice to Senior ManagementWhat's lacking is that investigators are not managers, and often lack desired management skills. Investigators and mid/upper level managers are often too busy to take a real interest in their #1 assets: their employees.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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The Hutch is a good place to work, but not a good place to develop your career.

Project Manager (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than 3 years

ProsYou're work will help make people healthier and happier.
Work-life balance is respected.
Personal health is supported.
Benefits are decent.
Family friendly.
Accepting of all different kinds of people.

ConsPeople in management are successful MDs and PhDs and often have neither the training nor talent for managing people.
People without MDs or PhDs are undervalued.
Very little opportunity for moving up, getting meaningful raises, etc., unless you move to a different group within the Hutch.
IT infrastructure is embarrassingly behind.
Pay is low.

Advice to Senior ManagementLet managers run the place; let MDs and PhD contribute as valuable subject area experts.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Good

Programmer (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center full-time for more than a year

ProsGood work environment, can explore and learn new stuff

ConsWork life balance. Relatively low pay

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – Why Work for Us?

​​At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers… Full Overview

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center CEO Lawrence Corey. All 18 reviews posted anonymously by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center employees.