Harvard University

  www.harvard.edu
  www.harvard.edu

Harvard University Reviews

Updated December 9, 2014
Updated December 9, 2014
533 Reviews
4.0
533 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
234 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • For administrative positions, the work/life balance is decent because staff are unionized (in 47 reviews)

  • Lots of freedom, interesting work, great benefits, unbelievable resources (in 51 reviews)


Cons
  • bad work/life balance, low pay, minimal training unless actively sought out (in 18 reviews)

  • low pay, ceiling/plateau for researchers, no clear path for researches in public health, isolating environment (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

99 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great benefits, but office politics might make or break you

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Information Technology
    Current Employee - Information Technology

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Most employees are very dedicated and committed to their work. The benefits are excellent. Plenty of vacation days. Great reputation.

    Cons

    Office politics play a major role in whether an employee gets ahead or is encouraged not to stay on. (Severance packages as an "exit strategy" are not uncommon.) High turnover rate in some (but certainly not all) departments. Each school within the university is its own fiefdom (has its own administrative team, has its own work culture, and sets its own policies, to a great extent). A job at one school is not necessarily a foot in the door to another job there, or another job at any of the other schools. Administrative salaries tend to be lower than the industry average.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No point in writing anything here, since management wouldn't care.

    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Very Diversified Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harvard University part-time

    Pros

    The University is decentralized so your work experience will be different depending on dept and manager/director. I had a great and supportive manger. I was able to work from home when needed because my work can be done remotely and on a laptop.

    Cons

    The University is decentralized so your work experience will be different depending on dept and manager/director. No communication from the director, we did not know our mission and the status of our business was never shared with the staff.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Smart but self-centered people

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Good fame, smart people, fast pace

    Cons

    Work as cheap labors under high stress

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  5.  

    Lack of diversity, career development opportunities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Boston, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Amazing paid time off, tuition reimbursement, OK health benefits, matching 403b, HLS has some good social events for employees, union representation at many job grades

    Cons

    Poor management skills (academics are terrible people/organization managers), lack of transparency, decision by committee, slow to change, low pay, almost complete lack of career mobility - you must leave and come back to move up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Succession planning, mandatory management training for people in charge of people, fail fast

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Once you are in, you're in for life.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harvard University part-time

    Pros

    As the title describes, if you land a salaried position at Harvard you are well taken care of. Benefits, good executive support and access to amazing facilities.

    Cons

    Harvard is very stingy with making employees salaries/full time. You can't get in, you wont be able to work full-time on a consistent basis, and you don't get treated well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out a system that allows non-salary/union employees to work more than 17.25 hours a week

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Academic Opportunity with Administrative Disconnect

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I worked at Harvard University

    Pros

    A person can meet and worth highly talented persons across many fields.

    Cons

    An authoritarian attitude exists among some administrators and junior level staff may get away with disrespectful treatment of academic staff including those far more senior. Collegiality exists in the school, but can often be overshadowed by competition and rivalry, where teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration are called for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Shift your riveted focus on the bottom line to helping the profesional academic staff carry out the mission of the university, at least keep from letting bureacracy get in their way.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Transitional, from phd to career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    I have been working at Harvard University (more than an year)

    Pros

    Resources, good health care benefits, smart people

    Cons

    Not a lot of investment in me, no one cares whether I succeed

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    I am a fifth year PhD candidate at Harvard, located at the medical school.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    World-class training, impact, and equipment. You are surrounded by intelligent people and have opportunity to meet many of them at seminars or though collaboration.

    Cons

    This is a high stress, high pressure, competitive environment in which to work. Lab work is tough and it is not made easier by the judgment and politics of coworkers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be a more supportive and fun environment with less politics. This could be resolved by changing the outlook of principal investigators and postdoctoral fellows.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Great benefits, flexible hours vs. low pay, hard to advance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Library Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Library Assistant in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great health insurance (so far). As a staff member you are part of a union which, while not perfect, gives you additional protection and assurance that you can have a say in your workplace and be treated fairly. Harvard classes are virtually free to take--I have saved tens of thousands of dollars on Harvard Extension School classes over the years, which, along with the 4 weeks (starting) vacation and generous sick time, need to be factored in to the base salary. Staff have access to many Harvard activities, discounts and perks. The library has a vast selection of periodicals and books of all kinds, popular and scholarly.

    Many of my colleagues are highly educated and/or just plain interesting people and very dedicated to the work they do. People here value a "non-corporate" workplace culture. They really do care about the library and want to see it continue to be a great place, a "peerless institution".

    Cons

    The Harvard Library, where I work, has a very dysfunctional management structure. There has been an ongoing period of restructuring and budget-cuts over the last few years which has hurt morale and generally been run very poorly. The "non-corporate" workplace culture I mentioned in the Pros section has been one of the things to suffer during this period.

    It is difficult to find paths for career development, and the "ambitious", career-minded people move on after a few years (understandably). Others stay, and get stuck in a rut working the same low salary-grade job for decades. While this is largely their own responsibility, it remains the case that the organization mostly pays mere lip-service to career development, and sometimes actively discourages and punishes ambition (unless you are able to ingratiate yourself to the right manager).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Involve the whole library in planning and reorganization discussions BEFORE deciding on sweeping changes. Don't assume that "disruptive" change (the latest fad) is necessarily good change. Don't assume that staff, faculty and other community members who challenge some of the library leadership's ideas are merely "afraid of change". Actually listen to what they have to tell you about the work that they do and care deeply about (and know best). Spend more time assembling the expertise you need to actually come up with a concrete and sustainable future for the library, rather than relying on vague generalities and rushed timetables.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Smart people to work with, nice working environment

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Great place to learn cutting edge knowledge, to do research

    Cons

    high expectation, high pressure. No work-life balance

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