US Census Bureau

www.census.gov

US Census Bureau Reviews

Updated January 10, 2015
Updated January 10, 2015
645 Reviews
3.8
645 Reviews
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John H. Thompson
78 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good pay especially during training (in 49 reviews)

  • Great pay- as a crew leader is was paid about (in 42 reviews)


Cons
  • Even with full time work, no benefits were provided because the jobs were intermittent in nature (in 25 reviews)

  • Dangerous to go door to door in bad neighborhoods if you're an enumerator (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

27 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Sad Sad Place to Work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN

    I have been working at US Census Bureau

    Pros

    You have a place to work...sometimes.

    Cons

    The schedule is not consistent. If you are hired on as what is called an "intermittent" employee, there will be weeks where they will work you to death, and then weeks where you don't work at all. Basically you call out on government surveys ALL day long, and of course people HATE the government right now, so you get yelled at quite a bit. That really isn't so bad except that management rules with an iron fist. People get written up on a regular basis for LITTLE things. Your kids are sick and you dropped them at the sitter and your cell phone rings, if you look at it even to just press "end" it's a write-up. You go to the doctor and the note isn't written EXACTLY right saying that they need to excuse you from work...it's a write-up. You get stuck in traffic and your cell phone is dead, you walk in 15 min late without calling...it's a write up...even if you do call....the supervisor has the right to write you up and they will ALWAYS take the side of the supervisor, so fighting it does next to no good. After so many write-ups you get fired. You know how they fire people? They walk you out in front of everyone.
    In addition, you will come into work one week and be scheduled 37.5 hours for the current week and the next week, but then only 5 hours for the two following weeks. They will say that there are no hours, but then while you have no hours, they will hire new people. The new people take the hours...you know...the ones they didn't have to offer you.
    Not only that, but originally they offered no health insurance. After YEARS of fighting with the union, the union got them to hire a certain amount of people on as part-time and maybe two full-time. Those people got paid holidays, paid time off, and insurance. It seems like a dream being as most people are still intermittent employees meaning they get NONE of that. The people were chosen given a random time span over the previous year. If you worked a certain amount of hours during a SPECIFIC three month time span, and your date of entry was before that of tons of other people, you got offered the opportunity to be part-time. What they found out later was that they got screwed over in a completely different way. Part-time employees can only work up to about 25 or 30 hours per week. They get preference when it comes to scheduling, but interestingly enough they are the people being fired left and right. Also, when there's very little work, they give them next to no hours, like pretty much every body else. The problem is though, they have health insurance! It gets taken out of their check. The cost is INSANE and when there's not a lot of work, some of them get paid $50 or $60 after taxes and health insurance (mind you we get paid BI-weekly). Can you live on $50 or $60 a week? Think about living on that every two weeks.
    You get roped into the job because it seems great. You will get a government job, making well above minimum wage. The fact is that there are many people who quit and take jobs that pay less by the hour because they know they will make more money and have a consistent schedule.
    The supervisors are miserable, because management is full of people who don't know what they are doing and have no people skills. I've personally watched several people break down and cry, but they are so scared of management that there's nothing but whispered conversations and desperate pleas for help finding other jobs.
    Supervisors even brag ON THE FLOOR about how many people they have written up. Managers get complaints about them and nothing is done.
    When something is brought to the manager's attention, it's swept under the rug. You don't see supervisors walked out of there with security, and if you ask when the last time a manager was suspended, I'm sure they'll have to sort through files so old they're on floppy disks.
    If you get this job, don't think it's going to suddenly be the answer to all your problems. don't by any means believe that you will be able to support your family. And certainly don't believe that you will be able to get in this job and then find another. Most of the people that work in the phone center are in financial distress. Please don't confuse this with "difficulty", this is distress. People are on the phones on their breaks (remember any other time you get written up) trying not to lose their homes and vehicles. Try explaining to your mortgage, electric, water, and car companies that you have no clue as to how much you are going to get paid because you don't know the hours you will be scheduled. At the end of every month people are begging these companies to work with them. don't think you will be able to just up and leave either. When people apply to other jobs, the potential employer usually calls back and says that no one would verify your employment.
    As with pretty much any job, if you ask a question, you will get a different answer depending on which supervisor you ask. Not a big deal in most jobs...but we are supposed to be collecting government statistics, so when one supervisor tells you that health insurance that someone purchased through a company that they own is considered employer-sponsored health insurance, and another tells you it is considered self-insured that's an issue because we collect the statistics for government agencies. So when you hear the stats that say "x amount of companies offer health insurance to their employees", take that with a GIANT grain of salt, because supervisors can't get on the same page. And guess what, management doesn't really care. They don't even know how to code things, they don't sit in on training, and know basically nothing about the inner workings of the surveys.
    The training is also a joke. When you hire on, you will immediately be trained on ONE survey. Mostly likely it will be ACS because that's the money maker. Well, the survey doesn't go on all month long, so they will run out of cases at the end of the month. You could get called at home (if you are lucky) and they will tell you not to come in because they are low on work. The only way to potentially get more hours is to basically try to get trained on other surveys. They say that it's based on EOd date which is basically just seniority, they say that they go down a list, but the fact of the matter is that many of the surveys specifically request that people who have worked the survey before be trained on the survey. This means that you get passed up.
    Let me also address the issue of slack work. If they run out of work, you could end up driving into work only to find out that they've slacked you. This happens REGULARLY. They claim that they will try to call you, but that the supervisors are overwhelmed, but the truth is, the supervisors know the night before, because they will go around and ask people if they want to go home early because work is low. They don't make a real effort to call people to tell them not to come in. You will drive all the way in for them to tell you to go home. They law apparently states that they have to let you work 2 hours if that happens. So, say you hire in at $14 an hour. It's the third week of the month, and a Monday. You drive into work, and they tell you that you've been slacked. Not only that, but they tell you not to come in again for the rest of the month because there's not enough work. You get to work your two hours grossing you $28. That's it. And guess when you get THAT pay check? The first of the NEXT month. So at the beginning of next month, bills come due, and you've only grossed $28, and some of that was spent in gas getting you to and from work because the supervisor couldn't be bothered to give you a call.
    Notice with all of this, I have said barely anything about the actual job. The job is the job. You do the same thing every day, it's pretty mindless. It's like telemarketing. You call people, ask them to give out personal information over the phone (some surveys are mandatory), and you get screamed at by people who hate the government, you get excuses from old ladies, and you get wise cracks from every 30 something year old guy who thinks he's the first one to say "give me YOUR home phone number and I'll call you at home and ask you a bunch of questions." Really the job is not a bother. If you can put up with the management, you can put up with the people on the phone. Unfortunately, the morale is SO bad, that the interviewers are already on edge.
    My advice? If you can find a better job, do it QUICKLY. Anyone at the Census Bureau will tell you that the phone center is the worst job there, and former employees will tell you what a relief it was when they got out and got treated "like a human being".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure what the point is in giving advice because we tell you the same things during every meeting and you ignore us. People don't come to work because you treat them badly. You show no appreciation, you allow write-ups for crazy things because you want to show who is in charge. People just don't care anymore. It's like working for an office run by a bullies. No one is working hard to get people to do the surveys because we don't care if you look bad. It's sad that there's now such a turn over rate, and it's even more sad that management clearly gets pleasure out of writing people up and firing people.
    Try treating people better, remember, training takes time and money, and if you keep showing that you can't hold on to employees, they might shut this place down and give the work to other centers, and perhaps you will find you aren't as in-disposable as you thought.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Corrupt but hey, it's only temporary.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Field Enumerator in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Field Enumerator in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at US Census Bureau as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Decent pay for hazardous work.

    Cons

    Rampant sexual harassment, everyone's a target. Good luck reporting, I was fired, my harasser promoted, my final check withheld. Management could care less about oversight of "temporary employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    About by federal laws regarding sexual harassment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Frustrating management and co-workers, repetitive work, lazy managers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Statistician in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Statistician in Suitland, MD

    I have been working at US Census Bureau full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    There's the option of teleworking up to four times a pay period.

    Cons

    There are too many supervisors who are promoted based on their technical skills but not their management and people skills. Managers are more concerned about maintaining the status quo than improving how things are done. Upper management is laughably out of touch with what is going on in the agency, which makes for tone-deaf town hall meetings. There's definitely a lack of professionalism across this agency. Employees don't know how to engage with others in an appropriate manner, which makes for a very uncomfortable work environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop with the reorganizations, listen to feedback instead of ignoring it and doing as you please, encourage employees to work on projects that will help their work in the long-term, don't be short-term focused.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Dysfunctional

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Analyst in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Analyst in Suitland, MD

    I have been working at US Census Bureau full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Free parking, near metro, alternate work schedule, teleworking if you can get it, improved union management, gym (it's $35.00 a month, but Planet Fitness offers it for $10.00...go figure), loves to spend money on technology,

    Cons

    It's located in Suitland, waterless urinals, high priced cafeteria, nepotism and cronyism in the workplace, famous for creating review boards when GAO find faults, top heavy with minimum minority employees in management, reorganization every three years, no training, no promotions, veterans preference is frowned upon, security is a joke especially in IT, being proactive is a sign of weakness, image over substance, unethical and incompetent management. Unprofessional behaviors in meetings that reminds you of high school.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide training to your employees, you get what you put in. Hire and promote minorities. Please stop designating employees as points of contact (POC) for duties outside of their job. It is unfair, unproductive, and mismanagement of your employees. Instead hire sufficient people with the proper skills rather than having to borrow from other divisions. They already have a full time job. You have review boards and advisory groups, security POCs, SharePoint POCs, inventory POCs. Stop, stop designating employees as management just so that you can bypass union regulations, laws, and Union Management for the simple purpose of making it easy on yourself. Lastly, do the right thing and lead by example!!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    The Census Bureau experience has been awful.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Auditor (Interviewer) in Tucson, AZ
    Current Employee - Auditor (Interviewer) in Tucson, AZ

    I have been working at US Census Bureau part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great part time job for students. Liberal dress code.

    Cons

    Management is inept, under educated and basically part of "the neighborhood".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Obtain training and people skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Would not work there in management again....very disfunctional organization that wastes a lot of our Taxpayer dollars.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager of Administration in Grand Junction, CO
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager of Administration in Grand Junction, CO

    I have been working at US Census Bureau full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Well paying, very structured, looks good on your resume

    Cons

    Senior management is very dysfunctional, don't really understand challenges at the Census Center level, waste Taypayer dollars, not continuity from one census to the next, you start all over again, except for the "by route" manuals which do not make sense but you have to follow.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change the hiring requirements for critical jobs, make it a more open process vs. only statistical, it's crazy to ask a mentally impaired Veteran to process payroll.....etc., etc., etc., does not make sense, this happens throughout the 2+ years of employment up to and including the actual Census time. Automate and get rid of the entitlement mentality of senior management in the States, they'll quit there low paying private jobs just to come to work again for the Census because they make so much money, and they will lie, manipulate etc., to make sure they have a great rating in order to be hired again for the next Census....Totally revamp the system.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Low pay, treated like dirt

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

    I worked at US Census Bureau part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    To a large degree, you can set your own hours. Training is good.

    Cons

    Taking abuse from the public, new organizational structure that puts isolated field reps at the mercy of incompetent field supervisors, constant pressure to make unrealistic numbers that are not revised to reflect current reality, pay frozen. This is NOT the same as working on the decennial census.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start paying respondents modest amounts and you will have better compliance. Try adopting a 360 degree review process that will weed out incompetent field managers that make the field staff's lives miserable. It is clear that individuals are not valued by the new organization. There are good people at the Bureau, try supporting them in the work they do, rather than treating them as disposable.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Avoid the headquarters location

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

    I have been working at US Census Bureau full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work - life balance, benefits, cafeteria, building, and walking trail

    Cons

    Managers make up their own rules regardless of agency-wide policy - example, employees are allowed two telework days per week according to telework policy; yet, many managers refuse to follow the policy and create a new policy for their own department. So instead of following the agency's mandated telework policy, random managers act as though they own their own island. The employees feel resentful and intimidated, and the managers are not held accountable.

    Micromanagement is in peak form. Be sure you fill out your form on the day that you telework that details what you do each and every hour that you are teleworking.

    Low morale in field division.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Disorganized, ill-equipped, and downright corrupt.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Regional Technician in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Regional Technician in Chicago, IL

    I worked at US Census Bureau full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    As a Regional Technician out of the Chicago regional office, I trained people across the Midwest and commanded field operations. In all honesty, the workload wasn't too difficult, and there are good people who worked there, although not in the upper management level.

    Cons

    -Because most people are hired on contract, there's very little communication with upper management, not that the director was open to critique. The deputy director was often accusatory in her meetings, creating a hostile work environment.
    -Definite favoritism practiced towards people that have worked there longer, even though some are obviously 'gaming the system'.
    -Chicago politics exist in this environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They should scale down unnecessary or incompetent employee base.
    Upper management should be made accountable to an outside party.
    Incentives should be better aligned, and not structured in such a way as to create a 'dog eat dog' work environment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    You can do better.

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

    I worked at US Census Bureau full-time

    Pros

    It was a steady paycheck.

    Cons

    Nepotistic bureaucracy at its worst.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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