University of Southern California

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University of Southern California Reviews

Updated Jul 25, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

4.0 534 reviews

90% Approve of the CEO

University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias

C. L. Max Nikias

(210 ratings)

88% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • An effort is made by the administration to foster a real work-life balance (in 16 reviews)

  • Great benefits include tuition remission and doubling of 403(b) contributions (i (in 33 reviews)


Cons
  • It is not very safe for students to live around the campus (in 13 reviews)

  • Reviews on this site from mostly student workers that are happy to have any job (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights
95 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to study, but only an OK place to work

    Administrative Assistant II (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsStable place to work. The environment is dynamic and if you like working with young and really smart students this is the place for you.

    ConsUpper management often makes very paternalistic decisions. Very little input from front line employees. Lots of nepotism and cronyism present in hiring and promotions. Ranks near the bottom in communication. Management focus more on the student experience and not so much on that of their employees.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry engaging front line workers

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Postdocs are becoming a priority

    Postdoctoral Scholar - Research Associate (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsDecent benefits and some good PIs to work for

    ConsNot a lot of collaboration between departments (HSC campus), core facilities are generally not very helpful

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the good work in advocating for postdocs

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A neutral experience at the Keck School of Medicine

    Financial Analyst I (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsI would say the work-life balance is good here. I have never ever worked in a place where vacations and day offs are granted so liberally. No one questions you when you decide to take a day off and I have never seen my manager ever deny someone a vacation due to work. USC systems (Kuali and Workday) are also mostly cloud based so it is easy to work from home and many employees take advantage of this. Health insurance is also nice and the 403b retirement contributions are very generous. I don't have children but supposedly tuition is free if your children attend USC. The winter recess is also nice and they give a lot of vacation time and holidays as well.

    The people are also extremely friendly and the environment is very lax with very little pressure. There is also no dress code here and I have seen some of my coworkers (including professors) wear outfits that would get them sent home at some of my former employers. I don't know if this matters to anyone but there are also a lot of physically attractive people here (both students and staff workers).

    ConsCompensation at USC is way below market. I work at Keck and our compensation is far lower than UPC (the main campus) because we do not generate as much revenues as UPC and in my specific department we live and die by research grants. The professors are the rock stars and revenue generators here so if you are a staff member, you are second class. While I mentioned the work-life balance is good here, the workload is incredibly heavy in my specific department since our department is heavily understaffed. My coworkers and I often do not have enough time to finish our work since overtime is not always granted. The systems here are horrific and the technical skills of many of my coworkers are often lacking (although to be fair, it isn't really different from some of the large F500 corporations I worked at). Parking is also extremely expensive here and it is really strange to see some of the star professor freak out about getting a parking ticket.

    There isn't a lot of growth opportunities at USC and if you want a large raise or a promotion, you will have to apply for a new job at USC and move out of your position. The pay raises are abysmal and are barely above inflation. A manager at USC once said to me that USC is not a place where you come to start your career but a place where you end your career (although this obviously isn't applicable to faculty/post-docs/research assistants). Performance evaluations are also really haphazard and often do not really reflect the level of achievement. There is also a lot of infighting and politics in my department although it is very passive aggressive. Morale is also low in my department since there were layoffs in the past.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFix the systems and also replace some of the managers. The managers are often lacking skills and are here mostly due to tenure and seniority. Also increase the budget for my department since we are often shafted when it comes to our budget.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great Benefits but Low Pay and Poor Management

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat students, great benefits, good location

    ConsLow pay, long hours, a lot of work and very little acknowledgment for the end result or work put in to achieve end result.

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Decent but you can tell organizationally it's on the decline.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsPaid sick and vacation days to full time staff. Holiday pay for major holidays and retirement benefits for full time staff. Provides a great opportunity to help mentor a diverse student body. Great counseling center that deals with work life balance issues. Access to insurance options. Generally adequate workstations and a beautiful campus.

    ConsTechnology implementation is slow in some units and often botched (there are a lot of generational gaps between upper and lower levels). Not much room for advancement. Mistrust and sometimes actual passive aggressive behavior between units and overall culture of short cutting in procedural and administrative decisions. As a result growth opportunity is usually confined to within your unit.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrust your own staff more. Work to prevent fires instead of waiting and putting them out. Waiting until something is already a problem only makes it harder to solve. You might be doing well planning for the flashier futures of sports, medicine and scientific research but the administration organization that supports those endeavors is not healthy. Wages are pretty stagnant and there have been layoffs, yet you build more and continue to charge your students (who really should be the main focus) more money. The organization would probably benefit if some of you retired.

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    OK campus, not a lot of academic interaction, experience depends on PI and department

    Postdoctoral Scholar - Research Associate (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    Pros- As a postdoc, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of day-to-day schedule, compared to a 9-5 desk job.
    - USC takes care of their own: if you are a staff, your children can get tuition remission to go to USC for undergrad. Same thing for yourself: if you would like to take a certificate course or earn a Master's, you can get your tuition waived.

    Cons- There is little interaction between the two campuses. Being at the Health Sciences Campus, I feel that I am missing out on the "academic" environment.
    - Very little personal growth. The best interest of the PI (at least in my department) is not to promote the growth and career development of the postdoc but to advance their research and get publications.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    IT Employee have worked for the university for over 15 years.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe benefits are fantastic. Coworkers are great and very supportive.

    ConsStaff members children do not get accepted to the university but, faculty members children do so, you can't use the tuition benefit for their education. The pay is lousy way below the current market rate. The administration never spends money on the staff, But, we are all suppose to be a Trojan Family as long as you put up with the bureaucracy and the lies about no money for salaries.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay more and reward the staff for all their hard work.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Clinical Trial Coordinator

    Clinical Trial Coordinator (Former Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsNice place to spend some time between undergraduate and graduate career

    Consnot a great neighborhood but close enough to Los Feliz (which is). Morale sometimes isn't the best.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop trying to micromanage and playing the blame game.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Student worker review of USC

    Student Worker (Former Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsGreat coworkers to work with.
    Hard working supervisors.
    Flexible hours - able to work.
    Experiences offered that wouldn't be available to most students.

    ConsAdministration that doesn't listen.
    Long hours.
    Pay isn't great.
    Just really wish that there were more decisions made by the administration that helped students.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe university is here for the students. Make decisions that actually reflect that.

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

    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    awesome family tuition reimbursement and benefits, mediocre compensation

    Accounting Technician (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    Prosmost full-time staff get to take winter recess (the work week between christmas and new years day) off (if business needs allow. if not, they can use 4 days as floating holidays). the tuition reimbursement benefit offered by this employer is fantastic if you, your spouse, or children are able to take advantage of it (however, the trade-off is the compensation for many jobs is below market value)

    ConsBEWARE: if an employment offer is made, REVIEW ALL DETAILS CAREFULLY. for most full-time hourly staff, a regular work week is 37.5, NOT 40, hours. this means that if your hourly rate is $20, in a year you would be paid $39,000 NOT $41,600 (this fact is conveniently not mentioned during the candidate screening process). bonuses aren't offered to full-time hourly staff.

    Advice to Senior Managementthe office politics mentality within the organization is unfortunate. It definitely feels like opportunities here depend more on who you know than what actual skills you have.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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