Charles River Laboratories Reviews

Updated March 27, 2015
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  1. Need I say more!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montreal, QC (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montreal, QC (Canada)

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    The learning experience in invaluable

    Cons

    Very poisonous work environment. The management style utilized across the board is personal and highly based on favouritism. This is highly expected though when you place people with no manegerial skills in the wrong place. So, bottom line if you want to get up the lader, you need to polish your brown-nosing skills.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Listen to what your employees are saying without holding a grudge
    - Take management courses
    - Simply be faire

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful

    Underpaid, undervalued, overworked, little chance of promotion, inflexible hours? Check, check, check, check, and check

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    If you're a new graduate and would like to stay in the Northern Nevada area for biotech work, then you're in luck. Charles River Laboratories is the only game in town. On the plus side, you'll learn skills that will help you land your next job elsewhere. The benefits package is decent including discounts at some major retailers and being fully vested in your 401k. If you have a PhD, then there's a career opportunity here for you; otherwise, you're better off coming into CRL with the mindset that working here is only a stepping stone to better job.

    Cons

    Where to begin? From the start, your pay grade will be low compared against the average in Nevada for the job you'll be doing. Once you're fully trained to perform your job, prepare to be overworked. Being overworked as an hourly employee is all well and fine if you get paid overtime, but that's not the case at Charles River. You'll be forced to take "employee appreciation hours," which amounts to comp time, so CRL doesn't have to pay you overtime. Even that doesn't work out properly. You'll find since the company won't be able to function with you taking all the comp time owed to you, you'll end up losing some of your comp time hours and working for free.

    Be cautious about any raises or promotions promised when starting to work at CRL. Having worked here for two years, there has not been the promised raise at six months nor the promised promotion at the one year mark. Day in and day out all tasks and expectations are performed, but that doesn't seem to carry much weight with CRL. If you are for a promotion, you better hope that everything is in order. As seen with some co-workers, the company will try to prolong the process for as long as they can and find any loopholes to keep you from your promotion. It was not until threats of quitting occurred did management get their act together to push the promotions through.

    Don't expect even a modicum of respect from your supervisors or any of the higher ups in the company. You're seen as little more than nameless peons. Have other school, family, or other obligations that conflict with work hours? Too bad! You'll constantly be shoehorned into working less than optimal schedules. You'll be forced into working weekends and holidays, not just minor holidays but the big ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas. They don't care if you have prior plans or are going out of town, you'll be working those days or not at all. By flexible hours, they mean you work around the company's schedule and not the other way around.

    The management is inept at best and disastrous at worst. On a consistent basis, you'll find certain people completely inundated with work while others have nothing to do. As a whole, management plays very apparent favorites. If you don't brown-nose with the right people, good luck getting anywhere or getting treated like a human being. Training only happens if you hound them about it which becomes difficult, because sometimes you're just not aware what you are currently supposed to be trained on. You'll get chewed out for minor mistakes that have little to no impact on a study, but receive no praise when you go above and beyond to get something done or help others. The best and brightest at Charles River can be seen looking for new jobs at their computers while at work at every free moment.

    With the way things are at CRL, it's no wonder it has such a high turnover rate. CRL is the only real biotech company in the area, and it knows it. Don't come in looking for a career. Come in looking to learn skills to springboard your career elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You get as much out of your employees as you put into them. It's more efficient to train and nurture the employees you have, so that you have a happy and skillful workforce than to constantly have new, untrained, belligerent employees. If the company spent as much time and money trying to cut costs and pat each other on the back for their shadow initiatives, it could create and environment that breeds loyal employees and attract some truly bright minds.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful

    Inexperienced management / hostile work environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Fine if you are a PhD. These individuals are treated with respect.

    Cons

    The monkeys are treated better than the employees.

    To quote an HR person "the only professionals here are Study Directors". Anyone else is subject to their verbal abuse.

    Nepotism ( a percentage of individuals are married and actually supervise one another!)

    Inexperienced management. Hostile environment. People are afraid to make eye contact in the hall. The less people you know, the better.

    Low pay and zero opportunity for advancement unless you at all times keep your mouth shut. Having an opinion or any level of expertise will put you in the unemployment line.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Good for entry level, that's about it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Flexible schedule (my specific department)
    Ice cream in the summer

    Cons

    Underpaid due to no competition in area
    No clear path for career growth (Fast Track is a joke)
    Poor management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your employees they are your most valuable asset. Most employees feel this a stepping stone towards another career and this is reenforced. Education, experience and hard work are not rewarded. Employees feel that the company can pay reduced saleries because there is no competition for science based workers in the area (it is true). One HR represenative even said, "Where else are you going to go" as an address to our concerns. How rude and inappropriate to that. I would only reccomend workng for CRL if you are extremely desperate or fresh out of school and need some experience. PhD you have a chance to succeed but for those BS or MS you will be undervalued regardless of your contributions.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Not a good company at all.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Not many good reasons to work here while I was here, although it is relatively easy to get a job here if you dont have much experience, thats about it. I honestly cannot think of any other positives to work for this company. Their strategic vision is weak and the way they treat employees is pathetic. Might be a decent place to get your foot into the biopharmaceutical industry, but most try to get out as fast as they can especially if they are not one of the "favorites" of management. That makes a difference, believe it or not. Bad.

    Cons

    The pay is WAY below market value, promotions were not fair at all - nepotism and favoritism was rampant in my opinion, even the few people making decent money hate their jobs, most members of management were not highly educated. I never felt I had any opportunity to advance, my supervisors were very insecure and were more focused on protecting their own positions rather than identifying and promoting talent. Layoffs seemed to be more frequent than other companies and turnover was rediculous. The few good employees seemed to be constantly searching for jobs right at their desks during work, which should tell you all you need to know.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Resign. You obviously dont know how to run a large company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. Old fashioned and out of touch

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Pharmacokineticist in Tranent, Scotland (UK)
    Former Employee - Pharmacokineticist in Tranent, Scotland (UK)

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Fairly close-knit friendly workforce, good canteen

    Cons

    Out of date employment policies and practices (flex time frowned upon), poor salaries, terrible pension scheme. Might be different now though. Management all dinosaurs who've got to where they are through time-served not through merit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Freshen things up, clear out the dead wood, join the 21st century

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. Low pay, good for entry level but get out ASAP

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

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Good benefits like vacation time and medical insurance

    Cons

    Pay is low, no place to grow financially and technically, no bonus.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hard work is not recognized by the management. Need atleast good pay for motivation to work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Looks promising upfront... Not so much

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    Always changing envirnoment.
    Constant challenge day in and day out.
    HR tried to be mindful of crosstraining, but doesnt mean a promotion.

    Cons

    The politics are really bad at all levels. The Test Facility Management cares about their own jobs more than they care about improving the work place and the job itself. They are never willing to really challenge a customer as long as they pay is there.
    It also feels like you are being used, as they will consistently place you in mny different areas/projects, but refuse to compensate you adequetly due to a set path. One year means one year, regardless of whether you contribute a lot or nothing at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A growing company deserves growing support. Let go of what used to be guidelines and were made rules and try to improve the envirnoment for techs, management, and SD's

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. Unnecessarily high stress for a job that shouldn't be this hard.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Charles River Laboratories

    Pros

    For the kind of things that we are responsible for, the salary is good. Also, coworkers are great. The vet techs and most PI's are friendly and easy to talk to.

    Cons

    Management is TERRIBLE. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place constently. People are in constant fear of losing their job or they stop caring for the job. For the work that is done, they hire people that are over qualified to make up for the lack of training provided. They promise that things will get better. However, they are really slow on their promises. Also, there is no opportunity to grow, unless you don't mind moving to different locations. This is a new contract. Therefore, I'm really hoping things will improve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just because it is a contract, does not mean your employees should be pushed a side to meet the demands of the client. Also, before blaming other people for the mistakes they might have made due to said person feeling overwhelmed, look internally to figure out why all employees are feel this way. Do not just take the clients word for it. Discuss the situation with the employee to make a well rounded informed decision.

  11. Opportunities for career growth was nonexistent

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories full-time

    Pros

    Flexibility, ability to work from home

    Cons

    Management has become increasingly lean with very little mentoring

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