Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

www.dstl.gov.uk
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Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Reviews

Updated February 26, 2015
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Defence Science and Technology Laboratory CEO Jonathan Lyle
Jonathan Lyle
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Summer intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Summer Intern in Portsmouth, South East England, England (UK)
    Former Intern - Summer Intern in Portsmouth, South East England, England (UK)

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Relaxed working environment. Interesting work available, although some interns were luckier than others. Managers were friendly and approachable. Flexi time.

    Cons

    Below average pay (more applicable to graduate role)

  2. Not a bad place to work, but not great either.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Scientist in Salisbury, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Scientist in Salisbury, England (UK)

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    People are super friendly, and it's a really relaxed working environment. No one expects you to do unreasonably long hours.

    Cons

    Poor management in certain areas. Can be a little political if you're not careful. Takes a lot of effort to go up a level. Also, the only real benefit in the package is flex-time. I found no use for any of the others.

    Advice to Management

    Stop 'empire building' and hogging your team all to yourself - at the expense of the overall business. Give staff the freedom to work on projects in other teams that interest them and that desperately require more people!

  3. Good CPD opportunities, little advancement opportunities and average pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Sevenoaks, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Sevenoaks, England (UK)

    I have been working at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Some exciting work and some experiences that money can't buy. Some really good CPD opportunities for those that want them.

    Cons

    Very difficult to progress, it's almost a religion within management to hold mid-level staff back from getting to senior levels! Pay is average and the government is keeping it that way even for those professions that are in high demand or difficult to buy-in/train.

    Advice to Management

    Make it possible to progress - interpretation of the competency framework should not be a hiding place! Be tougher on those that don't perform well and don't be afraid to discipline those that need it.

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  5. Review

    Current Employee - Scientist in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Scientist in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

    Pros

    Good work life balance
    Interesting and diverse work

    Cons

    Slow career progression
    Low and rigid pay structure

    Advice to Management

    More levels and detail for routes up

  6. Helpful (1)

    DSTL - hmm.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientist/Analyst/Engineer in Fareham, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Scientist/Analyst/Engineer in Fareham, England (UK)

    I have been working at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Generous annual leave.
    If you like to manage EMR contracts (industry) with people getting paid 3x your salary to do the good work then this is the place for you.

    Cons

    Non-existent / sub-standard management.
    Almost no possibility of career progression.
    Scientific work is now almost non-existent. Most work is now farmed out to industry / private sector.
    No accountability.
    Bullying / backstabbing is rife.

    Advice to Management

    Please stop recruiting PhDs as the organisation does not do any research.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Unique environment, unique opportunities

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

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great training, Varied work with exceptional people in unique fields. Opportunities for experiences that simply aren't possible elsewhere. Incredible diversity of fields and technical specialities within the organisation, with diverse roles to match. If you're able to embrace opportunity and push yourself (and sell yourself!) you can very much build your own role. Massive potential flexibility in working patterns, ample leave.

    Cons

    Government work so salary will always be lacking and subject to the whim of politics. Defence in general is in a period of massive change - the company is trying to embrace this and modernise but uptake and embrace of this is patchy across the organisation. Team Leaders (1st line management) of variable quality (TL role seen as a transitory position to achieve advancement for technical types) although a more rigorous training regime and career structure is changing this. Don't Stay Too Long - unless constantly pushing it can be easy to find yourself pigeon-holed.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up! Work on internal comms, smart staff need to understand and embrace the WHYs of change if transformation initiatives are to work. Find SOME way to stop the real terms decay of salary - money is not a huge motivator of staff in this organisation but noone likes to see their standard of living drop whilst working their butt off.

  8. very good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Graduate Engineer
    Former Intern - Graduate Engineer

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as an intern (less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    flexi time is very beneficial

    Cons

    nothing i found was a bad experience

  9. Trying hard and mostly getting there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Team Leader in Salisbury, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Team Leader in Salisbury, England (UK)

    I have been working at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Amazing work, interesting and vital to UK security
    Intelligent, inspiring people
    Lots of graduates start each year so good young community/
    good work life balance through flexi and understanding management
    Good on site facilities such as cafes and gyms - latter is highly subsidised
    Great induction group to introduce new staff especially graduates
    lots of training opportunities and development - for example Engineering Charterships, Fellowships for research staff.
    Apprenticeships in all sorts of areas, including business admin and Commercial.

    Cons

    Paternalistic approach at times
    Management consistency not always great though it is improving
    Civil service rules
    No on site shops of any significance - and sites are far from town centres

    Advice to Management

    Keep trying! Know your people, and its not the flag wavers who do most of the work, its those who quietly get on with things. Keep promises.
    Lead by example.

  10. Helpful (3)

    Experience very much depends on team you are placed in. Quality of management extremely variable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst in Portsmouth, South East England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Analyst in Portsmouth, South East England, England (UK)

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    Good pension
    Decent holiday allowance
    Very flexible working conditions (flexitime, taking holiday isn't usually a problem)
    The directors do attempt to meet the staff frequently via 'talkbacks'

    Cons

    Some managers are atrocious and have little to know idea what work is being done in their team/department nor what is and is not possible with tools available. This can also mean that some very capable people are continually overlooked and allocated completely unsuitable work. This situation isn't helped by a commonly-held view that the only way to get a promotion from level 5 to 6 was to get a line manager role and then get another technical role ASAP. Senior management never wanted to acknowledge this, but in my department all of the young level 6's had team leader roles - I wasn't aware of any that achieved a l6 through technical work alone.

    There is a pervasive feeling that the company is run by HR as they desperately try to develop a single grading scheme to encompass work varying from microbiological research to accountants to desk-based admin assistants

    I usually felt that rules were put in place to try to weasel out of giving you anything rather than being applied fairly across the board.

    For a science organisation, there was little or no presentation of work to colleagues in my department and very little knowledge of what other teams in the department were doing. I also saw multiple cases of data being completely misused to prove a hypothesis because it would be too expensive/difficult to get the information required to do it correctly.

    Due to security clearance problems, they can take ages to process applications - I knew some people waiting up to a year to get clearance to start work.

    If you get put in a bad team/given a poor project then it is very easy to get stuck there as movement between teams is heavily reliant on the work you have been given. If you have been stuck with unchallenging drudge then you have nothing to show when attempting to get internal JOs.

    Lots of stupid rules mean people manipulate the system to get the result they want rather than follow the spirit of the rule. One of my favourites was internal job opportunities that had such specific requirements that it was obviously written for one preferred candidate and it was only advertised because they 'had to'.

    Tonnes of 'corporate' BS that everyone hated and everyone only ever looked at when it was time for the promotions round. Visions, values, mission... bleugh!

    Advice to Management

    Need to improve movement between work areas
    Need to eliminate some of the variation of the application of rules across departments
    Less buzzwords and management by check-box and more attempt to understand the issues encountered by different work areas and attempt to facilitate the work rather than introducing barriers

  11. Hit and miss depending on which team you are in.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

    Pros

    There are some very interesting projects to work on.

    Cons

    Moving between teams is not as easy as it should be.

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Photos

QinetiQ / DSTL (Photo thanks to Geograph user Bob Embleton, Some Rights Reserved)

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