Sandia

www.sandia.gov
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1 person found this helpful  

Sandia: Great science, but not as dynamic as private industry.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Consultant in Albuquerque, NM
Former Employee - Consultant in Albuquerque, NM

I worked at Sandia as a contractor (more than 10 years)

Pros

If you are fortunate enough to be on a good project you get to work with the best and brightest engineers and scientists in the world.

Cons

It is incredibly bureaucratic. Many employees have retired in place. Most scientists/engineers came straight from grad school. They have very little experience in the real world even after 20-40 years at Sandia.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Find a new mission besides compliance to rules.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
No opinion of CEO

208 Other Employee Reviews for Sandia (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Good work life balance, but too dependent on federal funding.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Livermore, CA

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

    Pros

    9/80 schedule means 3 day weekends every other weekend. Relaxed work culture and friendly people. Managers are kind and understanding.

    Cons

    Lately the health benefits have been getting more expensive and there are less options available. Lack of Congressional appropriations means hiring freeze, uncertainty about the current fiscal year, and imminent furloughs unless a budget is passed in Congress.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to diversify funding sources and reduce dependence on DOE funding. What ends up happening is that the company's budget is entirely dependent on Congress' ability to pass a budget, instead of the actual output of the employees.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great projects but declining management, staff, and policies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM

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

    Pros

    -Extremely interesting projects to work on (sometimes)
    -Serving your nation
    -Good education opportunities
    -Doctors on site - Not wonderful doctors, but they get the job done
    -Great people - there is still a lot of great people here

    Cons

    -No increases in salaries. I've just crunched the numbers and each year, I make about $1,100 less than the previous year when accounting for inflation. This is because our 1-2% *maximum* raises can't keep up with the 2-3% inflation. Keep in mind that you will get little if any raise your first 1-3 years. This means that someone just starting will make more money than someone who has been here for 5 years… Even though we have some people here with high salaries (who have been here for 30+ years), you will never be able to get anywhere close to what they make (unless things change drastically).

    -Performance is not rewarded. Rather, everyone is on a "conveyor belt", so promotions are tied to time in position rather than accomplishments.

    -High turnover - One can make significantly more money in private industry, so most people are leaving.

    -Demoralizing rating system - Management is *required* to give 10% of people the lowest possible rating. Since bosses are uncomfortable giving it to someone who has been here 3+ years, they give it to the newest people, regardless of their actual accomplishments. This is actually the policy in many but not all departments.

    -Threats of furloughs or complete shutdowns. Which nearly averted one on 10/21/2013

    -Low quality benefits. For example, vision insurance will only contribute $100 per year for your choice of contacts or glasses

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have been trying to better understand the challenges we face. In doing so, I polled 9 early career (non-pension) Sandians and of those, only 1 planned on staying here longer than 5 years. It's also worth noting that the one who plans to stay is also the only one from Albuquerque. When asked if the 9 would stay if they received slightly above average pay with average promotions for their outstanding work & talent, 7 said they could see themselves here their entire career. This is very simple.

    I don't understand how Sandia can try to have the "best of the best" while paying below average, not rewarding performance, and paying those who stay less and less every year. If you're raising kids, private school is almost mandatory (at 20k per student per year). This is unaffordable on a single Sandia income.

    I understand management seems to think that higher compensation won't lead to less turnover. If Sandia had competitive pay and benefits, I would NEVER leave! However, getting less than average salary, getting less than average bonuses, getting threats of shutdowns/furloughs, getting low quality benefits, getting little if any raises, and without my performance even being recognized (again due to the rating system) is forcing me to leave. We are very dedicated to what we do, but each one of these items is a slap in the face. Take a look at the list of cons above. To retain good people, management needs to make some attempt to compensate for these.

    For the benefit of the US, I sincerely hope the labs can be saved from this downward spiral. However, with the way things are going (in the labs and in congress), I'm sad to say that I don't see them turning around anytime soon.

    Good luck to Sandia's leaders.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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