Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
3.7 of 5 116 reviews
www.jhuapl.edu Laurel, MD 1000 to 5000 Employees

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated Jul 3, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 116 reviews

                             

88% Approve of the CEO

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Director Dr. Ralph Semmel

Dr. Ralph Semmel

(48 ratings)

84% of employees recommend this company to a friend
116 Employee Reviews
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    Great place

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsVery smart people, working on innovative technologies

    Consbureaucracy can get annoying, could be a bit more fast paced

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    JHU/APL is a good company with a lot of very interesting work.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsSmart and supportive coworkers, technically challenging work, very secure job

    ConsSalary and promotions aren't performance based. All work is government-funded.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great place to work... if you're full time

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsCompetitive pay, security clearance, promises (hopefully not empty) to convert to full time

    Consbeing a contractor means you're treated like an inferior being

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe contractors are set to convert to full time employees somewhere in their 3 year term - don't treat them so poorly as eventually they'll work directly for you

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

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    Proud to be a part of this organization

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsStability, work-life balance, opportunities, significant contributions to the country

    ConsMiddle management in need of some business/personnel training. HR is inconsistent and unreliable.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo not rely on advice of HR. Be more aware of who is promoted to supervisor; so many have poor personnel skills.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great company doing impactful work

    Biomechanical Engineer (Current Employee)
    Baltimore, MD

    ProsGreat compensation
    Great opportunities for professional development
      - Pre-pay for continuing education
      - Strong relationships with local colleges and universities
    Very creative atmosphere
    Strong support for independent research projects
    Meaningful work

    ConsNothing out of the ordinary

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

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    Great place filled with highly intelligent and motivated people

    Senior Professional Staff II (Current Employee)
    Laurel, MD

    ProsNon-profit. You have the freedom to tell the customer the right answer and not the answer that will get the "company" more money.

    ConsRecent efforts at lowering company overhead rates have been hugely demoralizing. Poor changes to health plan, forcing employees to take treacherous weathers days off as vacation, etc...

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook to employee morale. Most of your employees work for your because they are motivated by the importance of their work, not the money.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    There is so much untapped potential.

    PPS (Current Employee)
    Laurel, MD

    ProsSemi academic campus feel with a genuinely pleasant staff who treat each other with respect. Very high quality deliverables and often seamless relationship with the customers.

    ConsManagement is very uneven. The less enlightened are concerned with short term coverage of staff. For example, they have taken the research out of the research department and turned it into a body shop ripe with blatant cronyism.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTerm limits

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great employer with some really neat opportunities.

    Senior Professional Staff I (Former Employee)
    Laurel, MD

    ProsWork life balance, retirement contribution matching, health benefits are great.

    ConsCompensation is ok, but not stellar - that's why I left. There seems to almost be a requirement to leave and come back to get a good raise. Otherwise your salary stays fairly flat from year to year.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize that pay increases are needed (especially with the rising costs of living). Find other ways to cut costs besides choking salaries.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
           
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    Creative, academic environment and good work-life balance.

    Associate Professional Staff I (Current Employee)
    Laurel, MD

    ProsGreat benefits, good job security.

    ConsThere is not very good age distribution overall. Some departments are almost exclusively young people, who could use the wisdom of more experienced engineers. Other departments are almost exclusively older people who could use some fresh ideas.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't allow people to become lazy due to job security. It is more difficult to lose your job here than in private industry and people know it, for better or for worse.

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

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    • Culture & Values
           
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    Space Department has incredibly talented scientists & engineers, lead by PhD's instead of those with real experience.

    Senior Engineer (Former Employee)
    Laurel, MD

    ProsSuperb technical personnel and some great opportunities if you get in with the right groups. Great atmosphere for learning and continuing your education with a great engineering curriculum brought onto the Laurel campus (The Whiting School of Engineering). Great location (read NOT Baltimore and NOT DC)! This is a great place to start your career. The APL moniker is one of the finest around and they have the technical breadth to do the job right.

    ConsIf you don't have the sheepskin, your experience is not accepted as valid.
    Little fiefdoms protected fiercely from outsiders.
    High expectations from middle managers with no consistent knowledge of the customer. The customer's needs were considered secondary to securing the next round of funding or securing a foothold in their spaces. I was told repeatedly not to be so forthright with my NASA counterpart; my job was to sell our technical position and our people to do a job, not to teach others the how-to or know-how. I have some real heartburn with that, and I am glad I have moved on. Project Managers here are considered the necessary evil as bookkeepers to schedule and budget, but not respected for their technical input. That's a shame and a waste of good technical hands-on experience. The Space Department has a wonderful new building that they could not afford even before we moved in. Feels like a mausoleum. Especially since the projects keep dying off in the current budget fiasco and good people are told to find work outside of the department or be shown the door.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have way too many middle managers that have no business managing people, let alone customers. Your technical wizards should be the faces your customers see and interact with; not the smarmy folks you call Program Managers. The PMs have technical talent, but most appear in the customer's eyes as self-centered and not serving the customer needs. Do you really want that as your first line of exposure with your clients?

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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