Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  www.llnl.gov
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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews

Updated Jul 16, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.4 135 reviews

60% Approve of the CEO

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Bill Goldstein

(10 ratings)

66% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • interesting colleagues, important work, good work life balance, great location in Northern California(in 16 reviews)

  • get to work with cutting edge technologies, very intelligent people(in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • Sometimes you have to deal with a whole lot of red tape and infrastructure(in 8 reviews)

  • Slow to change because of older employee base but they are changing(in 4 reviews)

135 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Good people, poor culture and poor management

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsWork can be cutting edge

    overall friendly people

    ConsExtremely slow to get things done,unexpected delays, many unnecessary management layers, non active working culture, less diversified culture

    The overall culture is not for young energetic people with great ideas who want to pursue cutting edge science and technology, not comparable to private companies and research universities. The culture is more for mid 40s to 50s people who want to raise family in a quiet neigborhood and enjoy a 9-5 job.

    Advice to Senior ManagementN/A

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Changing times at the lab and national interests in science

    Staff Scientist (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsThe ability to do "big" science and collaborate with high quality scientists

    ConsStifling restrictions that have increased costs and crippled the lab's personnel from executing their job.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFigure it out. The lab's productivity and moral have been on a downward spiral. The attrition rate of high quality scientists is a clear signal that things need to be desperately change. Instead looking to Washington for answers, which will all know is pointless, find innovative solutions to cut cost and navigate DOE regulations to boost productivity.

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

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    Good place to work. Good people.

    Department Head (Current Employee)

    ProsGood science. Great benefits. Good weather

    ConsIt's in California that all.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen more and talk less.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good people and an annoying bureaucracy

    Lawrence Scholar (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsThere are great resources here, especially if you do computational work. The people are also very nice and helpful. One person told me that I must work in a magical dreamland when I mentioned how nice the people are.

    ConsThe bureaucracy is very annoying. Lots of it's computerized, which makes things easier, but you need approval and to find the right magic words to get it for so many things. The DoE is also micromanaging lots of things, and congress passes new laws to "improve oversight and accountability" that make it very hard to get lots of things done.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMore like advice to DoE/congress: The privatization was a horrible idea and your "improved oversight and accountability" usually just make it harder to get work done without improving anything.

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

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    Lawrence Livermore has provided a wealth of opportunities.

    Software Engineer (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsGreat amount of flexibility in the positions available. The stability of the lab's positions and presence makes it a nice place to work in.

    ConsSalary freezes and workforce reductions result in a lessened ability to attract new employees. Additionally, opportunities with other companies can be a large attraction.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A government sponsored organization trying to do good science work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsThe do a lot of scientific work that is not weapons realted tnat benefits people by advancing science. There are a lot of smart people working there - lots of higher degrees (masters & Ph.D.s

    ConsThey are quagmired in government bureaucracy coming from multiple government sponsors and the good old boy network is alive and well. They often don't promote from within and many of those in charge of making hiring decisions choose poorly. It's hard to get rid of people who are not doing their work so those who work hard get more work with less reward. Government funding is trending downward so less funding and fewer opportunities every year. They get stuck in the mindset of doing things the way they've always done them.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhen you implement succession planning, be more flexible and look at other PADs for potential resources. Promoting only straight up one narrow line limits flexibility and promotability of your good people. Get out of the silo mentatlity.

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

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Unique interdisciplinary experience,but overwhelmed by management cost and inane regulations

    Research Scientist (Current Employee)

    ProsA great environment for interdisciplinary research, creative, independent thinkers. Livermore is a excellent place to live. Salaries are good.

    ConsThe endless layers of managers makes for such high indirect costs that getting funding
    In such a competitive economy is nearly impossible. Lack of career path or objective metrics for promotion hurts morale. Management needs to do a "Survivor" type exercise and vote at least 10 percent of the managers out rather then go through with randomly reducing the LLNL workforce as they are currently doing. Without some dramatic rethinking of the current management structure the lab cannot survive, hire the needed expertise, and replace crumbling buildings.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease do some soul searching and get rid of managers and regulations that do not add tangible value to the lab. The risk adverse, CYA environment stifles research and productivity. There is already a serious vacuum in research and technical support, you need to do future personnel reduction entirely from management and start investing in research support and rebuilding lab infrastructure.

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

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Tough in Recent Years, but Still a Good Environment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsLLNL still has a college campus like feel and still has some of the best people in their respective fields. It's still a great place for students and post-docs because they are viewed a talent pipeline. The last few years since the transition to private management has been tough because of NNSA and corporate oversight and bureaucracy. Even though, we still get to work on exciting and interesting projects that have longer term payoff (1-5 years down the road). Publications are generally encouraged and matrix system enables you to work on many different types of projects. You can have multiple careers while at LLNL.

    ConsLayoffs, budget cuts, sequestration and forced retirements continue to affect moral. 401k matching is good, but not great. Benefits are better than average, but subpar to when UC was running the place. Salaries are not good compared to the rest of silicon valley for anyone with 5+ years experience and it is difficult to move up through the management ranks because of grey ceiling.

    Advice to Senior ManagementShare a detailed strategic vision with employees. We need to know why LLNL is the best place in the world to do our work. Where is the lab headed and why should we care?

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

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    Great place to work, lots of bureaucracy.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsHigh starting salaries, low stress environment, nice town, excellent coworkers. Fantastic place to work. High level of independence, minimal stupidity.

    ConsRed tape, tons of it, everywhere you go. Getting hired is an ordeal, budget cuts loom constantly. Have to pass a background check, which isn't that hard. High security environment, need a badge to get on campus.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    A huge federal R&D center undergoing rapid changes

    Postdoctoral Researcher (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsAwesome people and world class opportunities. A great place to work if you're on a project central to the lab's core mission. You'll learn a lot. Great pay and benefits for a post-doc.

    All post-docs are given 'Special Employee' funding amounting to up to 25% of their total equivalent salary for effort and related travel & training that is "institutional" (i.e. lots of wiggle room) rather than related to a specific programmatic project (i.e. very constrained). You'll be encouraged by some managers to charge 25% of your time every week to this fund, but you should consider reserving it for travel to participate in conferences or experiments at other facilities. This wasn't much of an issue in the past, but with budgets contracting everywhere it's becoming more common that conference travel is denied based on slim budgets, so you can ensure that doesn't happen to you by saving up this fund for those occasions. ;-)

    ConsThis lab has been 're-organizing' their efforts to centralize on stockpile stewardship and associated science. Younger scientists/post-docs working in areas which are not aligned with these goals risk getting shed along with their group from the lab as it contracts.

    Insufficient funding exists on many projects to convert post-docs to full-time positions, so make sure before you accept an offer that you understand if there is funding for a longer term position or if you'll be looking for another job after two years.

    Weak vacation time compared to other national labs.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStay positive even under the crushing budget, and root out bad attitudes.

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

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