Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

www.llnl.gov

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Full of challenges, management gives you a wide latitude to research and deliver solutions. You are treated like a highly trained individual, not a 'cog in the machine'. Good work/like balance for people with families.
    Working in Livermore means you can find a lot of affordable housing (example: Tracy, $300k houses, 20 miles east of lab).

    Cons

    Salaries are not very competitive once an employee grows their skills and responsibilities into a senior software engineer/architecture role. Your salary will typically rise to the average salary level, then plateau. This is good for people that want a stable, 40 hour job, and are more focused on their family, but frustrating for someone that is ambitious.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The salary ranking system for computer scientists constrains the size of raises that new, ambitious, hard working employees can get. I've seen this result in newer computer science employees learning a tremendous amount at the lab in their first few years, then getting disillusioned at the 3-5% raises they get. Facebook or Google is usually thrilled to offer them a 30% higher salary and grab them after we've done such a great job turning them into a highly skilled HPC software engineer.

    I think these issues are common across the DOE and other government labs. It's just exasperated because we're located net to Silicon Valley, a highly competitive area.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    Aug 28, 2014

    Thank you for taking the time to share this. We view compensation as a critical issue and will make a point of sharing your input with senior management.

  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    I could do better on the outside

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I've worked here for more than 20 years.
    The pay is just ok. I could get more on the outside.
    Benefits are ok but I actually have my benefits through my spouse now with an outside business because they are better.
    The main reason I stay is I'm close to my small children and I do have the flexibility to do things with them.
    I really like the people I work with but find management doesn't have a clue what they are doing and they treat employee's poor. You might be a great scientist but stink as a manager.
    The Matrix system is really nice and I've been given the opportunity to work all over the lab on different projects. If funding goes away you can usually find something within a month instead of being laid off.

    Cons

    During the UC days it was great. We knew pay was better on the outside but we had a company mentality and wanted to retire here. Now new people come in and then head off to Google or Yahoo for lots more money. Scientists don't make good mangers. In all my years I can think of only 2 or 3 people I felt were great managers and one got pushed out of management for not drinking the management Kool Aid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of the PADS and listen to your worker bees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    There's good and there's bad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The projects you work on can be quite unique in the tech/science arena and can't be found elsewhere. You can take personal pride in working in something to help your country. The work life balance is very good, offering flexible hours, flexible schedules, 9/80s, etc. Very good maternity and paternity plans for parents. Very good retirement plan. There are a lot of super smart people here that you can work with.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is mind numbing. Ridiculously poor performers can be kept for years because it is so hard to fire people. You are forced to do all sorts of unnecessary online training, I assume so LLNL can't get sued or something later on.

    Technical people are promoted instead of people who want to be managers. This leads to a variety of problems, most notably that they don't have time/interest in managing. If they control funding/money and have deadlines of their own, they have little interest in your interests in job mobility and career development. The word "fiefdom" culture has been strewn about a lot.

    In my division, someone was promoted on their technical merit despite the fact they did not actually want to perform managerial activities (e.g. writing performance appraisals). So a new layer of management was created beneath them to accommodate the situation. In any other company, this would be considered complete insanity, but for some reason it makes total sense to the management here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop promoting people based on their technical ability, promote people that specifically want to be managers. In addition, when someone becomes a manager, make management 100% of their job, not 25% or 50% of their job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    It depends on what you're looking for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - SQA Engineer in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - SQA Engineer in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    1. work-life balance - slower pace than private sector so you can enjoy time with family on weeknights and weekends
    2. emphasis on safety culture - each employee can pause work if feel unsafe
    3. paid leave for you or family member (great for parents with young kids that are ill often); paid for going to jury duty
    4. functionality is valued more than latest technology so you don't have to constantly keep up
    5. short commute if you live west of Livermore (reverse commute on 580); don't have to commute to Silicon Valley or BART to SF

    Cons

    1. lower pay; don't expect any raise; if you do get a raise, it's nickels & dimes
    2. have to stress every year about layoffs due to budgets passed by Congress
    3. no career growth after a certain point; training budget is usually low so you must be creative to train yourself
    4. may not be able to work with latest technology; be willing to work with out-dated technology
    5. too many layers of upper management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    performance appraisal process/ranking needs to change or be replaced altogether; it is time-consuming and does not value employees whose positions require them to do the same things everyday (e.g., maintain code).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    A changing lab

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    LLNL rewards people whose work aligns well with the laboratories programs, particularly if theyre successful in starting new programs

    Cons

    Science is no longer the prime motivation of the laboratory, and often the individuals best able to fund new programs are not the most competent

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide an internal review system to ensure that quality proposals are being submitted to sponsors

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    If only the pension still applied

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you were hired before the contract transition to private sector management, the pension makes everything worthwhile.

    Cons

    If you were hired after the transition, the deal isn't so good. A small 401K match is pretty much it, with some years with no raise at all, other years a 2% increase.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The value proposition for younger employees needs a boost.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Wonderful place to work. Best of the DOE national laboratories

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Absolutely wonderful location in the San Francisco bay area, RELATIVELY affordable to live near by (in Livermore), and lots of opportunities to work on really unique and interesting projects. The people you meet there are absolutely the best part about working at a DOE national lab. Lots of employee activities through the abundant networking groups.

    Cons

    Lots of regulations and rules to follow. Compensation is very slow to respond to added responsibility. And if you have to deal with Washington DC, the politics might be more than some people can handle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to find what people are good at and focus them on that. Too many good scientists are bad managers. Promotion to management should be because of management aptitude, not because of technical achievement.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Usually no reasonable limit to project funding. Store is very well stocked. Compensation and Time off comparable to industry.

    Cons

    Compensation and Time off comparable to industry.

  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Engineer in Livermore, CA
    Current Contractor - Engineer in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good respectful working environment. Grea for R&D work. Perfect for engineers and scientists.

    Cons

    Somewhat inflexible sometimes: Too much red tape.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seek and consider new ideas.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Had a good 13 years there as an admin. Not much growth opportunity in that area, though. Great if your a scientist.

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

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Compensation, Benefits, Retirement, work-life balance, paid vacation

    Cons

    Budget issues, lack of communication, some management

    No opinion of CEO

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