PNNL

www.pnnl.gov

PNNL Reviews

Updated January 21, 2015
Updated January 21, 2015
95 Reviews
3.7
95 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Approve of CEO
PNNL Director Michael Kluse
Michael Kluse
36 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The work-life balance is fantastic (in 9 reviews)

  • Positive, collaborative working environment (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • None if you live in the Tri-cities; if you are off-site it is a major negative strike (in 4 reviews)

  • Staff competence is judged on whether they can find work within the company and charges to the overhead budget is watched carefully (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    A great place to work

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

    I worked at PNNL

    Pros

    Great people, strong management team. Positive corporate culture

    Cons

    Not a lot of good growth opportunities in the communications field

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Postdoc @ PNNL

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

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

    Pros

    Great work-life balance;
    Smart people to work with;
    Sophisticated instruments available

    Cons

    funding is uncertain from year to year

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    General

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Manager in Elmsford, NY
    Current Employee - Manager in Elmsford, NY

    I have been working at PNNL full-time

    Pros

    Awesome private employer with exceptional talents.

    Cons

    Not easy to get employed by this company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    E

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Opportunities abound at PNNL but you have to earn them

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

    I have been working at PNNL full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Very supportive and smart colleagues, of course it depends on the group you are in but in general they are all great. Lot of advanced scientific activity. Community and STEM focus. Flexible hours and very good work/life balance. Reasonable compensation considering the cost of living in Richland.

    Cons

    Usual Government bureaucracy but it can be overcome with personal relationships that take time to build. Some nepotism like everywhere. There are some abusive senior managers that nobody will touch because they bring in money but they destroy the morale of a big number of staff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on rewarding performers and let go of abusive managers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Fantastic career experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in Richland, WA
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in Richland, WA

    I worked at PNNL full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work as long as you have project funding. My colleagues had unmatched technical capability and were a blast to collaborate with.

    Cons

    Upper management and other overhead chargers are a little out of touch with how the challenges direct project chargers face.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not be stingy with Work Packages. Please remember that it is the direct chargers that generate the overhead that allows you to get paid.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Good Work, Challenging Work Environment

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

    I have been working at PNNL full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great colleagues with really interesting work make PNNL a great place to work, with a ton of opportunity and variety.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is extremely unwieldy and often gets in the way of project execution. Additionally, senior management does not seem to fully understand the role they can have in improving the working environment.

    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    If you need a working visa or GC, read this, do your research and think thoroughly

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

    I have been working at PNNL full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    support non-profit working visa and support NIW, EB1-b Green Card application

    Cons

    For international job seekers, the H1-b offered by the lab is non-profit only. It cannot be smoothly transferred to a for-profit firm H1-b without going through the drawing. H1-b doesn't give the flexibility that OPT offers when you just graduate from schools. So changing a job in the middle of your H1-b here is almost impossible. Lack of work load for 1 week or 2 for foreigners could lead to losing their legal status immediately.

    The Lab doesn't support PERM category for green card application either, like most of the employers do. Those who don't have abundant journal publications (or other academic credibility) or those whose working nature here won't generate journal publications (or other academic credibility) will have difficulties once they need those to get the eligibility for NIW or Outstanding Research categories for GC application. The HR didn't mention these during interviews. They only say that they will support your H1-b and GC. A bunch of international employers suffer from these shocks after being work here 5-6 years and are at the end of their H1-B years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maintaining a legal status is very important for foreign job seekers. The HR department should let international interviewer fully informed about what particular type of visa, and Green Card category the Lab is supporting from the very beginning. So the international employers can work on the papers and academic credibility throughout the 5-6 years instead of the last few months.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Career experience, short and long term, largely based on your versatility

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Post-Masters Research Associate in Richland, WA
    Former Employee - Post-Masters Research Associate in Richland, WA

    I worked at PNNL full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Diverse technical background of workforce
    The ability to collaborate and work on a variety of projects can lead to interesting opportunities

    Cons

    Many levels of overhead that are nearly as bad (if not worse) than the US federal government
    Very little institutional support to foster success for new employees
    It takes a long time to begin to understand how to efficiently navigate PNNL to maintain a variety of work
    100% chargeable for an employee's hours means 100% chargeable; running out of work makes life awkward very quickly and dictates how portions of PNNL researchers interact with one another

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great place to work

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

    I have been working at PNNL

    Pros

    Great place to work, a lot of opportunities

    Cons

    the location may be a problem for a good life

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Throwback to an earlier era

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist V in Richland, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist V in Richland, WA

    I worked at PNNL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The researchers are wonderful and diverse. Despite the bureaucracy, administrators and managers work hard to provide a calm, stress free environment allowing researchers to focus on their work. There is plenty of room for having a life outside of work. If you are successful in bringing in funding for the research you want to do through your own grants, you can do your own thing and are left in peace.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, PNNL operates under an antiquated system that depends too heavily on government research budgets: when those budgets wax, there is money aplenty; when they wane, there is downsizing. Bureaucracy is thick: there are a lot of rules and resources expended on their enforcement. The regulations intended to preserve the objectivity of scientists define a very strict separation between "research" and "commercialization" activities that hampers entrepreneurial scientists and engineers interested in actively engaging in marketing their ideas and products. This can be stifling for those who want to be measured by impact beyond grants and publications, or to take their ideas out into the world.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To really thrive and attract the new breed of entrepreneurial scientists, PNNL needs to set itself free: the same researchers operating under a more streamlined structure and liberated from the strict rules of an FFRDC -- something more akin to a university or non-profit laboratory -- would enable PNNL to more easily grow its reach and increase its impact. At very least, PNNL could reinstitute entrepreneurial leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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