SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

  www.slac.stanford.edu
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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Reviews in Menlo Park, CA

Updated August 22, 2014
Updated August 22, 2014
72 Reviews

2.6
72 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Director Chi-Chang Kao
Chi-Chang Kao
28 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Fun work advancing human knowledge, working with smart people on hard problems is always rewarding (in 9 reviews)

  • Good benefits and retirement plan make up for lower salaries (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • A number of non-scientific departments are allowed to be arbitrary, heavy handed and dictatorial (in 4 reviews)

  • HR and upper management are oblivious to management problems (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

26 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Fascinating science, dedicated researchers, insane management (not in a good way).

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Some of the most interesting research in a variety of fields. Truly groundbreaking. Diverse, dedicated scientific staff.

    Cons

    Move away from the scientists and you run into some horrific managers. Controlling, vindictive--they'll label you once and write you off with no second glances or second chances. No opportunity for growth. Dead-end job anyway. Very high turnover in my particular area--so high it's starting to draw attention.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to be seen as an "Employer of Choice," act like one.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    SLAC is good, but can get better

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Cool, interesting, cutting edge science

    Cons

    hours are terrible, management could use some improvement

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    This was once a great place to work. Now engineers are treated disrespectfully

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Interesting work. Benefits are great in terms of time off, retirement match etc. Medical benefits are OK. Science is interesting and always changing.

    Cons

    Poor management in some divisions. Trying to be like GE or other cutting edge companies without the upside. Mandatory layoffs every year. Lack of vision and direction in management

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    An Interesting Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Visiting Physicist  in  Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Visiting Physicist in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Cutting Edge Science
    Smart People
    Good Benefits

    Cons

    Becoming a more corporate culture which stifles scientific work. Being more and more run like a business with more management than is warranted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Run more like a laboratory instead of a business. Too much red tape and bureaucracy.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Interesting place to work and learn

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Physicist  in  Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Engineering Physicist in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    A center of interesting, world-class, cutting-edge research. Colleagues are world experts in their fields and generally a pleasure to work with. A great place to learn new things and to flesh out new ideas.

    Cons

    Management is a bit too risk-averse and short-sighted. Lots of good ideas are not pursued or funded for this reason.

    Employment is much less secure than it used to be. Starting about 2010, lab has quietly shifted from a very secure "just cause" employment status to a much less secure "at will" status. Job security is now no better than most Silicon Valley companies (lab management apparently wants to increase turnover to be in line with industry jobs). But SLAC salaries are lower than industry. Salaries will have to increase if employees are to be kept.

    There is a general sense that the Lab does not value employees as it once did.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Since you have reduced job security to industry standard, you will also have to increase salaries to industry standard if you are to retain and hire good employees. The reduced job security has negatively affected employee morale, which has hurt employee commitment to the Lab (willingness to sacrifice, spend long hours to solve problems, etc). You don't seem to appreciate this.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Great place for cutting edge science.

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    SLAC is a world class laboratory, and people who thrive in an academic culture do well here.
    Proactive initiative is definitely valued.

    Cons

    If you don't have a PhD, or at least a masters, you will be at a disadvantage. There has been a management shake-up recently, and everyone is a little confused about where the organization is going.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Perhaps the hiring managers should consider hiring from within. There seems to be a lot of picking the new hire, and then writing the job requisition for that person, which means the job posting is just for show and the rest of us are hoping for something that doesn't exist.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Rewarding and educational academic and scientific environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager, Operational Support Area  in  Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Manager, Operational Support Area in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Wonderful, friendly, brilliant, helpful people. Challenging, interesting work for all. Attachment to important mission. Stanford caliber research. Fabulous benefits and beautiful campus.

    Cons

    Frustrating, cumbersome, lengthy administrative processes create roadblocks for scientists and research. Employees need to be enabled and empowered to use ingenuity/creativity/brilliance to do their jobs. SLAC can be even more amazing!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sr. Management needs to find its identity as a team and it's way to effectively support the important science, scientists and support staff. Employees need to feel valued.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Positive Outlook

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Manager  in  Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    There are many extremely bright, talented and dedicated individuals at SLAC from the bottom up. Except for some pockets, most people go out of their way to help each other, and together they are able to accomplish really outstanding science, technology advances, and research support.

    Cons

    As with any large and diverse organization, there are some areas (mostly in the support functions like HR) where policies are more bureaucratic and draconian. In a matrix structure, people easily lose direct connection with the mission and goals they support, like a nameless hired-hand or an easily replaced cog in a large machine.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to clean house. Leverage synergies. Encourage communications and respect -- particularly within HR which should lead by example.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great stuff ahead

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Inspired by the people and science all around. Really impressed that the Lab is taking on LCLS2 - huge project.

    Cons

    Some groups have a culture that is resistant to change. Wake up and smell silicon valley!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't always get so caught up in consensus.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Exciting national lab research environment

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Friendly and challenging research environment
    Good health and tuition benefits

    Cons

    Work load unevenly distributed depending on departments
    Management is handled by scientists who have poor management skills
    Salaries are ok but career evolution is difficult
    Stability and employment is very dependent on congress decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too many management levels.
    Poor recognition of significant contributions to the lab at all levels.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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