SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

  www.slac.stanford.edu
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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Reviews

Updated August 18, 2014
Updated August 18, 2014
71 Reviews

2.6
71 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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

    Pros

    Cool, interesting, cutting edge science

    Cons

    hours are terrible, management could use some improvement

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    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

    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
  3.  

    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

    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
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  5.  

    A good place to work for those accustomed to government type jobs. May be tough to adjust for others

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

    Pros

    Benefits, good pay, slower work pace, flexible with time off. Lots of diverse training provided (first few months for some are all training) Those involved in trades get tools provided and work vehicles. Lots interesting people and things going on around site.

    Cons

    Difficult to adjust to for those who are eager to "jump in" and start getting things done. It's required to obtain endless permits, signatures, documentation & safety releases to handle something that on the outside is routine. Tasks that normally take a few hours can stretch out for weeks if area managers are on vacation, a different trade is involved, ETC... You will be drilled on safety protocol & paperwork DAILY! so be prepared! Most of the time your last concern is the job itself. It's more of crossing the t's and dotting the i's for fear of being put on the spot.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To reward the people who have a clear understanding of the lab's goals, rather than the ones who over analyze the rules and set the lab back. SLAC used to be a place where people got things done and science grew leaps and bounds. Now its a tangle of confusion & uncertainty

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great people and science

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

    Pros

    Highly motivated, extremely intelligent colleagues. Excellent science.

    Cons

    Low compensation, long hours and government bureaucracy.

    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    This is a great place to work.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    This is a government laboratory. It is a great place to work. Commitment to education. Technologically simulating.

    Cons

    Some times a lot of bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work!

    Recommends
  8.  

    No regard to work/life balance

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

    Pros

    Adequate pay, good benefits. Safe, clean environment. Starbucks on sight.

    Cons

    If you are exempt they expect you to be online at 11:00 pm and throughout the weekend. Stanford stresses all this work/life balance, but one never has an opportunity to take advantage of the perks and privileges because SLAC expects all work and no play. They will even manage to find you on your vacation. Some of the long-timers have a tendency to be on the snooty side. No cafeteria or friendly meeting place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't expect your peers to put in 20 hour workdays just because YOU do. YOU may bring in the big bucks, but we don't. It would help to communicate with those who support YOU. Be human and have a mind of your OWN, not a puppet behind the CoS.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    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

    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
  10.  

    Lots to improve on

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

    Pros

    Some of the benefits of working in SLAC includes: affiliation and close proximity to Stanford University, some of the smartest and most intelligent people I've met so far are in SLAC and Stanford, , good weather, and close to various hiking trails

    Cons

    I find that people here generally like to be by themselves most of the time, and get together mainly when discussing work. The working environment lacks a human touch. Many of the people are too caught up in the science that they neglect the need to foster good interaction with their group members and peers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    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

    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

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