Salk Institute

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Salk Institute Reviews in La Jolla, CA

Updated January 14, 2015
Updated January 14, 2015
22 Reviews
3.4
22 Reviews
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Salk Institute President William Brody
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22 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1.  

    The work is challenging, but the pay is low

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in La Jolla, CA

    I have been working at Salk Institute full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to start your career

    Cons

    Pay
    Retirement doesn't match until 2 yr

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Research at Salk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in La Jolla, CA

    I have been working at Salk Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Highly collaborative team-work environment, plenty of resources including several core facilities, lots of talented scientists and postdocs, and perfect seaside view. Scientific events and seminars provide great learning opportunities. Free parking.

    Cons

    Poor treatment for postdocs with low pay for long-hours work. Longer average postdoc length: 5 years at least. Living expense in San Diego area is relatively high for the postdoc salary.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Nice place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA

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

    Pros

    good research, nice environment, lots of good people to work with

    Cons

    low salary, poor treatment for postdoc

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Nice place to do research

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in La Jolla, CA
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in La Jolla, CA

    I worked at Salk Institute as an intern (more than a year)

    Pros

    Close to UCSD and Scripps makes Salk Institute a unique place for doing biological research. People are open-minded and easygoing there. You can run on the black beach down the hill, which is very nice.

    Cons

    Salary is quite low compared with the high living expense in that area.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Overall great place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant I in La Jolla, CA
    Former Employee - Research Assistant I in La Jolla, CA

    I worked at Salk Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great people, inclusive, near the ocean...

    Cons

    Disconnect between researchers and management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ask for more input from researchers

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Heaven and Hell.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - CS (Computer and IT Services) in La Jolla, CA
    Former Employee - CS (Computer and IT Services) in La Jolla, CA

    I worked at Salk Institute full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful topside architecture. World-class scientific community. If you are a scientist, you may find yourself rewarded and among a wonderful culture of hard-working people. Ocean-view, sunset celebrations ensue when a paper is published within a lab. The Heaven: standing on the edge of the earth every morning, looking out into the Pacific Ocean. Salk was built with a land grant onto one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.

    Cons

    Huge chasm between faculty and administration causing a major communication breakdown. Also a breakdown from lab to lab. Labs maintain a tremendous deal of autonomy, so the person in charge of a lab may demonstrate relentless hostility toward anyone in a staff position if they feel dissatisfied with staff. Many of the faculty have worked here between 20 and 40 years, and they feel a sense of ownership with the institute and its buildings. There are also veteran staff employees as well, some of whom have never had another job in their entire lives. Say what you will about job security, but I think some diversity would behoove both the work environment and the employee. There ought to be encouragement and career-path plans for employees to move and grow. This is not the Navy (example: try getting a job at the graphic art department there, where 5 employees have warmed the chairs for a total of 85 years).

    Little to no accountability in a given department. Gross dichotomy in cultures among departments. Many departments will offer work-from-home (a PRO), whereas others will shun the idea. This creates a hugely unfair perception among employees.

    The Hell: Whereas 3 floors of this magnificent community are built above ground, looking over the big blue sea, 3 are completely underground. Employees who work in these spaces never see the light of day during their work hours. Animal resources and Central IT are completely underground, and those who work these spaces appear to be in anti-social climates.

    Salk is funded almost entirely on grant money, and many of the staff feed off of the stress that comes with the approval process. This can make anybody's job at Salk a stressful one.

    Also, there are almost NO choices for food vending within walking distance. You have: the Salk Cafe, the little lunch place at the Glider Port, and Ventanas (a student/faculty cafeteria) across at UCSD. One must drive two miles over to LJV Square for other choices, or trek deep into the UCSD campus for the Price Center.

    In summary, the Salk culture is extremely fragmented and full-up with disgruntled management. The bar needs to be raised insofar as "positive culture" for the Institute as a whole. Perhaps they've done that in the past 4 years, but as I talk to those who have worked there, or are still working there, the experience still seems to be traumatic, confounding, or simply negative for many.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If there WERE a type of strong management in place... I would suggest a stronger administration model. As it stood, P.I.s and lab managers ran each of their labs like it was their castle, and they were warring among each other. This place really needs to get its work-life model off the ground. Salk clearly has decades of bad behavior to overcome.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Salk is great, your job will be great or not, depending on your specific PI.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in La Jolla, CA

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

    Pros

    Nice campus, right on the cliffs. Friendly administrators, top notch support staff. Great seminars and social events. Free parking. Decent cafeteria (after a lot of trouble with that).

    Cons

    no paid paternity leave, unless your hhmi.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great location, postdocs are exploited

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA

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

    Pros

    Highest caliber faculty and colleagues, great science and seminars, beautiful setting.

    Cons

    Terrible benefits for postdocs;even worse than other institutions. If you obtain your own funding and are paid by a fellowship, your benefits are worse still (not entitled to retirement, disability etc.). No gym, no daycare, insufficient parking. Extremely cramped working conditions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nuture the postdocs you have rather than accept more than resources and space permit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Great for science and reputation, poor treatment of postdocs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA

    I have been working at Salk Institute full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Salk has a great reputation and you would have the opportunity to train with amazing scientists and postdocs, and the resources are great for research

    Cons

    Average postdoc length is at least 5 years here, if you ever leave. Benefits are terrible for postdocs (high contribution or very high deductible) with no retirement benefits. Hours are expected to be long with vacation time a rare luxury

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    work experience as a postdoc at Salk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in La Jolla, CA

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

    Pros

    Great place to gain postdoc experience. Very high quality science. A rich scientific community in the La Mesa area.

    Cons

    Salk is a private research institute, which is very different University setting. If you like to be involved in teaching or interacting with students, it's not the best place for that aspect.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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