Sandia

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Sandia Reviews in Albuquerque, NM

Updated Jul 19, 2014

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3.5 91 reviews

62% Approve of the CEO

Sandia President Paul Hommert

Paul Hommert

(34 ratings)

72% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great for work/life balance if that's what you are looking for(in 30 reviews)

  • 9/80 work schedule, reasonable benefits, salaries not as good as they used to be, generous time off policies(in 20 reviews)


Cons
  • Performance review can feel a bit arbitrary(in 9 reviews)

  • Technical Staff, Principal Member of the(in 5 reviews)

91 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Sandia: Great science, but not as dynamic as private industry.

    Consultant (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsIf you are fortunate enough to be on a good project you get to work with the best and brightest engineers and scientists in the world.

    ConsIt is incredibly bureaucratic. Many employees have retired in place. Most scientists/engineers came straight from grad school. They have very little experience in the real world even after 20-40 years at Sandia.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFind a new mission besides compliance to rules.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Great projects but declining management, staff, and policies

    Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    Pros-Extremely interesting projects to work on (sometimes)
    -Serving your nation
    -Good education opportunities
    -Doctors on site - Not wonderful doctors, but they get the job done
    -Great people - there is still a lot of great people here

    Cons-No increases in salaries. I've just crunched the numbers and each year, I make about $1,100 less than the previous year when accounting for inflation. This is because our 1-2% *maximum* raises can't keep up with the 2-3% inflation. Keep in mind that you will get little if any raise your first 1-3 years. This means that someone just starting will make more money than someone who has been here for 5 years… Even though we have some people here with high salaries (who have been here for 30+ years), you will never be able to get anywhere close to what they make (unless things change drastically).

    -Performance is not rewarded. Rather, everyone is on a "conveyor belt", so promotions are tied to time in position rather than accomplishments.

    -High turnover - One can make significantly more money in private industry, so most people are leaving.

    -Demoralizing rating system - Management is *required* to give 10% of people the lowest possible rating. Since bosses are uncomfortable giving it to someone who has been here 3+ years, they give it to the newest people, regardless of their actual accomplishments. This is actually the policy in many but not all departments.

    -Threats of furloughs or complete shutdowns. Which nearly averted one on 10/21/2013

    -Low quality benefits. For example, vision insurance will only contribute $100 per year for your choice of contacts or glasses

    Advice to Senior ManagementI have been trying to better understand the challenges we face. In doing so, I polled 9 early career (non-pension) Sandians and of those, only 1 planned on staying here longer than 5 years. It's also worth noting that the one who plans to stay is also the only one from Albuquerque. When asked if the 9 would stay if they received slightly above average pay with average promotions for their outstanding work & talent, 7 said they could see themselves here their entire career. This is very simple.

    I don't understand how Sandia can try to have the "best of the best" while paying below average, not rewarding performance, and paying those who stay less and less every year. If you're raising kids, private school is almost mandatory (at 20k per student per year). This is unaffordable on a single Sandia income.

    I understand management seems to think that higher compensation won't lead to less turnover. If Sandia had competitive pay and benefits, I would NEVER leave! However, getting less than average salary, getting less than average bonuses, getting threats of shutdowns/furloughs, getting low quality benefits, getting little if any raises, and without my performance even being recognized (again due to the rating system) is forcing me to leave. We are very dedicated to what we do, but each one of these items is a slap in the face. Take a look at the list of cons above. To retain good people, management needs to make some attempt to compensate for these.

    For the benefit of the US, I sincerely hope the labs can be saved from this downward spiral. However, with the way things are going (in the labs and in congress), I'm sad to say that I don't see them turning around anytime soon.

    Good luck to Sandia's leaders.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Sandia is the top location to work in Albuquerque.

    Student (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsHigher than average salary.
    Great benefits.
    Great work/life balance.
    Has a gym and fitness classes during the day.

    ConsCan't have electronics.
    Changes can be slow.
    Can't always have "fun" due to limitations in government allowances.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
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    Excellent

    Student Intern (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsIt was a great experience for any student. I gained a lot of experience and the schedules are very flexible around school.

    ConsThere is nothing I can think of.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great Work-Life Balance- OK everything else

    Senior Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsFlexible work schedule, Overtime banks to vacation, Generally Good lower management, Lots of mobility within Sandia.

    ConsDeclining benefits and horrible raises. No real bonus structure if you go above and beyond. Senior management useless.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop trying to implement business models that failed in industry a decade ago

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Working at Sandia for over a decade has been a rollercoaster ride, has definitely had its ups and downs.

    Group Trades I (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsThere are many projects one can work on, so the work can be varied if you are willing to move from department to department.

    ConsRewards are few and far between and there has been a steady decline in benefits over my years there. The technologists and other technical staff have gotten raises of less than 1% over the last 4 years and the health plan deductibles have become unaffordable for the rank and file employees who do most of the work.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake Sandia Labs a desirable place to work again, by rewarding the employees with the wages and benefits they deserve so that you can attract the best people and keep them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Started off great, gradually got worse due to budget cuts that led to backstabbing.

    Principal Member of Technical Staff (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsHad great benefits when I started in 1985. Most were whittled away over the course of my 22 years there.
    Had lots of flexibility with the freedom and resources to do good work when I first started. This became more limited and constrained over the years due to budget cuts.

    ConsConstant budget cuts caused employees to compete with one another over the same funding dollars.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have ideals of honesty and integrity; try living up to them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great Internship

    Clerical Support (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsGreat pay and time flex

    ConsManagment was poor and tasks were unclear

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Overall positive experience especially after working in the private sector.

    Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsSatisfaction from work that contributes to the safety of our nation.
    Job security. Most people retire after working for 35 years.
    Great work/life balance.
    Most projects don't have deadlines, so you can concentrate on the quality. Most managers don't micromanage.
    On-site free doctors!!!!
    Free gym.
    You get 75% of you salary while studying towards MS degree full time. Similar perks for PHD program.

    ConsToo many unnecessarily and redundant projects/products to keep employees occupied.
    Education is valued much more than experience. Someone with MSEE and 15 years of experience will make less than a PHD with 0 experience.
    Minimum GPA requirement keeps a lot of talented people away.
    There is no desire or will to change. I was told by a very senior person, that until employees who have been with the company for 20-30 years retire, no changes can be implemented.
    There is no covered parking. Getting through AF security checkpoint can take as much as 30 minutes.
    Security is paramount. You are afraid to loose security clearance(=job) if something goes wrong.
    No personal electronics are allowed.
    Benefits are not as good as in the industry because of retirees who are on company's plan.
    There is no motivation to better yourself since you won't be rewarded for it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCreate a system where employees can contribute suggestion on improving policy and culture of the company. Be willing to implement it!!!!!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good, but not great

    Distinguished Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsHigh productivity compared to similar labs
    Work is interesting and challenging
    Variety of sponsors
    Dynamic workplace
    Compared with other labs managed professionally

    Constoo much uncertainty
    work between groups is in a "silo"
    lack of clarity of mission and purpose
    lack of communication between managers and staff
    new HR system is a disaster

    Advice to Senior ManagementDefine a clear sense of mission and purpose and focus on communication vertically and horizontally

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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