Sandia

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Sandia Reviews

Updated Jul 19, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 176 reviews

66% Approve of the CEO

Sandia President Paul Hommert

Paul Hommert

(61 ratings)

74% 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)

176 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Can be very political - would not go back

    Mechanical Engineer (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsGreat work life balance. Usually interesting work.

    ConsDepending on your manager, your life can be very unpleasant.

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

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    4 month internship as a post doc researcher

    Post Doc Researcher (Former Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsGreat work/life balance attitude. Decent salary (comparable to $85k/yr). Flex hour work week.

    ConsSlow pace. Red tape. Average age of other employees tended to be older. Commuted from SF. Doable but not for long term.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Money Problems and Bad Attitudes

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsThe benefits were great, there were a lot of active people who organized things outside of the work environment. The pay was good as well.

    ConsBudget issues seemed to crop up left and right, and I'm not entirely convinced the time charging always followed protocol. Many of the senior employees were hard to work with and quite frequently condescending.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFind a way to diversify the employees. If someone can't work well with others, they are a bad employee. Re-evaluate budgets; a lot of time is wasted trying to figure out where money needs to be taken from, and where money needs to be saved. Along those lines, working overtime should not be expected of every employee, unless it is part of the job description.

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

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
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    Good benefits and hours. Okay salary for the location. Slow pace of work.

    Member of Lab Staff (Former Employee) Albuquerque, NM

    ProsGood benefits. Your hours are consistent. Great work-life balance. Nice coworkers. You can come across some pretty interesting work if you try hard enough.

    ConsIf you're young, energetic & intelligent, this may not be the best place for you. If you have a family, it's a great place to work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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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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    Good work life balance, but too dependent on federal funding.

    Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    Pros9/80 schedule means 3 day weekends every other weekend. Relaxed work culture and friendly people. Managers are kind and understanding.

    ConsLately the health benefits have been getting more expensive and there are less options available. Lack of Congressional appropriations means hiring freeze, uncertainty about the current fiscal year, and imminent furloughs unless a budget is passed in Congress.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry to diversify funding sources and reduce dependence on DOE funding. What ends up happening is that the company's budget is entirely dependent on Congress' ability to pass a budget, instead of the actual output of the employees.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    friendly, flexible, but bureaucratic

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Prosfriendly environment, great work-life balance. wonderfully supportive employees who are always willing to help interns - although the location may not be that glamorous, the people there make the experience worthwhile. as long as you take the initiative to meet others (even if they may be busy), you have the potential to learn a lot!

    Consbecause it is such a large organization, it is difficult to feel like you are really making a difference. moreover, because it is a government organization, it takes a long time to see the results of your efforts -- sometimes the project isn't completed until after you have left your internship, and this can be disheartening if you truly want to feel fulfilled.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    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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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Overly bureaucratic, nonsense projects and ridiculous waste

    Principal Member of Technical Staff (Former Employee)

    ProsSome of the pros are working with managers who don't know the technical details of the work, so one can get away with doing relatively nothing all day

    ConsThere are several downsides to Sandia (too much to list here). The projects are nonsensical, the managers are quite incompetent (some managers who lead technical groups only have a M.S. from low-tier schools like the University of New Mexico and manage materials chemistry groups), funding is subject to government budgets that are falling.

    Advice to Senior ManagementManagers: please get a Ph.D. in the research you are actually leading.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Declining system of national labs. Still a good place to intern and "grow up."

    Member of Technical Staff (Current Employee) Livermore, CA

    ProsGreat, great, great co-workers. Really top-notch engineers, and some great scientists. If you're an engineer, this is a great place to have on your CV. All top managers come from technical staff, so they understand science and empathize with the issues that tech staff can have. Compensation is okay for FTE staff, but absolutely ridiculously good for post-docs and student interns.

    ConsBudget cuts, shifting political climate, benefits being cut every year. Budget cuts leads to turning good people against each other to compete for smaller pools of money. Too many layers of management makes the problem worse. It's like the bureaucrats begets more bureaucrats, until there's no workers left at all. People are rewarded for creating more bureaucracy and not for producing. Raises are a joke. No mentoring for post-docs and younger staff.

    Advice to Senior Managementtake a hard look at the state of the lab and make drastic changes to lower overhead. CANNOT compete with academia and industry when the overhead is 3x higher. If you don't have money to do research, get money or stop doing the work.

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

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