Sandia

  www.sandia.gov
  www.sandia.gov

Sandia Reviews

Updated November 17, 2014
Updated November 17, 2014
191 Reviews
3.7
191 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sandia President Paul Hommert
Paul Hommert
68 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work life balance (option to take off alternating Fridays) (in 34 reviews)

  • salary level is among the top for post-doc, and very good work-life balance, the 9/80 work schedule give you every other Friday off (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Performance review can feel a bit arbitrary (in 12 reviews)

  • There are "technical staff" who couldn't balance an equation if their life depended on it (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate StudentTechnical in Albuquerque, NM
    Current Employee - Graduate StudentTechnical in Albuquerque, NM

    I have been working at Sandia part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    versatile work environment with lots of people that you can depend on. If you get a good manager everything will be great.

    Cons

    lots of people running around looking for projects. Also, the line to drive into work can be a real pain in the butt.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Interesting work

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

    I have been working at Sandia full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Really interesting projects to work on. Sandia does a ton of interesting and important work and the people are generally high quality.

    Cons

    Sandia used to have competitive salary but that is not true anymore.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Sandia was disappointing but still a pretty good place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM

    I worked at Sandia full-time

    Pros

    Job security is the #1 pro of working at Sandia. Work/life balance is possible. In addition, the technical capabilities of Sandia are incredible as they have a lot of state of the art equipment combined with some of the brightest people you'll ever meet. The educational benefits are very good as well. The pay is good, but not that great when compared to the cost of living in the areas that Sandia is located.

    Cons

    1) Company mentality: There is a prevalent "that is what we've always done" mentality, even if "what we've always done" has repeatedly caused problems. There is also very little incentive to go against this mentality to try and improve things because it will likely not help your performance review anyway (see #2). In fact, trying to improve things can potentially negatively impact your performance review because improving something means it wasn't done the best way to begin with. This potentially requires someone, likely someone with more senior standing who has more pull in the decision making and/or influence on management, to in some respects admit that they did not make the best decision possible to begin with. Thus, improvement is almost non-existent.

    2) Performance Review Process: The performance review process, whether it be the old version or Totalcomp (the recently deployed performance management system), was rather bizarre. I found that myself and others would do excellent work and go above and beyond what management asked of us, only to be told we were 'average' at our performance reviews. In some cases, even 'below average' thanks to Totalcomp which requires a certain percentage of the population receive the lowest acceptable rating. This was very discouraging as it made employees feel like they were going nowhere, and reinforces the mentality that there is no reason to work hard as it won't impact your performance review, and thus your promotion possibility (see #3), anyway.

    3) Raises/Promotions: Raises are relatively low, and salaries are sometimes frozen due to federal budget circumstances. There is very little difference raise-wise between people who work really hard and people who don't, which compounds the lack of motivation to work hard. Promotions can seem rather arbitrary and I don't feel that management was very honest about what was necessary to get a promotion, so in some respects you can feel completely helpless.

    4) Salary Compression: People that come in at least a few years after you will likely make more money than you. My advice to new employees is to stay at least 3 years to get vested in your 401(k), but not more than 5 years if you don't get promoted unless you have personal reasons for staying in the area.

    5) Highly Political Culture.

    6) Living in Albuquerque: While I can't speak for any of the other sites, Albuquerque has a lot of room for improvement. There is a relatively high cost of living, high crime, bad school systems, and a somewhat rude culture. There doesn't seem to be much sense of community and by no means would I consider it a family friendly environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Be honest and up front about what is necessary to advance.
    2) Put your neck out there and try to do the best thing for everyone, even if it is not the popular thing or what your boss wants to hear.
    3) Have integrity.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Interesting portfolio of work, great researchers, managers can be tyrants

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

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

    Pros

    Important work, good benefits, smart people

    Cons

    My department was a snake pit, most unpleasant work environment I have ever experienced. Manager a petty dictator . Pay not as good as they pretend.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't be arrogant about your past success, have to be relevant to today's economy and work ethos

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Albuquerque, NM

    I have been working at Sandia full-time

    Pros

    -Lots of freedom to follow your interests and define your work.
    -Most managers have very reasonable expectations for their employees--they expect excellent work but don't want you to live at work.
    -Even though the benefits aren't as good as they used to be, they're still pretty good. E.g., Sandia will contribute 10% of your salary to your 401k if you're putting in at least 6%.
    -There are many brilliant people here with diverse specialties, and they're always a phone call or email away if you need their help. The potential for really cool cross-disciplinary applications is huge if you're aware of the people around you.
    -The work is much more interesting than that of the latest startup. To me, problems in national security are much more interesting than figuring out how to optimally display cat photos on a 5" screen.
    -The educational benefits are incredible. There are programs to send you off to school for a Master's or PhD (yes, send you off, as in you spend 0% of your time on company projects) and programs to work towards an MS/PhD/MBA with a reduced workweek. Some of these programs are universally available while others are highly competitive.

    Cons

    -Politics play a big role in the activities of the labs, which has led to some poor decisions.
    -Funding can be inconsistent or nonexistent, seemingly at the whim of anyone above you. Sometimes it comes back and sometimes it doesn't.
    -Too much time is spent on overhead tasks and procedures. Some procedures are unavoidable (working with sensitive information naturally requires more care) but others are just a waste.

    If you're looking for great opportunities to learn and apply science and engineering with some great people, and can bear with the bureaucracy, Sandia is a great place to work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Strive to reduce the number of managers, and move those people back into engineering jobs. -I would love more managers who take initiative to do what they think is right, even if that means risking their reputation/bureaucratic standing for it. If you say, "we ought to be doing things this new way," then don't continue to do things the old way; forge ahead and start doing things the new way!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    IH Grad Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IH Grad Intern in Albuquerque, NM
    Former Employee - IH Grad Intern in Albuquerque, NM

    I worked at Sandia as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of IHs to help you learn

    Cons

    Work pace could be faster

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    It is a prestigious place to work. Excellent colleagues.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Member of Technical Staff in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Principal Member of Technical Staff in Livermore, CA

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

    Pros

    Smart people. Excellent research. Best national lab in the country. Huge salary.

    Cons

    Performance review can feel a bit arbitrary. Health benefits decreasing. Can be very competitive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop eroding our health care, really difficult deductible plans penalizing those with children.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Well organized and very professional

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Technologist in Albuquerque, NM
    Current Employee - Senior Technologist in Albuquerque, NM

    I have been working at Sandia full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Sandia has a lot of opportunities to grow professionally and further your education if you wish. There is a culture of professionalism and opportunity to move around if you want to try something new.

    Cons

    Because Sandia is a large organization (~12,000 people) the work environment can be bureaucratic and process driven at times. This is exacerbated by the fact that the company does a lot of government work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep a close eye on total comp, it is a double edged sword. If implemented incorrectly, it could be very damaging to the company.

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

    Great Internship

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

    I worked at Sandia as an intern (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of variety, decent benefits, high caliber of technical workforce

    Cons

    some people overworked, others underworked...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    risk aversion suppresses creativity.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Good Company, some downsides

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

    I have been working at Sandia full-time

    Pros

    Overall good company to work for.

    Cons

    Strong division between opportunities depending on if you are in the technical side of the organization or the administrative organization.

    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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