Sandia

www.sandia.gov

Sandia Reviews

Updated January 26, 2015
Updated January 26, 2015
208 Reviews
3.8
208 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great for work/life balance if that's what you are looking for (in 35 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 13 reviews)

  • Performance Review Process: The performance (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you have no plans to leave New Mexico, and have no interest on being rated on merit, this is the place to work

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

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

    Pros

    You get to work with a lot of interesting, intelligent people if working on the technical side (the business side is a bit more banal and uninspiring). For Albuquerque, the pay is good and you apparently can get every member of your extended family a position in the company - if you find that an acceptable practice that doesn't violate and principles. Frankly, if you are stuck in Albuquerque, there aren't too many business that offer better pay or benefits.

    Cons

    Numerous. The rating system in no way reflects merit - it is representative of distant, uninterested management that relies on the concept of "visibility" (i.e. the mere act of occupying space in close proximity to management to ensure they recognize your existence) to determine year end ratings. If you are new to Sandia, expect to receive the lowest rating possible as it is considered part of the culture and part of working at for the organization. Nepotism and cronyism are ubiquitous and encouraged. I don't think I have ever worked in an organization where so many people are related. Meetings are more reminiscent of family reunions than work-related gatherings. Tax-payer dollars are wasted with overt disregard through inefficiencies and poor planning - if such things are frustrating and complicate your moral underpinnings, not the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop complaining about the culture and do something to change it

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Interesting work

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

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

    Pros

    You can involve yourself in an endless number of project types that you won't find anywhere else. The work has a purpose. There are brilliant people and the pay is very good. It's a secure job with endless opportunities for upward mobility. The "bosses" are extremely hardworking people who can be trusted to put their work first.

    Cons

    HR is a nightmare. They care about following their misguided rules and literally nothing else.

    The previous generation received excellent benefits, but the time of unlimited government funding is over and Sandia is very low on resources. Projects and funding depend on interactions with the government, which tend to be extremely inefficient.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management is not the problem, but I would advise a complete overhaul of the HR department.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Few limits here on what one can do

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

    I have been working at Sandia full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I've worked in the research area here for nearly 30 years (with short stints at a start-up company and at a university), and have been extremely happy. There is a sense of working to advance knowledge for the long-term benefit of the nation, rather than for the short-term profit that a company would be rewarded for, or for the short-term reputational glory that a university professor would be rewarded for. If one is really trying to advance the frontiers of knowledge with that mindset, there is very little that limits what one can do here. If you have a great idea, it will (eventually!) be supported. If you're in between your own great ideas, you can contribute to teams with a deep bench of colleagues with their own great ideas. If you want to switch fields to better match where the great new ideas are percolating, you can do that too.

    Cons

    First, there is a lot of bureaucracy: extremely strict ES&H and time-card reporting; project milestones that get fixed too early and don't allow for real-time adaptation to new developments; managers who spend a lot of time dealing with the bureaucratic stuff and hence are less deep technically. Second, the performance review system in some organizations over-emphasizes solo over team accomplishments, and this can sometimes cause competition rather than cooperation between staff. Third, this is not the place to get extremely wealthy (like at a start-up company) or extremely famous (like at an elite university) -- but it is a place where you can do terrific technical work while also having a terrific life outside of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think the single most important thing upper management could do to improve the research environment here would be to figure out how to create a first-level management position that attracts great managers. The first-level manager is where among the most important decisions here are made: recruiting, hiring, inspiring and nurturing great technical staff; and leading and cheer-leading the matches between science & technology push and mission (energy, security, etc.) pull. It should be a position to which staff who are deeply creative technically and who care about people would aspire. It's not, now, and that doesn't bode well for the future.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    The goals of the work are somewhat challenging yet

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

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

    Pros

    Very flexible, 9/80 work shift, employment security, non-routine work.

    Cons

    Opportunities for promotion are extremely limited for someone with a B.S. Because of a lack of higher degree, technical work is handed down at a minimum. Also, below average pay for non-PhD staff. Salaries constantly frozen or cap is reduced.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Not bad

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

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

    Pros

    If you're here for research, there's a great community of knowledgeable people to learn from. The pay is good, and the job security is good if you can make the conversion to staff.

    Cons

    Management often interferes more than they help. The work-life balance was not so great, and there's always the scrabble to find enough funding to stay employed, particularly during the currently tight times.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Vet your lower managers better.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    This could be the only job you ever need

    • 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

    Great people to work with. Best of both academia and industry combined into one. Work has meaning and purpose.

    Cons

    Hyper-sensitive to safety and training plus some government bureaucracy red tape

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good company with good 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 10 years)

    Pros

    Good culture on mission side
    Good work
    Good people

    Cons

    The mission support organizations are bureaucratic and not focused on supporting the mission
    Some trending towards compliance without regard to effectiveness

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reorient the missino support to focus on supporting the mission instead of process

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    One of the greatest places to work in the country!

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

    I have been working at Sandia full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    - Flexible work schedule
    - Numerous job opportunities within one company
    - Never bored
    - Casual dress code and relaxed atmosphere

    Cons

    - A lot of the work at Sandia is based on the federal budget so when congress fails to pass a budget (as it usually does) things can slow down or projects can get shut down until a budget is passed.
    - The quality of the benefits has declined a bit over the last few years due to government cutbacks and such but Sandia is such a fun and amazing place to work that I tend to let that fact slide.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Learned to work at the absolute slowest pace possible.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Summer in Livermore, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Summer in Livermore, CA

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

    Pros

    The projects have national importance and are scientifically interesting. There is a great focus on work life balance.

    Cons

    I was told several times to work slower and less efficiently on the grounds that there wasn't any more to be done on a project and the funds weren't used yet. Under utilization of funds would result in the department loosing funds, so work had to be dragged out accordingly...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward efficiency, don't just expand funding for the departments that have gone over budget and punish those that haven't by cutting their funds.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good people, but boring beauracratic business

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of fun activities organized by the workforce outside of work hours, but not in a way where anybody holds things against you if you don't choose to participate. Most people are relaxed and patient, and politics seem to at least be handled civilly.

    Others give you your space, which I have mixed feelings about.

    Cons

    As I become more acquainted with the business, I see the numerous organizations and bureaucracy that make achieving anything in a reasonable time impossible. Requirements are subject to change years into work.

    Though the hands-off approach might be out of fear of micromanaging (positive), I feel a visit from my manager of more than a couple times of month might spark some motivation. I generally get bored and read the news because I think no one cares and requirements will likely change soon anyway... so why bother?

    Also, the training process in regards to the big picture can be slow. In my group, the training on the actual work was good, but getting context is slow. I don't blame that on the people as much as on the complexity of the "complex."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The advice I would give is to push hard against the government bureaucracy. There are so many layers and organizations to field a product to drive one bonkers and make product time lines infinite. I don't know if management has much power here, but that's what makes work rough.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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