The Salk Institute
3.6 of 5 32 reviews
www.salk.edu San Diego, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

The Salk Institute Reviews in La Jolla, CA

Updated Apr 6, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 19 reviews

                             

56% Approve of the CEO

The Salk Institute President William Brody

William Brody

(9 ratings)

65% of employees recommend this company to a friend
19 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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Nice place to do research

Research Assistant (Former Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I worked at The Salk Institute as an intern for more than a year

ProsClose 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.

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

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Overall great place

Research Assistant I (Former Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I worked at The Salk Institute full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat people, inclusive, near the ocean...

ConsDisconnect between researchers and management

Advice to Senior ManagementAsk for more input from researchers

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Heaven and Hell.

CS (Computer and IT Services) (Former Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I worked at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 5 years

ProsBeautiful 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.

ConsHuge 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 Senior ManagementIf 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.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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

Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 3 years

ProsNice 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).

Consno paid paternity leave, unless your hhmi.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great location, postdocs are exploited

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Former Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I worked at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 3 years

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

ConsTerrible 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 Senior ManagementNuture the postdocs you have rather than accept more than resources and space permit.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Great for science and reputation, poor treatment of postdocs

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for less than a year

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

ConsAverage 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

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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work experience as a postdoc at Salk

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 3 years

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

ConsSalk 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.

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

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Can be a great place to work if you are in the right lab.

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 5 years

ProsBeautiful building! Great science! Very collaborative atmosphere.

ConsNot much career development for Post-docs. Benefits aren't very good...not many options anymore. All soft money, lots of pressure to get grants and entice donors.

Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of some of the administration.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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I ended my research career after working at the Salk

Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 3 years

ProsSome PIs are incredibly dedicated to their staff.
Nice location.
Free parking.
Many events with refreshments.

ConsMy post-doc was a complete waste of my time.
Morale in certain labs extremely low.
Very depressing environment.
Institute cares about grants and endowments, not job satisfaction.

Advice to Senior ManagementMake PIs have some accountability when they are extremely irresponsible towards their staff.
Absolutely no growth potential.
Senior research scientists are able to hang around for years, impeding career growth of other scientists.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Overall great esperience

Research Assistant (Current Employee)
La Jolla, CA

I have been working at The Salk Institute full-time for more than 8 years

ProsExcellent benefits, great culture, awesome people, and beautiful place to work in.

ConsSalaries are a little lower.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at The Salk Institute reviews and ratings in La Jolla, CA — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for The Salk Institute CEO William Brody. All 19 reviews posted anonymously by The Salk Institute employees.