U.S. Government Accountability Office

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated April 12, 2015
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3.7
65 Reviews
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U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Eugene Louis Dodaro
Eugene Louis Dodaro
42 Ratings

65 Employee Reviews

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  1. Senior Attorney

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Attorney in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Attorney in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Best Government agency I have worked for.

    Cons

    For a Government agency; none

  2. Senior Analyst (2A)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst (Band 2A) in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst (Band 2A) in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting and challenging work, talented colleagues, and a good reputation as an agency. Also, they offer telework and flex schedules and generally allow staff a lot of independence in how they manage their work.

    Cons

    Sometimes workload is too high.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more support and/or smaller projects to new project managers (AICs).

  3. Decent place to start your career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    GAO has excellent access to federal agencies so you will learn a lot about how the executive branch functions. The work is interesting, topics always changing, you work with new people every 12 months on a new project. Clear path for career advancement. All work is conducted in a team based environment, so you interact with people daily. Depending on the nature of your project, you may get to travel domestically or interationally. Great telework policies.

    Cons

    Risk-averse culture, asking questions can be frowned upon, and promtions are hard to come by due to budget cuts and limited personnel spaces. Leadership positions are hard to come by as well, I've been there for almost 7 years and just was given my first project to manage, even though I was promoted two years ago. Morale can be low, but that is a problem across the federal government.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people who are good at motivating and working with others, not superstars who only know the audit process well. Take more corrective action against slackers who don't contribute to the team.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Super positive experience!

    Former Intern - Graduate Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Graduate Analyst in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It was a great learning experience. They spent a lot of time developing our skills as future analysts early on and during the process. We were encouraged to take advantage of any learning opportunity. The staff were very knowledgeable and always willing to help if we had a particular interest. We were treated like an equal part of the team. Management seemed to be accessible.

    Cons

    At times, work might be slow. The technology could use improvements but I think they plan on fixing that and at least when there was a computer dilemma, IT tried to get back to you promptly.

  6. Helpful (1)

    Great place to learn!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I got wonderful training at GAO, worked with smart people, and contributed meaningfully to making government work better. Work-life flexibilities are amazing!

    Cons

    The work processes are slow....very slow.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Good Place to Work But GAO has Significant Flaws

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The work at GAO is interesting and quite varied as it can involve many different government agencies and programs, which means that employees have opportunities to learn continuously, and don't get bogged down in repetitive annual work cycles, which is often the case at other federal agencies (although as observed by many leaving comments on this site, GAO's work processes can be stultifying). Because GAO is continuously recruiting new employees to replace retirees and others who leave, there are significant opportunities for growth and advancement. If you master GAO's work processes and writing technique, and excel at analysis and teamwork and demonstrate a can do approach to your assignments, you will be appreciated and have opportunities for advancement. Also, the team approach to engagements and GAO culture provide built-in mentoring and many opportunities for learning GAO processes. Employees who innovate in use of technology or in use of analytical approaches that complement GAO's engagement methodology are appreciated and likely to be rewarded for their efforts. Also, GAO's pay scale is probably in the upper 30% of federal agencies.

    Cons

    GAO's appraisal system has the appearance of being criteria-based and objective, but it is significantly flawed and frequently unfair. Based on GAO's own statistics, some demographic groups fare well, while others come out perennially on the short end of the rating system, which because ratings are used to determine pay increases, means that some demographics get lesser increases (e.g., in recent rating cycles, GAO data showed that employees over 50 years of age received less than 1/2 of the higher pay increases of younger employees). Additionally, the rating system can be capricious. For example, after a promotion, employees typically get at least one low annual rating, even if they do extraordinary work. Other examples of the appraisal system being arbitrary are that some employees who are given very difficult assignments and live up to the challenge, are given lower ratings than other employees who are given relatively easy assignments. In GAO's appraisal training, the agency actually defended (praised) this practice (doing something simple "really well" is better than doing something difficult only well). Further, some employees are able to obtain above average ratings by filing or threatening to file a complaint, although be forewarned, this approach can also have the opposite effect. Because GAO is very concerned with being accused of discriminating against some, employees, others who are not from a preferred group may get lower ratings. An example of preferred groups - in less than a decade GAO went from majority male to 58% female (women are rated somewhat higher than men at GAO), and the agency is currently taking additional steps to shape workplace demographics (this is either a positive or a negative for those seeking employment at GAO, depending on their demographics). In summary, good workers can and often do receive marginal ratings despite doing good work at GAO. Finally - and this is not a con, just advice - keys to success at GAO are to always appear to be knowledgeable (the appearance of weakness on even a single occasion will often be held against you), never do something that angers those above you (okay that is obvious, however GAO has an especially long corporate memory), and align yourself with a respected supervisor who becomes your advocate - your supervisor is probably the most important person in determining your rating and promotion potential.

    Advice to Management

    I have none, because I know GAO will not take steps to change the flaws that concern me.

  8. Very good internship experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Graduate Summer in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Graduate Summer in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work-life balance and engaging work
    They give you responsibility because it's graduate students only- you won't spend time answering phones or fetching coffee
    High paying internship

    Cons

    Need patience for a lot of bureaucratic layers
    Getting hired depends on federal budget

  9. Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office as an intern (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I was challenged by my daily workload and really learned a lot about the subject area that we were writing the report on.

    Cons

    Unpaid internship where I was expected to take on the role of a full time employee. Not given a lot of guidance from my team leader.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your interns, give better performance reviews

  10. Helpful (2)

    Overrated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you love tedium, bureaucracy and catering to inflexible personalities, then this may be the place for you to spend your career.

    Cons

    Micromanagement is the norm. Some managers are aggressive and deceptive in their dealings with staff, but advance anyhow. A work-life balance is achievable once you're off the promotion track. Managers work crazy hours and sometimes expect you to do the same.

    Advice to Management

    They ask for employee perceptions every year in a survey but none of us know what they do with it.

  11. A great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Social Science Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Social Science Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Work on really important policy issues. Work has impact. High amounts of autonomy. Great working environment. Collaborative. Smart people. Good leadership and strong union. Strong professional development program for young professionals. Pay for performance.

    Cons

    Human resources -- they never cease to amaze me, and not in a good way. Getting promoted takes longer than one might expect. Risk averse organization

    Advice to Management

    Think hard about who you are promoting at the top (Director) level. They will be the face of GAO to Congress. Take more risks.

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