Underwriters Laboratories

www.ul.com
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Underwriters Laboratories Reviews in Chicago, IL

Updated February 21, 2015
Updated February 21, 2015
55 Reviews
3.3
55 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Underwriters Laboratories President and CEO Keith E. Williams
Keith E. Williams
55 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Additionally this company allows for a great work life balance (in 33 reviews)

  • The staff at UL are dedicated to the company mission of public safety and are great to work with (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • Senior management seems to not understand the core process (although this is getting better now) (in 11 reviews)

  • Not a lot of career advancement opportunities (in 9 reviews)

More Highlights

55 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1.  

    UL is a great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer in Northbrook, IL
    Current Employee - Engineer in Northbrook, IL

    I have been working at Underwriters Laboratories

    Pros

    Sense of family
    Great pay
    Awesome work environment

    Cons

    None!
    Such a great company!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Transforming very slowly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Director in Northbrook, IL
    Former Employee - IT Director in Northbrook, IL

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Tremendous mission - Public Safety. Great training opportunities at all levels, especially leadership. Great people who are highly dedicated to doing their jobs and making the world a safer place. Very flexible work environment.

    Cons

    Politics and bureaucracy have increased extensively during the current CEO's tenure. Leadership issues at the very top and the CEO moves very slowly to deal with them. One senior leader in particular is in his third role, has never communicated what he was going to do, and has never accomplished anything in any of the roles except for getting the opportunity to move to another role. Very dysfunctional and a concerning lack of accountability.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clean house even more than what has been done. Articulate a clear strategy and hold individuals accountable to attain their goals. Stop org changes which only result in buying leadership another 18-24 months before being questioned, with the result always being another org change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    A lot of potential but a low moving ship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mid Level Manager in Northbrook, IL
    Current Employee - Mid Level Manager in Northbrook, IL

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

    Pros

    Recently converted to For-profit so a competetive mindset is starting to fill in.

    Cons

    Old not for profit dominated Managment staff set in their entitlement ways. Lack of accountability at the top. Multi year restructuring is confusing to staff

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop trying to be all things to all the world and focus on what UL is good at. Enough already.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 8 people found this helpful  

    Bearacratic and perpetually mis-managed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Northbrook, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Northbrook, IL

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

    Pros

    For my first 10 years here, it was steady work, albeit not that well paid. We had 38.5 hour work weeks, frequent section outings, it was rewarding. Good engineering staff tries to do The Right Thing. LOTS of technical knowledge in one company

    Cons

    Work is not steady any more. Management thinks it can continually lay off solid people with decades' worth of relevant knowledge, then immediately replace them with wet-behind-the-ears grads and low-cost employees in foreign offices. It has fostered an environment when coworkers are stabbing each other in the back for the most profitable work so their numbers can look better and they won't be laid off in the next round. Performance reviews now include forced ranking to a bell curve, so that lots of good employees are rated low, just to provide easy justification for lay-offs later.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut out the middle 5 layers of management. Executive management needs to become more in touch with what the engineers are dealing with who interface with the customers, and not just by the boot lickers immediately below them. Focus on doing a few things really well, instead of trying to buy more and more lateral businesses to stay relevant. Being in a state of continual transformation is incredibly inefficient.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great Engineers, Bad Vision

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    I have worked at UL for 8 years now and moved all the way from Engineer to Engineering Leader.
    You enjoy the people that work with you at UL and that is the reason the company stays a float. The benefits are decent.

    Cons

    The company is based upon Engineering but there are no engineers in management. When you do make it, you are asked to be a “YES” man or else moved back to a technical role. Well the aspiration of upper management may focus on profit, there is no business plan, foresight, or even any idea what can be done to sustain growth. Former clients who worked at UL are disgusted with UL’s policy and customer service practices. The DMV looks more efficient as UL is littered with red tape. No creativity or recognition is supported by management. No Growth. It is a job and not a career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop taking advice from advisers who claim the emperor's robe is exquisite when he is actually naked.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    salary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Entry Level Management in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Entry Level Management in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    freedom, experience, area of expertise is new.

    Cons

    low salary but everything else is fine.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    should be more hands on

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Now and then

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Project Handler in Northbrook, IL
    Former Contractor - Project Handler in Northbrook, IL

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories as a contractor (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Paid for your education was easy to get to

    Cons

    Lost its loyalty to employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember the good old days when UL mattered

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    Great and rewarding experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Project Engineer in Northbrook, IL
    Current Employee - Associate Project Engineer in Northbrook, IL

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

    Pros

    Flexible schedule was nice. It was a great learning environment.

    Cons

    It seemed as if there were "chosen" people that got the larger and more visible projects, unfairly.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    okay for a stepping stone job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lab Technician in Northbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Lab Technician in Northbrook, IL

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    comfortable work conditions, personal laptop, fixed work hours

    Cons

    repetitive projects, too many meetings, low pay, slow promotion, an engineering company that specializes in obsolete technology

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop over glorifying small achievements and over-killing small issues.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Project Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work environment. Very good co-workers

    Cons

    Leadership values $ over people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take care of your people and the $ will take care of itself

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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