Underwriters Laboratories Reviews

Updated March 31, 2015
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57 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

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

  2. 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)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good work environment. Very good co-workers

    Cons

    Leadership values $ over people.

    Advice to Management

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

  3. Good working balance

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

    I have been working at Underwriters Laboratories as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Colleagues are very friendly. All team members always go out for lunch. Even VP of the department is willing to have lunch with other employees.

    Cons

    Lots of work. Work overtime. We need more staff on our department. But our department is growing. Hope everything would be better and better.

    Advice to Management

    Management need to be more well-organized. Even there is regular meeting and tracking process. But it would be more effective to log in working hours on each project.

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  5. slow working pace, encourages to balance between life and work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Strategy Analyst Intern in Chicago, IL
    Current Intern - Strategy Analyst Intern in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Underwriters Laboratories as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    not stressful, do not need to work extra hours

    Cons

    not so many young people working there.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Great colleagues, too much politics, flawed management

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

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    My peers were fantastic. All of the joys and frustrations were shared mutually, and we made sure never to hang anyone out to dry. Even if management didn't show a lot of respect to their subordinates, we subordinates would show that respect to each other. The noble ones --- and there were several --- were the hardest to leave because they were the ones who kept the optimism going when the morale dropped. They were the ones who stayed and kept doing their job, or they left and found positions deserving of their dedication and abilities.

    The fitness center in the basement, and the extracurricular activities ran by the employees were a lot of fun and helped with managing the work-life balance. Those helped foster the deep relationships beyond a simple working one. The fitness center especially was worth it --- a $10/month perk that had classes and quality equipment.

    Medical, dental, and vision benefits were excellent, and

    Cons

    A month after I started, they re-structured the management hierarchy, and a year after that, they made the move to a for-profit structure. These changes clouded the actual mission of the company, and it lowered morale everywhere. Political games were played during the management re-structure, preventing several people deserving of promotions and creating an untrusting environment that remained for the duration of my employment. This extended into the technical hierarchy, making it difficult to become technical reviewers and leaders unless you played the games. I knew of several colleagues that left because of it.

    The other major drawback of the management re-structure was the movement of managers into departments of which they had no knowledge and/or about which they didn't care to learn. The departments which which I interfaced were run in the same manner with very little flexibility for the nature of the department's business. Some groups had a harder time getting projects through, but the whip was always cracked onto other groups less deserving.

    Advice to Management

    Stop playing games with your employees. There were/are several engineers with significant potential that were/are thumbed down and lost/are losing their motivation. They are the knowledge base, the technical expertise, and if you want to keep them in your company and not leaving for your customers or your competitors, treat them with the same respect you want from them.

  7. none

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    opportunity, good culture, personal growth

    Cons

    low pay, no benefits, slow work flow

    Advice to Management

    n/a

  8. lab tech experience

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

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

    Pros

    Great company to work for and lots of room for growth

    Cons

    The hiring process is very long

  9. Helpful (1)

    Men favored over women.

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

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits are okay. Every year they seem to get more expensive and the deductibles higher and higher. They have short term disability, but not long term disability available.

    Cons

    Management is so-so. There seems to be no communication between the various levels of management. If you get a good manager to work for it is pure luck.

    Advice to Management

    It seems as though management only cares about the engineers. They put them on a different level than all of the other employees. The average person is undercompensated in general.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Terrible Leadership - Losing Clients and Profits

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

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

    Disapproves of CEO
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good engineers who have a mindset to help people.
    Nice cafeteria food.

    Cons

    Junior management does not back up staff on decisions.
    Senior management has been destroying the company and the mission by promoting laziness, bad behavior, poor performance, and chasing clients away. Half of the executive staff including the president are not even there for most of the year. Where are they? They don't even come down from the 3rd floor to talk to people.
    Standards are written poorly and vaguely, thus the competitors end up taking advantages of any loopholes.
    PDEs take too long to act on critical decisions.
    Overpaid executives and managers grow the overhead to astronomical proportions. This makes it impossible to compete with other companies.

    Advice to Management

    Junior management needs to speak up to the senior management and actually explain to them what's going on and why we are losing profit. The problem is not in the bottom employees. We are too expensive, our FUS fees are ridiculous, and we have way too many program managers and support staff who bring nothing in for revenue.

  11. Project Engineer

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Work-life balance, culture, benefits; flexible hours, core hours 9-3.

    Cons

    bad leadership, peers getting promotion based on favoritism, unqualified managers. Management decision changes quarterly. Too much dirty politics due to unqualified managers making bad decisions. Managers need to establish business management degrees, or hire new qualified managers.

    Advice to Management

    Need new middle-management leadership, need to establish fair accountability. Management needs to promote employees that deserve based on qualifications not favoritism. Need to omit prejudice behavior from management and therefore peers.

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