Underwriters Laboratories

www.ul.com
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Underwriters Laboratories Reviews

Updated February 25, 2015
Updated February 25, 2015
201 Reviews
3.2
201 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Underwriters Laboratories President and CEO Keith E. Williams
Keith E. Williams
121 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good company, great experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Field Specialist in Cincinnati, OH
    Former Employee - Field Specialist in Cincinnati, OH

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

    Pros

    Great salary, ok benefits, nice company travel.

    Cons

    Downsizing and resizing at the present time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hold on too your talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Ok place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Facilities
    Current Employee - Facilities

    I have been working at Underwriters Laboratories

    Pros

    Don't have to do a lot of work for your pay. People who work there are all friendly. Benefits are ok. match 4% of your 401k

    Cons

    Don't except to move up in the company. They seem to lay off people then higher new people at a lower pay vs promoting within the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use the talent that you have here working already. Let multitasking people multitask and pay them what they are worth. Some of us can do more work then 3 people here at the slow pace they set.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great co-workers, extremely poor work ethics (possibly illegal)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories

    Pros

    1) Ability to make up hours instead of taking a whole day off
    2) Great co-workers

    Cons

    1) Manager of lab I worked in clearly didn't care about the concerns I brought up, about being untrained to perform certain experiments
    2) One technician explicitly told me to just claim that a test passed before even conducting it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please listen to your employees, if they have the decency and courage and to come to you with concerns then you must hear them out and actually care!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 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
  6.  

    Public safety mission - very poor management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Underwriters Laboratories full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Public safety mission - challenging work - great co-workers - benefits are adequate - salary is adequate - good engineering staff

    Cons

    Too many layers of management. Sales group is a waste of money. Too many managers from aquisitions are put in top management positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remove at least 2 layers of management - never put managers in top management positions without first making sure they understand the company business and culture.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 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
  8.  

    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
  9.  

    Working for a safer world

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Training Manager
    Current Employee - Training Manager

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

    Pros

    The company has transformed itself over the past 10 years, and has certainly moved in a positive direction. What was once a command and control environment has changed into a more diverse, and collaborative working environment.

    Cons

    There seems to be some floundering as we try to remake ourselves and change our current business model. At one time we specialized in testing and certification primarily. We now are trying to move into areas of consulting and knowledge sharing. We haven't figured it all yet, and it feels a bit chaotic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management continues to be transparent to the employees by sharing information, but it would be helpful if they became more in tune with the front line worker and their experiences with our customers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 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
  11.  

    Good established company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Camas, WA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Camas, WA

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

    Pros

    I have been with UL over 9 years and changed few positions. UL is a great company to work for! Safety Mission driven organization makes your life meaningful. I enjoy openness and good communication from our CEO. But you may find opposite from lower level management depending on Business Unit. Like in every big corporation you have many opportunities to grow if you have desire, required skills or education.

    Cons

    It is hard to advance your career as non-technical support. You may expect great benefit package but I would rate it as average. Depending on location, Business Unit and Management you may find different working environment. Some BUs are very strict and traditional and not flexible at all towards employees. Others are very good towards employees providing good work-life balance, such as remote work options and flexible hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    5 star for CEO! But lack of communication from VPs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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