University of Southern California

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University of Southern California Reviews

Updated August 21, 2014
Updated August 21, 2014
551 Reviews

4.2
551 Reviews
Rating Trends

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University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias
C. L. Max Nikias
217 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • An effort is made by the administration to foster a real work-life balance (in 16 reviews)

  • Great benefits include tuition remission and doubling of 403(b) contributions (i (in 33 reviews)


Cons
  • It is not very safe for students to live around the campus (in 13 reviews)

  • Reviews on this site from mostly student workers that are happy to have any job (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Has its Ups and Downs But a Great Student Job Overall

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    The Office staff is really nice and will help you with any questions you have. As this is a student position you will make relationships with people from different backgrounds and majors that you may not have met otherwise. Getting to know them all has made me feel I was a part of a small family while attending USC

    Cons

    Management can be better. We are often at the receiving end of patrons, students, staff or faculty who have issues with the facility; this is often seen with swimmers, and law students.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Trojan pride

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    International, open mind, many creative people and it's great honor to be a Trojan member!

    Cons

    Safety needs enforcement, need more places for dining

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    A comfortable environment in which to learn and grow professionally at the start of one's career

    Former Employee - Statistician II  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Statistician II in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    The environment is relaxed in most cases and the ability to flex one's schedule is often available. The benefits package is very strong, especially with regard to retirement, medical, vacation, and tuition reimbursement. For the reasons cited above, most staff/faculty are often in good spirits. As most university environments go, it is one where you will often be mentally stimulated and consistently encouraged by the bright students, staff, and faculty that you get to interact with each day.

    Cons

    You will likely trade salary for those good benefits and flexible working conditions, though the trade off is not an egregious one. In my case, my position was grant funded and I was not the one responsible for writing grants so that sort of uncertainty may not fly with some (n.b. many university staff are funded via fixed term grants). As the university environment is, to type, a highly federated one your experience may vary greatly depending upon what division/department/school/institute you are housed within.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    research assistant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    beautiful campus, very good insurance

    Cons

    low salary, and maybe unfair in terms of workload

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    higher salaries

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    No surprise

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

    Pros

    Stable, low stress but it depends on your adviser

    Cons

    low pay, minimal for acceptable living standard

  7.  

    Great university!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    The architecture is amazing. The school is amazingly symmetrical, beautiful, well-groomed. Students are also very friendly, diverse, and accommodating. Food is tasty, and the staff is quite helpful as well.

    Cons

    Scary community. Parking is expensive. Mid-to-high management is very unprofessional. Don't like the way they treated their adjunct faculty.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    A neutral experience at the Keck School of Medicine

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst I  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst I in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    I would say the work-life balance is good here. I have never ever worked in a place where vacations and day offs are granted so liberally. No one questions you when you decide to take a day off and I have never seen my manager ever deny someone a vacation due to work. USC systems (Kuali and Workday) are also mostly cloud based so it is easy to work from home and many employees take advantage of this. Health insurance is also nice and the 403b retirement contributions are very generous. I don't have children but supposedly tuition is free if your children attend USC. The winter recess is also nice and they give a lot of vacation time and holidays as well.

    The people are also extremely friendly and the environment is very lax with very little pressure. There is also no dress code here and I have seen some of my coworkers (including professors) wear outfits that would get them sent home at some of my former employers. I don't know if this matters to anyone but there are also a lot of physically attractive people here (both students and staff workers).

    Cons

    Compensation at USC is way below market. I work at Keck and our compensation is far lower than UPC (the main campus) because we do not generate as much revenues as UPC and in my specific department we live and die by research grants. The professors are the rock stars and revenue generators here so if you are a staff member, you are second class. While I mentioned the work-life balance is good here, the workload is incredibly heavy in my specific department since our department is heavily understaffed. My coworkers and I often do not have enough time to finish our work since overtime is not always granted. The systems here are horrific and the technical skills of many of my coworkers are often lacking (although to be fair, it isn't really different from some of the large F500 corporations I worked at). Parking is also extremely expensive here and it is really strange to see some of the star professor freak out about getting a parking ticket.

    There isn't a lot of growth opportunities at USC and if you want a large raise or a promotion, you will have to apply for a new job at USC and move out of your position. The pay raises are abysmal and are barely above inflation. A manager at USC once said to me that USC is not a place where you come to start your career but a place where you end your career (although this obviously isn't applicable to faculty/post-docs/research assistants). Performance evaluations are also really haphazard and often do not really reflect the level of achievement. There is also a lot of infighting and politics in my department although it is very passive aggressive. Morale is also low in my department since there were layoffs in the past.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the systems and also replace some of the managers. The managers are often lacking skills and are here mostly due to tenure and seniority. Also increase the budget for my department since we are often shafted when it comes to our budget.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Benefits but Low Pay and Poor Management

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great students, great benefits, good location

    Cons

    Low pay, long hours, a lot of work and very little acknowledgment for the end result or work put in to achieve end result.

  10.  

    Decent but you can tell organizationally it's on the decline.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    Paid sick and vacation days to full time staff. Holiday pay for major holidays and retirement benefits for full time staff. Provides a great opportunity to help mentor a diverse student body. Great counseling center that deals with work life balance issues. Access to insurance options. Generally adequate workstations and a beautiful campus.

    Cons

    Technology implementation is slow in some units and often botched (there are a lot of generational gaps between upper and lower levels). Not much room for advancement. Mistrust and sometimes actual passive aggressive behavior between units and overall culture of short cutting in procedural and administrative decisions. As a result growth opportunity is usually confined to within your unit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your own staff more. Work to prevent fires instead of waiting and putting them out. Waiting until something is already a problem only makes it harder to solve. You might be doing well planning for the flashier futures of sports, medicine and scientific research but the administration organization that supports those endeavors is not healthy. Wages are pretty stagnant and there have been layoffs, yet you build more and continue to charge your students (who really should be the main focus) more money. The organization would probably benefit if some of you retired.

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Good benefits, little opportunity for internal advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Specialist  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Project Specialist in Los Angeles, CA

    Pros

    I appreciate the employee benefits, including tuition reimbursement. Healthcare benefits are also better than average. Depending on department, you are surrounded with people who are expert in their field and have a passion for their job. The energy on campus is fun with many lectures and concerts to attend. Professional development opportunities are also available. An effort is made by the administration to foster a real work-life balance.

    Cons

    A major con is that they rarely promote from within, and job titles are salaries are bogged down in bureaucratic mud. The effort to get a raise is so time consuming and almost impossible that people don't have the time or energy to pursue it. Whenever I've gotten a pay raise it's because I've left the position to go to a different school/department. It shouldn't be that way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward your good employees with raises and promotions. Don't make them jump through hoops and get sign off from the dean and vice provost if they want a raise. Loosen your stringent salary and job title requirements, so that employees can advance even if there isn't an "official" position they can easily fit in.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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