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Sandia National Laboratories

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Sandia National Laboratories

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Sandia National Laboratories FAQ

Have questions about working at Sandia National Laboratories? Read answers to frequently asked questions to help you make a choice before applying to a job or accepting a job offer.

Whether it's about compensation and benefits, culture and diversity, or you're curious to know more about the work environment, find out from employees what it's like to work at Sandia National Laboratories.

All answers shown come directly from Sandia National Laboratories Reviews and are not edited or altered.

53 English questions out of 53

January 7, 2020

What is paid time off like at Sandia National Laboratories?

Pros

Sandia has very rewarding and interesting work. Onsite healthcare is a great resource and can be used at no-cost for employees. There are opportunities to move around to different departments. Although some PTO has been taken away recently, it is still more generous than most places. Depending on the department, there are opportunities to work remotely. The people and culture are great.

Cons

In my three years at Sandia I have seen benefits slowly being taken away such as reductions in PTO, increases in insurance premiums, and opportunities for promotions were dramatically decreased, flex time was changed to make it nearly impossible to use, and flextime on travel was taken away. The year end bonuses were pretty much taken away and we were told that base salary increases would make up for the difference in pay however, this was not true. This is all based on the performance process and anybody that scores "above average" receives a non-base award. In theory, this is how it should work but the problem is that managers are pushed to use a forced distribution so almost everybody receives a "average" rating which does not qualify for a non-base award. Before 2019, "average" performers did qualify for a non-base award which is why most people recently lost their year end bonuses essentially meaning a decrease in take home pay from the previous year. To make it worse, management tells us that "we should be proud of an "average" rating because Sandia employees have a history of performing higher than the general workforce". If we are held to higher standards, we should be compensated as such.

Advice to Management

It is frustrating to be told all year that you are doing great work, your performance is great, and your attitude and persona are exceeding Sandia's 8 behaviors but come review time, you are just an "average" employee. Greater transparency would be appreciated. When we were told that base increases would help supplement the loss of non-base increases, we expected this to be true and based on the raise packages this year, it was not the case. Bring back opportunities for promotions. With the current situation the only way to get a decent raise is to change job titles which typically means changing departments. This causes a high internal turnover in a lot of departments and the time and cost to get new employees up to speed outweigh the cost savings of limited promotions.

In my three years at Sandia I have seen benefits slowly being taken away such as reductions in PTO, increases in insurance premiums, and opportunities for promotions were dramatically decreased, flex time was changed to make it nearly impossible to use, and flextime on travel was taken away.

January 7, 2020

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June 27, 2022

Does Sandia National Laboratories offer relocation assistance?

Pros

Excellent benefits package. Up to 10% retirement matching, generous sick leave, tuition assistance, health insurance.

Cons

I do not have any cons.

Excellent benefits package.

June 27, 2022

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November 13, 2021

Does Sandia National Laboratories have a sabbatical or career break policy?

Pros

Most positions have good work life balance A lot of new telework options have been developed over the last two years but all interesting work remains onsite. 4 -5 weeks of vacation depending on seniority. Diverse and inclusive Decent extended leave of absence, even though not as good as past. No compensation differences for onsite vs offsite work

Cons

Total comp causes pay discrepancy for some fields but boosts others. Other labs in NM and Cali pay better and have better benefits. Healthcare options keep getting worse Benefits have drastically changed since Honeywell has been in charge Raises don't keep up with inflation 20% of the workforce gets bonuses in a forced distribution rating system Sick leave and Paid Family leave are combined Career top out most ALD are brought in externally and internal candidates are overlooked. Good to not create the old good old boys club but discouraging for current staff. Culture created during COVID split the workforce. Those who could telecommute were able to live their lives. Those onsite were restricted and told conflicting information throughout the pandemic.

Advice to Management

Work on moral

Decent extended leave of absence, even though not as good as past.

November 13, 2021

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February 3, 2022

Does Sandia National Laboratories offer dental insurance?

Pros

They have Good Benefits with your regular medical, dental and vision. Great 401k contribution as they will donate on your behalf without even having to match. The schedule is the best part because you can work remote, work a 9/80 or 4/10 schedule.

Cons

Pay is not at market rate for the Bay Area. Also, Science and Engineer workers are promoted up the ladder quicker than business people.

Advice to Management

Value your business constituents and pay more, else people will leave for better companies in the Bay Area.

They have Good Benefits with your regular medical, dental and vision.

February 3, 2022

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May 3, 2021

Does Sandia National Laboratories offer family leave?

Pros

Incredible family-life balance: The culture encourages using vacation, sick leave, personal time etc. Funds are available to support volunteer activities with local schools. Generous maternity (6 weeks at 100% pay and 6 weeks at 75% pay) and paternity (12 weeks at 75% pay) leave policy. Management seems to generally be supportive of alternative schedules or part time schedules. Excellent lateral mobility: Sandia supports many different interesting missions for a variety of US Government customers, and there are few to no barriers to lateral movement. Especially for early career staff who aren't sure what they want to specialize in, Sandia provides opportunities to learn about and become an expert in a wide range of skills. Generous pay relative to cost of living: While Albuquerque is by no means the most desirable city in the US to live in, one benefit is the relatively low cost of living. When cost of living is taken into account, salaries at the NM site are very generous. Salaries at other sites receive a small adjustment (generally upwards) for cost of living, but as far as I am aware the adjustment is generally much smaller than the cost of living difference.

Cons

Poor vertical mobility: Promotions have been capped at a rate of ~1/person/20 years, and when people are promoted they generally receive a pay raise of less than 5%. Because of this, promotions are generally handed out based on seniority. Performance ratings are gated such that only 40% can receive an "upper" rating, and only "upper" ratings receive bonuses. Management is of course exempt from promotion caps and bonus restrictions. Sandia just hired a member of the executive management team from outside the Labs, which is unusual and possibly unprecedented. Some are taking this as a sign that Sandia no longer believes in the ability of the system to recognize and develop internal talent. Uncertain Future: Sandia has been in the news repeatedly due to failures to deliver on critical missions. The current median experience level is ~7 years, and that number seems likely to decrease over the next 5 years as many experienced staff retire. Sandia historically only hired candidates with a 3.5 or greater GPA and a graduate degree, but is now hiring candidates with bachelor's degrees (into R&D roles) regardless of GPA. Taken individually, none of these are crippling, but in aggregate they raise questions and red flags that management isn't addressing. Of further concern is that the internal discussion forum and the ombuds office were recently closed, removing opportunities for constructive feedback/discussion.

Advice to Management

Take advantage of the recent cultural changes due to COVID and allow remote work where possible. Reduce the communications barriers, and differences in compensation approach, between management and staff.

Generous maternity (6 weeks at 100% pay and 6 weeks at 75% pay) and paternity (12 weeks at 75% pay) leave policy.

May 3, 2021

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53 English questions out of 53

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Researchers from Sandia, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology are testing how explosives could help harness geothermal power and create underground networks of geothermal wells. https://bit.ly/3NaUMNC
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Exploring explosives for expanding geothermal energy
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