Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Employee Reviews about "private sector"

Updated Jan 10, 2021

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4.2
83%
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89%
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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director  Christopher Wray  (no image)
Christopher Wray
106 Ratings
Pros
  • "Upward mobility, historic organization with the ability to meet great people from around the world(in 23 reviews)

  • "Great Mission, Vast Majority of People are exceptional(in 21 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Administrative burdens and long hours(in 21 reviews)

  • "NSA pays their scientists a STEM bonus to keep them from leaving to private sector(in 15 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    Reviews about "private sector"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Special Agent

      Sep 6, 2017 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great place to work and make a difference in the world. Benefits are good!

      Cons

      Can make more money in the private sector

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    2. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Government

      Jan 10, 2021 - Administrative Specialist in Jacksonville, FL
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Stability, benefits, travel, time-off, opportunities for movement

      Cons

      Pay is often less than private sector

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    3. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Special Agent

      Nov 5, 2019 - Special Agent 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      * Opportunity to be part of high-profile investigations, kind of matters that you read on the front page of a newspaper. * Opportunity to use cool techniques/technologies to gather information to further your cases.

      Cons

      * Mediocre management (especially mid-level) at best. Part of the issue is that most mid-to-high level supervisors have little or no private sector experience or proper management training. Most are career government (civilian or former military). And government is not known for churning out good business leaders. Bureau is a government organization, but it is not much different than a big corporate behemoth. Issues at the team/squad-level are not much different than a those experienced within a corporate team. But supervisors have no clue how to deal with them. * Poor technology infrastructure. It is 2019. Everything runs on a tech backend. You can’t further investigations without using a tech. Bureau has the tools. But they are poorly built/maintained. If you want to remember what tech was like back in 2000, join the Bureau. * Poor and burdensome internal processes. Agents or other investigators shouldn’t spend hours dealing with unnecessary admin matters. Even something as simple as a travel request takes an unnecessary amount of time. Learn something from the private sector. * 80/20 rule - 20% of the workforce does the real work while the rest don’t contribute at best or slow you down at worst.

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      13 people found this review helpful
    4. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      FBI Computer Scientist is a Dream Job

      Apr 3, 2019 - Computer Scientist 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Computer Scientist (CS) is far and away the best job in the Bureau. - Unlike Agents, CS's can choose their office, aren't forced to retire early, get to work on every type of case in the office, receive the best technical training out of any job in the entire Bureau (even better than Agents), and because there are so few per office and almost no one who can do what they do, they are usually treated like a precious resource. Basic job is solving high tech crimes with digital forensics and developing solutions when problems pop up. - CS job has just about the best promotion potential you can ask for in government (GS14 naturally, some GS15 and SES positions exist). Much better program management than other career fields. - FBI has an amazing mission. Look forward to coming to work *every *single *day. - US Government has amazing benefits. Look forward to a ton of days off, a mountain of sick leave, comp time every time you travel, overtime if you're not an Agent. - Programs that back-pay college or pay for graduate degrees - Most people assume you have the best job when you're recruiting / meeting a liaison / meeting a victim. And they're right.

      Cons

      - 7yr up or out for line supervisors is stupid. More often than not, the best supervisors ride out until theyre demoted while the average or below average ones move up. Leadership / climate surveys seem to have no effect on promotion potential and bad leaders are never demoted. - NSA pays their scientists a STEM bonus to keep them from leaving to private sector. FBI has been authorized this bonus for years but hasn't paid it out because, probably, it's a family feud with whoever doesn't get it. - There's a few offices that don't treat their CS's well because some crusty agents don't want to share interview / forensics / analytical work. Looking at you Atlanta. - Not enough employees to actually meet the quantity of work - US Government is highly tolerant of incompetent employees / leaders. - Most starting salaries are terrible. Non agents can expect to start at GS7 and agents start at GS 10 (keep in mind, agents require ~3years prior job experience). Hidden pro: promotions are much faster and more reliable than private sector. This is maybe acceptable for clerical positions but the average starting salary for private sector CS is 60-70k$. - Hiring requirements for CS's are too strict. While this does lead to a very high skill floor, it also leads to a lot of trouble hiring and retaining talent. What percent of cases are solved with Differential and Integral Calculus (excluding crypto challenges)? - Us vs Them. It's a thing. It's the way some special agents treat support. It's the way some IA's treat SOS's. It's the way if you are not directly part of a squad that solves cases (HR, IT department, security, clerical folks) you are occasionally treated as non mission essential, are heavily limited in promotion, and will probably never receive a reward any higher than 'employee of the month' because your contribution to the mission is less tangible. - Overlapping job roles leads to constant nonsense. Examples... - SOS vs IA: Staff Operation Specialist (SOS) is probably the most important person on most teams and does most of the "solving the case" intel work. But they cap at GS12 and have no degree requirement. Meanwhile, Intel Analysts (IA) have a positive degree requirement, a challenging-ish recruitment process, tons of training on paperwork, can hit GS14 naturally (higher depending on the office/program) and yet most produce almost nothing of value and everyone lets them know it all the time. This leads to IA leadership, which rates and evaluates SOS's, sometimes making SOS life miserable out of pettiness, or flat out stealing the SOS job role for themselves while trying to still meet report quotas. This will only get worse when Data Analysts start in the near future and are capable of using modern analytics tools to do what IA's won't learn how to do themselves (correlate data using SQL / Splunk/ etc and draw conclusions efficiently). Obviously not every intel leader is a bad leader, but its a frequent enough issue to mention. -IA vs SA - IA asks Special Agent "what happened with X, I need to write a report on it so people know about it." SA says "I already wrote a report." "Oh... uh... let me read what you wrote and write it the official way." Reporting on what already happened is not a function that requires a separate job. - CS vs CART (computer analysis response team) vs DOS (digital operations specialist) vs SA with DExT (special agent with an in-house cert): All of these jobs do digital forensics, but the one thats supposed to be focused on it has the lowest hiring standards, the most rules, the least amount of training and the lowest promotion potential. Digital Forensics is a big challenge and the more brains the better, but overlapping turf and likely never-gonna-get-solved disparities between pay, training, and competence cause frustration on all sides when instead these jobs should be working together like a high tech dream team.

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      18 people found this review helpful
    5. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years

      It's what you make of it

      Jun 14, 2019 - Language Analyst 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Mission oriented - Work alongside some truly brilliant and selfless individuals - A real plethora of career paths and opportunities - Decent benefits, flexible schedule options and time off

      Cons

      - Very invasive TS clearance process, be ready to bare all, keep nothing in the closet and always represent the organization wherever you go. - Salaries still not keeping up with the private sector, which is especially acute in technical specializations where turnover is steep.

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    6. 3.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Life as an Analyst

      May 2, 2019 - Intelligence Analyst 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Resume booster for sure.

      Cons

      Hard to leave. The private sector pays much more and is very competitive money wise. Anyone can get in the FBI as long as they can pass a polygraph and background check. The Analyst role is ok but can really suck depending what squad and threats you are assigned. Also what office makes a huge difference. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re fresh out of college or older And have a rich spouse.

      4 people found this review helpful
    7. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 10 years

      Special Agent

      Feb 7, 2014 - Special Agent in San Diego, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Don't listen to the critics. Usually these are people who were kicked out of the organization for sub par performance or weren't Agents (not to knock on support personnel they are wonderful and keep everyone afloat). Great salary in the 6 figures usually by third year (location dependent). Started off with $103k ended with ~155k and a retirement pension. Excellent federal retirement benefits for Agents. Highly talented community with a mission that is intriguing and always keeps you interested. Get to live anywhere in the United States as there are locations in small areas and big cities and sometimes overseas. Job never gets old because you can specialize in many facets--you can find a fit based upon your personality type. intelligence, counterintelligence, criminal, white collar, civil rights, swat,.list goes on. My background--military, gov, then private sector. I've seen it all. FBI gives you a solid balance to have a fascinating job with competitive pay.

      Cons

      Can be bureaucratic at times but beats slaving away in the private sector solely for profit. The job is always changing. Long hours and weekends at times.

      17 people found this review helpful
    8. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Bureaucratic, poor front line leadership without seasoned case experience

      Nov 20, 2016 - Special Agent in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Excellent benefits, interesting mission at times, talented motivated field agents protecting the country (the majority of of front line supervisory agents do not fall in this category). I've worked in the field on both the national security and criminal fronts have served with some inspiring Agents; however, one thing most Agents can agree on and can be overheard venting their frustrations at is the poor front line management (not executive level).

      Cons

      Full disclosure, this job is nothing like the movies. Lots of paperwork. Lots of workplace gossip and rumors. Lots of restrictions. Additionally, a bad supervisor can turn a great assignment into an awful one and there's a disturbing trend that the Agents that can't hack it in the field or are just lazy, seek administrative supervisory leadership roles. This directly impacts you as the Agent because they rate you, review your cases, and are your initial approval authority. As someone who served in the military and local law enforcement, the FBI has some of the worst front line supervisors I have ever seen. I've seen motivated, talented, and experienced Field Agents get side-lined or worse have a supervisor seek to undermine their reputation because they didn't align with their boss. If you have are independent hard charging motivated individual, this is not the organization for you. Stay in the private sector, local law enforcement, or military.

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      9 people found this review helpful
    9. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Top Divisional employee, working in the Director's Office with the new Director James Comey. R. Mueller is now gone.

      Nov 30, 2013 - Management and Program Analyst in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Worked at one field office for 4 years which was the highlight of my career. Then back to HQ. Am involved in a lot of high level projects that includes assistant directors up to the director with special projects that I am so proud of. It's great to say you work for FBI.

      Cons

      Right now hiring freeze. Most of the unhappy comments are when supervisors are put in place with no leadership capabilities. Many newer employees (under ten years) have been recruited from private sector with unbelievable skills. As soon as some of the legacy workers who have been in the bureau so long retire, some of the new people can move up bringing the Bureau up to date.

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    10. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years

      Simply the best in the World.

      Sep 8, 2013 - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The mission, the people, the training and the experiences are unequaled in any job, in any country. At the forefront of protecting our nation, every employee feels they are essential to the defense of the nation and our communities.

      Cons

      Long hours, lower pay than private sector. Agents have to be ready to travel and permanently move every so often (but the moves are explained well before you are officially sworn in).

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