Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated May 10, 2021

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4.7
96%
Recommend to a Friend
99%
Approve of CEO
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Director Dr. Ralph Semmel
Dr. Ralph Semmel
302 Ratings
Pros
  • "They have unbelievable benefits with a great work life balance(in 67 reviews)

  • "decent pay, great benefits, people are friendly(in 42 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Red Tape, less than government though(in 14 reviews)

  • "Requires a security clearance, Laurel is a bit away from Baltimore and DC(in 10 reviews)

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

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year
      Featured Review

      Impossible to describe all of the great things

      Mar 28, 2021 - Associate Professional Staff I 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Completely flexible work schedule as long as you get your projects done (this might vary depending on what group you are in). Highly dynamic, lots of super interesting projects going on across the lab, with the majority of them being interdisciplinary. So many (8000+) interesting people as well, not to mention awesome maker spaces (and a new building just completed for the R&D group). Access to so many resources, travel the country, highly competitive base pay with great benefits and absolutely insane retirement match (10.5% of base salary after only one year of service!), they'll pay for your bachelors, masters AND PhD with a long list of schools and programs to choose from, they have clubs, activities, etc. etc. The lab director has huge approval. People unanimously love APL and it really shows. There have been many times I've been working on something with a few other people and the conversation turns to "all of the reasons we love APL." It's truly an honor to work here.

      Cons

      Parking can be tough. It's practically a meme over here (although there is construction for expanding it as I write this). It can be strange getting used to the pace of projects changing at first but you learn quick.

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      6 people found this review helpful
    2. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      A wonderful place to build your career doing critical work

      May 3, 2021 - Program Manager in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Work that is critical to national security, great benefits and work environment.

      Cons

      Non-engineering/scientific staff can feel less valued

      1 person found this review helpful
    3. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years

      Opportunity to work with brilliant people but Woke Management

      May 9, 2021 - Group Supervisor in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      APL work can be technically challenging and impactful to our nation's national security. Covid has resulted in much more staff flexibility than before. There are 7,500 jobs so if you get bored with your current work, it is easy to transfer into a better opportunity. Locationsl is good and you can live nearby without dealing with excruciating traffic problems in nearby DC and Baltimore.

      Cons

      The lab culture has changed dramatically under it's current leadership. Director has fully embraced wokeness. Execution and morale during the pandemic has dropped significantly yet management seems to spend it's time sending politically charged emails to the staff and counting people based on gender identity and skin color. I think it's time to find a new employer

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    4. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      Great place to work!

      Apr 25, 2021 - Principal Cyber Engineer in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      It feels like home. I've had the opportunity to experience working as a government civilian, and as a contractor in industry - and after all of that, APL feels like home. It has a commitment to service to the Nation that permeates the culture from the top down. The atmosphere is incredibly supportive of the individual in their development and goals while focusing on the mission for our sponsors.

      Cons

      Sometimes the matrix organizational structure can cause additional challenges in staffing and executing on projects.

      2 people found this review helpful
    5. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Early & Mid-Career Technical Professionals Beware

      Feb 8, 2021 - Associate Professional Staff II in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Competitive compensation for the best performers, opportunities for newer staff to make important contributions, fully-covered tuition and leave for PhD candidates, and opportunities to create your own work through the IRAD program. There are a few key centers of excellence (Intelligent Systems Center, Space, etc.) that are worth working for if you can get in.

      Cons

      No hiring strategy; lots of bad apples get hired and wreak havoc on top projects. Certain people at the Branch and Group leadership level have too much power and will attempt to take control of projects from technical staff. These senior managers often push their own pet projects rather than the technology and practices the rest of the world uses. While work-life balance is generally good, it can be difficult to focus at work as you may find yourself working on a half-dozen unrelated projects at once, each with its own team and project manager. This becomes unbearable if the project or program managers like to micromanage, which they often do. The skills you develop at APL are not always transferrable to industry. It can be difficult to find a new job as APL's name and history suggest you're working as a professor or low-level researcher. At conferences you can't network with anyone as your entire conversation turns into explaining what APL is.

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      1 person found this review helpful
    6. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Not the place to work for driven business professionals

      May 3, 2021 - Project Manager in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      APL is great for PhDs and Engineers and takes great care of those individuals

      Cons

      If you are a business professional, you will likely find it hard to gain trust and promotions in the organization because more thought and consideration is given to the STEM employees.

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    7. 1.0
      Current Employee

      Only good for white people

      May 3, 2021 - Systems Engineer in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Location, benefits, flexible hours, job security

      Cons

      This place has a lot of racism. If you are Black, forget about getting promoted or getting hired for management. Moving up is only for Whites apparently.

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    8. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Great for Early Career Staff

      Feb 24, 2021 - Mechanical Engineer in Laurel, MD
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      There are education benefits that support early career growth. Additionally there is an emphasis on leadership development and innovation that makes working here fun. They are also very flexible on your work hours and were very supportive through the pandemic transition. They know that the staff make APL the place that it is.

      Cons

      To get involved can take a good bit of extra time. It isn't your basic 9-5. All work hours are tracked for billing purposes, so when you don't have a budget to do something it either doesn't get done or floats into personal time. They emphasize innovation, but they don't provide a budget for it, so expect to spend more than 40 hours on stuff related to work a week.

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    9. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Great Place to Work

      Apr 17, 2021 - Electrical Engineer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I love working here. I get to work on new technology every day. The compensation and work-life balance is great.

      Cons

      Your supervisor isn't always involved in the same project as you.

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    10. 4.0
      Current Employee

      Great place

      May 10, 2021 - Property Director in Atlanta, GA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good benefits, fun place to work

      Cons

      low pay, work life balance

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