Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated December 4, 2017
289 reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance is impressive compared to other companies (in 27 reviews)

  • Great benefits, flexible work schedule, and freedom to pursue several different technical work areas (in 27 reviews)

Cons
  • Not using the concept of a matrix organization correctly (in 9 reviews)

  • At least in AMDS the line management tries to focus on project management tasks more than they should and doesn't spend enough time focusing on staff (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great Organization!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Staff II in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Staff II in Laurel, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have been with four organizations in my professional career since college and this is by far the best. In addition to great programs, diversity and inclusion are highly valued; in fact, many of the top executives are now women including half the sector heads. Innovation is highly valued and the director has put in place a number of initiatives that are really exciting and forward leaning.

    Cons

    Middle management can be overly cautious at times.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the push on innovation and inclusion. I have seen an amazing transformation of the Lab in the past several years, and the future looks bright.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Program Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Top quality staff and management
    Exciting, important projects
    Great work-life balance
    Excellent benefits (medical, 401K/403B, tuition)

    Cons

    Does lack some of the pace and sense of urgency of industry
    Compensation aligned with a national lab, not private sector

  3. "A good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Great mission and smart, dedicated staff

    Cons

    Semi-govt... slow, conservative, a little behind the times in some ways


  4. "Intern"

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

    Pros

    Great experience with very qualified professionals

    Cons

    Results focused with a lot of bureaucracy


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Air and Missile Defense Sector"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Professional Staff
    Current Employee - Senior Professional Staff
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Work with top-notch experts in their field(s) and make critical contributions to challenges across a variety of areas. Excited to go to work every day.

    Cons

    As with any job, management can be challenging. My direct manager does not (in my opinion) approach the hiring process in a fair way, and it is anybody's guess how and why people are reclassified to the next job level.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Lots of Varied Opportunities, Management Focus on Reducing Spending"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff II in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff II in Laurel, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There are so many different projects and technical focus areas at the lab that it makes for a great place to be if you aren't sure exactly what you want to do or think you might want to eventually try something new. The work is very stable and people are encouraged to find work that they want to be involved in. Many people are allowed to work part time. The 401K contributions are very generous.

    Cons

    The executive management has a big focus on reducing over head spending and it makes it feel like this a for profit organization, but it isn't. They claim that they encourage risk taking, but they do not seem to value people who take risks if they don't pan out. It often seems like you have to be a part of some sort of "white man's" fraternity to become a part of management. The pay is below average for the area, especially for the more experienced positions. Management seems disconnected from the general staff and to be to rearward looking. "Lab policies" at best are vague and at worst don't exist for things from overtime to dress code to supervisor approved absence which results in varied implementation across departments, branches and groups. Pay raises are generally mediocre even for top performers. Mediocrity is accepted in many positions.

    Advice to Management

    While APL's past is important to understand, it seems that the vision for the future is unclear and varies across the lab and the path to achieve this vision is unclear and inconsistent. Diversity (especially at the group and higher management levels) and equal pay for women and minorities need to be a bigger focus.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Professional Staff in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Professional Staff in Laurel, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great working environment and great benefits. The lab has a 403b in wich they currently match 10.5% as long as employees contribute 4%, They have the best education benefit I have ever seen. Full reimbursement as well as pre-pay for tuition.

    Cons

    No clearly defined process to advance job classification, i.e. get reclassified to a higher classification, if you are not a scientist. As with most large companies, the Lab can be very politicalbut thankfully senior management gets to deal with this.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Great Company!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I have been at APL for a little over a year. The variety of interesting (and fun!) projects, very supportive environment (it is clear my peers and supervisors/managers value my input and want me to succeed), and education/career growth opportunities make me want to stay here for many more years to come. I also enjoy flex time, and being able to work from home if needed.

    Cons

    The lab is geared towards science/engineering, so if your work doesn't involve developing the next widget, it can be hard to get visibility when applying for internal grants. Also, I wish they would increase the training budget.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the innovation initiatives!


  9. "Supportive culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Intern
    Current Employee - Research Intern
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    No apparent office politics or cutthroat culture

    Cons

    Social atmosphere lacking
    Quality of organization culture not uniform across divisions

    Advice to Management

    Encourage employees to interact with one another (even a conversation) without involving work


  10. "Mostly Positive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Good compensation, low pressure, mostly engaging work

    Cons

    Low pressure can be a negative as much as it is a positive. Sometimes the work can be a bit staid, as well

    Advice to Management

    Care more about your employees


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