Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Scientist Reviews | Glassdoor

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Scientist Reviews

Updated October 18, 2018
68 reviews

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4.2
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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein
Bill Goldstein
24 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work life balance is the biggest advantage" (in 113 reviews)

  • "I see the lab working hard to be a great place to work, which it is" (in 35 reviews)

Cons
  • "Being a government contractor does mean there is a lot of red tape" (in 40 reviews)

  • "Of course, the cost of living in the Bay Area makes the 'good' salaries not reach as far" (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Excellent place for a CAREER"

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    As a scientist at the Lab, I have had a range of 'jobs,' all interesting and relevant to the needs of the country. I have done some great research and also worked in a more applied/operational area. My work life balance is pretty great and teamwork has been a total plus within the groups I have been a part of. The benefits are excellent as well.

    Cons

    While pay is good, the process to increase your pay is in small steps, so you have to take the long view regarding your salary trajectory. Of course, the cost of living in the Bay Area makes the 'good' salaries not reach as far. There is the bureaucracy associated with working at a national lab, of course, but I have adjusted to that as a necessary evil. Also, the priorities of sponsors can sometimes change faster than we are able to which means you can end up being tasked with a lot of short turnaround offshoot projects that are aimed to impress sponsors and bring in more money. These are not always effective.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the work toward making the Lab a flexible, diverse, and welcoming work environment. The changes are being felt around the lab and they are welcomed.


  2. "A place where you can do awesome work *and* have a life outside of work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I'm a bit over a decade into my career here at LLNL. During that decade+, I've been able to work on a wide variety of things from computer hardware, to software development, to team leadership. My colleagues are generally excellent: they work hard, their egos are non-existent, they're interested in building great stuff as a team, and they're as willing to learn as they are to teach.

    I get to work on projects that push the frontier of high performance computing. The fact that some of the world's most powerful supercomputers are just downstairs from my office is simply amazing. That I get to help, in my own small way, push that frontier forward is the opportunity of a lifetime.

    And, not only do we push the art of supercomputers forward, but there's tons of amazing, world-altering science and engineering occurring here at LLNL. The Lab's catchphrase is "science in the national interest." And it's true! When I think about all the world-class scientific discoveries which I indirectly support, I'm consistently blown away. I love my iPhone, but the work to help create the next-generation smartphone pales in comparison to all the scientific discoveries and breakthroughs occurring here at LLNL.

    As wonderful as the work atmosphere is, I'm also able to have a great non-work life. I'm able to be home each evening to have dinner with my wife and kids. My weekends are family time, not extra work time. Schedule flexibility is pervasive (for example, the AWS schedule that gives me every-other Friday off is quite nice). And I can afford to live in the same town where I work: there's no soul-crushing commute wherein it takes me 35 minutes to move 10 miles on a jammed freeway.

    Cons

    Cons — doesn't every organization have them? The Lab is a large organization. Sometimes the gears of progress grind more slowly than they should in surprising places. For example, it takes a looooong time to get a new computer for your office.

    Being that this is a quasi-governmental organization, there are various restrictions in place that you might not experience out in private industry. There are no stock options, no exceptional account-busting bonuses, no compensation for volunteer work, no kegs with fresh beer at the end of the hallway, or other types of perks that you might expect at a Google, Apple, or other typical Silicon Valley enterprises. But, the fact that I get to see my family at a reasonable time at the end of every day more than makes up for the lack.

    Another con is that Silicon Valley is close by; the companies there love to poach Lab employees. This can be difficult. It's hard to see a steady stream of my fellow colleagues get enticed by the large salaries, free lunches and dinners, in-building massages, and other Silicon Valley enticements.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out how to stem the flow of our colleagues heading out to work in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley isn't going anywhere; the problem won't solve itself. It's going to take active and creative measures — including how the Lab sells itself to potential new employees — in order to keep people working on all the important problems we have before us here at LLNL.

  3. "Computer scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    It has a Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy can be annoying at times.


  4. "Great work environment, benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The work going on at LLNL is really exciting
    People are very welcoming and friendly
    Seems to be plenty of room for advancement
    Plenty of conference opportunities

    Cons

    Sometimes takes a long time to get things approved, slow moving
    Often work long hours


  5. "High Performance Computing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Get to work in HPC on some of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

    Cons

    Sometimes very slow adopting new technologies.


  6. "Staff Scientist"

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    challenging, important work in the national interest

    Cons

    high pressure, short deadlines, easy to get over subscribed


  7. "Research Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Brilliant employees, nice place to be in

    Cons

    Fluctuation in funding, have to keep looking for projects, unstable

    Advice to Management

    employees should not be looking for projects and funds. It is management responsibility to provide funds.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Salaries"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Need to think hard to find a good reason. As a scientist, I can tell that science is treated arbitrarily, no evaluation takes place, and ranking and salary increases are determined solely by the management. Nothing good as far as I am concerned.

    Cons

    Non-existing morale, arbitrary treatment of scientists, suppressing debate, funding given on the basis of personal acquaintance and need of funding rather than worth of ideas, Also see above.

    Advice to Management

    The management displays a complete lack of honor in handling scientific work. It is completely disinterested in the quality of the science especially in the area of stockpile stewardship. Advice? Turn it 180 degrees.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    Feb 23, 2018 – Employee Relations Program Leader

    Thank you for providing your feedback. At LLNL, we highly value our scientists and all of the Laboratory community, as our mission is to strengthen the nation’s security through development and... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Computer Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    World class programming challenges, world class supercomputers to work on. Brilliant and friendly people to work with. National security is a vital mission, and that is what LLNL does.

    Cons

    Stifling red tape and regulations. Staggering amounts of training required. If you need a government clearance, two years is probably what to expect for the wait, unless you have something unusual---then it is anybody's guess.

    Advice to Management

    Work life balance is really important to me with a young family: I'm glad that's an LLNL priority. However, so is compensation parity with the private sector.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent Career Opportunity"

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - The Lab works at the frontier of technological and scientific innovation. As such, the work can be extremely challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.
     - Work/life flexibility is excellent and the benefits are superior to anything I have seen in industry.
     - Some of the brightest minds in the world work at this facility, so there is always something to learn from someone and there are always interesting things happening.

    Cons

    - Given the nature of the work, the performance expectations from management and sponsors are extremely high. This results in a very stressful work environment.
     - Things move on the geologic timescale at this facility, so sometimes it can take much longer to accomplish things than desired.

    Advice to Management

    - The management should work more closely with new employees to help them become acclimated to the laboratory missions, structure, and culture.