Los Alamos National Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

Los Alamos National Laboratory Reviews

Updated July 16, 2017
234 reviews

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3.7
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Los Alamos National Laboratory Director & President Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
104 Ratings

234 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance, 9/80 schedule (in 24 reviews)

  • Excellent pay and benefits, opportunity to work into placement instead of solely relying on prior education (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • very small town at a remote area (in 20 reviews)

  • Need to go to Santa Fe for any nightlife (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "A highly dysfunctional, poorly managed organization with its best science & engineering in the past."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    New Mexico is great! Los Alamos is a historical place. Superb climate.

    Cons

    No longer strong in science and engineering; mostly just an outrageously overpriced "Beltway Bandit" type organization that does government services and environmental cleanup. Many scientists and engineers have left or been laid off. Has been poorly managed for many years, but things seem to be getting worse. Plagued with severe misogyny, integrity deficiencies, waste & bureaucracy, two many pointless layers of management, many poor supervisors and managers (stupid, incompetent, control freaks, bullies, mental ill, or some combination), an HR “Department” that is belligerent and sadistic beyond belief, and even pockets of racism. The town used to be quite beautiful, but two major wild fires plus inept county management have made it ugly. The town is isolated, dysfunctional, unfriendly, mean, boring, and kind of creepy. Lots of skin and eye damage due to uv at altitude.

    Advice to Management

    LANL has no future and the U.S. does not need 3 nuclear weapons labs. Close up shop, clean things up, leave, and go find something you are actually good at doing.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Sexist old white men scientists; now a workplace full of c students from third tier universities, if that."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member (TSM) in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member (TSM) in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you like to mountain bike, road bike, hike, camp, ice skate, swim at 7200' elevation, rock climb, run, x-c or downhill ski, this is the place to be!

    Cons

    Racist, incompetent, sexist managers; pointless research opportunities that imprison one to work in nuclear bomb research one's entire career (get out asap or you'll never get another good research job at a decent university); lip service only to safety; endless red tape and 'training;' worst joband place to work I have ever experienced. Everyone I know who still works there is staying because of benefits and salary and are counting the days to retirement. Due to Q clearances, people don't get the psch help needed;lots of DV, drinking, stress, anxiety.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people to management who actually have skills to do the job; do not promote scientists who have written grants and secured tons of funding for reasearh to management positions.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "pretty bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    science is very good, interesting work

    Cons

    too much red tape, bloated management, oversight and mistrust. The place could never do a Manhatten project again. After private company took over, number of senior managers (associate directors and higher)
    went from 7 to 23

    Advice to Management

    reduce management by half. Reduce paperwork.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Going downhill..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Used to have a campus environment, but now is corporate.

    Cons

    Most of the qualifications held are self - made for management positions.

    Advice to Management

    Follow national standards in all technical and managerial positions. Stop allowing old timers to invent their own position with lax quals.


  5. "Los Alamos lab should be avoided."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits. however retirement is age based more then time in service. The pay is better then what is available in the area, so people tend to stay, remain quiet and hope for the best.

    Cons

    Lack of commitment from management for safety. repeated people getting injured or near misses and hollow words to make improvement. firing people that speak out for safety.

    Advice to Management

    change the way you do business, before DOE shuts you down.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Very disorganized place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent salary. Great benefits

    Cons

    Terrible people. I was always watched by pretty much everyone. They did not trust co-workers. My bosses did not like me from day 1. Too many strange and complicated policies. If I complain, they always say "if you don't like here, just leave!".

    Advice to Management

    Respect employees who are doing the hardest work.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Software Developer 3"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer III in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Software Developer III in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice location for outdoors oriented persons.

    Cons

    Software, and IT departments are headed by IT-layman. Managers have various backgrounds none of which are from IT, or software industries. Upward mobility is lacking, pay scale is behind peer groups across the country. Little to no ability to draw talent to Los Alamos. Tight software stack tie-in with Oracle. Little ability to choose "best tools for the job". Multiple managerial levels to deal with. For instance, I have 7 managers. LANL is manager heavy and work/talent depleted. No ability for collaboration outside of your workspace due to heavy security restrictions, even on un-classified work.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on truly competitive salaries for software developers. Develop a person first culture, rather than a cots based solution culture. Tools can't solve problems without the professionals to use them.

  8. "Not the greatest company to work for anymore."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good salary, some fun people to work with, plenty of money for training/travel

    Cons

    Isolated location, top heavy with management, limited prospects for promotion in many fields, the change from non-profit to for-profit changed the work environment for the worse. Prior to LANS taking over the contract, it was a great place to work, felt like management cared about the workers but doesn't feel like that anymore.

    Advice to Management

    listen to your employees and conduct another employee review of management. This time, you should release it instead of burying it like before.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Group Leader in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Group Leader in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great technical people to work with. Los Alamos is a wonderful town to raise a family. First responders are 2nd to none!

    Cons

    LANL has a flawed methodology for selecting people into management. A major percentage manage through bullying, fear and intimidation tactics. They are only interested in their own next promotion with no regards to encouraging, training, advancing and promoting their staffs.

    Advice to Management

    Develop a program that identifies staff with true management potential and skills. Getting the decision right in who you name manager and how you develop them is the most important decision any organizational leader can make. LANL (as a whole) has no concept of this.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Terrible place to work! Beware!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -The benefit package is decent, but the lab used to offer a pension. Since the pension has been eliminated, the overall offering is not as competitive as other places.

    Cons

    -Salary is slightly below market, and local real estate is very expensive.

    -Most of the work is soul destroying. If you want job security, you have to work with plutonium and risk your health and well being.

    -The lab management is incompetent.

    -Human resource department is the worst on the planet.

    -Most of the buildings are unsafe or outdated.

    -Way too much "training" and paper work.

    -Worker morale is in the pits, and a large majority the workforce spends a significant part of the day complaining.

    -Too much government fluff that interferes with work ethic and progress.

    -The performance review system is ancient and disheartening .

    -Support staff and facilities take at least two years and 10K dollars to replace a light bulb.

    -Office admin staff is generally poorly educated, and the turnover rate in this area is astronomical.

    -The vast majority of the R&D staff is arrogant, and not willing to learn new ideas or even that well versed in their respective fields.

    Advice to Management

    Quit or get out of the way of the technical staff to allow them to do their job. Eliminate several layers of management and give the proceeds to the individual workers.


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