National Academy of Sciences Reviews | Glassdoor

National Academy of Sciences Reviews

Updated November 3, 2017
100 reviews

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3.3
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Marcia McNutt
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100 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The work/life balance is better than any place I've worked before (in 9 reviews)

  • Great benefits for a postdoc, including travel funds (in 11 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good mission and smart people, but very bureaucratic."

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

    I worked at National Academy of Sciences full-time

    Pros

    Get to work on interesting problems.

    Cons

    Feel disempowered when some decision comes from above that you can't do anything about.


  2. "wonderful environment to work in"

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

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time

    Pros

    Interactions with smart, dedicated people - both among staff and with the scientists and policy makers that we work with
    The opportunity to become a true generalist, moving between topics from year to year
    Organization has a great mission

    Cons

    Highly variable work experience; because the organization is really a bunch of smaller units your experience is heavily dependent upon the particular unit that you are hired into

    The organization is old fashioned and has a lot of rules and processes in place (rightfully so) to protect the integrity of its work; some might find this to be an overly restrictive work environment.

  3. "Good Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people, get to travel, interesting work topics

    Cons

    Can be over-scheduled, when times are busy feels like you're unable to do a good a proper job


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Program staff receives little training and support."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Prestigious organization. High visibility projects. Most staff highly capable.

    Cons

    Like someone mentioned, senior admin staff with Master's degree are doing work such as making hotel and restaurant reservations. Program officer doing work to update their webpage, or hunt down committee member flight reservation. New employees receive HR training but no training on how to work in the division, to the point that no supplies such as pen and staples are provided and have to buy on your own. And not told about things like where to get a loaner laptop or a work laptop until some nice people happen to tell you about it a year down the road. Pay significantly lower with years of experience compared to my previous job when I started as a fresh PhD graduate.

    Advice to Management

    If you value your staff, train them in your division so they can work effectively.


  5. "Only good if you're a Porgram Officer or Above, not Admin"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits for leave, retirement, and insurance.

    Cons

    Crazy bureaucratic, administrative staff not offered flexibility to work from home like the program officers even if they're pretending to work from home, difference in how admin staff are treated vs. program officers, have to cater too much to committee members, program officers want everything to be done right away, too many type A neurotic personalities, and long meetings, and low pay. Very obvious political stance.

    Advice to Management

    Be upfront with staff, train new hires instead of telling them to ask around for directions. Treat admin the same way you treat program staff or people will look for somewhere else to work in DC.


  6. "Former employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at National Academy of Sciences full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Work with some of best people of diverse backgrounds as both colleagues, but also within Academia, government and NGO's. There is a lot of room for growth, offer great benefits and full lunch options, health and fitness, travel, etc.

    Cons

    Downsized a lot so the work was passed on to many who already struggled with a large work load.


  7. "Great non-profit experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Academy of Sciences full-time

    Pros

    Benefit package
    Competitive salary
    Travel opportunities
    Learning experience
    Formal training classes
    Nice facility

    Cons

    Little room for advancement/promotion
    Diversity issues
    Inconsistent project funding in some units

    Advice to Management

    Embrace diversity at all levels

  8. "Great learning experience; OK culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to launch your career.

    Cons

    Very limited room for growth. Restrictive policies that stifle innovation.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate with current employees about their career path. Be more nimble in a changing policy environment.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "A stepping stone before your career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Academy of Sciences full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    OK benefits and a good amount of vacation time (19 days in first year).

    Cons

    No upward mobility, high turnover rates for program staff, lack of giving credit where credit is due, zero direction for new hires and managing staff, lack of staff development, low pay compared to other locations, unpaid maternity leave, work is boring and slow.

    Advice to Management

    When hiring young, early career professionals, have the managing staff aware of how to communicate effectively with them, don't expect them to go right into something has been doing for 10-15 years. Consider hiring people with little experience for program staff instead of requiring master degrees to waste time doing travel expenses and meeting notes.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "If you're not a Program Officer or higher, then run away"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Academy of Sciences full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work/life balance if support staff. Good retirement contribution at 6%+. Some friendly co-workers. Institution has good name recognition in academic fields.

    Cons

    The work environment is toxic. Unprofessional unit directors and program staff. Never before have I worked with such a group of back-stabbers. These people will be friendly to your face and tell you they don't have any questions and that everything is on track, and 30 seconds later (not an exaggeration) they will go complain to your supervisor that you haven't answered their questions.

    Supervisors for support staff are completely unsupportive in my experience -- program staff say 'jump' and support staff are expected to say 'how high?' 'Customer service' is code for 'let the program staff do whatever they want.' Of course, when you let the program staff do whatever they want your supervisor will then question why the administration of the projects/units is a mess.

    If you're program staff, then you're experience will really depend on your particular unit. Unfortunately, it's probably very difficult to tell during an interview how professional your unit director will be.

    Pay increases seem to have nothing to do with work quality and everything to do with inter-personal politics. I've seen the worst employees whose reports are years behind schedule and who are never at work get large pay increases, while others who pick up the slack and get everything done on time have been reduced to part-time status. (Funding is the primary excuse that is used, but unit directors are smart and know how to work with division directors/HR to create 'funding problems' to push out the people they don't like under the guise of a lack of funds. Other tricks are to say the unit doesn't have the 'right mix' of staff.)

    There is very little upward mobility -- many of the senior staff are on their second or third careers and don't seem to have any desire to leave (probably due to the amazingly generous retirement benefits for older workers). This creates the conditions were people can work at NAS for many years in the exact same position because more senior level positions simply don't come open.

    Advice to Management

    To applicants: if you're early in your career, this is a good place to spend a year or two to learn the government contracting business. If you're late in your career, you can't beat the retirement benefits because the contribution increases with employee age. But if you're in finance/administration and you have some ambition and desire professionalism and a degree of autonomy, this is not the place for you -- you will be underappreciated and likely very frustrated. In DC, there are many other places you can go that have comparable compensation and benefits without the unprofessionalism and other problems that characterize the NAS culture.


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