National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews | Glassdoor

National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated August 13, 2018
163 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.5
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Renewable Energy Lab Director Martin Keller
Martin Keller
28 Ratings

163 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
  • "If you're looking for a good work-life balance, this is the place to be" (in 33 reviews)

  • "Great mission and many great people" (in 16 reviews)

Cons
  • "Lots of bureaucracy and subject to political whims" (in 6 reviews)

  • "They will lie to you and make you think you have a chance of full time employment: it never happens" (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher II in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Researcher II in Golden, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible work environment. Interesting and challenging work. Mission driven with passionate people.

    Cons

    Experiences can vary a lot depending on center/group. There is enough interesting work to do that it is easy to be spread too thin (can be avoided, but not always easy to).


  2. "Great mission"

    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 National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Work with really intelligent people who care about the work they do.

    Cons

    There can be some bureaucratic deadlock.

  3. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Strong mission, great location, welcoming community

    Cons

    Intern pay was not great


  4. "postdoc"

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    benefits are good even for a postdoc

    Cons

    stressful sometime for fundings and resources


  5. "former NRELian"

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great mission to increase usage of renewable energy in society. Relaxed work atmosphere. Hybrid industrial/academic/government work model. At times takes the best from these approaches and occasionally takes bad parts from these as well. Many interesting research directions.

    Cons

    Changing to more academic research model (find own funding, basic research directions, post-docs doing most work, emphasis on publishing). Moving away from applied research, larger collaborative teams, and near-term research, development and deployment. Very conflict avoidant which can hinder good communication. Difficult to change career directions.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Doesn't reward expertise, mostly cronyism"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in Golden, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    In some of the divisions they have truly great technical experts.

    Cons

    Most of the organization is dominated by a bureaucracy which rewards crony relationships versus expertise. It's sad.
    Middle management has no idea and doesn't care to know about of the experience of their employees and the organization has no usable mechanism to track this. As it is, projects are assigned by managers who have very little technical expertise themselves which means they underbid projects and then assign the lowest experienced/cost people to projects to meet budgets.
    There's essentially no budget to do business development to bring in more work and on top of that the organization doesn't value Business Development people enough to hire some great sales people.

    Advice to Management

    Institute a merit-based system for assigning projects based on expertise as opposed to cronyism.


  7. "New Management Dumping Long Time Employees"

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The mission of the lab
    Good for early career

    Cons

    Constant budget concerns
    Politics
    Removal of senior staff members just prior to retirement

    Advice to Management

    There are a lot of great senior staff members that you're dumping. You haven't even bothered to get to know any of us. You have created an atmosphere where back stabbing is commonplace and accepted practice.

  8. "Postdoc Fellow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Good work and life balance

    Cons

    Slow pace, too much regulation


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A mix of few of the best yet some of the worst..."

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    For the most part, you get to work on what you want, and you get to work on it on your terms. Also, there are some people at NREL that really believe in what they're doing, and they're fun to work with. Some are likely the best in the U.S. at what they do.

    For beginners, I think it's a good place to work--something to have on your CV or resume.

    Cons

    There's very little accountability, and leadership is lacking--as in nonexistent in most areas of the Lab. Pay has little or no relationship to value, and the compensation system is somewhat random and, worse still, rewards some really bad behaviors. The technical career path is lacking, and there seems to be a bit too many people who add little or no value yet make surprising sums of money (as in significantly more than their technical counterparts who often could easily do the other's job plus their own).

    As strange as it may sound given that people are really NREL's only assets, the management doesn't really treat staff particularly well. Fortunately, interactions with management are few and far between.

    Advice to Management

    I think there's too much emphasis on billing the client rather than delivering value to the client, and that type of thinking permeates the organization.

    I'd really suggest a good, hard look at the rewards system. Is it really encouraging the kind of behavior that you want?


  10. "Great Work Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    A great work environment with very engaged and enthusiastic coworkers. The range of problems that we get to solve are interesting and keep me engaged in day to day work.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy and some interference from DoE.


Showing 163 of 232 reviews
Reset Filters