Naval Research Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

Naval Research Laboratory Reviews

Updated April 11, 2017
62 reviews

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3.9
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62 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work-life balance (compared to academia) (in 5 reviews)

  • Great place for connections and a lot of very smart, knowledgeable personnel; a good place to start a career in scientific research (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • and this can make it difficult to do your job (in 3 reviews)

  • There is a fair bit of red tape and hoops you need to jump through to get things approved by the Navy (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Naval Research Laboratory (More than a year)

    Pros

    The environment fosters collaboration and there are many exciting projects.

    Cons

    There is a fair bit of red tape and hoops you need to jump through to get things approved by the Navy.


  2. "Lack of urgency"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Naval Research Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    A place to do research

    Cons

    Relaxed working environment to a degree that people may not take work seriously

    Advice to Management

    Make sure people working there know there is accountability from him or her.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Mail and File Clerk"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    Job security, hard working colleagues.

    Cons

    The pay was lousy. There was very little support from management. Low morale. Hard work with no reward.

    Advice to Management

    Show more concern for your people and their careers and reward hard work with a decent pay increase when merited.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. "project coordinator"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Hamilton, VA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Hamilton, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Naval Research Laboratory (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people to work for. Upper Management cares out their people

    Cons

    i have no cons to share

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work


  6. "Senior Aerospace Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Research Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    #1 - autonomy. NRL accepts long-term research project proposals from its employees. The process of getting funding is very rigorous and will weed out bad ideas (and good ones that are not well presented). If successful, you can lead a project with ~$500K/year funding for several years to explore an important new area. #2 - Other NRL employees. Most people at NRL are extremely intelligent, accomplished, well educated and highly motivated. About 1/3 are PhD's. #3 - interesting work. In most areas the lab equipment and computational tools are very advanced. #4 - fringe benefits are very good for those who seek to pursue additional education. There is also a program that enables researchers to take up to a one-year sabbatical to do research at an institution of her/his choice, if the place and topic area fit NRL's mission.

    Cons

    #1 - The long and time-consuming list of management approvals required for travel, procurements, and publications can make it difficult to accomplish anything efficiently. #2 - Pay is limited - not bad for a researcher but considerably less than one can make in the private sector. #3 - if you don't keep management informed of what you're doing, you can be forgotten. Definite lack of rigor in understanding the contributions employees make. Management does not seek feedback enough. #4 - sloppy financial control, due in large part to U.S. Congress's very poor (in my opinion) budget process. Money for projects is often received in the middle of the fiscal year and must be spent by year end. Management has to charge labor hours for unfunded projects to other budgets that do have funding. This leads to management getting accustomed to very loose cost tracking. This leads to capricious decision making when allocating staff hours to specific projects. A project may end up getting to use only half the money brought in by the principal investigator and that can be frustrating. #5 - space constraints. In the private sector you can simply rent more space if you need it and can afford it. On a government site you can neither build nor rent new space. Buildings here are old and generally not in the best repair IMHO.

    Advice to Management

    Try to address "cons" listed above; keep up the good work on "pro" areas. What else can I say?


  7. "Post-Doc"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Research Laboratory (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place for connections and a lot of very smart, knowledgeable personnel; a good place to start a career in scientific research.

    Cons

    Depending upon your division, the facilities may be out-dated. Purchasing is a problem; it takes a long-time for orders to be fulfilled.

    Advice to Management

    Streamline the procurement process; update old laboratory space.


  8. "Postdoctoral Chemist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Research Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The research projects are exciting and typically well funded. There is nearly unfettered access to excellent instrumentation for any materials science research you may wish to perform. Colleagues researchers are knowledgeable and helpful.

    Cons

    Government work can be difficult to adjust to coming from academia, specifically the mechanisms by which instruments and research supplies are ordered and delivered to the laboratory.


  9. "Great research, low pay for a PhD, slow work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Research Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Not only does groundbreaking research happen at NRL but it also gets transitioned to real-world systems. You can be a part of the entire cycle from basic to applied research and then eventually to transition. The work-life balance is amazing and it's a very low-stress environment.

    Cons

    The pay for a PhD in an equivalent field (for me) is almost twice as much in the private sector.
    Upward mobility is nearly non-existant.
    Things often move at an extremely slow pace.

    Advice to Management

    streamline the acquisition of materials & support, facilitate leadership development, promote from within, and offer better base pay.


  10. "Electronics Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electronics Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Electronics Engineer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    In general you get to work with cutting technology with all the test equipment you could possibly want. Very stable position, with friendly and very smart coworkers.

    Cons

    Because this is a research institution the focus for pay reviews is research focused (papers, conferences ,etc). As a software developer this makes it hard to look like you are contributing and thus hard to move up. Also working for the government can feel like you are working with both arms tied.

    Advice to Management

    Create a different tract for non research employees.


  11. "Research focused place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Naval Research Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Ability to work on high risk research. Has great equipment and provides opportunity to publish. A lot of great resources to do research with a diverse field of talented people.

    Cons

    Funding structure is rigid. Stove piping is common, and ability to achieve funds for research is parochial and turf wars make things difficult for open collaboration.


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