Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Reviews | Glassdoor

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Reviews

Updated May 7, 2018
238 reviews

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3.5
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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. President Edmund O Schweitzer III
Edmund O Schweitzer III
182 Ratings

238 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Friday lunch is a catered lunch every Friday where all details of company are explained (in 21 reviews)

  • They treat their employees very well and encourage a healthy work-life balance (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/Life balance doesn't exist (in 14 reviews)

  • It's in a small town with two major universities nearby (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pullman, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great way to learn about the corporate world and where you could fit into it after college.

    Cons

    If you're going to be an intern here it is a very professional environment depending on the department you work in. You always need to be on your game because you never know if you're going to be introduced to do a Schweitzer or not. You should always have your elevator pitch ready.

    Advice to Management

    Actively try to make your interns a part of the team rather than an assistant to the team. If you want an intern to continue employment at SEL after they graduate it would be a good idea to make them feel fully involved.


  2. "Solid Software Engineer Internship Experiencce"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer(Internship) in Pullman, WA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer(Internship) in Pullman, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits, and low cost of living area.

    Cons

    Mostly basic tasks, not too involved with team

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Manufacturing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assembler Specialist in Lewiston, ID
    Current Employee - Assembler Specialist in Lewiston, ID
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Health insurance is good.
    Time off accruals are good though having to be there for ten years to reach the full amount of days off per year is a little much. Six year mark to coincide with being 100% vested would be better.
    Free lunches on Fridays. Occasionally the caterer is awful though and the presentations can be incredibly boring and filled with propaganda.
    ESOP.
    Steady work. No threat of layoffs
    Potential yearly bonus.
    On site health clinic.

    Cons

    Nepotism.
    Micro-managing.
    Sup par wages for assembling class 3 electronics. Only reason wages have gone up is Washington state is raising their minimum wage to 13.00 an hour.
    SEL has a terrible process for when they raise the starting wage. If you are not at what the wage was raised to you get bumped up to it, but everyone else gets nothing. This does not make the large majority of your assemblers happy. Quite unhappy in fact.
    Zero information on wages for prospective career paths. Can only assume this is because the executives do not want us knowing their salaries.

    Advice to Management

    Hubris has led to the fall of many and unfortunately upper and middle management seem to be quite full of themselves. Reevaluate your management style as it’s already gotten us into trouble before. AX transition anyone?


  4. Helpful (18)

    "Good Company, Old-School Management"

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

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    This company is very good for the local community. It provides lots of stable, decent-paying jobs with full benefits, and they give lots of money to charity. They also do things like give discounts to areas impacted by natural disasters. The on-site gym and health clinic are awesome, and it's nice to be in an employee-owned company, even if that doesn't translate to actually having any say over how company assets are used. The company also invests heavily in research and makes very high-quality products.

    Cons

    Many things have not changed at SEL in over 30 years, notably the leadership and management style. It's super hierarchical with a command-and-control style. Even with 5,000 employees, all significant decisions are made by about eight people who got to where they are largely by telling the company founder and president exactly what he wants to hear. For being a tech company, SEL is fearful of change and even technology (for instance, they're completely paranoid about USB memory sticks, cloud computing, or even having a company blog). People are not trusted to do their jobs, and because nobody feels empowered to make a decision, every single issue that comes up requires dozens of meetings and reviews, hundreds of wasted hours, and no actual decision until circumstances force the path of least resistance. Moving ahead in the company is all about tenure and playing politics; talent and hard work count for next to nothing. Those who try to make change or tell the emperor he has no clothes get punished. Employees are also heavily surveilled. In a nutshell, the company culture is defined by fear (on the part of employees) and arrogance (on the part of management).

    Advice to Management

    Trust us to do our jobs. Empower the people closest to the work to make the decisions about it how to do it best. If you are going to make all the decisions, at least listen to our ideas and feedback. Also, hire actual managers; just because someone is a good engineer doesn't mean they have people skills. If you want employees to be creative, you need to make it safe to take chances and make mistakes. Start rewarding talent instead of just loyalty.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Mixed"

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

    I worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Well known in Palouse. Good Benefits.

    Cons

    I wouldn’t personally recommend to friends. Pullman is a difficult area to live in.


  6. Helpful (10)

    "Middle management nightmare"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - R&D Engineer in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - R&D Engineer in Pullman, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Stable career so long as you don't go against middle management.

    Absolutely excellent benefits if you have a family.

    Cons

    Company has begun to ignore their values. SEL has great values, but recently tends to ignore them and treat their employees poorly as a result. It seems that the bottom line has become more important than the customer or the employees.

    Very low pay for engineers, but company expects engineers to be grateful and humble about their meager paychecks while also expecting them to put in 60+ hour work weeks.

    Middle management frequently hire incompetent people. People who have been fired for verbal abuse, drug violations, or dereliction in their duty will be re-hired while people who voice concerns to middle management over these hires are fired.

    When the company fires someone, they do it same day in a 30 minute process and try to bully you into signing a contract that signs away all anti-discrimination rights you may have. They often don't give good justification and search through people's electronic history to justify the firing after the fact.

    Advice to Management

    Hire actual managers. This company is a mess of middle management bureaucracy that has no idea how to actually lead people

    Treat your employees like you claim that you do. Follow your values.


  7. "Great place to work"

    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 Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Excellent coworkers, good expertise, plenty resources

    Cons

    compensation and salaries could be better

  8. Helpful (9)

    "Thieves!"

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

    I worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Great indoctrination program that takes up a whole week of training.

    Cons

    They steal your patents, fund republican political allies, lowest pay of any in relative fields, and all the while they have a smile on their face saying how great they are. So much propaganda is used to convince you whereas all that effort could be better suited elsewhere.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Great company to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Software Engineer in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Lead Software Engineer in Pullman, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Pullman offers a small town environment and commute to work is pretty easy. And it also offers great neighborhoods. Easy to put your career in auto pilot mode.

    Cons

    SEL generally pays less for employees. HRs don't alert employees about deadlines for health benefits. They care less about employees. Watch out for any deadlines yourself by not getting too much involved in your work.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more for engineering roles.


  10. Helpful (13)

    "R&D Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Secure job if you keep out of the way of the managers. ESOP can be a great asset for you in the long run. Health benefit is good for the area but average overall within the country. Friday lunch meeting is fun although take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

    Cons

    Generally engineering salaries are very low and massive overtime is somewhat expected. This company is plagued with exceptionally bad R&D managers who do not care for their employees, only about the insane deadlines of their projects. Bigger the project, the more likely you will end up in a multi-year death march and there is no turning that ship around. Unfortunately this is very systematic and same project management mistakes are done over and over again. Despite the company being employee owned you won’t get to make any decisions which is a shame because this company has potential to be so much better.

    Advice to Management

    I’m afraid they won’t listen. They are too busy choosing the interior of their next private jet airplane or excessive surveillance of their employee owners.


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