Thorlabs Reviews | Glassdoor

Thorlabs Reviews

Updated May 28, 2017
66 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.0
Star Star Star Star Star
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Thorlabs Founder & President Alex Cable
Alex Cable
34 Ratings

66 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There are other perks, like a free gym membership and corporate discounts (in 7 reviews)

  • You get a lot of opportunity to develop your ideas and make major contributions to products (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Fundamental sexism as there is little to no room for understanding that people have kids (in 4 reviews)

  • upper management sometimes not even acknowledge your presence (in 3 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
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Thorlabs full-time

    Pros

    - The benefits are phenomenal. The health insurance and 401k are great but Thorlabs' tuition reimbursement policy is truly unbelievable. Thorlabs will reimburse the cost of tuition (and books) 100% if the degree program is related to the business (there are a wide variety of degrees that qualify) and you get at least a C in the class. I have taken advantage of this policy and I would encourage every employee to as well.

    - Opportunities to advance are there at Thorlabs if you are willing to work for them. They won’t be handed to you, you have to earn them.

    - There are some excellent people working here. Whenever I’ve had a problem or question most of my coworkers have gone out of their way to help.

    I highly recommend working for Thorlabs. I have a few general tips for a new or future employee, they have served me well as someone new to this industry:

    1) If someone asks if you want to learn something or needs help, always, always, ALWAYS say yes. Every single skill you learn will help you down the road. Having a reputation as being open and willing to learn will make it more likely for opportunities to come your way.

    2) Listen to criticism and improve. Too many people will take criticism personally and ignore valuable advice. There are people here with decades of experience, listening to them will greatly accelerate your learning. Many jobs can be completed in different ways with different techniques, you will eventually learn what works best for you, but always seek out advice and guidance and never assume you know it all.

    3) Take pride in what you do and don’t be satisfied with good enough. People here will notice and appreciate when you go above and beyond.

    4) Think of Thorlabs as a career, not just a job. Thorlabs, as a company, thinks long-term and so should you. This company will invest in you. If you return the favor and invest in the company you will be successful.

    Cons

    To be honest, I don’t have any cons of note. There are a few people who can be difficult to work with, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    Advice to Management

    I have been lucky enough to have managers who have also acted as mentors, their guidance has helped me immensely. I think this management style is effective and should be encouraged.


  2. "Company has great potential but doesn't treat employees right"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Applications Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Current Employee - Applications Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Thorlabs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Perfect place to start off career after graduating from university
    Customers love us
    Growing company
    Casual culture
    Thorlabs Lab snacks

    Cons

    Not enough vacation days (or holiday/thanksgiving break)
    Not a single person I know here is paid a salary nearly what they're worth. The company looses out on a lot of good talent due to this.
    No stock options
    Salaried employees are required to clock in and clock out
    Location: Newton has nothing going on for it and the rent is really expensive for what it's worth. The nearest town/city with a semblance of civilization is Morristown, which is a good 40-60 minutes away. This leads to more dissatisfaction.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your engineers and managers what they're worth, not 20-30% below the market value. I strongly believe this company can be something beautiful if employees are paid what they're worth and for the amount of work they put in. The cost of living in the middle of nowhere NJ is high enough.


  3. "Sr. Engineer, Project Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Newton, NJ
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Thorlabs full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Brilliant People. positive, engaging. CEO is original, seasoned, supportive of new ideas, and takes care of his people.

    Cons

    Hard to find any. Rapid growth syndrome may be afflicting some middle managers, Depending on BU.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to integrate cultural communication styles, flatten communication hierarchies.


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  5. "Good starting job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Newton, NJ
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Thorlabs (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's a great company to work for, you learn a lot.

    Cons

    The salaries aren't very high but they are reasonable for the location.

    Advice to Management

    Provide higher salary for the people who you value and want to stay.


  6. "Excellent Quality of life"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Current Employee - Junior Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Thorlabs full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great quality of life, Casual Dress Code, Excellent Managers, Room to advance up until middle management.

    Cons

    Low pay for the industry, No room to grow - Only a couple of engineering managers.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Optics"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance in Newton, NJ
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Thorlabs full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Health Benefits and 401K are very good. There are other perks, like a free gym membership and corporate discounts. Is a good starter job, even if you don't have a lot of education. There is a lot of potential.

    Cons

    As has been stated repeatedly, the supervisors MUST BE SENT to classes to acquire some people skills. They are young and just don't know! When I gave my notice, the supervisor wouldn't even look at me, and for the brief time that I was there was very quick to set people in their place for the most menial of infractions. NO TRAINING.... but don't screw up. They seem to promote from within which is fantastic, but those who are promoted, need to learn how to be a manager or they need to stay at a lower level. It was clearly bringing down the morale of the people

    Advice to Management

    I think that it is great that you want to take the people that are inside the company to assist in running the different departments and that is actually admirable, but I have seen a few of these "supervisors" and one of them in particular, treat people poorly


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Great first job, treat it as such"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Optical Design Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Former Employee - Optical Design Engineer in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Thorlabs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice working environment among peers, very good benefits and overtime available to hourly employee's. Salaried employees do not have to stay much more than eight hours (provided you get the job done). The company invests in supplies, equipment and employee education.

    Cons

    Most positions underpay, that's part of the company culture. The raises are minuscule (but yearly).

    Advice to Management

    Agree to paying at least the national average for each position and you will find greater employee retention.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Thorlabs (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Thorlabs is a very good company to work for. I had the privilege to work alongside many groups throughout various positions within the organization. For the young aspiring individual; there are many opportunities and barley any red tape to stop a motivated individual from growing.

    The organization is growing, which opens new opportunities for its employees. The work conditions are very clean and safe. The company focuses on customer centricity which normally translates internally. I have recognized over time that the company is always looking for the best interests in its employees. Some examples:

    Heath & Benefits - Very exceptional program, especially when comparing to other companies in the area and what the market bares

    Education - The organization and its senior management encourages and supports an academic tuition program. This is unheard of in most companies; which really speaks for their investment in the employees

    Wellness & Work Conditions - Thorlabs is always mindful of the work conditions and the safety of its employees; whether there is a snow storm or a water main break in town; senior management is always considering the work conditions

    Profit Sharing/Merit Increases - Even during economic hardships; Thorlabs is always finding ways to repay their employees through the financial successes of the company. I have heard of many companies who are not as mindful in this area

    Cons

    Thorlabs is in a transition period; which is a good thing because of its growth. With expected growth there will be new endeavors with success but also trial and error; which will require patience from its employees through the growth spurts.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Average company could be great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, NJ
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Thorlabs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good people and office climate
    Company is succeeding within industry
    Community involvement
    Work-life balance

    Cons

    Limited room for career growth (not speaking for manufacturing)
    Insufficient job training
    Company retains poor performers
    Nepotism in management and mid-to-senior positions
    Pay is relatively low

    Advice to Management

    Pay top performers, drop under performers. Promote from within and objectively audit the performance of managers and BU leaders. A combination of CEO micromanagement and nepotism is preventing talented people from taking charge here. Talent retention must be addressed if the organization wants to make it to the next level. With a few notable exceptions, HR department is laughably ineffective and unprofessional.


  11. Helpful (9)

    "Horribly Managed Teams"

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

    I worked at Thorlabs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The health insurance plan is hard to beat and the pay for your gym membership at the gym across the street. The 401k matching is great and there is free coffee, milk, sugar, etc. in the break room.

    Cons

    Most of the managers have absolutely no management experience or training. Some even lack basic people skills. The company has almost no organizational structure, leading to managers that answer only to the CEO and do whatever they want, unchecked by HR or the COO. Indeed life is good if you are a manager at Thorabs however the disregard given to the employees makes it difficult to recommend working there. If you are a prospective candidate thinking about working for Thorlabs I would simply have you ask yourself if a 50% turn over rate amongst professional level employees (i.e. MS/Ph.D.) sounds like a promising work place.

    Advice to Management

    All managers should be put through extensive management training, possibly even business school. Create more standard procedures for HR issues, such as when employees complain about the practices of their manager.


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