U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews | Glassdoor

U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated July 23, 2018
159 reviews

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Eugene Louis Dodaro
Eugene Louis Dodaro
86 Ratings

159 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "work/life balance is incredible" (in 50 reviews)

  • "Great work-life balance in terms of alternative work schedules, telework, and generally working a 40 hour week" (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "The work can move very slowly, and the organization is on the whole slow to change and risk-averse" (in 12 reviews)

  • "Introverted peers in work environment can appear a bit isolated" (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "One of the best places to work in the federal government"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work-life balance, many great opportunities for variety of projects, lots of promotion potential

    Cons

    Not many - very wonderful place to work. Dynamic and interesting work.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to support staff at all levels and keep maintaining the high industry standard


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Senior Health Care Analyst, IIB"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    This agency is honest and fact based. The work focuses on fact finding and following standard auditing procedures which, on the positive side, help keep the level of work consistent and of high quality. There are opportunities to move between various topics--Medicare, Medicaid, Military Health and other topics.

    The hours and working conditions are very family friendly and, under most managers, easy going. A telework program allows employees to work from home and flexible schedules allow you to determine what hours you will work.

    Federal leave and benefit programs are generally very good.

    The pay is better than non profit or think tanks, though not on par with consulting firms or private sector entities.

    Cons

    While you are able to indicate preferences on what you will work on, you do not have autonomy in choosing projects. Project and staff availability are often more important than experience or interest and, as a result, you can get assigned to work on anything that is needed at the time. Projects often take about a year, so this is not insignificant.

    Quality of managers varies. The Analyst-In-Charge and Assistant Directors, which oversee day to day operations of the project can vary in quality and flexibility. Some are over-engaged (micro-managers) and others are so checked out you may feel that you don't have enough support in your work.

    Promotions are few and far between and so it is not easy to move up, especially once you achieve the Senior Analyst level. Annual compensation increases depend on federal policy, and may not keep pace with other government jobs and often do not keep pace with the private sector.

  3. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The boss is the best. Trump really listens to what you have to say.

    Cons

    Non disclosure agreements prohibit me from saying anything bad.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Analyst"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -flexible schedules
    -collaborative environment
    -high quality analysts/coworkers

    Cons

    -size of mission teams do not reflect the amount and importance of work they do; this leads to burnout of staff on the understaffed teams that are inherently driven by mandates and CGAs; this also means that these teams don’t get to lead jobs they’re should be leading, which leads to a lot more matrixing late in the job, which also leads to staff burnout; these teams have insane workloads, which lead to people routinely working 10-30 hours per week overtime, but staff can’t claim those hours to get compensated for it
    -too many people in management positions (top heavy)
    -not all assistant directors should be managing people
    -the comptroller general only want to maintain the status quo instead of progressing the agency
    -we aren’t conforming to the 21st century - we don’t have good technology (at least 10-15 years behind other government agencies) which impacts workload
    -more concerned about hiring new people than they are about taking care of the employees we have; this leads to high attrition
    -pay is not equivalent to GS scale (about $10-20k less than other IG equivalents). They hired an “independent” contractor to conduct a compensation study; the methodology was flawed bc it accounted for NGO salaries as 25% of their developed market salary (NGOs only account for 10% of all US jobs), and NGOs are inherently low salaries, bringing down the total; they also used DC as the basis for all the salaries across GAO (I.e. the field offices, which account for 50% of staff), even though they know DC is the most underpaid category and has surpassed other cities in cost of living.
    -don’t promote people based on merit, but rather on demographics
    -we are pay for performance, but your merit-based raise only differs by 0.4% between getting all “sustained” versus getting all “exceptionals” (I.e. highest category) in the competencies; this is not a huge incentive to do high-quality work.
    -student loan repayment is less than $2k per year, and they make you sign a 3-year commitment
    -have a “people values” initiative that’s only talk. If you really valued your people, you would pay them comparable to other government agencies and give them a livable salary for DC

    Advice to Management

    -need to reassess staffing levels
    -need to rebalance the number of managers to staff, too top heavy
    -create a promotion track for people who can manage jobs, but not necessarily manage people
    -need to pay DC staff what they are worth; stop hiring new employees and reward the ones you have by paying them appropriately
    -promote people on merit; roll promotion cycle into the performance review cycle. We spend 8 months on these two periods
    -create real incentives for people; for example, up the student loan repayment amount to what it was years ago - $6k per year. Make it comparable to the number of commitment years


  5. "PDP analyst"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work/life balance
    Interesting topics
    Mostly enjoyable team environment

    Cons

    No guatantee you’ll work in an area where you have experience
    Slow work pace


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Analyst"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time

    Pros

    Government benefits are ok but not always better than private sector. I used to pay $2 a month for life insurance. I came to GAO, same age, and they wanted $28 a paycheck. That's a lot for a healthy single person with no family.

    Cons

    If you can't conform, don't apply. And I'm not kidding if you're mid-career. Seriously. Don't apply to GAO. You will regret every second of being there.

    Advice to Management

    Consider best practices of other employers, such as in "Break All the Rules," a book many have but few have opened.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "OK place to work, but burnout guaranteed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - flex schedules
    - telework
    - jeans Fridays

    Cons

    - the nature of the work and they way it's done leads to burnout
    - people are so detail-oriented and have to get in the weeds about everything, that the big picture of the report is lost, time is wasted on unnecessary analysis, the scope gets expanded, and there are SO. MANY. MEETINGS. to discuss the same things over and over
    - no freedom to be creative or think outside the GAO way
    - if you can get along with people and do good work, you will be teamed up with all the people no one else wants to work with...constantly
     - lack of training on project management
    - high-performing analysts are promoted to management positions, but strong analytical skills do not mean the person can interact appropriately with or lead others
    - multiple experiences with workplace bullying; nothing done to address issues even after informing managers
    - the work is tedious, boring, extremely process-oriented, and takes about a year on average to issue the report
    - pay is not on par with auditors at Inspector General offices
    - promotion and leadership opportunities are scarce and not always given on merit
    - upward feedback/complaints discouraged or ignored
    - recognition and rewards are given to people who work on high-profile jobs that get the attention of the press or Congress -- those that are staffed to jobs with little public interest, even if the team did great work by GAO standards equal or better than the high-profile job, will not be rewarded. (most of the time you will have no say on what job you get staffed to so getting fast-tracked for promotion can be entirely luck)
    - supervisors can make or break your career - advocates and mentors are invaluable but most managers aren't concerned with the human aspect of getting the job done
    - everyone is a "yes" person to management even when they should push back

    Advice to Management

    Align pay to similar IG jobs. Reward and recognize staff for doing good work regardless of the number of downloads. Train managers on people skills. Allow people to choose an analyst career path with promotion potential that does not require becoming a manager -- let good analysts continue to be good analysts and not have to take on managing others to advance when that is not a skill they have or want to develop.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Office of General Counsel at GAO. Don't work here."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some kind and smart coworkers.

    Cons

    Employees are afraid to speak up about issues of concern because management holds grudges. Management within OGC does not stick up for the attorneys, and the agency's management doesn't care about the attorneys because we're not unionized and they can ignore us. The work is not intellectually challenging, and the analyst groups are not required to listen to legal advice, so the job often feels pointless. The agency recently had a big PR effort about making people feel valued, but OGC's attorneys do not feel valued or appreciated for their work.


  9. "GAO is a great place to work"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - really nice and intelligent co-workers
    - work/life balance is incredible
    - pays well compared to industry

    Cons

    - slow slow work environment
    - difficult to promote and run teams
    - government bureaucracy

    Advice to Management

    - Find a way to get high performing employees on multiple report engagements.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Analyst Intern"

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

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office part-time

    Pros

    Your coworkers are supportive and encouraging and trust their interns with real work.

    Cons

    You don't have much say on which teams/projects you work on.


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