U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews | Glassdoor

U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated June 22, 2017
140 reviews

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Pros
  • Work/life balance is an agency priority (in 45 reviews)

  • GAO has a flexible work schedule and good work/life balance (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Risk averse agency, lots of people are fairly stuck in policies and procedures in a way that can be very frustrating (in 11 reviews)

  • Not fast paced work environment, for better or worse (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Security Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Security Specialist in Timonium, MD
    Current Employee - Security Specialist in Timonium, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Review security technology, create management reports, security metrics, standard operating procedures, and establish monitoring for newly identified security threats.

    Cons

    Hiring process is take too long


  2. Helpful (1)

    "My First Federal Civilian Job"

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

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

    Pros

    People are great! Family environment, provides childcare, parking, good benefits, job flexibility for most, and outstanding training.

    Cons

    Needs to work on employees/workforce. Many people are not fully qualified for the positions they hold, yet are not liable to even learn their jobs to get it done (someone else is asked to please do it for them" type thing). GAO's mission is supported by the majority of the people who are work horses and they make up for the substandard ones who want to be left alone so they don't have to do their job. Not very incentivizing.

    Advice to Management

    Hold employees accountable to do their own work and work the hours they are paid to work instead of finding someone to fill-in so they can leave early. Traffic is awful for everyone! And most people have families too! Shouldn't be a "who you are or a who you know" thing.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Sr. Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst (Band 2A) in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst (Band 2A) in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    You can't really beat the flexibility between your leave and telework options. The agency is better than most in this regard. That's about as close to work life balance as the agency gets.

    Cons

    Bottleneck of analysts means there are few opportunities for advancement. And if you do get promoted, the reward is pennies. People get frustrated waiting in queue for promotion and leave.


  4. "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 Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    great people and great benefits

    Cons

    pays less than some other agencies


  5. "Good employer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Variety of work, investment in staff

    Cons

    GAO is process and detail-oriented


  6. Helpful (2)

    "On the fence."

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

    Pros

    Interesting issues and impactful work..

    Cons

    Massive, stifling bureaucracy; inward focus.

    Advice to Management

    Loosen the bureaucracy and focus on mission, not process.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "senior policy analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Analyst in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Analyst in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    I have worked at this organization for 25 years. And I had a life before GAO, working in the private sector first. I love my job-- a lot. It's the only place I have found that let me do the work I originally sought to do as an investigative newspaper reporter and editor. The big differences? Better pay by a long shot. Job security. Time explore and do an investigation the way it should be done. Federal benefits that accrue over time,including holidays and after 10 years-- 5 weeks of paid vacation, matching funding for your 401K, defined benefit retirement, gold standard health insurance, flex time, 80 percent telework, great travel, WORKLIFEBALANCE shall I go on? because there is more. Variety of work (it's almost never boring), the opportunity to become an expert in a field, serving your country, opportunity to work with a group of class, intelligent, productive, committed colleagues, a commitment to technology. You don't like the hustle of DC? Work in a field office. We have numerous offices across the country. Don't like commuting 3 hours a day? Opt for 80 percent telework. Have a disability? As long as you're smart and educated, you can work here, no problem. They'll accommodate you. Pay? despite what you read in other reviews here, our pay is very competitive with the private sector and other federal agencies. Try finding a job that pays you as much after 10 years on board-- you won't.

    Cons

    If you are a creative person, this may not be the place for you. GAO -- which began as an audit and accounting organization and morphed into a policy analysis and program evaluation outfit-- is formulaic. Things have changed a lot over the past 25 years, and there are new and more creative means of getting out our work out for public consumption, but change has been slow. We don't much like adjectives or adverbs a whole lot. So if you see one in a report, you know for sure we're mad about something. We're risk averse. Very risk averse. But then, it's not our job to tell the Congress what they must do, it's our job to tell them what's going on and what their options are. A lot of people would rather be more definitive. Work for a low-pay think tank, if that's what you want to be. Promotional opportunities, once you hit the professional level (Band IIB) are few and far between and they are not evenly distributed among working groups. That's discouraging and not fair. But that's also not unlike any other federal agency that faces growing fiscal constraints. At least they aren't going to lay you off after 30 years and tell you -- oh by the way-- we spent your pension. I've got a lot of friends in journalism who are hawking spin now for corporations and nonprofits at lower salaries and trying to figure out if they can afford to retire. Or if they can afford health insurance.

    Advice to Management

    Improve the promotion opportunities and the manner in which they are distributed and awarded.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Senior Analyst"

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

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

    Pros

    Pretty flexible especially in field offices.

    Cons

    Too bureaucratic, risk averse, and in some cases discriminatory against people who aren't the GAO type.

    Advice to Management

    Management is part of the problem- for most of them they grew up in the agency literally- as most of them have never worked anywhere else since they graduated college. Congress is the only hope for change and they do a poor job of managing the agency.


  9. "Decent Place To Work"

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

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

    Pros

    Employees are given a wide diversity of tasks. You get paid to learn new things and there are many other workplace activities. Good with work-life balance issues. Good location.

    Cons

    Lots of time is spent on some very tedious work. Subject to the political whims of Congress. The building itself is showing its age. Pay is somewhat stingy.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Process doesn't serve product"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Many of the people there are smart, and people are in general dedicated to the idea that their job is to make government better.

    Cons

    There's lots of organizational process built around trying to write better reports that no one reads, but not very much of it serves that outcome.

    Advice to Management

    The culture of risk aversion is pretty smothering and some effort should be taken to upend that if it's possible.


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