U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews | Glassdoor

U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated March 3, 2017
133 reviews

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133 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Too bureaucratic, risk averse, and in some cases discriminatory against people who aren't the GAO type (in 9 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting work but management only pretends to care"

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

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

    Pros

    -Fascinating work, lots of opportunities to learn

    Cons

    -Very hard to get promoted, management prefers to spend money on IT and new fancy business process improvement stuff instead of their employees

    Advice to Management

    -Focus on how to make do with a smaller budget by offering other types of incentives. Care more about the field offices.


  2. "Great Training and Development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    GAO has great emphasis on training and developing their employees. You rotate teams as you work on new engagements, which has its own pros and cons. Overall, great work environment

    Cons

    Rotating teams also means that establishing an effective working relationship with some can take time.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    great benefits
    flexible work schedule
    some co-workers are great
    low expectations (?)

    Cons

    glacial pace for projects
    some co-workers are horrible


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


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. Helpful (6)

    "Underpaid but dedicated staff, mixed competence among management."

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

    Pros

    It's like being in graduate school without having to pay tuition. There's a fair amount of flexibility in how to do your work. You're likely to collaborate closely with a small number of other analysts.

    Cons

    GAO is a goodplace to stay a careerbit not a place to stay or retire from. The budget is always tight and staff salaries make up a large portion of the budget. As a result, annual pay increases are meager and do not keep pace with other jobs in the government (e.g., compared to executive branch agencies with a clear pay schedule). A union formed at GAO about 8 years ago because morale was so low among employees and things haven't gotten much better. Managers, especially at the executive level, seem out of touch with this issue or they don't seem to care.

    Advice to Management

    Conduct a pay study to compare GAO's compensation to employees with similar compensation in the DC area. Also, be honest with employees about the limited advancement potential at GAO.


  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.


  11. "investigator"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    stability and a culture of inclusion

    Cons

    bureaucracy of a government organization



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