U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews | Glassdoor

U.S. Government Accountability Office Reviews

Updated September 9, 2017
144 reviews

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144 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • AMAZING work/life balance, you get to choose your own schedule with approval or telework based on your job (in 47 reviews)

  • Great flexibility and smart people (in 11 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 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great People, Slow Pace"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at U.S. Government Accountability Office (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    GAO has great people; invests in training and its people; some work can yield big impact.

    Cons

    Extremely slow pace; hard to break out of GAO into any other sector; pay is not competitive with the Executive Branch; takes a long time to reach mid-level management (e.g. 10 years).

    Advice to Management

    Match wages in the banded system with the GS scale.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Great palce to start a career for a newly-minted MPP"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Audit Specialist in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Audit Specialist in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    GAO was my first job right out of grad school, and to this day, I believe that it was, by far, the best decision I made career-wise.

    Cons

    There is definitely a GAO-type, which I must admit I never really became used to. Do factor that into your equation when deciding if you really want to work there see below).

    I concur with someone who wrote that being super close to your Supervisor is the single most important factor for success or failure, and there was plenty of people who were never supported for promotions.

    On the GAO type (specifically on the supervisors you will be dealing with), I think there are two types: (1) the typical career bureaucrat who joined straight out of college (no grad degree) and put up with 35 years worth of BS. The other (2) frustrated Ph.D. holders who never landed their dream college gig and realized that the next best thing was to work inside a large performance evaluation shop which can be as quiet as a library most of the time. Type 1 will be more easy-going, while Type 2 seem to want to recreat silly intellectual battles more akin to academic environments and will dwell endlessly on that perfect word, or rewrite (or suggest edits) on everything, just because the tone could be so much better. It can be very demoralizing at times.

    After leaving GAO I have worked for many years at audit shops of UN agencies in many postings around the globe. I also worked with global technology. Nowhere else will you have the number of brains and time to address audit-related inquires. It's great while at GAO (if slow, at times), but don't expect that to be an industry-wide standard by any means. So, learn the tools of the trade while there, but don't expect them to be a standard to which everyone will and must adhere to.

    Advice to Management

    Think outside the GAO shoe box.

  3. "Security Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  4. Helpful (1)

    "My First Federal Civilian Job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing Internship"

    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

    Pros

    You will not be getting coffee for anyone. You are treated as a permanent, full-time employee with the ability to share your thoughts and participate in any sort of activity that full-time employees can. The research you do is all policy oriented with government agencies and other entities, and since GAO is an auditor for the Legislative Branch, government agencies are required to cooperate. Anywhere the federal dollar goes, GAO has jurisdiction.

    Cons

    There is some downtime, but you can use that to read up on other areas of interest, or talk to GAO employees working on other reviews.

    Advice to Management

    More ways for interns to help out when their main review is in a slow period would be great.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Sr. Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "great work/life balance"

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

    Pros

    great work and life balance and fairly flat organization, great job for policy wonks as you're pretty much getting paid to do policy analysis.

    Cons

    constantly switch teams working on different reports every eight to nine months, so could potentially get stuck working with bad teams/employees.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Good job with great flexibility"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Emphasis on work-life balance, telework flexibility, low pressure environment, great people, relatively flat organization, very family friendly, consistent opportunities to shine to management, interesting and diverse work.

    Cons

    Pay is lower than other government agencies, pay increases are not guaranteed or anticipated, while the criteria for promotion is clear the process is a bit complicated and uncertain, work is interesting but not always challenging, inconsistent experiences depending on which team you are on.

    Advice to Management

    Reform the team approach to work - assemble engagement teams that are made up of people from multiple mission teams as opposed to being from just one mission team. Align salaries with the rest of government to catch up with the pay and incentivize the commitment to the organization.


  9. "great work/life balance"

    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 U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time

    Pros

    great work/life balance, telework, overall benefits

    Cons

    monotonous, too many pointless meetings, minimal room for creative input and organization change


  10. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


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