US Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated May 23, 2017
258 reviews

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4.9
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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
3 Ratings

258 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 25 reviews)

  • Very few promotion opportunities for civil servants; still dominated by the foreign service (in 50 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Speechwriter in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Speechwriter in Washington, DC
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you like foreign policy, it's the place to be.

    Cons

    Current Administration is destroying this great agency


  2. "Deputy Director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Deputy Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Deputy Director in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Commitment to public service is paramount

    Cons

    Limited upward mobility in career ladder positions

    Advice to Management

    Continue to set the standard for excellent public service


  3. "Architect and Technical Writer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Architectural Designer in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Architectural Designer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work. Great people. The State Department is a high profile government agency where people take pride in what they do. Everyone acts and dresses professionally. You are allowed to do your job with minimal guidance from management. The job is interesting and challenging.

    Cons

    Only one that I can think of is that I no longer work there as my contract ended. Now I understand the environment is very different due to the new administration.

    Advice to Management

    Keep your good people if you can and hang in there.


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  5. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer (GS-9) in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer (GS-9) in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Intelligent co-workers and great sense of purpose. Opportunities for lateral mobility within the department.

    Cons

    Necessary evil of a giant bureaucracy and not a strong manegerial culture are constantly frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in your employees


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great for travel but a sprawling bureaucracy!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Continuous professional development. Lots of options for travel. Great diversity in staffing, issues, and policy areas.

    Cons

    Very large and difficult to navigate bureaucracy. Lots of mid-level management turnover.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Really interesting work, helping your country

    Cons

    Big bureaucracy, things move slowly.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "English Language Specialist"

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting work with great people from the department supporting you. All living and travel expenses are paid. Lots of opportunity to develop new skills and try new ideas. Lots of independence in designing your program.

    Cons

    Work and conditions can be demanding, so high levels of expertise, maturity, and flexibility are required. You're a contractor in an international setting, not an employee of the Department, so you are sometimes not invited to events and rarely get the perks the employees do like shopping at the commissary, etc.

    Advice to Management

    I know it's often a funding issue, but try to invite contractors to events when locals will be there. The locals expect to see them there and it creates an awkward social situation when they are not.


  9. "Great place to work, especially if you are beginning your career"

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Department is considerably bottom-middle heavy which becomes a great career opportunity for many young urban professionals residing in the DC Metropolitan area who are starting their careers. Some of the nation's highest international studies schools, NGOs, and Think Tanks surrounds the Foggy Bottom vicinity, making it easier to engage on many issues that impact the work of the Department. State offers several internship, fellowship and contractor positions and presents a great entry level opportunity for individuals starting out, and who want a solid career in foreign affairs. As I am coming up on 8 years working at State, you find many people starting out at a low GS grade level, but with opportunity to get promoted each year with good performance, and rotational programs to work on other projects and a chance to work overseas with Foreign Service Officers. The Department brings in approximately 3,000 student interns a year from all over the world, and a good portion of them become full-time permanent federal employees upon completing their academic studies. You really cannot ask for a better public sector opportunity with career mobility and job satisfaction!

    Cons

    As you move up within your career ladder, you will find at times the higher positions are limited, especially for civil servants. Once you pass GS-12/GS-13, you will find it harder to find GS-14 and above career jobs that either have already been filled or do not exist in some bureaus or offices. It is even harder to find non-supervisory GS-14 and above jobs. This places a heavy burden on those who might want to make a higher salary (which is usually political football on Capitol Hill). Often you might find some people leaving State to leverage their federal skills at private sector companies for management opportunities, and yes, a bigger paycheck. Though, this is all dependent upon your own feeling of self worth, experience and earning potential you feel you require in life. There are those who are comfortable at their current salary, and wish not to take on management roles. It's all personal preference.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be a reform in management writ large. Managers learn to "manage up" verse "manage down" as they should be doing, and often takes focus away from employee development and career achievement. There are some managers who are very knowledgeable on the subject matter, but simply cannot manage. This often begs the question why they are in management.


  10. "Department of State's Law Enforcement Bureau"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Special Agent in Fort Lee, NJ
    Current Employee - Special Agent in Fort Lee, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You get to travel the world in a fast paced and challenging environment with US diplomats. The job is never boring with new experiences all the time

    Cons

    You have to move every two years as part of the foreign service. Being always on the move can be challenging for the family

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent in decision making.


  11. "Great career and lifestyle"

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Principled, intelligent and driven people working on the most important issues of the day.

    Cons

    Lots of work and stress, and mediocre compensation. If you're looking to get rich, this is the wrong career.


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