US Geological Survey Reviews | Glassdoor

US Geological Survey Reviews

Updated May 25, 2017
147 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.7
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US Geological Survey Director (Acting) William Werkheiser
William Werkheiser
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147 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is excellent work-life balance, and the ecological research I did while there was rewarding and challenging (in 11 reviews)

  • flexible schedule, lots of variety (in 16 reviews)

Cons
  • Lots of red tape to cut through working for Feds (in 10 reviews)

  • Due to recent federal budget cuts, lots of the functions and opportunities that initially have attracted me have been cut (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Seasonal Tech (Wildlife)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Biological Science Technician in Roseburg, OR
    Former Employee - Biological Science Technician in Roseburg, OR
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Geological Survey full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you live in a more expensive area (duty station is LA or something), your pay is adjusted to local coast of living. Medical benefits start right away. You earn 1 day of sick leave and of annual leave every month. You don't get a hard time if you have to take a sick day. Encourage you to take as many different trainings as applicable.

    Cons

    Mostly seasonal work. And if you're seasonal, no dental or retirement or anything. Just medical. Which is still better than almost any seasonal job in the private sector. Work typically lasts at least 5 months. Not always housing available for seasonal employees.

    Advice to Management

    More seasonal housing availability seeing as a lot of places don't have a month-to-month leasing option in the area.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Mid-level ecologist- work was good, but opportunity and job security were lacking."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Ecologist in Corvallis, OR
    Former Employee - Ecologist in Corvallis, OR
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at US Geological Survey full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    USGS was overall a good place to work. There is excellent work-life balance, and the ecological research I did while there was rewarding and challenging. My peers were respectful and easy to work with as well. While this could vary greatly based on the research unit you were in, most of the time there seemed to be good team dynamics in the different groups. Also, if you like to work outside in some beautiful places, this job will take you there.

    Cons

    Research positions were often underfunded, with many highly qualified people working in temporary positions at lower pay than they would be worth in the private sector. There was also little to no opportunity to advance or grow in this organization unless you were at the bottom (administrative staff) or the top (senior-level scientists). This issue led to a large amount of turnover of employees, and morale was not good as a result of it either. Long periods of travel away from home are required to collect data. While this travel was a pro initially, it became more of a drag the longer I worked there.

    Advice to Management

    Management would be wise to create more and better opportunities for the science support staff. Senior management had little relationship with this employee group. On the rare occasions they did discuss concerns with this group of employees, most of the time there would be no follow-through on ideas afterward.


  3. "USGS entry level"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Corvallis, OR
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Corvallis, OR
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Geological Survey full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome flex schedules, good people, decent pay.

    Cons

    Government bureaucracy, too much paperwork to get stuff done.

    Advice to Management

    none


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  5. "Loved the work, hated the job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Hydrologist in Albuquerque, NM
    Former Employee - Hydrologist in Albuquerque, NM

    I worked at US Geological Survey (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The benefits are decent and the job is stable
    And some of the projects are interesting. As a plus the deadlines are meaningless

    Cons

    You work for the government - 50% of your coworkers are incompetent, the bureaucracy will eat your soul, and you will spend untold wasted hours of your life doing meaningless paperwork.


  6. "Great for Students"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Lab Assistant in Middleton, WI
    Former Employee - Lab Assistant in Middleton, WI
    Recommends

    I worked at US Geological Survey (More than a year)

    Pros

    I worked here as a college student and was allowed a very flexible schedule to fit my needs. Great leadership.

    Cons

    People keep to themselves a lot.


  7. "Hydrologic Technician"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Hydrologic Technician in Flagstaff, AZ
    Former Employee - Hydrologic Technician in Flagstaff, AZ
    Recommends

    I worked at US Geological Survey full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great experience for entry-level and recent graduates. Good way to get an "in" with the USGS.

    Cons

    Low pay. Positions are mostly temporary and you may have to reapply every year and risk not having a job if a more qualified candidate applies. No benefits.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Hydrologic technician"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Hydrologic Technician in Savannah, GA
    Current Employee - Hydrologic Technician in Savannah, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at US Geological Survey full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    For me, working outdoors is the best part of the job. I'm able to work in boats in rivers and lakes and a variety of other types of natural environments. Federal benefits are great.

    Cons

    Being with the federal government also has its' cons. The biggest issue are the politics that can affect the ability to efficiently complete a task. These political issues can be on the small scale or all the way up to decisions made in D.C. that could affect any federal worker. The pay is not terrible but it could be better.

    Advice to Management

    Don't take on unrealistic jobs unless the workforce is expanded. More employees are leaving the job while individual expectations continue to grow causing a lack of morale in the workplace. Employees do not feel that their opinions/concerns are being heard.


  9. "Very interesting work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Material Flow Specialist in Reston, VA
    Current Employee - Material Flow Specialist in Reston, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Geological Survey full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Autonomy, flexibility, benefits. It's a federal job which brings some measure of stability, flexibility, and security. It is partially research oriented, which is a plus.

    Cons

    Less than competitive salary. The federal system has a structured system for determining salary. I did not do a good enough job negotiating with HR


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great experience working with the survey"

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

    I worked at US Geological Survey full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great office community and morale. Supportive environment for younger folks looking to explore a career in the sciences within government.

    Cons

    Lack of diversity in most levels of the office in terms of race and age. Majority of workforce is on the older side.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Great Scientific Environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reston, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reston, VA
    Recommends

    I have been working at US Geological Survey part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    As a person new to the scientific community, the people who worked at USGS definitely helped me in starting my career. They offer many opportunities to listen to conferences and presentations on the projects and results of fellow scientists. Also, there is so much collaboration between other labs across the United States that it helps with networking.

    Cons

    Funding is not always available. Also, it takes a very long time to get hired.


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