University of California Berkeley Reviews | Glassdoor

University of California Berkeley Reviews

Updated April 29, 2017
1,570 reviews

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4.0
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University of California Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks
Nicholas B. Dirks
289 Ratings

1,570 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Very flexible and understanding (at least in my department) when it comes to work-life balance (in 57 reviews)

  • great work environment and city (in 81 reviews)

Cons
  • Low pay and can get pretty stressful (in 58 reviews)

  • Work/life balance is really up to you (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Worst Experience of My Life"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant III in UC Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant III in UC Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -Great if you want to squeeze by with doing the bare minimum.
    -Great if you want to stay a long time and have a stable income, but do not have ambitions to advance.
    -Academic environment, if you like to attend lectures and frequent libraries
    -Can be fun if you like to work with students

    Cons

    -Raises are given out equally, regardless of performance
    -Cannot get fired, ever. This can be great if you want to do the bare minimum, but also means the ambitious employees leave for the corporate world. This means you'll be working with a lot of people who have been around for a long time, and are either there because they need something stable but not too challenging, or because they like doing the bare minimum without retribution. It can be very frustrating to get results from colleagues.
    -Getting anything innovative done will be slow and blocked at every level. Berkeley is big, bureaucratic, and thinks it's the best university in the world (even if other's don't agree). There's no motivation to change.
    -Middle managers and exempt employees get away with almost anything, including sometimes 4 hour workdays or taking vacations even at the busiest of times.
    -Union employees can basically do whatever they want past probation because of the well-meaning laws in place to [overly] protect workers.
    Upper management, in my experience, is reasoned but detached from the reality of what happens in their units. Most are professors, some of whom have gone straight through the Ph.D. track without ever working an administrative job.
    -Very little staff development. No tuition reimbursement or ability to take classes like at other universities.

    Advice to Management

    -Don't be inept and make decisions on a whim without communication to employees.
    -Don't be afraid to speak to employees for poor behavior.
    -Do 360 performance reviews, and investigate beyond what middle management touts their department to be


  2. Helpful (3)

    "If you want to get ahead, don't stay in one position on campus more that 3 years"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Accounting in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Accounting in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Being part of a system that can help the Bay Area and in many cases the world a better place.

    Cons

    Low pay and years of no raises or cut backs.
    Continuing to foster an Us vs. Them mentality between Faculty/Upper Management and staff.
    System rife with favoratism within departments. Friends helping friends. Some carrying a huge workload and others barely have work to do.

    Advice to Management

    Stop acting like what staff does can be done better by trained chimps. What we do is not easy add dealing with HUGE egos of faculty without calling them on it daily takes a skill set. You get what you pay for, once the current crop of dinosaurs is gone..me included your in for a rude awakening.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "UC Berkeley was one of the worst places I've ever worked!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work life balance and benefits. Work life balance was achievable because staff had very few expectations placed on them.

    Cons

    Leadership was autocratic. There was a false sense of collaboration, but decisions were made before anyone discussed them.

    Advice to Management

    Get some leadership training and and be real.


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  5. "Terrible."

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

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You want to be a GSI.

    Cons

    Lots of manual labor in front of the computer.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Overly bureaucratic, poor 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
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice place to live, fun city

    Cons

    Highly disorganized, poorly managed. Not a good environment for training or mentorship. Burdened with paperwork, detracts from accomplishing job.

    Advice to Management

    The right hand doesn't seem to know what the left is doing.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "White collar welfare"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Because of an overall lack of accountability, plenty of time to work on personal business and outside interests. Difficult to get fired. Objective performance goals and reviews are talked about, but frequently don't happen.

    Cons

    The academic senate (tenured professors) run the asylum. This is a wacky bunch of ego centric wackos. Most have never worked a day in outside industry and have no real world experience. Professors treat everyone like they are grad students -there to be abused. There is zero career growth. Everyone gets the same performance review and (lack of) pay raise.

    Advice to Management

    I worked in industry for twenty years before spending 14 years working for UC Berkeley. There is no
    accountable management here. My advice is to bring in real, trained managers (like they produce in their MBA programs) and get rid of the clowns with Phd's that may be experts in the area of their thesis, but have not hard or soft management skills. (If you don't know what hard and soft management skill are, ask someone with an MBA). The UC is a ripping off the tax payers.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Dysfunctional / building maintenance technicians"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Building Maintenance Worker in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Building Maintenance Worker in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Attractive benefit package...not much else .

    Cons

    Tenure in Building Maintenance RSSP, un-realistic work expectations, severely understaffed
    Supervisors don't care, little access to PPE's, high percentage of on the job injury history among employees, heavy lifting and physical work, exposure to asbestos and lead in the older buildings, poor morale, no room for advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more workers and less supervisors.


  9. "beautiful mission, awful place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Professor in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant Professor in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    students are wonderful; diverse and motivated. the mission of the school, and the entire UC system, is beautiful. on a catastrophic course now.

    Cons

    colleagues are corrupt, mediocre, and a poor representation of what the academy has to offer.

    Advice to Management

    resign and put some fair-minded and ethical people in place.


  10. "Cal is a better place to be as a student, disappointing as a full-time employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at University of California Berkeley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Being around students in a learning environment can be exciting if you ever get the time to interact with them.

    Cons

    Staff people are thought of last. Faculty is treated best, then students. Some faculty won't even return emails and phone calls from staff. There is virtually no diversity in mid and senior leadership. This is the first place I became familiar with the term the "walking retired." People pretend that it is a meritocracy, but it's not. Strong performers don't get adequately compensated and those that don't work very hard I saw get the same annual performance increases as those who worked hard, just because they'd been there a long time. My manager wanted me to fudge records that correctly showed I worked well over 40 hours most weeks because she thought it made her look bad as mange(?!)

    Advice to Management

    In a state as diverse as California, one would think that it would be impossible, for example, for MBA Career Management to be staffed with only heterosexual Caucasians and Chinese Americans.


  11. "GSI"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    all the students love you

    Cons

    low pay. high workload. use graduate student as salve

    Advice to Management

    the school should really get some funding sources


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