University of Southern California Reviews | Glassdoor

University of Southern California Reviews

Updated May 23, 2017
67 reviews

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University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias
C. L. Max Nikias
21 Ratings

67 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • no cons for this particular job (in 26 reviews)

  • low salary for the first semester (in 20 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Not an ideal work environment...."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Assistant Professor in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at University of Southern California (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    USC is currently expanding, great research conducted

    Cons

    Low payment, sexist environment, not that many opportunities for progress at my stage/department


  2. Helpful (2)

    "It's rewarded to be lazy"

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

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Good benefit
    - Free tuition for my kids

    Cons

    Many lazy incompetent employee. Work are not distributed equally among the staffs. Good employees are rewarded with more works. Salary has nothing to do with performance or work load

    Advice to Management

    - Fire the lazy and incompetent staffs
    - Reward good employee with higher salary


  3. "BME Administration needs improvement!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Staff in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Staff in Los Angeles, CA

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

    Pros

    Very flexible with schedule, great staff for the most part, and nice faculty with the exception of a few. Having an office is a plus!

    Cons

    Manager is never present during the morning hours of business which leads to staff fending for themselves and making up their own hours. Chair brings her kids to work which is a huge liability and is distracting to the workplace. Unhappy staff will start looking for another job if things don't improve.

    Advice to Management

    Manager should come in just like staff/Chair does in the morning - OR- Manager should retire! Chair should set a good example and not bring kids to work!


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  5. "Cheap, Unprofessional Management and Zero Perks"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Event Producer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Event Producer in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at University of Southern California full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great to work with students and to help them learn and grow. Amazing 401K and health benefits.

    Cons

    Most managers and even heads of departments have NO training and as a result are constantly contradicting themselves. There are NO perks for working for the university. Even though I travel ALL the time I have to provide and pay for my own cell phone and laptop. My 2012 desktop is constantly crashing and I can't get many of the programs I need to do my job effectively because the department "has no money".

    I have told my manager and showed how I have way too much work on my plate and was told, that's too bad figure it out. When things fell through the cracks I was written up and reprimanded.

    It doesn't matter how hard you work or what amazing things you accomplish, it is never good enough.

    There is no room for advancement after a point (one that doesn't take you long to get to)

    TERRIBLE pay. It is not competitive in the industry at ALL. NO work life balance. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten sick from working so hard and management could care less.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to do the jobs of your employees so when they ask you questions you are able to answer them and understand what it is that you are asking them to do and how realistic it is.


  6. "terrible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Student Worker in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Student Worker in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at University of Southern California (More than a year)

    Pros

    none. terrible management and culture. low pay

    Cons

    boring, low pay, terrible management, awful boss


  7. "Rock Bottom Compensation"

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

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

    Pros

    Tuition benefits, access to university resources such as libraries and events, and of course, its top notch students. USC can be a fun place to work with campus activities, and students who really have Trojan pride. Some managers were wonderful.

    Cons

    The salaries are a joke for anyone living in LA. I held a managerial position that required years of professional experience and a college degree, yet my salary was barely enough to rent an older one bedroom apartment that was a 40 minute commute from USC.

    The university (and our workload/stress) continued growing over the years, but our department head count did not. USC's culture (understandably) is to prioritize academics over staff, but even that has its limits. Despite the constant headcount and much greater workload, upper management wanted to trim the headcount further. At one point USC stopped offering internal professional development for staff, then blamed staff for not being up to date with certain software applications.

    I saw some of my peers who worked in different industries (many who did not go past high school) earn a decent living, bought houses and cars and built up their savings over the years. Even they were shocked how little such a prestigious institution paid.

    In 2014 I left USC and nearly doubled my compensation elsewhere. I expected more stress to come with the money, but to my pleasant surprise, my new job has been far less stressful than the one I held at USC. Last year I closed escrow on a new house for my wife and daughter, and I was finally able to replace my 15 year old car with something new and safer for my young family. None of this would have been possible if I stayed at USC.

    Advice to Management

    Your rankings are on the rise so you must be doing something right. But I have noticed that many of your younger, capable "staff" employees are looking for opportunities elsewhere. The long term consequences (if any) remains to be seen.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Too Much Bureaucracy!"

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

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    -Great benefits
    -Work is fulfilling (students are wonderful!)

    Cons

    Where to begin? Given my lengthy tenure as a staff person at USC, I could come up with a list a mile long, I'll keep it brief.

    -Ridiculously low paying. Another reviewer said it best-senior management gets paid very well while the employees doing the lions share of the work get paid very, very little. And little to no recognition for their hard work to boot.
    -Way too political. If you're a master at navigating a highly political and white male dominated environment, then this place is for you. Something I observed quite a bit in my time there was people who basically politicked their every move were successful and made whole careers out of doing nothing.
    -Lack of high-performing individuals. Do you want to work in an environment where everyone will tell you all the reasons why they CAN'T achieve what you're asking them to, just so they can evade any kind of work load or responsibility? Again, then this place is for you. This is the 9-5 culture at its best. Those who go above and beyond and expect high-performing teams will not find it here. There is very little innovation and zero transparency as to how money is being spent. Questions about resources, raises, or promotions are answered with absolute bs.
    -Managers who know nothing about management. This includes faculty, who are given management roles over staff people who trump them in actual management experience. To my knowledge, there is little to no training for managers and no mentorship on how to grow teams and empower people. In short, management overall is a disaster. If you find a good manager, you've found an anomaly. It's sad. Very high turnover in most departments for a reason.

    Advice to Management

    Instill a process or system for training managers. Commit to empowering staff through professional development and developing a great culture. Reduce turnover by rewarding employees more and senior managers less. Stop creating ridiculous, unrealistic policies that only hurt the organization (entry level positions require masters degrees, faculty with no management experience are in senior management positions, etc.)


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Used to be a good place"

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

    Pros

    USC has been a good place to work. People are generally friendly and helpful. The university has good benefits and educational opportunities.

    Cons

    Under President Nikias the staff are treated terribly. His disdain for the staff is measurable. He is all about his ego and money. The university used to be a nice friendly place to work. Now He has brought in a political environment which has turned working at the university like being in a pool full of hungry sharks. The turnover rate has increased dramatically due to the stressful nature of the current work environment. Many long term loyal employees are leaving in droves. Also salaries have not kept up with outside salaries even though tuition has increased every year.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of Nikias.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "A shame"

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

    I worked at University of Southern California (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Small campus some great people there

    Cons

    Central HR and other senior level executives not interested in doing the "right" thing too scared. Major employment infractions

    Advice to Management

    Do your job and whats right or quit


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Under resourced staff roles"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Executive Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Executive Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at University of Southern California full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    benefits are generous; hours are manageable

    Cons

    pace intense; significantly under resourced; no strategic HR strategy or vision; highly tactical

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to staff needs; pay competitive wages; hire sufficient staff to get the job done


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