Los Alamos National Laboratory

  www.lanl.gov
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Los Alamos National Laboratory Reviews

Updated 21 July 2014
Updated 21 July 2014
105 Reviews

3.4
105 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director & President Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
43 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Fantastic work life balance, secure and stable funding in most areas (in 10 reviews)

  • Good pay and some of the benefits (in 10 reviews)


Cons
  • too much red tape, bloated management, oversight and mistrust (in 7 reviews)

  • Upper management lost in terms of helping the employee (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good company for long-term career in R&D

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Staff Member  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Current Employee - Technical Staff Member in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    Ability to do cross-disciplinary work on important national security problems. Ability to interacts with a lot of really smart people in a range of scientific disciplines. Pays well. Great outdoor opportunities.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy and paperwork required to 'get things done' have increased significantly in last few years. Cost of doing business is too high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Really focus on cutting back on burdensome requirements; this would result in less of a need for oversight (and overhead funded) staff and would hence reduce costs.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Rewarding and interesting

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Design Specialist  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Former Employee - Design Specialist in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    Great opportunities, a lot of new science

    Cons

    mid and upper level management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let those who know do, shape up or leave.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    A good place for applied science

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientist IV  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Current Employee - Scientist IV in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    Good colleagues, nice place to live, beautiful setting, good compensation, good job security. Los Alamos is a safe community, and the people are highly educated. The schools are good.

    Cons

    In the past, there was considerably uncertainty to working at the lab because of a string of safety and security issues. Over the past eight or ten years, these problems seem to have subsided. If you are of a very theoretical bent, you might be happier at a University.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No advice. They're doing a good job.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Stable employment, but low satisfaction and morale

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Management  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Current Employee - Program Management in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    LANL is a long-time employer in the region and jobs tend to turn into careers. There are lots of opportunities for variety and enrichment for the very motivated. Salaries tend to be higher than market for similar work.

    Technical projects are beyond anything available in the commercial sector, which has both positive and negative aspects. When funding is available, work is very satisfying and challenging.

    The region is absolutely gorgeous, and much of the property is essentially wild. Several locations are remote, with the drives passing through or next to national parks areas. Outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities. The community is somewhat small, but attempting to grow.

    Cons

    Business decisions are almost always driven by office politics and personality; the 'good old boy' network is still going strong. A few years ago, the company transitioned to a 'for profit' status, but the management environment seems not to understand what that means - the vast majority of middle managers are promoted from internal technical positions without external commercial experience.

    Individual success seems less based on achievement than acquaintance, with many actions taken based on perception rather than fact. Technical merits are given a backseat to marketing.

    Working on the most interesting technical problems tends to lock you in to the enterprise, as most results and even scope of work can not be communicated outside a classified environment. This is severely limiting.

    Finally, morale has hit bottom and begun to dig. Fraught with management and technical problems, the middle and upper management have seen fit to impose further restrictions on the work force in the form of forced work stoppages, increased training that is of little or no use, and compliance issues that make one wonder why we bother working at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Several enrichment programs have been suggested but ignored; most of these would dramatically increase worker retention and performance for very little cost. These include cross-training, provisions for team building away from property, engineer swaps & invited brainstorming, and more encouragement for external professional development.

    The current environment is fearful and antagonistic, with the work force seeking only to sustain, not excel. Drive excellence by promoting excellence rather than mediocrity.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great place to work in spite of itself

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Graduate Research Assistant  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Former Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    The benefits are great. Very good healthcare, dental, vacation, holidays and retirement. Plus a really good fitness center with great exercise classes. The Lab has some of the smartest people in the world working there and you can learn things that you can't get elsewhere. There are lots of potential for collaboration to do some really cool science.

    Cons

    There is too much paperwork and bureaucracy. One of the biggest barriers to doing science is the very high overhead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The management is too focused on weapons research. While that may be where the money is now, there will come a time when that goes away. The Lab needs to diversify its research to tackle other problems related to national security. While there are some efforts at diversification, there isn't much support for program development outside of the Lab's core mission.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Its fun, but kinda slow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Current Employee - Intern in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    -Friendly people
    -Interesting projects
    -Good pay
    -Beautiful Location

    Cons

    -Bad Location
    -Can be slow hearing from people in other departments
    -Can be difficult to locate problems with permissions on computers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Streamline a way to find who you are looking for within the company, often it is difficult to find the contact info for whom you are looking for. Also the communication between staff and interns is very poor.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    Salary and benefits. I liked the location and talking to so many talented people around. Opportunity for growth if desired.

    Cons

    A lot of training, paperwork and etc., which takes a lot of time from doing science. Big overheads. Many buildings are in poor condition.

    Recommends
  9.  

    Los Alamos lab should be avoided.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits. however retirement is age based more then time in service. The pay is better then what is available in the area, so people tend to stay, remain quiet and hope for the best.

    Cons

    Lack of commitment from management for safety. repeated people getting injured or near misses and hollow words to make improvement. firing people that speak out for safety.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    change the way you do business, before DOE shuts you down.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Going downhill...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Los Alamos, NM (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM (US)

    Pros

    Used to have a campus environment, but now is corporate.

    Cons

    Most of the qualifications held are self - made for management positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow national standards in all technical and managerial positions. Stop allowing old timers to invent their own position with lax quals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Good company

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Provides very good benefits and a stable job.

    Cons

    There is a large amount of bureaucracy - hard for good science to get done quickly.

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