Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory named one of best places to work in 2019

Livermore National Lab/Courtesy

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or LLNL, the research facility responsible for ensuring the security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, was recognized as one of 2019’s “Best Places to Work” by job and recruiting site Glassdoor.

LLNL received an “Employees’ Choice Award” based on more than 500 reviews submitted to Glassdoor by current and recent employees. The multi-billion dollar lab, which the University of California exclusively operated until 2007, came in at number 24 for 100 Best Places to Work in the category for US companies with more than 1,000 employees — one spot below grocery chain Trader Joe’s.

In reviews submitted to Glassdoor, employees celebrated their top-notch co-workers, as well as LLNL’s cutting edge research and world-class facilities. Employees also said that the environment at LLNL promoted a healthy work/life balance.

“Certainly from a science and mission perspective we are doing things here today that are just incredible,” said Renée Breyer, Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Management at LLNL. “Big, impactful science in world class facilities — the fastest supercomputers, the largest lasers — with competitive salaries and benefits.”

In addition to outstanding science, Breyer added that LLNL has programs to provide “balance” for employees — including a farmers’ market, fitness opportunities, events hosting famous authors and live concerts during the summer. Breyer said that employees were encouraged to submit reviews to Glassdoor, and that their feedback helped provide “course correction.”

Along with an abundance of praise, employees also described some difficulties of working at LLNL. Some of those difficulties were universal to the Bay Area, such as the Bay’s housing crisis. A high cost of living restricted how far employees could stretch their salary, according to some reviews. Others described how, as a government agency, bureaucratic red tape and fluctuations in funding could slow down their work.

Glassdoor produced their ranking from reviews submitted by current and former employees from Oct. 23, 2017- Oct. 21 2018, according to the their website. Reviews ask employees to rank eight workplace attributes, including overall company rating, career opportunities, and compensation and benefits.

Glassdoor processes those reviews with an algorithm that incorporates the quantity, quality and consistency of reviews to produce a final ranking. This is Glassdoor’s 11th year producing the ranking, and the first year that LLNL has made it on the list.  

Lynda Seaver, Director of Public Affairs at LLNL, said that while most prospective applicants understand the nature of work done at the lab, the Glassdoor ranking might help broadcast to the public the breadth of science that the laboratory is engaged in and the impact that science has on society.

“We’re primarily involved in national security — that could be protecting the nation by helping the military, but it could also be cybersecurity or water security,” Breyer said. “One of the reasons that people come here is (that) you could have a career for a very long time and work on different projects, all very important to our nation.”

Sam Levin covers academics and administration. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.