The culture changes on a quarterly basis when, after outrageous earnings projections cannot be met, management musical chairs is played.
Support from management
Management makes its efforts and tools are available. However, your knowledge of the existence of tools, your manager's ability to support your, and management commitment are subject to many factors that are out of your control. Low profit margin contracts, off-site work locations, distracted, disengaged, unqualified managers all can result in a complete lack of support.
At the engineering level, as long as you are part of a team that is run by someone who is qualified, there is a good sense of teamwork. However, it is increasingly uncommon to see teams run by people who either have had no management training and are poor managers or who technologically are out of their element.
Freedom to work independently
There is no corporate cultural dictate regarding this. One's freedom to work independently depends on the contract and the manager mostly.
While corporate communiques occur frequently, they are made by people who have no history with the company and typically contain errors. They also present facts in a misleading way.
While at the engineering project level projects typically are composed of teams that exhibit gender equality, at the management level, there appears to be less diversity. The majority of managers, particularly executive managers, come from the same demographic - late middle aged, Caucasian men.
Attitude towards older colleagues
With managers in an engineering firm having slowly switched from being engineers to sales people, an erroneous approach to senior staff, born of ignorance, has been propagating. Why pay a $150K / year to a senior engineer when you can get twice as much out of 2 fresh out of college grads at $75K / year each? This is causing a loss of experienced staff who are capable of solving the toughest problems who have the knowledge and history of long standing projects. It is also creating a glut of inexperienced staff who are not properly supervised and mentored who are left to flounder and feel ill at ease and out of their element.
The company makes a very small investment in an Engineering Leadership Program. It is not well advertised. Mostly, career development is a function of the employee taking responsibility for it.
Overall compensation for your work
The company participates in subscription corporate salary surveys and works to make sure that people are paid salaries that are inline with the companies they view as competing in the same industry.
Office / Work Environment
This is completely dependent on the work assignment. Some company facilities have adopted the giant bullpen approach which many people find noisy and distracting and some people find collaborative. Some company offices have traditional offices. Offsite work, that has become the norm, is often in substandard buildings that use cubicles where office hours are dictated by the customer who usually closes on holidays the company does not offer and during periods of inclimate weather both of which force employees to use their valuable leave.
The company follows green standards.
This is completely dependent on the contract you support and the job you have. The company does support flexible hours and 9/80 work week. However, your job posting may preclude benefiting from any of it.
This is a big company that produces large, expensive, defense related products, like ships and submarines. What could be better than the image of a big defense related company?
As a government contracting company, your job is as secure as your contract. The company has become increasingly less likely to permit people to sit on the bench for any length of time while attempting to find other employment within the company. The company makes gestures that suggest they are trying to retain current employees who are at risk of losing their jobs with things like a list of names of available staff that is distributed to hiring managers. However, the company has no policies or procedures in place that require or even coerce a hiring manager to favor an existing employee over an off the street applicant. Few hiring managers use the list, it is mostly up to the at risk employee to seek out job opportunities and apply for them. Commonly, applying for an internal job as an at risk employee feels exactly like applying for the job as an off the street applicant. There is no system in place that favors existing employees.
With the ADA, it would be hard for a government contractor not to provide proper handicap access.
The company even provides training to help ensure workplace safety.
The company, by virtue of underbidding contracts as well as by virtue of the nature of defense contracting, has a wealth of challenging engineering problems to solve. An advantage of working for a company like this is that your resume will evolve in a manner that will pay off for you in the long run.
Inclusive / Diverse
While at the engineering project level projects typically are composed of teams the makeup of which depicts the diversity of America, at the management level, there is little diversity. The majority of managers, particularly executive managers, come from the same demographic - late middle aged, Caucasian men.
Suggestions for improvement
- Management is constantly reorganizing and changing. They appear to be reactionary rather than actually following a long-term business plan. There are few people in management who have come up through the ranks. There is little corporate history so people who have been around see the company cycle through changes that are presented as new ideas that have been done in the past. The company should makes is business goals clear and state how it plans to achieve them so that the employees have a sense of being on a path rather than flying by the seat or our pants. Jobs should be advertised so that people will know there is something worth applying for. Efforts should be made to entice hiring managers to favor existing staff.
What I like about the company
At the engineering project level, the company has managed to hire many personable, qualified people from whom one can learn while enjoying the work.
What I dislike about the company
Management seems disconnected from the employees and customers. This leads to decisions that negatively impact long-term contracts resulting in job instability and unrest.