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CERN Reviews

Updated 8 December 2017
244 reviews

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4.3
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CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti
Fabiola Gianotti
68 Ratings

244 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Efforts being made to improve work-life balance (teleworking, part-time, family leaves etc) (in 15 reviews)

  • International environment, highly qualified colleagues (in 30 reviews)

Cons
  • It's hard to reach a permanent position (in 14 reviews)

  • es, il n'y a pas beaucoup de contrats sur le long terme et il est difficile de les avoir (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Technical Student"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Relaxed and friendly environment, conference opportunities

    Cons

    A bit too much internal team politics


  2. "Summer Student Programme"

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

    I worked at CERN full-time

    Pros

    This is THE place to be for physics! As a summer student you get to not only work with amazing physics at one of the world's most amazing experiments, you also get to share this experience with others who are as passionate about their subjects as you are.

    Cons

    I don't really think there were any downsides to the Summer student programme, perhaps that it is only available for a limited time.

    Advice to Management

    I'm not sure what to write in this section, I think the Summer student team did a really good job at organising this programme.

    CERN Response

    14 Nov 2016

    Thank you for your review. We are really pleased to learn that you enjoyed being part of the summer student programme. We wish you the best for the future!


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Software Engineering at CERN"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fellow
    Former Employee - Fellow
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CERN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    * CERN is a melting pot for great passionate people you can learn from
    * I had many opportunities to go to conferences to listen to and give talks which was supported by management
    * People are open to new ideas and even on a short term contract I had a lot of influence on technical decisions made
    * The hierarchy within my group was no barrier, I could easily talk to my boss and his boss if I had a problem

    Cons

    * Some of the systems have a lot of history and therefore a lot of technical weight (legacy code)
    * The system of contract types and the opportunities to change between them is too rigid. For example there is no natural transition from a Fellow contract to a staff contract.

    CERN Response

    12 Apr 2017 – Head of recruitment

    Thank you for your review and for the positive feedback! we are pleased you got so much out of your fellowship at CERN. For what concerns there being no natural 'transition' between contracts, CERN... More


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  5. "TECHNICAL STUDENT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    international environment, good salary, flexible working hours

    Cons

    no opportunities to stay more in your current position


  6. "Fellowship at CERN"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Fellow In IT in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Fellow In IT in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CERN full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Work-life balance is good in most departments and you are encouraged to engage in activities besides your role e.g. tour guiding or technical community organisation. Compensation is equivalent with other jobs in Switzerland. Many of us gain a large amount of job satisfaction from working for a scientific organisation.

    Cons

    One of the aims of CERN is to employ people temporarily, train them, and send them back to their home country. Consequently contact extension is highly competitive and career progression is uncertain, networking is very important and bias does influence hiring. Positive organisational changes (e.g. parental leave improvements) are slow to come, partially since agreement must be found between member states - internal bureaucracy and procedures in general are burdensome.

    Advice to Management

    Ensure that junior staff are given responsibility and the opportunity to attend training courses and conferences in order to grow and stay motivated. Hire managers for their people skills, as well as their technical skills.


  7. "Research Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CERN full-time

    Pros

    Surrounded by brilliant people, allows you to learn a lot in many different fields

    Cons

    Aside from absorbing as much technical knowledge as one can, there aren't really any general guidance (as in what to concentrate on) for career progression


  8. "Postdoctoral Fellowship at CERN"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CERN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Extremely inspiring research environment where one never gets bored.

    Cons

    Challenging to find a long term contract.


  9. "Mixed feelings"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CERN full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Incredible environment. Excellent salaries and health insurance. Additionally, it's like working in the heart of Europe.

    Cons

    Permanent contract could arrive, basically based on a lottery (quota, luck, and finally merit), only after 8 years!
    E.g. After having been a technical student, a fellow, then a staff for 5 years and then a second time staff for three years (for a total of 11 years serving), my group wasn't able to open a permanent position for me, and I was therefore forced to leave.

    Advice to Management

    Change the contracts to be really based on merit and not on a lottery. It should be easier to fire, but also to have a permanent contract, like in regular enterprises.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "A great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CERN full-time

    Pros

    Cutting-edge science research organization, doing a lot of innovation inside

    Cons

    Some jobs not related to physics feel sometimes just as services for Physicists.
    Some tests made by nerd managers in recruitment processes could have nothing to do with the position, you can find physics, chemistry or math questions.


  11. "Technical Student"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Student in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Former Employee - Technical Student in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CERN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    + international environment
    + stable job
    + friendly and helpful co-workers
    + many days of holidays (30 days + long Christmas break)

    Cons

    - difficult to get another contract, even when performing well
    - bureaucratic
    - working experience greatly depends on a team and specifically a boss
    - huge rotation of employees which sometimes results in a chaotic work

    Advice to Management

    - lack of feedback for employees


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