Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Work wellbeing score is 65 out of 100
2.9 out of 5 stars.
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Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Employee Reviews

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United Kingdom50 reviews

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3.5Work-life balance

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This is a place where your love for science comes to die. It's not the topic of the work itself, the concern is with with senior staff and how they engage with only select few individuals while literally ignoring others.
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Interesting work, incredible flexi working system, good pension.

I worked Dstl for 25 years, over that time been involved in many varied and diverse projects. The work-life balance is great, The pay is lower than private sector however.


Interesting work, flexi time system, pension.


Pay lower than private sector.
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Insights into Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Based on 13 survey responses
What people like
  • Feeling of personal appreciation
  • Ability to learn new things
  • Time and location flexibility
Areas for improvement
  • Sense of belonging
  • Fair pay for job
  • General feeling of work happiness

I'd rather not say

Absolutely terrible attitude towards staff. No clear policy on diversity and inclusion, lip service is paid, but there is mo attempt to change the working culture so that neurodiverse workers are integrated and can prosper.The diversity networks are well staffed by colleagues, but on a voluntary basis, indicating management do not take it seriously enough


Some nice colleagues


Management are awful too many and ineffective
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There are interesting and exciting areas of the organisation however moral is very low due to poor pay which is causing recruitment and retention issues. Staff are overworked and don't have time to mentor or support junior staff. I left due to a lack of well-defined career progression paths. It was seen as normal to spend 5+ years at the same salary without any promotion. Lacks a team culture which has been made worse by WFH. Yearly pay increases were consistently late and did not keep up with inflation.


Flexible working, maternity leave, shared parental leave


Poor moral, low pay compared to private sector
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pay wasn't always correct

difficult to progress and pay was an issue while i was there, a few times my wages weren't correct and it took a long time to rectify this, teams are okay but moral is low at times


next to none


where do i start
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Interesting and Varied

The Job as well as the organisation are interesting and the work is varied, However, the pay is extremely low. If you have a STEM background then you can potentially go far, if not then options can be limiting.
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Ruined by senior management

The work is really interesting but some of the senior management are cancerous to the organisation. There is a weird culture of allowing a select few people progress their career while keeping other from doing so, with a broad career progression system that is the same for lowest skilled position up to the most senior. It is also open to interpretation depending on who is using it to justify wether someone is promoted or not.Overall morale has tanked due to toxic leadership, terrible pay, herendous IT systems and selfserving cut throat behaviour from other members of staff.


Not much


Toxic career progression system
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Brilliant people, often interesting work, poor pay and progression

Absolutely brilliant colleagues who are friendly and welcoming. You'll get access to interesting work and an insight behind government, but be aware that Dstl is a commissioning organisation - policy is that 80% of work is contracted out to industry, and only the essential done internally.This can mean you're scoping out projects and keeping up to date with the latest science, but don't get to do that science yourself for the most part. Technical partnering on contracts is used to assure good delivery and will give you insight.The pace of work was too slow for my liking - the nature of research is that it isn't really urgent. Rapid response tasks to Defence may come in, which provide a real sense of accomplishment when completed, but these are not the norm. Pay is a long-running issue, with graduate salaries for electronic engineers running around £8-12k below competitors, in a very high cost of living area. You will feel very poor for at least the first year as you progress up through the development zones. Unfortunately, you're stuck at feeling just poor until you can then apply for a career level review, which is a minimum 1 year of doing the work of the grade above. The Civil Service Pension is absolutely excellent, but unfortunately is no use now. I would not recommend Salisbury as a city for young graduates, but it can be enjoyable. Dstl could have done more to introduce grads to one another, although I concede COVID-19 did not help this. There is a real collegiate atmosphere within the organisation - its people really are its best asset.Senior management within - 
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Disingenuous and Inefficient culture

Sadly this culture is highly protective of itself. It has no appetite for learning to improve process. It is dismissive of cultures that do not “fit” its constrained environment. I worked with some good people here who are unlikely to survive outside in a more multicultural and self governing world. I worked with some people who were closed and constrained and benefitted enormously from a divisive and undermining culture so sought to perpetuate that. I saw and heard things one should never experience in a modern day workplace. Both my joining and leaving experience were awful I had to pursue every nuance of both. I learned much from my experience here, I hope that defence too will learn much over the coming years if they are not to implode. I am saddened given my heartfelt joy when I secured my role and my personal devastation by the time I left. Note, two people I asked to follow me to this company one male one female stayed 12 months and then left, they were appalled by the culture. Be warned, it is endemic and they are not listening or learning.




Multitude - see commentary
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Great place to work, good benefits but lousy salary.

Great place to work, good work life balance, option to take flexi time but the salary is poor. Advancement is ok but if you do not have a STEM background, you may struggle to advance through the different pay levels.DSTL is part of the Civil Service so the culture can be a shock if like me you were used to 60hr weeks. You are contracted to just 37hrs a week so pace of life can seem a little strange at first which also presents it's own problems when your used to things happening at pace and not civil service pace.
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No career progression and eroded pay/benefits every year

The situation, morale and atmosphere has become unsustainable. The pay is 20% less than comparible organisations and each year this gap gets worse as they secure better pay deals. The seniors and execs say pay isn't an issue but get bonus' greater than the average salary and are on a different pay scale. Despite being told yearly the continue to not act on this.
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Great opportunities, true Flexi time, quality of management a real coin toss and typical civil servant pay

Pros:- Truly world leading research (depending on your project)- Flexi time. TRUE Flexi time.- Great peer group- Civil service pension- Government sick leaveNeutral:- Quality of management is a real coin toss. I have had 7 line managers in the past 5 years and 4 of them have been great. We try not to speak of the others.Cons:- Civil service pay. It is what it is- Promotions take forever and it seems the organisation is stacked to incentivise promotion through external opportunities. - Sometimes you don't see the output of your work for years because projects last for decades.
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great place to work if you want to work

Great place as long as you get a good team leader, there were some great staff but also some lazy sods, but as a conscientious worker i was given some great opportunities to progress


flexi time


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Miserable, stressful, toxic culture

Do yourself a favour and Get an job anywhere but here. Toxic management environment. The science always takes a back seat to the politics. The only way to get ahead is to trample over somebody else.
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Good pay/ Work enviornment

I felt that working here was a great opportunity if you want to go into science or engineering. The reason I no longer work there was due to personal circumstances.
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Civil Service enviroment

Various HR roles. Large HR Dept. Lots of other roles across site for Technical & scientific disciplines. HR recruiting. HRBPs, lot of range of roles, nice people, autonomy, lots of admin tho and very bureaucratic at times, lack of progression/stagnation. Gym onsite and good restaurant/coffee shop. Free parking.


Flexi working


Lack of progression
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Many varied types of work.

If you have the right attitude then there are great experiences to be had. Work is very interesting and i the main driver for all involved. There is certainly opportunities for growth, education and retraining.


Flexi time


Clunky managerial structure.
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Fast paced

Good working conditions with excellent junior management. Interesting and challenging work in a fast paced but friendly environment. Enjoyed my time here but low pay for agency workers.
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Incompetent management & back-stabbing colleagues.

When I applied for promotion I received an outstanding commendation from my Task Leader which was ignored by my Group Leader who classed me as barely adequate. Also, due to restructuring I had to reapply for my own job and even though I had been performing it for over 10 years was turned down & made redundant because of my age (unable to prove this but was told on good authority).
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If you like to be bullied, harrassed, and do as your told.. work for DSTL

Initially I was excited to work at Dstl, but found that a lot of unqualified Team Leaders and Project Managers who have no idea of how to treat skilled resource demeaning. This resulted in a culture of bullying, harassment, and intimidation, an attitude of put up or shut up. Some Team Leaders let the management structure of Dstl down, and would not be able to work in the private industry. Such behaviour would not be tolerated, and they would be held to account of their actions. Some Team Leaders within the Platforms Division are not fit for purpose, they see skilled people as a threat to their positions, and would therefore micro-manage unnecessarily where such behaviour results in the workplace atmosphere being untenable. There is also a culture of favouritism, if your face does not fit, you will not be there for long, irrelevant of being able to deliver your role and responsibilities. Wishing anyone who is looking for opportunities there the best of luck as they will need it.


Canteen, Coffee Shop


Management ie. Team Leaders in Platforms Division having no idea on how to treat people fairly.
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Interesting and challenging

Dstl provides a work environment that actively encourages development of technical skills whilst providing opportunities to experience the wide variety of work being undertaken
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Overall rating

Based on 53 reviews

Ratings by category

3.5 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
2.6 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
3.0 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
2.5 out of 5 stars for Management
2.9 out of 5 stars for Culture

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