Not sure what business unit prettysmile works in, but as an aerospace major, I'm assuming you want to go into aeronautics. She has her own perspective, but they certainly need clarification.
- Yup, some benefits have been cut, but they're still pretty good.
-- They got rid of the defined benefits pension for new hires, but they still have a defined contribution plan; you don't see any sort of pension plan in most companies these days.
-- In addition to the defined contribution plan, there's a 401k, and matching contributions (up to 4% total) are provided.
-- Then there's all the standard stuff such as insurance, etc. You do have to contribute some, but it's certainly nothing to complain about (I pay $14.88/week).
-- It's true that you don't get an increase in vacation for 15 years- but that's because within the last 10 years or so, they've increased the number of vacation days you start with. 'Back in the day,' a new hire started with 5 days vacation, which was switched to 10 days around '99, which was changed to 15 days within the last couple years. This is certainly NOT something to complain about and is an ENHANCEMENT of benefits.
Regarding raises and promotions, It varies from person to person obviously. As an example, I've been here 10 years, started right out of school, and I've been generally satisfied with my raises- to put a hard number to it, I'm making $86k more than when I started.
With regards to underpaid, starting salaries are also pretty good- and let's face it, if it's not, don't take the job offer; that's absolutely one thing you know coming in.
There has been more of a emphasis on clearances- but it's not because they're not keeping them up to date "as they should." Clearances are expensive, so those who don't need them, aren't keeping them- you're asked to fill out a online form every year with programs that you are working / will work that will require a clearance.