American Institutes for Research

www.air.org

American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated January 24, 2015
Updated January 24, 2015
116 Reviews
3.1
116 Reviews
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
43 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company gives lip-service to work/life balance and the mission is a good one (in 11 reviews)

  • I hear they have good benefits, but I just worked as an intern, so I didn't get them (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is not great, especially for those of us who are willing to work hard (in 9 reviews)

  • Low salaries for entry level staff and raises minimal for those staff (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

36 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good first job, but stressful

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    AIR is a place where you can work with some truly outstanding people, and the clients are fantastic (USAID, Dept. of Ed, other non-profits).
    The work has a lot of social value.
    There is quite a bit of job security, only leadership seems to turn over at a quick rate (Principals, Directors, and VPs).
    The Georgetown location can't be beat.
    Generally, you will have a private office or lower level staff (non PhDs) will share an office. Not many cubicles.
    There are a lot of professional development opportunities for motivated staff, but in general, it's not covered time (it's on your own).

    Cons

    Leadership hasn't seemed to embrace the strategy of utilizing the personnel well. They seem to be looking for "the next huge contract" rather than doing great work in small chunks and organically developing that into huge projects. The CEO seems to read a lot of popular management books, and think somehow that applying those lessons to a bunch of self-motivated PhDs is going to work. This problem propagates through HR leadership, who seem to want to apply a bunch of off-the-shelf management products to a unique work environment.
    Because of this, there is little mid-level management support, and work-life balance suffers.
    The CEO and VPs also tend to ordain a few employees as stars and dump resources on them. Usually, this doesn't work out well. Leadership is incredibly undisciplined and in many cases unprofessional.
    Despite high turnover among higher level personnel, there is little back-filling of leadership positions internally. So there's not really the kind of upward mobility you would expect.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be disciplined about not going after external talent until you have proven that internal staff is not up to the job. Consider objective criteria for promotion at the lower levels, and developing individual plans for upper level staff to transition into leadership roles.
    Stop looking for the home run. Play small ball for a while and wait until a great opportunity hits you in the face (like NCLB did).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Psychometrician

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    Great location, great people to work with, fun happy hours every once in a while, great access to training materials

    Cons

    Mundane at times, people from other teams might not know what they are doing sometimes

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Software Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, great location

    Cons

    Much workload at times, lack of communication among different teams.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Immigration and visa policy needs improvement.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place, needs management training.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Human Resources Specialist in Washington, DC

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Compensation, Facilities, Good People, Benefits

    Cons

    Work life balance
    Management communication
    Wasted time on projects with no results

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to attrition rates under certain managers. Some great people with great skills are not able to manage.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Good place to start your research career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in San Mateo, CA

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Admirable mission and good benefits. Good place to start off your career as you can get a lot of hands-on experience and research training.

    Cons

    Work-life balance is bad, and the low pay makes it worse (no cost-of-living adjustment for those of us living expensive areas). Thus, people look for other opportunities after burning out.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Good as an entry level position

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Current Employee - Research Assistant

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Co-workers are very supportive which makes it grate for someone who is just out of college. You get to work on a lot of high profile projects.

    Cons

    There is not much mobility within the company and the work expected from an Research Assistant is not challenging. It ends up become pretty boring a repetitive

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Some RA's work hard, others do nothing. In the end, we all make the same.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Fulfilling work working on projects that attempt to do good.

    Cons

    Most of your work as an RA goes unappreciated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider investing more in your Level 2s. We'd stick around if you gave us a chance to grow 'up' in the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Quality of Job Varies Greatly by Position, Program, and Level

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    AIR is doing cutting level research in many areas. It can be an exciting place to work with smart colleagues and the opportunity to learn and increase skills. Benefits are generally good and for people who stay for a while the retirement benefits are particularly generous (AIR's contribution as a percentage of salary goes up with age and time worked at the company). I very seldom get bored working here.

    Cons

    The work experience is very dependent upon the program and the supervisor. I have found it hard to maintain a reasonable work-life balance but I have talked to people in other positions and programs who have not faced this issue. Supervisors have a lot of freedom and some are much better about teaching and mentoring staff than others. Salaries are low for entry level staff and vary greatly for staff in higher level positions. In most job categories there is a glass ceiling unless you have a terminal degree. I feel like we lose a lot of good staff because they develop skills at AIR and then move to another employer where they feel like they have more opportunities to advance.

  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    ok place to work

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    decent work life balance, reasonable pay

    Cons

    high turnover, many short term project

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good colleagues, poor work-life balance

    Current Employee - Researcher
    Current Employee - Researcher

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    Co-workers are generally committed and helpful

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, limited opportunities for promotion

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow through on commitments to staff rather than just paying lip-service to concerns.

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