American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
11 Ratings

Pros
  • This allows for a better work-life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • Admirable mission and good benefits (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • the culture doesn't support a healthy work-life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • The salary for lower level staff: AIR hired me in at (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

43 Employee Reviews

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  1. Software Engineer

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice Quiet work environment with friendly staff.
    Free Bagels every Wednesday
    Provides interns with all needed equipment day 1 (phone,extra monitors,etc)

    Cons

    Not enough hands on learning with mentor


  2. Helpful (2)

    Test Developer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Test Developer in Youngsville, NC
    Former Employee - Test Developer in Youngsville, NC

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Amazingly smart people work at AIR, with strong education backgrounds and policy information
    I learned how to create technology enhanced items, develop test designs, blueprints, etc. Well beyond just content specialist work. That was cool.
    Of the three assessment companies I have worked for, AIR has the best content management system.
    AIR puts a lot of time into reviews for items, which is necessary and not always appreciated at other companies.

    Cons

    Worked me to death. 75 hour weeks not uncommon. Do they understand the meaning of life and work balance that they preach? Being overworked was why I left.
    Pay was "eh." More than some companies, way less than others.
    One person, who did not have the experience to be in charge of the test developers but seemed to be a favorite of someone higher up, kept people from being able to transfer to other sections of the company or do a 50/50, even when requested by the other section. Too bad - the knowledge sharing could have been amazing.
    Benefits are, again, better than some, worse than others.

    Advice to Management

    If you continue to gain contracts, please staff accordingly. Please teach your level 5 managers that there is an actual end to a work day, regardless of what the deadlines are. You burned out some of the best people I ever met in assessment. Allow people to work from home - other companies in your industry do, and are very successful. Pay people a livable salary for the DC area.


  3. Intern

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research as an intern

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Collaborative Environment. Awesome and friendly people. Using evidence-based research to solve applied problems

    Cons

    Technology is behind the times.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Program Manager

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at American Institutes for Research (More than a year)

    Pros

    - flexible work hours
    - great staff, great coworkers

    Cons

    - Needs better management and to allocate staffing resources more effectively
    - Needs better communication between departments
    - pay is below market average for DC area


  6. An average place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -work from home options and flex time
    -benefits are not too bad (less than $100 a month for individual vision, dental, and health)
    -interesting work

    Cons

    -not enough value on anyone below L4
    -work life balance isn't great
    -pay is low and promotions aren't given before 2-3 years of time
    -raises aren't more than 3-4% each year (if you get that much!)

    Advice to Management

    It is good place to gain some work experience, especially for the DC area. However, it is easy to plateau and feel under valued by management. Management should work harder to cultivate skills of employees who have interest.


  7. Flexible work hours, great location

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Flexible work hours, great location

    Cons

    Crazy work demands, very little life-work balance


  8. Helpful (1)

    AIR like most companies have the good and the bad.

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great people to work with. Great Benefits, even better for longtime employees.

    Cons

    This is written purely from the I.T. perspective.
    Very poor work/life balance. Personal growth is dependent on if you are with the in crowd.
    Performance appraisal system is really not adhered to. Promotions are hard to come by unless you are favored.

    Advice to Management

    I.T. Leadership needs to get better at how they treat employees and value them as people and not just a resource.
    Try to promote from within instead of trying to find "new" talent.
    Improve your interview process.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Good first job, but stressful

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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).


  10. Helpful (1)

    Psychometrician

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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


  11. Software Engineer

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, great location

    Cons

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

    Advice to Management

    Immigration and visa policy needs improvement.



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