Abt Associates Reviews

Updated August 23, 2015
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125 Employee Reviews

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  1. I Recommend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Market Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Market Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting and valuable work, good experience, great people, nice facility,

    Cons

    When I was at company they needed to get more experience in the private sector.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Demotivating environment

    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Clark Abt is a true visionary. Cambridge office is close to Trader Joe's. Bethesda office is near metro.

    Cons

    Work greatly depends on your manager, and I've struggled greatly with mine. In this case the problem is with my manager’s level of competence, self-awareness, willingness to share information and support – all of which create delays and limit what we can actually accomplish. Manager claims to respect my skills and abilities but actions don't align with words. It’s really sad to know that you can do more and have so many unnecessary barriers. I’ve tried to have discussions about this but have not succeeded. From all my observations, I don't feel that senior staff truly care, more that they want to look like they care. The department itself is very hush-hush and doesn’t share even the most basic information such as voluntary departures or promotions, or what projects different teams are working on. Aside from that the environment in which I work is not very collegial, but rather cliquish, with colleagues either overtly not being helpful or passively not "noticing," not responding to or "not understanding" your email requests. Over my career I have had difficult bosses, challenging jobs, but this is the only one that has squashed my motivation entirely.

    Advice to Management

    Please create a way or space for unhappy employees to get support and to voice their problems. Declaring that everything is great doesn't make it so. Get to root causes. Adding topical ointment to deep wounds doesn't help. You need to understand the problem before you can properly address it.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Technical Specialist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Africa, OH
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Africa, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Pool of talented staff, worldwide presence

    Cons

    Too centralized management control from HQ, teams work in silos, low incentives,

    Advice to Management

    Decentralize giving full country management, HQ provide minimal oversight


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  5. A mixed bag

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Abt Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Abt Associates has better benefits that most public sector consulting firms, competitive pay with most non-military government contractors, is an employee owned company, and does mostly interesting work. They also appear to have a Google-like Don't Be Evil philosophy as far as their lines of business. Company is loyal to employees.

    Cons

    Management structure, style, and quality varies widely across and within divisions. If your division loses the contract you were hired on, even if you are qualified to work on other projects in your division, territorial spats may prevent you from doing so. Employees within the same division in Cambridge and Bethesda are not well integrated across the two offices. Company requires junior-level FT employees to bill 40 hours a week even when available workload makes finding that many billable hours challenging. There is a definite ceiling to promotion potential for many people without graduate education, which the company will fund only minimally.

    Advice to Management

    More/better management training for mid-level employees. Shift the burden of finding sufficient billable work for junior employees to their supervisors in divisions where this is not the case. Provide pathways for employees who begin their careers at entry level to move up into management positions without their first having to self-finance an expensive part-time graduate education.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Poor Management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time

    Pros

    The company is geared toward helping others.

    Cons

    It is not good if you are in a non-manager, entry level position. You are ineligible for Merit Increases and/or a promotion even if you exceed in expectations and go outside of your role in order to do the job right. Also, upper level managers are promoted often (every 2 years at least). Some men are paid more for the same exact job than women as well.

    Advice to Management

    N/A. Doesn't matter.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Some small issues but overall a wonderful place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Really great people and culture. The company values work/life balance and institutes programs to ensure you remain a whole person. There is even a group that serves as a liaison between staff and leadership to ensure both voices are represented.

    Cons

    Annoying policies around department spending in place. Really impedes your ability to do your job well sometimes. Lots of politics going on in some of the divisions like IHD and many layers of people that get in the way with decision making.

    Advice to Management

    Please hire a consultant to evaluate and streamline policies and processes in the company and iron out some of these impediments. IHD is the worst followed by SEP. USH is pretty good. You have some very strong personalities making it hard for people below them to feel empowered to make decisions.


  8. Many excellent aspects, marred by few leadership issues

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Betheden, MS
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Betheden, MS
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Abt Associates has a solid footprint in the developing world. It has build a reputation, especially for health financing and system strengthening which is well-deserved and undisputed. On a commercial basis, it has become expensive with bloated overhead staff but generally the technical staff are first rate.

    Cons

    The general consensus on issues is recruitment leadership is below parr. Despite 2-3 years there is still no strategic direction or remote leadership. This aspect should definitely be changed to enhance all aspects of HR and staff recruitment.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work! Don't be afraid to clean shop where needed, Try to publish and promote the programmatic work undertaking much more widely. There are incredible innovative programs being undertaken that deserve to be disseminated further and shared to enable global scale-up with Abt leading the charge.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Decent overall, but some issues need to be addressed.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Cambridge, MA
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Company has been transformed and professionalized in recent years with new library, IT, HR, production and other systems - Smart people - Interesting work - Flexible work schedules - Interesting building to work in, close to Fresh Pond walking trail - On-site cafeteria, yoga/pilates classes - CEO listens to and is interested in staff at all levels - Staff are consulted on some important company decisions

    Cons

    - Collegial with peers, but organization as a whole is very hierarchical and feels stifling. - No formal mechanism for upwards assessment. Feedback is one-way, top-down, all the way down the chain. This is bad for creativity and stressful to staff. - As a result, even senior staff can feel disempowered, disrespected and unappreciated in day-to-day interactions with people they report to. - Pay is not adjusted for cost of living in Abt's various locations. If you have young children, in Boston, compensation is insufficient to cover rent, daycare and living expenses.

    Advice to Management

    - Develop and implement an upwards assessment system. - Every quarter or so, spend some time listening to staff who report to you. Talk with your direct reports, and also separately talk with people who report to or work with them. Address feedback as it arises, and model how you would like staff to respond to your feedback. - Offer a childcare subsidy benefit. The flexible spending account benefit is insufficient to meet basic needs.


  10. Helpful (1)

    More managers than staff

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time

    Pros

    Many smart and hardworking people. Great place to gain entry level experience in a fast paced environment.

    Cons

    The amount of managers in the IT department is ridiculous. Budget for the IT department is often cut in order to open more management positions (hired from outside) for new projects that aren't fully thought out. "Do less with more" seems to have become the motto. Work/life balance doesn't apply equally. Highly bureaucratic.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure your department is properly staffed before jumping into new projects and opening up more high paying management positions.


  11. Principal Associate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time

    Pros

    Solid technical expertise in international health; commitment to quality work; concerned about development impact and client satisfaction. Company is growing through acquisitions, has strong domestic divisions, and trying to diversify donor base.

    Cons

    Extremely compliance conscious, making it overly bureaucratic, prone to slow decisions and lack of decision making. Some uneven profit pictures have had impact on salary competitiveness and bonus pool. Morale issues among younger staff has resulted, career advancement is quite slow due to senior managers being hired from outside; lots of layers at higher echelons and across support departments.

    Advice to Management

    There's too much focus on reputation all capital for the wrong reasons, namely just to win more work. Open up ranks with more upward mobility and promotions. Simplify performance review process.Pay better at lower ranks.



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