Abt Associates

  www.abtassociates.com
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Abt Associates Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated Jul 16, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.1 34 reviews

82% Approve of the CEO

Abt Associates President and CEO Kathleen L. Flanagan

Kathleen L. Flanagan

(17 ratings)

75% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work life balance can become imbalanced at certain project cycle times(in 22 reviews)

  • work life balance, some very smart people, decent salaries and good benefits(in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Likes to push how great its work/life balance is - don't buy it, they don't really care(in 4 reviews)

  • Many staff, especially junior staff, have challenges finding adequate coverage when the projects they are hired for end(in 4 reviews)

34 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A company attempting to make the changes that it needs to.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsThe breath and scope of many of the jobs is impressive; a range of skills is often called upon (which is good) and a very diverse, smart group of people are there to work with.

    Opportunities for technical inputs and travel are also valuable and a fabulous part of working at Abt Associates. Work life balance can become imbalanced at certain project cycle times!

    ConsThere is some fragmentation between the Depts. and thus communication can be less than ideal. The split between international and domestic work is pronounced and a real shame as these two division have more in common than they seem to realize.

    HR has made some solid improvements in recent years, with the exception of the leadership in Recruitment, which is poor, naive and lacking in any knowledge of development - the firm's bread and butter!

    But overall I believe Abt is, or will make, the necessary changes to thrive.

    Advice to Senior ManagementImprove the staff appraisal system and performance related pay (always an issue). Change the Recruitment leadership to be more in line with client needs. Continue to diversify the portfolio to ensure a variety of donors are lured, not just the US government.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Variety of interesting and important work; good work/life balance; very frustrating bureaucracy and poor HR department

    Senior Analyst (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsAbt has very smart people working on interesting projects in important areas. The benefits are pretty good, as is the work-life balance. The 401k matching contribution of up to 5% of salary is very nice.

    ConsFrustrating bureaucracy and HR department. For example, after interviewing I waited more than a month before I heard anything back, and had limited responsiveness after that. I don't always have the sense that I am a valued individual.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFix the HR department, particularly to ensure responsiveness to potential and current employees.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Great, if you are in the right position at the right time

    Associate (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    Proswork life balance, some very smart people, decent salaries and good benefits. If you are a very technical person, you can be involved in interesting technical work.

    ConsMany overqualified individuals stuck pushing papers; "dry periods" where it seems like there is not enough work to go around to the mid-level folks.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCommunication is haphazard and management in some divisions is not very strong.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Serious work, smart people

    Intern (Former Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsAbt has lots of very smart, talented people working very hard to make a difference in the world. That's inspiring.

    ConsLargely because of who its clients are, the company is fairly bureaucratic and seems slow to adopt innovation. The divisions, and projects, are segregated from one another, so there isn't much of a company identity.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo more to encourage interaction between staff and different divisions and projects.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A changing atmosphere - in a good way

    Portfolio Manager (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsChange management seems to be a theme -- office space changes, leadership changes, department changes but they all seem to be on the same upward trajectory, being financially sound, becoming more agile and diversified. Leadership changes in departments like HR have been good. New team in place has made great strides in partnering with divisions and departments and are accessible. Very nice culture of people connected to the mission and value of diverse perspectives and critical thinking. CEO has great entrepreneurial attitude and brings competiveness and impactful strategy to the forefront.

    ConsSome colleagues are not willing to consider fresh perspectives - often refer to "that is not how we have always done it."

    Advice to Senior ManagementContinue to make positive changes, even if the naysayers are not on board.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A great place for mid to high-level employees

    Senior Analyst (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsThis is a very smart (sometimes too smart) firm. It's a place where you get exposure to some of the best economists and evaluation experts in the US. There are a lot of opportunities to get published in top journals and to get the mentoring you need to build a great career in health or economics.

    ConsIt can be very nerdy. Sometimes the discussions get bogged down into very boring detail. The firm has a lot of PhDs, and while they are awesome at their jobs, they sometimes tend to think like academics and not focus on practical issues.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMaybe give some awards to younger people. All the prizes go to very senior economists, and that's okay, but often the younger folks feel a bit left out of the picture.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Stench of deceit permeates the office

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsFrom what I have experienced so far, there are some hard-working employees committed to the mission of the company. Abt provides decent benefits, and if you are lucky, some degree of work-life balance.

    ConsWhere do I start? Senior management seems to have adopted the policy that deceiving employees is the smartest course of action in a company/industry that across the board is suffering setbacks. In a company where the mission is "to improve the lives of people world-wide," it is a shame that this company does not treat its employees fairlyOver the past few years, Abt has made very questionable hiring decisions for senior level positions, and this company is turning into a police state. A friend in HR told us the CHRO comes down from her throne to quiz staff on some HR statement rather than interacting like normal people would.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHonesty is the best policy. Stop trying to turn this company into a Fortune 500 company. If senior managers or executives are not a good fit for the company, don't let them destroy it even more than they already have. I would not have taken this job had I known everything it stands for is in the process of being destroyed.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Experience Good; people nice; junior staff have to fight very hard for opportunity

    Finance and Contracts Analyst (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsGreat Benefits; nice people; opportunities for travel

    ConsVery Bureacratic; young employees are often pigeon holed.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook for innovation from young staff

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Epic Fail

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) North Bethesda, MD

    ProsNice people, location. Mission-driven, great projects.

    ConsMany elitist senior managers. Senior Managers play favorites and any dissent is met by some of Abt's best employees being forced out the door. Morale is low. People don't feel adequately valued or compensated. There are huge salary disparities. A new hire who has the same years of experience, background, education might make significantly more than someone doing the exact same job for years. This is demotivating and one of the reasons people leave.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop playing favorites. Be transparent and recognize employees are not satisfied and don't play the game blame. It isn't any one person's fault, it the fault of Senior management for the practices they have put in place and decisions they have made recently. Time are tough, but will get tougher as more and more people leave.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good projects with interesting work, but the management is still struggling with fast growth over the past five years

    Associate Analyst (Former Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsAbt is filled with a lot of great people that are working on many interesting projects. You also can have the opportunity to travel and work with people from all over the world.

    ConsThe management seems to be struggling with direction and has not outlined a great strategy to cope with the big cuts that have started in government spending. It is also often hard as a junior employee to find work and can lead to a lot of time networking within your own company to find 40 chargeable hours a week.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide more structure to your employees and make sure that you plan your labor needs more than a month or two out.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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