American Institutes for Research

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American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated August 25, 2014
Updated August 25, 2014
92 Reviews

2.8
92 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
32 Ratings

Review Highlights

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

  • nice group and great working environment (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is not great, especially for those of us who are willing to work hard (in 5 reviews)

  • The salary for lower level staff: AIR hired me in at (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great experience, flexible, not the best work/life balance/salary in the field.

    • 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 for more than a year

    Pros

    Very smart people, lots of interesting work, great professional development, love the ability to work remotely and AIR's flexibility.

    Cons

    Salary could be higher, could be more room for advancement, everyone is over-worked, very dependent on if you have a good manager or not.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great for short term resume building & flexibility. Poor work life balance, inequitable promotions and salaries.

    • 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 full-time

    Pros

    Without an advanced degree or with an advanced degree but little experience: in the short term, great position for building a resume with a breadth of experiences. Some upper level staff is great to work for and will assist in professional growth. Flexibility with hours. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Employees often expected to work extra hours to complete assigned tasks but hard work is rarely rewarded. Salaries sometimes appallingly low and typically inequitable. Sans an advanced degree, promotions difficult to impossible past one level and more dependent on assigned reviewer than merit. Longevity and experience at company not valued. Many projects suffer from poor management and low morale.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 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
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  5. 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.

  6.  

    Friendly place with flexible hours

    Current Employee - Systems Support  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Systems Support in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    I work in a fairly laid back atmosphere. Staff members are willing to help when you have problems. Flexible hours.

    Cons

    Not many future development space. Work can be challenging every now and then, but most of the time it feels flat and repetitive. For someone like me who likes the job to be a little challenging and interesting, it feels plain most of time.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    Full-time employee for quite some time now

    • 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 for more than a year

    Pros

    Great entry level position - good range of experience in tasks and work with a good variety of people and clients.

    The dress code is professional but relaxed for the most part. You have opportunities to work closely with teams of people that vary in experience. You are given the amount of work you can handle and then some, so time management is really important. But if you are on top of your work and take on additional work, it is often recognized. Staff is offered good facilities and enough food and drink to keep them happy. In my program, the kinds of work I do is varied, so I feel as though I am learning valuable research skills and working with clients that give me a broader sense of the field.

    Cons

    People complain of low salary raises, which for the most part is true. Salary adjustments should take into consideration cost of living in the various offices. While people will tell you it's really up to you to advocate as to why you deserve a decent raise, sometimes it really comes down to luck and politics. People who are severely overworked can receive measly 1-2% raises, while others miraculously receive the rare higher raises.

    Turnover is ridiculously high at almost every level. It seems every month, there are a handful of staff that leave the company. There are very apparent glass ceilings. While some upper management denies it, junior level staff are essentially replaceable as they expect you to leave for new opportunities or additional schooling (same goes for staff who don't have PhDs). Some departments have notoriously abusive senior staff (mental and verbal), and others that make sure you know that your role as junior staff is merely to assist them. While everyone knows this to be the case, it is not beneficial for morale - especially considering that frustration is often taken out on those who serve as the bulk of your research support. This being said, it really depends on your manager and the team of people you work with regularly.

    Additionally, there seems to be disconnect and divide between HR and the various programs - which makes the hiring process disorganized and inefficient.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't give lip service, especially upper level management. Turnover is insane...if the company cared about keeping qualified, established staff, they should be considering ways to fix this rampant issue. So far, I've seen no change and only more and more people leaving to work for our competitors. If you want to invest in the company's growth (and reputation - hello, Glassdoor?) through sustaining experienced and valued staff, let this be known and reflect this in appropriate and competitive benefits and salaries at all levels.

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

    A good stepping stone for moving up in your career. Start looking for a better position as soon as you are hired.

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Nice people to work with. Relax dress code.

    Cons

    The company is very stingy about salaries. Very low pay for DC area. Pay raises are between 2-3%. Promotions are based on who you know.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work through HR to compensate hard working employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    OK place to work

    • 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

    Pros

    Friendly collaborative work culture, flexible hours, casual dress code, low stress if you're active about managing your work but can be high stress if you aren't.

    Cons

    Lack of career growth opportunities

    Relatively low pay compared to similar positions in same industry

    Requests by higher level staff to do admin work outside of normal project functions

    Occasionally disorganized leadership due to how projects are structured (you have multiple bosses who each have multiple bosses), and the company's policy of underfunding projects in an effort to underbid competitors (which leads to staff working a lot of unpaid overtime and conflicting messages about how to allocate your time).

    The expectation is that new hires will leave in 2 years so there isn't much effort made into retaining lower level staff. A promotion does not lead to much higher pay at lower levels, seems to be based mostly on time served, and without a graduate degree there is nowhere to grow after you obtain it. The lack of incentives to work hard leads to low motivation/morale.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This company needs to pay it's employees more if it wants less turnover.

  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great Company, Bad Planning

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

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

    Pros

    Entry level staff received offices, great company events, friendly senior management.

    Cons

    Bad planning on the company budget wise. No company should hire employees if they are not certain about the work they're going to win. This always end badly and someone who is new to the work world shouldn't have to experience being laid off without any notice. Wasn't a good feeling at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use better planning when hiring new staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Scorer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scorer  in  Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Scorer in Columbus, OH

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research for more than a year

    Pros

    Great people to work with and very nice management. Low stress even though the work is intellectually challenging, sometimes even fun and usually interesting. Very relaxed dress code. Great job that most people love returning to year after year.

    Cons

    Work is project based so the schedule isn't steady and sometimes sent home early. Pay isn't great unless you are able to work up to being a trainer (item manager).

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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