American Institutes for Research

  www.air.org
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American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated Jul 24, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 91 reviews

56% Approve of the CEO

American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers

David Myers

(32 ratings)

39% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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)

91 Employee Reviews
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    ok place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prosdecent work life balance, reasonable pay

    Conshigh turnover, many short term project

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Research Associate (Current Employee) San Mateo, CA

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

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

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

     

    Good colleagues, poor work-life balance

    Researcher (Current Employee)

    ProsCo-workers are generally committed and helpful

    ConsPoor work-life balance, limited opportunities for promotion

    Advice to Senior ManagementFollow through on commitments to staff rather than just paying lip-service to concerns.

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Friendly place with flexible hours

    Systems Support (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

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

    ConsNot 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Getting ahead depends on who you know rather than performance

    Researcher (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsWith offices around the country, everyone is used to having to work with staff that is located remotely, so the infrastructure is in place for when I need to telecommute. This allows for a better work-life balance.

    ConsIt's not an equal playing field. Recognition and promotion depends on who your staff manager is and who you know. When AIR acquired one company a few years ago, all new staff from that company automatically received a promotion of a level or two, so that people that came in from the new company with only a couple of years experience out of college were on par with people who had that same number of years of experience and a Ph.D. because the new VP pushed for them.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe honest with staff! It's very unfair to say, "You need to do x, y, and z to get a promotion," and then not give out a promotion when x, y, and z are accomplished. What staff needs to do to get ahead shouldn't be a secret and shouldn't depend on who your staff manager happens to be.

    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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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person 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.

    Quantitative Researcher (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsNice people to work with. Relax dress code.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementWork through HR to compensate hard working employees.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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

    2 people found this helpful  

    Manager at AIR

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGood team and location. Company is growing fast.

    ConsBad management style, use one people as three.

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Full-time employee for quite some time now

    Research Assistant (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat 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.

    ConsPeople 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 Senior ManagementSay 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

    1 person found this helpful  

    Scorer

    Scorer (Current Employee) Columbus, OH

    ProsGreat 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.

    ConsWork 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).

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

    3 people found this helpful  

    OK place to work

    Research Assistant (Current Employee)

    ProsFriendly 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.

    ConsLack 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 Senior ManagementThis company needs to pay it's employees more if it wants less turnover.

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