American Institutes for Research

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American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated July 24, 2014
Updated July 24, 2014
91 Reviews

2.8
91 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

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  1.  

    ELA Curriculum Specialist

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

    Pros

    Intelligent colleagues with intense work ethic, diverse organization, fast paced.

    Cons

    Assessment division has extremely weak leadership, limited resources to complete projects in development, poor communication

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    People tend to quit people, not organizations. People in leadership roles would benefit from learning about effective leadership qualities and communication styles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    A very interesting hybrid of strong nonprofit mission with corporate structure

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, flexible schedules and an understanding of work-life balance; strong dedication to mission - although you may be doing business-like work it is always focused on the desire to make good change in the world. My salary is excellent compared to traditional nonprofits (although it sounds like the entry-level positions less so). Have always had lots of opportunity for professional development. Enjoy working with professional, nice people across the org here and in other offices.

    Cons

    Some of the programs are more difficult to work with than others. A lot of the negative reviews here sound like they are from people working in one particular program that has a reputation for not valuing its people, requiring long hours and having poor management. BUT, the other programs and the administrative units have some really good people, good management, and good opportunities for advancement. If you are interviewing here you just need to keep that in mind and try to get a feel for the personality and management style of the group you'd be working in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Strive for a more consistent experience for all employees - work harder to help staff under difficult managers and to make sure people are rewarded, recognized and promoted without cronyism or favoritism, even if you have to work around those difficult managers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Good place to work if you've got experience

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

    Pros

    -I know there are others who said that management was not supportive, but mine was very supportive.
    -Great benefits
    -Constant professional development

    Cons

    -As with other nonprofits, the pay isn't so great
    -Moving up in the company requires more education, like getting a Masters or PhD.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lots of good colleagues, but too much work, low pay, and slow promotion

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

    Pros

    Firm has some excellent values and attracts some really good people in terms of skill and experience - most of people here are very bright and hard working

    Cons

    People kill themselves to get work done and are not appreciated - Company has way too many managers who don't really do much of anything but talk about how they want to support you - advancement and promotion is slow - pay is not great and you don't get any real reward for good performance - everybody gets low increases even when company seems to be doing really well

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be real about what salaries outside the company are and be competitive with - it is very demoralizing to realize you may be hired at a competive salary but then fall behind people in very similar jobs - realize too that people have very different skills and should be paid differently, even with same job title

    Make clear what it takes to advance in company

    Don't let managers play favorites

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    OK, if you are in need of a job

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

    Pros

    Good benefits, good work-life balance, flexibility to take time off, good mission/cause, nice people to work with.

    Cons

    Lots of red tape to get things done, innovation is not encouraged, virtually no professional development, really slow professional growth, lack of recognition, low salaries. They pay about 70-80% of what you could get at a software product company.

    If you are more of a follower and don't mind working alone, while enjoying some of the perks, this could be the right place for you.

    There are lots of cliques and annual reviews/promotions are not necessarily merit-based. Salary increases are partly based on internal equity, so even if you deserve a good bump in pay, you might see a smaller one.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Limited career paths and disregard for technical skill restrict opportunities and create inefficiencies.

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

    Pros

    If you are single, there are many after-hours events to get to know other employees. Also, if you already established in your career with good experience, they pay very well.

    Cons

    If you are just beginning your career (as I was), you will not be paid well. Also, if you have more technical skills, such as programming, you can get into a situation where they need you to use those skills, but do not provide opportunities for advancement in that line of work. The only available career track in my location was as an analyst. It also meant that they had a hard time retaining people with the technical skills they need in their line of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Even if analysts can be billed at a higher rate, consider creating some advancement for technically-oriented employees. Also, there was considerable cronyism in the program-level management. People who were friendly with management were promoted much more than those that were quiet and reserved, yet objectively better at their jobs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great work experience, low pay

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

    Pros

    Opportunities to learn valuable skills, lead tasks, and contribute to reports and proposals; friendly and supportive work environment; flexibility with hours and telecommuting arrangements; perks like free bagels on Wednesdays and annual holiday Gala

    Cons

    Increased responsibility does not lead to adequate promotions and raises-- As a research assistant, I spent a summer correcting incorrect data produced by someone who made 3-4x my salary. HR limits raises to a certain %, but when you start out as a research assistant making $35,000, it'd difficult to let those raises catch up to the level of work you're doing after a few years. Better to leave and come back with a PhD

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Value junior staff; pay them well for the work that they are doing; do away with leveled meetings that make 2s and 3s feel like they are inferior

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    A good first job but kind of boring.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant
    Former Employee - Research Assistant

    Pros

    For a first "real" job, I felt I had great pay and benefits and some substantial work. I was glad to be working a full-time job when so many friends could only find internships. My manager got me on a lot of different project tasks and was certainly interested in my professional development.

    Cons

    The day-to-day job functions can be pretty boring: entering survey data, filling out spreadsheets, etc. In general, I rarely felt intellectually challenged by my work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Introduce research assistants to project design early on so they have a better idea of how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent non-profit organization in educational software and services

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

    Pros

    Flexible working time
    Small-sized office room with no more than three persons, giving a very good working privacy.
    Free coffee, soda and orange juice give extra score of the working environment.

    Cons

    Part of the work is related to research and therefore, sometimes yields to no practical results.
    My manager is too busy to talk with me.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Overall a good first job for someone who has a bachelors degree in social science (sociology in my case).

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

    Pros

    If you studied a social science in undergrad and are interest in conducting research, AIR is a good starting place to actually put the research skills that you learned in undergrad to use. Working as a Research Assistant at AIR was my first job out of undergrad and while I did do many entry level tasks (note taking, filing, printing, etc.) the senior staff that I worked with definitely trained me and gave me opportunities to really use my research skills. During my time at AIR I got to help with cognitive interviews, proposal management, budgets, focus groups, statistical analysis, literature reviews, and planning technical expert panels.

    Cons

    1. The salary for lower level staff: AIR hired me in at $35,000 and was not willing to negotiate. There is only so much money that one can get for this type of work as an RA but there are definitely companies that will pay in the forty thousands.
    2. The out of the way office locations: AIR should consider putting their Washington DC and Silver Spring office locations on the metro. Many of their competitors do this.
    3. Corporate is not invested in junior level staff: Corporate is told again and again when junior staff leave that we are not paid appropriately for the Washington D.C. area. I know their attitude is to be less invested in RA's since we leave after a few years but our salaries are not appropriate. While I felt like the senior staff in my department were invested in me and were sad to see me leave I felt that corporate saw me as completely replaceable. During my time at AIR, corporate cut our holiday party and continuously hired in new institute fellows and VPs but the RAs saw very little change in our salaries.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your Research Assistants salaries in the forty thousands. I would have stayed longer.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

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