American Institutes for Research

www.air.org

American Institutes for Research Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated January 23, 2015
Updated January 23, 2015
117 Reviews
3.0
117 Reviews
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
44 Ratings

Review Highlights

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

  • I hear they have good benefits, but I just worked as an intern, so I didn't get them (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is not great, especially for those of us who are willing to work hard (in 9 reviews)

  • Low salaries for entry level staff and raises minimal for those staff (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

65 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great place!

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    great people, very flexible, great mission

    Cons

    doesn't pay as quite as good as a company in DC should

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    update your market survey on salaries for the Metro DC area

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Good first job, but stressful

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    AIR is a place where you can work with some truly outstanding people, and the clients are fantastic (USAID, Dept. of Ed, other non-profits).
    The work has a lot of social value.
    There is quite a bit of job security, only leadership seems to turn over at a quick rate (Principals, Directors, and VPs).
    The Georgetown location can't be beat.
    Generally, you will have a private office or lower level staff (non PhDs) will share an office. Not many cubicles.
    There are a lot of professional development opportunities for motivated staff, but in general, it's not covered time (it's on your own).

    Cons

    Leadership hasn't seemed to embrace the strategy of utilizing the personnel well. They seem to be looking for "the next huge contract" rather than doing great work in small chunks and organically developing that into huge projects. The CEO seems to read a lot of popular management books, and think somehow that applying those lessons to a bunch of self-motivated PhDs is going to work. This problem propagates through HR leadership, who seem to want to apply a bunch of off-the-shelf management products to a unique work environment.
    Because of this, there is little mid-level management support, and work-life balance suffers.
    The CEO and VPs also tend to ordain a few employees as stars and dump resources on them. Usually, this doesn't work out well. Leadership is incredibly undisciplined and in many cases unprofessional.
    Despite high turnover among higher level personnel, there is little back-filling of leadership positions internally. So there's not really the kind of upward mobility you would expect.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be disciplined about not going after external talent until you have proven that internal staff is not up to the job. Consider objective criteria for promotion at the lower levels, and developing individual plans for upper level staff to transition into leadership roles.
    Stop looking for the home run. Play small ball for a while and wait until a great opportunity hits you in the face (like NCLB did).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Software Engineer

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, great location

    Cons

    Much workload at times, lack of communication among different teams.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Immigration and visa policy needs improvement.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place, needs management training.

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Compensation, Facilities, Good People, Benefits

    Cons

    Work life balance
    Management communication
    Wasted time on projects with no results

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to attrition rates under certain managers. Some great people with great skills are not able to manage.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Small Perks all Disappearing

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

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

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, bagels on Wednesday
    I generally had a manageable work load, though that wasn't true for everyone.
    Free tea and coffee.

    Cons

    Very low salaries, especially for junior staff. It used to be in exchange for good benefits, but those are disappearing thanks to a new president. Need a masters for advancement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take more interest in your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    American Institutes of Research

    • 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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    values your improvement and even pays some for college

    Cons

    low salary is frustrating, not open to new people, you need to network with people to get in. they don't read resumes that are sent by people who don't have any inside contact.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    salary is low, it should be more open to new people. they should read the resumes sent by applicants even though they don't know anyone inside.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work

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

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

    Pros

    AIR is interested in growing employees, so the opportunity for professional development is offered a lot. It's a great place to learn the research ropes, increase skills, and gain experience that can translate into many different areas and types of research. Colleagues are generally intelligent, competent, and passionate about the work. Excellent health and vision benefits.

    Cons

    Office culture varies at the different office locations, so navigating that is tricky at times. Depending on your manager, work life balance can be hard. Promotions and pay raises only happen once a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employees shouldn't learn new "issues" with their work during review time. Management should be giving feedback and coaching throughout the year to offer employees the opportunity to correct/improve weaker areas.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    There is enough to learn

    Cons

    Nothing absolutely. No growth there

  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    AIR is a wonderful place for new researchers looking for a place to begin a career

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Ethical, smart colleagues
    Lots of opportunities for training and learning
    Great office space in DC right on Georgetown waterfront
    The company cares about employees and professional growth and development

    Cons

    It is sometimes difficult to manage a work/ life balance particularly during "proposal season." Staff need to set personal boundaries about how much you are willing to work because there will always be more to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in leadership training/ public speaking training for employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Check the IT jobs turnovers - that's a hint!

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Open to trying out new technologies. If you have no options, this company may be a good start for you, especially, if you're a newbie in IT world.

    Cons

    Pathetic work environment especially for the IT world folks. This department is managed and controlled by a clique of folks, and if you do not swing to their music, you will be underpaid and seriously frustrated. Simply run a search for the IT turnovers at AIR and you will be amazed. Someone did mention this to me, but I didn't believe them until I joined AIR... I left in a hurry!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change the culture in your IT department. It simply is not professional and it will deter and chance away much needed talent. The management should simple be changed!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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