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3 people found this helpful  

Good solid place to start for people interested in social science

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

I worked at American Institutes for Research

Pros

Overall I liked working at American Institutes for Research, because it was important and interesting work, the people I worked with were intelligent and interesting, and it ended up being good experience.

Cons

The different locations have different cultures and don't seem to work together very well. Different locations almost compete with each other sometimes seem to do more fighting than working together.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Clearly define the different roles for the different offices and work groups. I remember being confused by all the re-orgs that seemed to be happening constantly. Always wondering who you really work for and what their motivations are regarding the decisions that are made.

Recommends
No opinion of CEO

95 Other Employee Reviews for American Institutes for Research (View Most Recent)

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  1. 10 people found this helpful  

    What AIR needs to do to keep its good employees and regain prestige

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

    I worked at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    The salaries are competitive, the physical environment of the workplace is very satisfactory, you have autonomy with regard to how you do your work (at the higher levels), and most of the employees are very competent and professional.

    Cons

    There is a lot of favoritism with regard to who gets a chance to participate and lead various projects. Efforts to correct this by the company (e.g., posting project information online) are more cosmetic than anything else. Furthermore, people who bring in project money are not always held accountable when they demonstrate incompetence when it comes to actually managing a project and/or when they engage in unprofessional behavior. Promotions appear to be largely determined by whether or not you bring in additional money (again, at the higher professional levels). Lastly, the company does not make a distinction between the people who bring in the money and the people who can run the projects. It is not always the case that the person who writes a winning proposal has the talent and skills to manage people and/or the technical knowledge to satisfactorily complete a project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1- Don't assume that everyone has access to information and that there is an equal playing field with regard to project work. Furthermore, cosmetic changes (e.g., posting information online) is not helpful if that information is posted late, if there is no contact information, and if people who indicate an interest online are never contacted.
    2- The company makes the annual performance reviews a major hassle for everyone involved and they make a big deal about communication between the reviewer and the reviewee. However, this is a red herring. The real problem is what goes on after the reviewer and the reviewee meet and how raises and promotions are decided. That process is secretive.
    3- Review the work performance, leadership ability, and professionalism of all employees and make sure that the company tells employees that poor work performance and/or unprofessional behavior is not going to be tolerated from anyone.
    4- Lastly, senior management must recognize that the person who writes a successful proposal and brings in money may not be the best person to serve as project director. Writing winning proposals in a short period of time involves an entirely different skill set than managing the day to day aspects of a project.

    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to get your feet wet in social science and policy research, but not a career destination.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at American Institutes for Research

    Pros

    Getting hands on experience with social science research. Having a structured process for academic work that will prepare you for graduate school or make proper use of the methods and techniques learned in academia

    Cons

    Salary pales in comparison to what your private sector colleagues will be making. There is definitely a glass ceiling based on your degree and pedigree. While one person with a Master's Degree has made it to the highest pay grade, that person is the exception, not the example.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn how to transition business operations in light of changes associated with retirement of the founders and most experienced group leaders. The dissolve of one department over the last few years is a key example of what happens when one group leader leaves and there is no contingency plan or an insufficiently broad client base.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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