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3 people found this helpful  

An overall good place to work with some drawbacks

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Research Scientist  in  San Antonio, TX
Current Employee - Research Scientist in San Antonio, TX

I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

Pros

Many projects to work on, providing a large number of potential collaborators and potential avenues of research.
Overall good work environment.
The salaries are relatively competitive for a PhD researcher, though not significantly better than industry standard.
Fosters a collegiate, academic setting for research, although this is somewhat dependent upon the specific division and its management.

Cons

Management seems unwilling or unable to foster an atmosphere that supports a work/life balance. Also, flexible work hours and telecommuting are generally frowned upon. This leads to an emphasis on "face time" rather than an an emphasis on milestones or one's productivity. In my experience, this attitude leads to lower overall productivity from staffl.

The overhead is very high and this makes it difficult for scientists to pursue the typical soft-money path of research more commonly found in academia.

It has been said that SwRI's atmosphere is more akin to the 1960's and this is relatively true. There are few female PhDs or senior management, which can most likely be linked back to the first comment about a failure of management to foster an atmosphere of balance between work life and family.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Management at SwRI, to my mind, faces three critical hurdles to attracting and maintaining young talent. First, management needs to adopt 21st century work methods, allowing for flexible work hours and telecommuting instead of emphasizing "face time." Second, the culture at SwRI needs to evolve to embrace a more accommodating work/life balance in line with most academic institutions. Finally, (although this may not be possible given the cost structure of SwRI), overhead costs on soft-money projects need to be reduced in order to make SwRI scientists more competitive relative to their counterparts in academia. Otherwise, given the tightening budgets of all science directorates (i.e. NASA, NSF), SwRI-based scientists will find themselves fighting an uphill battle against other institutions whose costs are more efficient for government-funded projects.

No opinion of CEO

55 Other Employee Reviews for Southwest Research Institute (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    exceptional

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    There are many one is that the benefits are great

    Cons

    Promotions are few and far in between

    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    SwRI-Not the best of the best, but a good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Scientist  in  San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    Relatively low stress job.
    Innovative and imaginative with opportunities to work on a broad range of projects
    Has an academic atmosphere of collaboration

    Cons

    Lack of communication between division and between management and technical/scientific workers
    Resistance to changing the "status quo"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be open to change. Be proactive in establishing communication with employees esp. in the scientific ladder. It seems that the administration has become too cumbersome for the Institute. The general perception is that admin just "slows things down" and raises the cost of overhead without fulfillling their function. Something must be done by admin to change this perception, though I must admit, I am at a loss as to what this might be other than somehow lowering the overhead burden on projects.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
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