Southwest Research Institute

  www.swri.edu
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Southwest Research Institute Reviews

Updated Jul 9, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 53 reviews

74% Approve of the CEO

Southwest Research Institute President and Director J. Dan Bates

J. Dan Bates

(31 ratings)

80% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • They have great benefits, and if you're a go getter you can make your own way in the company(in 5 reviews)

  • Interesting work when it is available(in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • SwRI is not a national company, so a move out of San Antonio would be difficult(in 5 reviews)

  • Everybody is here 8 - 5 except when they aren't, which is quite often(in 3 reviews)

53 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
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    Stimulating Technology for Engineers and Scientists

    Senior Research Engineer (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsExcellent, very technically professional environment. Campus atmosphere and best is the R&D nature of the work means that the topics of technical study are in depth and change with each project providing a constant variety of work. Nothing stale or routine here.

    ConsContract work means heavy monetary oversight and limitations. Fiscal responsibility is needed but salaries and project work are limited.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSalaries are ok for San Antonio but low for equivalent industry. Be careful about trimming Benefits as these set SwRI apart. Don't rush to 'match' other companies. The Institute is beloved by employees and San Antonio, nurture the culture. Enhance the Tom Slick Vision of a Community of Scientists working towards the betterment of industry, government and people.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    One of the better out of college work experiences I think you could have.

    Research Analyst (Former Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsThe place is essentially a large research campus, much like a university. It was a very collegial environment with intermural sports and other activities. Professional development was taken seriously and they offered pertinent training regularly.

    ConsSlightly embedded old guard (much like a university). Once you make it to a certain number of years here, you don't see much upward mobility.

    Advice to Senior ManagementA little more close mentoring initiatives would have helped a new grad along a little more.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great company and great benefits

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prosbenefits are awesome
    intramural sports are fun
    division 3 is legit

    Conssalary is slightly lower than average, overall they do pretty good in most departments

    Advice to Senior Managementkeep doing what you're doing

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great when there is work available

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsInteresting work when it is available.

    ConsProfessional pay is below average.

    • Culture & Values
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    Great place to get a huge variety of experience as a young engineer.

    Research Engineer (Former Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsInteresting work, great retirement benefits, wonderful on-site sports and activities culture. The best part is the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects. Be sure to check that this is the case because this varies from one group to the next.

    ConsA bit "old guard" in that they've been around doing things a certain way for quite some time - this makes them slow to adapt to workplace trends that might benefit both employee and employer.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAdapt to workplace trends more readily as it will lead to better recruiting and retention.

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

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Your mileage may vary

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsDepending on the team, opportunity to work on a variety of interesting technical problems. Chance to work in a variety of roles: engineering, promotional, project management. Private offices. Good retirement benefits. Intramural sports teams.

    ConsLow pay relative to many other companies. Claim that they "hire the best", but often fail to retain them for very long. Culture often seems like a relic from the past. Onerous intellectual property clause in the employment contract (no moonlighting or open-source contributions).

    Advice to Senior ManagementYour employees are your lifeblood. If you want to retain your talent and remain relevant into the 21st century, you need to show them that you value them as people, and not interchangeable cogs.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good short term, but don't spend your career there

    Staff Engineer (Former Employee)

    ProsThere is a great diversity of projects so engineers early in careers can get wide exposure to lots of different technologies. Technical sales opportunities exist and are somewhat encouraged, which helps gain contacts in industry and sales experience.

    ConsIt's time to leave when you have 8-10 years of experience. Careers stagnate after that. Some get lucky and land big government projects around that time and proceed on into management. For those who don't, there is no career growth. In many cases, the only promotional path is to wait for someone to quit. There's just not enough corporate growth or restructuring to generate career options and keep management effective. Management doesn't invest enough in growth, but focuses on billable hours. Expecting engineers to get their own work from outside entities isn't how the world works anymore. All the other big labs have professional sales people who make contacts for work and bring in technical experts for support. Very little commercial focus makes it hard for people to get hired elsewhere outside of government contracting.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDramatically restructure more often. Divisions and departments can be very segmented and territorial. Spend money on developing marketable technologies. Hire the lobbyists and connected business development people to generate more government business instead of expecting word of mouth and non-sales staff (engineers) to win new programs.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Well balanced company for work-life

    Research Assistant (Former Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsWork-life balance is very good.

    ConsI don't have special comments.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Women not welcome

    Scientist Career Track (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsGreat opportunities. Exciting research. The work that SwRI does is cutting edge.

    ConsWomen in technical research positions are typically hired at lower pay grades than men, promote slower, and receive less recognitions for their work. There are so few female managers, that women are rarely present in executive level meetings. Some cost centers have a hostile work environment for women, but when issues are brought to the attention of HR, they are swept under the rug no matter how bad the situation.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMove into the 21st century and realize that women can make a valuable contribution to science and engineering and that you are losing employees because you create an unwelcoming environment.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Decent work environment for a shot time

    Research Engineer (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX

    ProsIf you are lucky enough to get to work on it, exciting work is done at the Institute.
    Stable work environment

    ConsConsistently have to work well over 80 hours a week
    Penny pinching is becoming a priority
    For a research institution, management is extremely risk-adverse

    Advice to Senior ManagementSome research projects will fail, but that does not mean that they are not worth pursuing.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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