US Agency for International Development Reviews

Updated March 11, 2015
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3.6
105 Reviews
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US Agency for International Development Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah
Dr. Rajiv Shah
44 Ratings

Pros
  • a chance to help others much less fortunate around the world (in 4 reviews)

  • Generally, if you set your boundaries right, it's easy to maintain your work-life balance (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • The mix of Foreign Service, Civil Services and political appointees (in 8 reviews)

  • It is nearly impossible to be converted to a direct hire (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Virtual Student Foreign Service interns learn valuable project-based skills

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Virtual Foreign Service in Provo, UT
    Current Intern - Virtual Foreign Service in Provo, UT

    I have been working at US Agency for International Development as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The VSFS program is a very flexible program for undergraduate students that allows them opportunities to develop new skill sets, gain meaningful project-based experience, and connect with terrific mentors. Projects vary and there are usually positions for every skill set.

    Cons

    When the mentors take time off to travel back to the states, students are left without any projects. This can leave a student with up to two months without assignments or projects.
    Communication can be difficult because connecting with mentors in other countries causes time constraint issues. This however, is not a significant challenge and can be easily overcome with proper scheduling techniques.
    Students are also not paid for their time. It is purely a volunteer basis.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A terrific program for students- would be preferred if this led to a full-time internship.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2. Poorly managed bureaucratic mess

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

    I worked at US Agency for International Development (more than a year)

    Pros

    Easy, steady, stable government job. Hardly any long hours. Great work/life balance as a result. Tons of days off as is typical for government work. Your work is what you make it so you can take on things as you'd like or do perfectly fine taking on the bare minimum.

    Cons

    Unmotivated colleagues and stifling bureaucratic structure that rewards complacency and doing the same old thing. For all of the hype over USAID's new innovation initiatives, they are just political posturing and meaningless. There's a reason that USAID consistently ranks in the bottom tiers of employee satisfaction. There are no penalties for poor or unsatisfactory work, especially for employees that have been around for a while, some of whom use USAID as nothing more than a paycheck and a personal vacation service. Managers purport to be all about helping undeveloped countries but only consistently look to improve their own payscale rather than take the risk of doing anything to rock the boat or improve things, which makes things stifling. Morale issues are pervasive. Mountains of paperwork that make you feel like you're in the 1970s. Very little sense of agency or entrepreneurship.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Do some house-cleaning
    -Be more flexible to change (hard to imagine being put into practice)
    -Hire younger people
    -Bring IT and paperwork into the 21st century
    -Increase contract positions to improve labor force flexibility

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. I had my experience with file clerks and Payroll assist for 1 year and half months.

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

    I have been working at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    good organizational skills, file, copies of documents, include PCs , and Payroll accounting clerks

    Cons

    I need an interpreter and Video Relay Service A "VRS" provides video interpreting between Deaf and Hearing people.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. Great place to work - very intellectually stimulating

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

    I have been working at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -motivated smart colleagues
    - good travel and professional opportunities
    - opportunity to make a difference

    Cons

    - physical space at HQ is cramped
    - fair amount of bureaucracy

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. Idealists working against government indifference

    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Agency for International Development

    Pros

    They are not demanding enough

    Cons

    One's sense of contributing to a greater good is diminished when you see the Agency is fine throwing money towards what will surely fail to accomplish its goal

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Act more like a private enterprise and be willing to cut the cord on bad projects

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Foreign Service Officer

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

    I have been working at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Growth Opportunity
    Cultural awareness and exposure
    International Travel
    Salary
    Great diversity

    Cons

    Only located in third world countries

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Outstanding profession that values and encourage diversity in its truest form. There is no finer employer in the U.S. Government that can match this outstanding federal employer.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. Bollocks

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Junior Foreign Service Officer
    Former Employee - Junior Foreign Service Officer

    I worked at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    None that I can think of except maybe the travel

    Cons

    Pack of pompous stuffed shirts who run the Foreign Service and spend their time acting like a bunch of bad actors trying to pull off a production of the "Pirates of Penzance."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find out how the other half lives and get yourselves a job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. Analyst

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

    I have been working at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - the environment is very collaborative.
    - the mission is pretty awesome.
    - great work/life balance.
    - enough leeway to investigate things of interest to you.

    Cons

    - the job is dictated by politics you don't get to be a part of.
    - people in positions of leadership often times lack the technical or substantive background to do the task they are "leading".
    - furthermore, those in leadership roles are career generalists by the nature of the work - meaning the work necessarily stays at a superficial level.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create more positions of civilian leadership. Embrace a more technical culture.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Passionate people, Bureaucratic, Insular, Vastly varying quality of work environment depending on the office

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

    I worked at US Agency for International Development full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Intellectually stimulating, passionate co-workers, good location (for most)

    Cons

    stove-piped and territorial offices, contracting officers who lack any technical expertise about international development or the ability to manage an excel spreadsheet. It seems to me that the higher the warrant in the organization, the less skilled the workforce. Honestly, only one of about 4 contracting officers I partnered with while managing projects at USAID knew how to use Microsoft Excel to do basic calculations or review budget submissions by contractors or grantees. USAID has a very highly-qualified technical workforce, but many of its support functions are very poorly prepared for their positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Empower functional bureaus over regional ones when that makes sense. Align definitions of world regions with DoD (State Department needs to do this as well, as USAID follows suit) to improve coordination. Select appointees who have management skills and understand operations, period. Academics who become appointees should receive on-boarding that explains how the agency gets things done and what are its operational challenges.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. USAID

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

    I worked at US Agency for International Development

    Pros

    Quality team, supportive environment, great to learn a good deal. Initiative was rewarded with additional opportunities.

    Cons

    bureaucratic leadership, unclear vision. Innovation not supported.

US Agency for International Development Photos

US agency for international development (main door) (Photo thanks to Flickr user Paldavo (Alex), available under by v2.0)
USAID (Photo thanks to Flickr user bclampitt All rights reserved.)

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