American Institutes for Research Reviews | Glassdoor

American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated October 21, 2017
272 reviews

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2.9
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
97 Ratings

272 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Some sections of the organization struggle with work-life balance (in 35 reviews)

  • unfair and abusive treatment of staff by upper management (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (4)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great experience for conducting research that matters for governments. Smart colleagues that work hard. Strong research assistants and good organization.

    Cons

    Hard work is needed. Large organization, which brings some bureaucracy. Not always clear how organizational structures work. Overall a great place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Continue on the current path and invest strategically in new research opportunities for the long term. Provide incentives to research associates to stay longer.


  2. "Great Colleagues"

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    Lots of smart, hard working, well-educated folks work at AIR.

    Cons

    You are required to work on many projects, and are constantly juggling priorities.

  3. "Research Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    401K matching and upward mobility. If you work hard, you will be promoted.

    Cons

    Expectation is you will leave to go to grad school if you are a Research Assistant or Associate.


  4. "AIR"

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

    Pros

    good people, ability to create your own niche and do work that is interesting for you

    Cons

    lack of diversity, yearly raises are low (2 percent)


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Assessment group is dysfunctional"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    A few bright people on the team but they don't have much authority; only a manager's title

    Cons

    No respect or teamwork among colleagues - cliquish and petty minded attitude; mostly young and inexperienced staffers and revolving door among more seasoned people as there is no respect for the knowledge and skills


  6. "IT Systems Administrator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Systems Administrator in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - IT Systems Administrator in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good Benefits and awesome co-workers

    Cons

    Not enough growth room

    Advice to Management

    Bias


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Pretty bad if you don't have a PhD"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -There are some very bright, motivated, and inspiring people who work here.
    -Many RAs form a tight-knit group
    -Commuting benefit was nice
    -From what I hear, a very good place to work if you have a related PhD and want to conduct applied research
    -Georgetown office location is quite nice, though I hear they're looking to move to the suburbs.

    Cons

    -Absolutely no room for advancement, unless you consider leaving to pursue your PhD and applying for a job at a higher level to be room for advancement.
    -Very poor, uncompetitive pay for research assistants/research analysts
    -Many people who are forced into manager roles are actually very, very bad at being managers
    -Work/life balance uneven, in my experience. Sometimes you struggle to fill all 40 hours of work, other times you work 60 hours per week (but of course you are only allowed to bill 40!).
    -Sometimes you do interesting tasks on interesting projects, other times you do mind-numbingly boring tasks on mind-numbingly boring projects. You have absolutely no say in which projects you're assigned to.
    -Compensation, promotions, raises, and bonuses are completely disconnected from performance. Outstanding work does not correlate to higher raises, bonuses, or promotions.

    Advice to Management

    -Actually hire grant writers instead of offloading everything to overworked, underpaid, and underqualified RAs.
    -Invest in manager training for project and staff managers - many project managers are patently unfit to manage people, but the organizational structure insists on smashing square pegs into round holes.
    -Invest in your RAs.
    -Please listen to constructive criticism about processes, staff, and company culture. Year after year after year the same issues keep cropping up, and nothing ever changes.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Toxic Environment (Assessment)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Test Developer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Test Developer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Working with intelligent staff who work hard in order to get all of the work done.
    Able to travel and work with state clients and educators across the United States.
    Good retirement (if you are able to work for at least 10 years with the company), health insurance, parking/commuting benefits, etc. Sadly, I saw many leave after a few months- 8 months and apply to other assessment companies.
    Ability to attend and or present at national conferences (professional development).
    The VP of assessment does show her appreciation to the staff and is very genuine and understands the concerns the staff have. She is willing to spend the time to check in with any of the assessment staff.
    There is a dedicated manager to help acquaint new staff to the assessment department. It would be nice if he was able to be more involved with the professional development and growth of not only new employees, but new management.

    Cons

    Even in management, the good old boys club occurs and it is made to you very early on that there are female employees doing a lot of the work and the male staff are out wining and dining with the clients (traveling). Being female is a disadvantage(unless you are young and attractive) and I witnessed women employees have babies and be either taken off projects and or their roles/ assignments adjusted because so.
    In order to advance you must play the game, attend the happy hours and or go out for drinks and fit in with upper management. It isn't about how hard you work in order to advance, it is who you are drinking buddies with. Don't be shocked to attend a happy hour and have your boss literally talk negatively about you to others, right in front of you.
    Be ready to attend meetings with the president of assessment and be demoralized, yelled at and basically verbally abused. And even be flat out mansplained in regard to knowing your job and or content knowledge.
    This job can and will take a toll on your emotional health due to the long work weeks and treatment by upper management.
    Which then leads to a very high turnover rate. Don't be shocked to see staff be on the edge of resigning and then take a week or two off to regain composure. Even management level staff feel like they could be fired any day and keep their resumes up to date just in case.
    When you are in management and you try to work with your employees and spend the time to mentor them, you are assigned so much other work to complete that it is hard to find that time to do so. Or encouraged to not have the soft skills to do so.
    Same with work-life-balance. 12-15 hour days, nights, weekends and being on call at all hours.

    Advice to Management

    The current directors and senior directors are not approachable and have their hands tied too by upper management. Until some hard decisions are made and a reorganization occurs, this issue will continue to cause a high turnover in staff. You have brought in some good people trying to assist in that area and you don't allow them to all due to office politics.
    Also directors and senior directors don't mentor their staff very well and do not share the knowledge for the fear that someone below them could gain that knowledge before their friends do and assist them with being promoted. Open door policy- to certain employees yes.


  9. "Relaxed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Extremely Pleasant Environment to get up every morning and spend most of the day there. Plenty of places for lunch.

    Cons

    Traffic congestion at heart of location making it a tedious adventure for commuters on daily basis.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work!


  10. Helpful (3)

    "disorganized and unfair treatment of staff"

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

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time

    Pros

    nice office space and recognizes and celebrates diversity

    Cons

    Poor management. unfair and abusive treatment of staff by upper management. dirty firing techniques. Over Exploitation of staff with too many off hours work with no compensation. More PMS in teams than actual technical staff. No growth paths.

    Advice to Management

    perform 360 degree evaluation to hold management accountable.


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