American Institutes for Research Employee Reviews | Glassdoor

American Institutes for Research Reviews

Updated February 19, 2017
233 reviews

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233 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work-life balance can be challenging, as well as navigating the resources available to employees (in 25 reviews)

  • Room for growth as a lower level staff is minimal at best (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Pathetic Workplace (CSSC), DO NOT JOIN CSSC/ASSESSMENTS"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    None None None None None None.
    None None None None None None
    None None None None None None
    None None None None None None

    Cons

    >Pathetic place to work as a software engineer .
    >Management is lost in its own world (fairy land).
    >Contracts are won with zero understanding of the teams capabilities (Clients are fooled into unrealistic commitments ) , and eventually everything is a fire drill .
    > The PMs are mere meeting coordinators and note keepers, incompetent . Don't blame them either
    > Directors (technically crippled) are the ones driving the processes including designing technical specs, principal engineers are writing code (instead of designing systems), software engineers are mere deployment engineers (with very little exposure / access to the developmental work. All development is basically a kluge.
    > you are required to be in the office for the day + be available for any adhock last minute deployments which happen almost every day(with no questions asked). End up working very late hours and 50+ hours a week easily. Add weekend deployments to that .
    > There is no initiative for employment development , no brown bags , no training opportunities, no cross team work . End up working as a bull every day , untill you are brought to a point where you give up or quit.
    > The SR engineers (architects and principal) have no balls to make or initiate cutting edge ideas / technologies; still working on 90's MS technologies .
    > You will get no respect and forget about credit for your work.
    > Pay is below average and incentives are null (annual increment not more than 2 ℅), No bonus policy.
    > No job security ; have seen many employees either leave or getting fired (for challenging the management). This place probably has the lowest employee retention rate in the DC metro area.

    If you are a career driven s/w engineer, do not waste your time for this place; You will certainly end up regretting your decision if you join AIR assessment/CSSC.

    This place has lost major contracts in the recent past (MN / FL) due to their sloppy work and unable to deliver on their commitments.

    Advice to Management

    Principal engineers / SR s/w engineers should be doing system designing and managing technical workforce ; and not writing petty scripts and code.
    Clients


  2. "Good Place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Help Desk Technician
    Former Employee - Help Desk Technician

    Pros

    I was only here for a short time, but the management at the Reston location, put in a good shift.

    Cons

    Too many contractors brought in within a short period, and then had to be let go, because a long term contract for which they were all hired, was lost.


  3. "Salary"

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

    Pros

    Pay is okay because the job doesn't drain your brain

    Cons

    What you get pay is relatively good but parking is expense around Georgetown


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  5. Helpful (9)

    "Not as great as it once was"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist
    Former Employee - Senior Research Scientist
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at American Institutes for Research full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great, smart, motivated colleagues. Good benefits, somewhat flexible telework policies, interesting work. AIR gets some of the best and brightest in the social sciences -- from entry level to top management. They have an extremely successful track record of getting grants and contracts from the federal government as well as the private sector, which leads to a wide variety of projects.

    Cons

    It seems as though they are getting too large, with too many managers/VPs at the top. The near constant "reorganizing" efforts are tiresome and unclear to most staff. Most of the top project leaders (managing directors, etc) are so expensive that their projects cannot afford to have them staffed at workable levels. Its often not clear to employees what it is that top level people actually do. People are definitely getting away with just skating by while collecting enormous salaries, but as long as you are fully staffed and getting good annual reviews, no one seems to care.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of adding more VPs , focus on "trimming the fat" of middle to upper management -- they are dead weight and claiming a lot of resources.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Assessment Division"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Benefits are great, pay is reasonable

    Cons

    In assessment , hours are ridiculous and the expectation to work all of the time is unacceptable. Turn over is very high and very little training is given prior to being thrown into a heavy work load without much support.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management should put efforts into retaining talent instead of treating everyone like cogs in a machine that are all interchangeable and change the expectation of working constantly when the company boasts work life balance when there is none in assessment division.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Good overall, but varies widely from team to team"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    ~ The company means well, and seems to believe in their mission statements.
    ~ Staff members get systematic annual appraisals, which aren't perfect (although they get overhauled every few years), but which probably make for fairer assessments than less structured appraisals. AIR also gives annual raises for inflation, and has percentage-based merit raises.
    ~ Each staff member is assigned a "staff manager"/mentor; the manager exists to advocate the staff member and to monitor the staff member's performance. The quality & motivation of these varies.

    ~ The benefits are good and maternity leave is generous. Offices often (perhaps always?) include a room that new mothers can use, and the ones I've seen have even included a mini-fridge.
    ~ Although the quality of I.T. support is generally very good. My experiences at 3 smaller offices have been largely very good, and my experiences with the central I.T. help line staff have usually been very good.

    Cons

    ~ Job satisfaction varies widely depending on teams/bosses. Work-life balance varies widely depending on supervisors/bosses and seniority level.
    ~ The apparent quality of HR support dropped off hugely a few years ago (maybe 2012 or 2011?), with the larger offices not having a clearly assigned office liaison. Lower-level staff hired before ~2013 are underpaid, having been hired before AIR offered a competitive entry-level salary.
    ~ Charge codes aren't available for everything (e.g., parties, cross-team work groups, mandatory staff management meetings), which means staff sometimes need to work longer days to offset the time taken for work-related functions.


  8. "it is good to work here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research (Less than a year)

    Pros

    do not have pressure.

    Cons

    most of employee are from agency


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Do Not Work Here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I have No Pros at ALL

    Cons

    I was very disappointed about how this company had just dismissed me with no explanation. I had a man I met on the first day of work simply call my phone in the middle of work, to tell me to open the door for him into the building for him to tell me that it was my last day working at the company. I was given zero explanation as to why I was done. I never want to work with a company like Randstad or AIR ever again.

    Advice to Management

    Grow-up and respect the people you hire.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Editorial Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editorial Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Editorial Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good work-life balance, the immediate team is all very nice. Good health care and commuter benefits. It's a good first job out of school.

    Cons

    Pay is pretty low. The work is dull and extremely repetitive. As an Editorial Assistant, you're kind of stuck until one the editors decides to leave. Management doesn't believe in professional development.

    Advice to Management

    Don't forget that the lowest man on the totem pole is often eager to learn and advance. I've tried to reach out to my manager multiple times about projects I can take on or things I can do to become more useful, and he hardly every follows up with them.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Horrible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    As a contractor, I guess I don't have any PROS to say for this company.

    Cons

    Bunch of ppl play blame games. As a contractor, I never had such kind of experience with other companies, but this one is an exceptional case. Worked with some of the most annoying ppl in the world. Specially in assessment project, no life for contractors. Day and night just work work and work and no praise at all.
    Had to move out to get rid of all the negativity going around.



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