American Institutes for Research Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

American Institutes for Research Washington Reviews

Updated June 2, 2017
134 reviews

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Washington, DC

2.6
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
61 Ratings

134 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Some sections of the organization struggle with work-life balance (in 29 reviews)

  • SVPs are generally hard-charging and unwilling to compromise with their direct reports and the management-level staff actually leading the work (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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. "Depends on which part of the company you work for..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Communications Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Communications Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, wonderful team culture, genuinely nice colleagues.

    Cons

    Some sections of the organization struggle with work-life balance.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Assessment 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits are good, there are a lot of social events, and some nice perks (bagel Wednesdays, seated massages from time to time).

    Cons

    It has been hinted to me that Editorial Assistants have no chance at becoming editors here. I have been told by people on my team to think of this as a first job out of school to gain a few years of experience, and then to move on to a different company. How encouraging.

    On several occasions, I've asked my manager about things I can do for professional development, and he has had absolutely zero answers. I then asked HR about it, and they told me to talk to my manager, so I went through this round about for a few months before just giving up. I guess AIR, or at least my team, doesn't really care about helping their members grow or promoting from within.

    My manager has no drive or leadership skills, cancels meetings two minutes before they're supposed to start, doesn't know important details about what we do (e.g. he often forgets how to log on to a software that we use on an almost daily basis) and doesn't keep the team informed about anything until the last minute (e.g. staff changes).

    There is definite stress over the time sheets. We go through ups and downs in terms of how busy we are, and in the down time you can often hear people say things like "I have no idea what to put for my time sheet today." "I don't want to charge too much to admin, because it'll look suspicious." Everyone's afraid they're going to get fired if their time sheet doesn't look busy enough.

    Speaking of time sheets, I can not tell you the number of times I've had to go back and revise a time sheet that is 6+ months old, because a code that I was given for a project had expired and nobody knew.

    AIR also did a terrible job at letting a group of employees, myself included, know that they were being switched from salary to hourly. One day, we all just got a memo that said effective that day, we were all hourly and to contact HR if we had any questions. My office mate's manager forgot to pass that memo along to him, and he didn't find out until his paycheck came and it was lower than usual, because it was a low-hour pay period.

    All in all, AIR isn't terrible as long as you can put up with mediocre managers and a company that doesn't care about you. The bagels help. It's a good way to get a paycheck while looking for a better job.

    Advice to Management

    My advice would be to put actual good leaders into management positions, not just someone that's been there for a long time. You'll notice that about half of my cons are in direct relation to my manager, and I know I'm not the only person that feels this way.


  4. Helpful (6)

    "Only work here if you are desperate"

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

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

    Pros

    Bagel Wednesday, cheap parking, baseball tickets

    Cons

    Everything else - only work here if don't mind being professionally abused.

    Advice to Management

    Sort out the terrible management


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Good Pay Not Worth Deploying Broken Solutions"

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

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

    Pros

    - Pay is competitive
    - Very good benefits
    - Good social opportunities

    Cons

    - Major issues with inter-departmental communication - solutions are forced upon IT by other departments without consultation
    - Issues with intra-departmental communications lead to solutions being deployed without other team's expertise
    - IT decisions are dictated by other departments
    - Constantly changing priorities lead to unfinished projects or poorly implemented solutions that are rushed to completion
    - No option for working Remotely (at least in IT)
    - Extremely high turnover in IT
    - Little room for advancement


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Headed in the Right Direction!"

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

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

    Pros

    AIR offers flexibility, impactful initiatives around diversity and inclusion programs, great pay and meaningful / engagning Work

    Cons

    There is still a bit of antiquated thinking among leadership regarding visibility, telecommuting, and work/life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to pay closer attention to trends in feedback from employees in order to better guide next steps.


  7. Helpful (13)

    "Avoid Assessment and CSSC at all costs!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Except for their Georgetown location and some benefits, can't think of anything else.

    Cons

    This is an honest review of the Assesment division where I had the unfortunate experience of working there for a little over 2 years. One of the worst IT organizations I have ever worked for.

      I have never been the one to look back in life and I pondered whether I should write this review, but I strongly felt anyone who is considering or applying for a job at AIR deserves to read this, so here goes-

      -The upper management is completely disconnected and unaware of how the work actually gets done at the lowest levels, so puts some of the most unrealistic demands on the teams.
      -This allows the Technical Directors (TDs) to weild more power than they really should and play the dirtiest of games with their staff. There are especially 2 notorious and completely unprofessional TDs in Assessment, you'd never want to be stuck with them.
      -Management is selfish and does not care about its employees. You are simply a cog in a machine. They will undeservingly reap the benefits of your hard work and take home big pay checks and bonuses and won't think twice about kicking you to the curb to save their faces.
      -Very much a old boys club mentality, the entire system is setup to promote and grow only a few and everyone else is simply walking thru a revolving door. Most employees simply do last more than 2 yrs. The turnover rate is staggering yet the management simply doesnt care. The ones who stay longer are usually sucking up coz they are waiting for immigration benefits. The management knows this and takes complete advantage of their situations. The American workforce that sucks up and stays there for several years usually suffers from Stockholm Syndrome.
      -Honesty, commitment, hard work, technical skills have little meaning here. Expect 0% growth (professionally and financially) unless you kiss the behind of the upper management and lose your soul. You have no creative control. If you say "No" or even politely challenge an idea, you are let go without just cause.
      -The client management teams are some of the most unprofessional and incompetant I have ever seen. They have no clue what they are doing. They often load requests from the client at the 11th hour to technical side of the house. So you are working late nights and weekends to meet unrealistic demands while they go socialize over cocktails and have fun in bars.
      -This is a big one - absolutely no reward for hard work. Not even a "thank you" for working late or over the weekend to get this done. In fact, the only time I ever heard anything from my manager was when he was creatively thinking about how to blame me for the debacle.
      -This place all around stinks with dirty office politics, back stabbing and blame games. There isnt much of a process there yet you will be blamed for not following a process which they just made up so they blame you. I have seen excellent talent getting thrown under the bus and getting fired for some of the worst reasons. So there isn't much of job security there. But perhaps the biggest impact is how this environment might psychologically affect someone. There are so many people working there who are really on the edge.
      -HR will absolutely disregard your complaints and side with the management. When management is treating you unfairly or running you to the ground, they will look the other way. HR here has been created ONLY to protect the management, not the average employee. Period.
      -Expect to have NO personal life. Never mind the almost daily harassment from management late during weeknights, I once got called at 11pm when I was on a vacation with family and I was told I need to get online ASAP and finish a task. Unbelievable. This behavior from management is sadly not an exception but the norm in this company. There are some good low level managers but they have almost 0% power and mostly used as puppets themselves.
      -Last but not the least, there are several good and talented people here (at the individual contributor level) whom I all know are trying to leave the company, whom I wish the best.

      Long story short, really under NO circumstance should you ever accept an offer from AIR (especially the Assessment division). You will truly regret it, if you do.

    Advice to Management

    -fire all of them
    -Value your employees and treat them with respect

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Good company that is now poorly managed"

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

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

    Pros

    There is a lot of interesting work at AIR on many topics. You can learn a lot, and company does help you go to school.

    People you work with are great and they want to do a good job.

    Cons

    Company structure keeps changing with no benefit to getting work done. There seem to more managers and support jobs every month.

    Senior managers are very remote. Middle managers care more about pushing staff to get new business than making sure work is done well. People now fear they won't keep their jobs unless they work crazy hours. There was a big layoff last year. Morale has really fallen.

    Advice to Management

    Talk with people and figure out what support they need. Meet with staff. Improve communication!


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Ineffectual and indifferent management, poor work-life balance, losing clients and quickly becoming uncompetitive"

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

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

    Pros

    Smart and knowledgeable co-workers, many of whom share information about other opportunities at competitors as it becomes more clear that long-term employment here is untenable. Bagel Wednesdays are nice.

    Cons

    Increasingly poor work-life balance, staff are expected to put in nonbillable hours on projects, management is unresponsive to requests for advice on advancement and development. There is a hidden CYA mentality among mid-level management that speaks volumes about upper management and their goals.

    Advice to Management

    View non-management staff as your most valuable asset and realize management staff exists to support staff. AIR is becoming little better than an incubator for our competitors, and the company's reputation is rapidly declining.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Remote work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Project Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Principal Project Specialist in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Has one of the most progressive approaches to teleworking with options to work in different locations or work from home. Have great systems to support employees to work from home.

    Cons

    Some staff didn't like having tracking software on their phones and laptops - but I think it was a great for keeping everyone accountable about their remote work hours.


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