Air Force Research Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Air Force Research Laboratory Reviews

Updated 27 Mar 2020

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3.6
64%
Recommend to a Friend
Pros
  • "Well funded, pays well, low stress, good work life balance(in 9 reviews)

  • "They bring in speakers for seminars weekly, both on career advancement as well as some project that they are working on within AFRL(in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • "The lab is mired in bureaucracy, and day-to-day red-tape challenges severely get in the way of work being done(in 6 reviews)

  • "The culture at AFRL was not for me(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Good place to begin or end a career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Dayton, OH
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - flexible work hours (core 0900-1500, but two hours flex on either end of that) - interesting work, at least from a management angle - lots of opportunities to interact with the technical side of research, optional travel, and generally build experience - excellent networking - unparalleled job security. I've never heard of a single person ever being fired except for criminal actions.

    Cons

    - Ridiculous bureaucracy. Seriously. Your job will be to become a mini legal expert. The research environment makes it worse because instead of one or two large projects, you'll be handling twenty or thirty, each with their own contracts and quirks. - Speaking of being a legal expert, you get next to no support. There is no real 'team' outside of your informal network of contacts you build up yourself, so most people end up building feudal empires of favors to draw on. Cultivate a specialty that makes you useful. - General lack of organization. Program managers fight with research leads and each other over who's actually in charge of things all the time and the scut work has to go somewhere. Stepping up to the plate often rewards you with just more work, but valuable employees get to go on the fun symposium trips, so it's not like there isn't some reward. All of the above add up into an environment that tends to reward being busy instead of being productive. If playing a real-life 4X game with real dollars and actual research teams sounds good, you could coast out the last ten years of a career nicely. If you like clear goals and getting promoted purely on merit, this isn't for you.

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2020-03-27
  2. "Good place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    One of the best place to work as a researcher

    Cons

    No cons. Working here is a blessing.

    Air Force Research Laboratory2020-01-15
  3. "Avoid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in Wpafb, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Rare moments of potential in the otherwise maddening cycle of management mediocrity

    Cons

    Small and closed-minded management, even so-called "chief scientist" or "science advisers", are appallingly under-educated, incompetent, and merely there for materialistic or narcissistic reasons. Oh and also because they wouldn't be hired elsewhere. The result is that any scientist worth their salt leaves or is pushed out which maintains the status quo for the dead wood. Very petty environment and absolutely zero "out of the box" thinking allowed. This is NOT only the fault of a rigid governmental system though that does contribute. Mostly it is because mid-level and lower-level managers resist any innovation. It is a disservice to the researchers who are trying to be active but also to the taxpayer. It is a hole of wasted money.

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2020-02-11
  4. "Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - AFRL Scholar 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Great learning environment, lots of networking opportunities, solid pay, cool locations.

    Cons

    Cost of living can be expensive.

    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-08-09
  5. "AFRL is an Awesome Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Branch Chief in Edwards AFB, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Exciting technologies, great people, work-life balance, making a difference

    Cons

    Commute is 45 min to an hour. But this is offset by van pools and compensation.

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-07-30
  6. Helpful (1)

    "Bureaucracy First - Bureaucracy Second - Technology Third"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Engineer in Dayton, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great facilities for on-site research personnel (university and small business). Substantial dollars for external technology contracts (large business). Interaction with wide range of Air Force and DoD organizations.

    Cons

    Process zealots have replaced strong leaders throughout the entire organization. Employee morale is abysmal due to ineffective, incompetent, and idiotic managers. There is an exodus of top technical talent (especially early and mid career).

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-06-11
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Not a great place to grow technically"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Aerospace Engineer in Eglin AFB, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Benefits and compensation is second to none.

    Cons

    Performance is measured by a contribution score, which sounds great in practice. The contribution score is an aggregation of communication, business management, and technical skills. In reality, the best scores and rank increases are given to friends and people who buddy up to management. In fact, you are highly encouraged from day-one to just "get along" and not make waves in order to keep climbing. Despite it being a research environment, the culture is not free-thinking, agile, or forward leaning. The lab is mired in bureaucracy, and day-to-day red-tape challenges severely get in the way of work being done. Contractors do most of the meaningful technical work, yet tend to sit on contracts year to year without producing results. Program managers tend to coast through and let said contractors meander along on the government dime. It is very common for companies to hire contractors who are nowhere near qualified for the task, yet PM's are discouraged from making any input on hiring decisions.

    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-06-26
  8. "Exellent Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in Wpafb, OH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    At AFRL we work on some technologies that are truly at the forefront of innovation trying to solve some of the daunting challenges facing the Air Force today. There is lots of opportunity for those who are motivated to broaden their expertise and pursue new projects aligned with the Air Force mission. Great work life balance.

    Cons

    Lots of bureaucracy, IT infrastructure is slow and frustrating, and it is difficult to get even the best technologies transitioned to a user.

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-05-05
  9. "Good Place for Researchers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Research Engineer in Rome, NY

    I have been working at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good salary (slightly less than industry standard) Stable employment High degree of flexibility to work on projects you like (as long as it fulfills Air Force needs) Collaboration with a wide range of researchers Numerous opportunities for travel Can work on interesting and cutting-edge research

    Cons

    Government processes are slow and bureaucracy can be a bit stifling A fair amount of time is spent reporting/documenting/presenting research to various bosses and funding agencies Government shutdowns are a pain, but employees have been relatively shielded from the consequences so far

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-02-10
  10. Helpful (3)

    "If Your Young Spend a Few Years Here Don't Plan on Making a Career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Air Force Research Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    - Great people to work with - Work is as challenging as you want it to be - Cost of living is low in most lab locations - Rewarding work if you can find it

    Cons

    - Upper level management is awful, most DR-Vs were promoted needlessly - Promoting people into DR-IV management and supervisor positions that do not have soft skills - Directors and Deputy Directors have no idea what each other are doing and do not work in lock step with each other, there is usually undermining of authority happening - HR is as bad as management at most locations, HR is there to promote their buddies and people who suck up to them, if you are not among their friends paperwork and any benefit is slow to non-resistant and is lost and restarted more often than not - Hard work is generally rewarded with, do more work - If you don't have a PhD you are a second class citizen with no growth potential

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    Air Force Research Laboratory2019-02-17
Found 81 reviews