Army Research Lab Reviews

Updated 3 Feb 2021

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4.3
78%
Recommend to a Friend
Pros
  • "good work environment, collaboration is encouraged, including with researchers in academia(in 6 reviews)

  • "There is a lot of flexibility to work on cutting-edge ideas that are of interest to the employee(in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • "Lots of red tape, ethical concerns, you can get away with not doing anything (which some people do)(in 8 reviews)

  • "We now have "Pillars of ARL", "Directorates", "Campaign Plan Areas" and "Essential Research Areas"(in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. "Great place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Acquisition Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, great benefits, amazing people

    Cons

    None that I can think of

  2. "Good place to work"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Management and Program Analyst in Beltsville, MD

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time

    Pros

    Family oriented, flexible, telework, hours

    Cons

    Can’t think of anything for cons


  3. "Abundant learning opportunities and networking with universities"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Journeyman Fellow 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Collaboration with universities all over the country Mentorship as well as training in research Independent research encouraged Good pay relative to RA positions at universities Great health, dental, vision insurance Travel stipend and relocation stipend are great

    Cons

    Sometimes collaborations with universities are tough without effective communication and expectations

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  4. "Vehicle Technology Directorate"

    4.0
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Aberdeen, MD

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time

    Pros

    Great resources and brilliant researchers.

    Cons

    Lots of red tape, ethical concerns, you can get away with not doing anything (which some people do).

  5. "Great place to learn - bad place to advance"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Information Security Analyst in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great people and very exciting scope of work

    Cons

    Not much room for promotion/advancement

  6. "Culture desperately needs help, suffering from nepotism, cliques, politics"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Army Research Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There is a great albeit often unrealized potential for young engineers.

    Cons

    Culture, politics, nepotism and overall lack of care or empathy in the face of great indignities and unprofessionalism. Shame persists while heroes suffer.

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  7. "Journeyman Fellow"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Army Research Lab part-time

    Pros

    Good environment to work, great guidance

    Cons

    Travelling distance is very high

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Research Scientist"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Adelphi, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Impressive amount of intellectual freedom -Uncompetitive funding to bring in students or research assistants as interns/postdocs -Work as little or as much as you want/flexible work schedule -Healthy amount of travel budget for conferences, workshops, academic visits, etc.

    Cons

    -Workplace amenities are far below acceptable level, and the disrepair is demoralizing: ---bathrooms are broken for years at a time ---the cafeteria seems unchanged for 25 years ---the water on-site may not be safe to drink ---mice problems due to inconsistently taking out the trash ---random furniture is strewn about the hallways ---far fewer parking spots than employees, causing a demeaning daily hunt for parking that wastes a lot of time (and driving is the required method of transit since public transit is awful in the vicinity) ---only acceptable coffee is from a vending machine In my view, it is not asking too much to demand a workplace with safe-to-drink water, acceptable coffee and bathrooms, and parking. Lacking these basics can be oppressive. -Bureaucracy: ---to get things done, must plan months in advance (I've requested Mathematica for my work computer 4 months ago at time of writing, still waiting...) ---people who are managing funding lines don't have technical expertise over the areas that they're managing, too much emphasis on synergizing with other research programs ---We are supposed to be doing research that enables future army technologies, but there are no regularly scheduled meetings with developers; put another way, I don't know what development challenges are a focus at a low level, only a high buzzword level (which is essentially meaningless), and therefore do whatever research I want. Having this level of research autonomy is nice, but it can feel like shouting into a black hole. -Compensation ---The starting pay is far better than an academic postdoc salary, but it is far worse than an industry postdoc salary (saying nothing of its comparison with full time industry or academic positions) ---No relocation expenses, annual bonuses are paltry --> What's the long term reward for maintaining an ambitious research vision? More bureaucratic responsibility, but not more pay. ---Employees who seem to be *done* researching and lose all hunger for publishing form deadwood that cannot be cut away. -Community ---There is essentially no workplace community. The company culture is leave work early, keep to your self. People live all over the DC-Baltimore corridor and drive from far away, making it a challenge for any semblance of cohesion to form. -If you are an ambitious researcher, prepare to work on your own (or to bring in students), as there are not others you can collaborate with in order to blitz out new publications. Those others (especially more senior people) are completely bogged down in random management initiatives.

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  9. "Cluster"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Army Research Lab full-time

    Pros

    Decent money for the level of work

    Cons

    Lied to about position, the Help Desk was disorganized and dysfunctional.

  10. "Fulfilling stereotypes, both good and bad"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Stability of employment -Work-life balance. Put in your hours during a pay period, that's all that's expected. Flexible scheduling. -Benefits (healthcare, free gym access, cheaper rates at many hotels, pre-check) -Generally good experiences with mid-level supervisors. They're from the same background as you. -Surprisingly open to allowing you to develop your own projects -Lots of opportunities to meet outside academics at workshops and lunches

    Cons

    -Salaries aren't competitive, especially for early career employees -Really not a great place for non-PhD. Mobility up the ranks is poor -Bureaucracy seems to actively conspire against getting things done. So much red tape, difficult to even get basic software that you need on computers. Everything needs to be planned months in advance. -Stability leads to too many entrenched employees who do essentially nothing while being impossible to fire. Doesn't feel like a place that really rewards or even can reward ambition.

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