Army Research Lab Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Army Research Lab Reviews

Updated 12 Apr 2019

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3.5
55%
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
  • "ARL wants to be a world class research lab, but there is a LOT of bureaucracy that gets in the way of you doing your job(in 7 reviews)

  • "There is a bureaucratic red tape like any government job(in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Great place to learn - bad place to advance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    Army Research Lab2019-04-12
  2. "Culture desperately needs help, suffering from nepotism, cliques, politics"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

    Advice to Management

    Why are so many people leaving? Investigate problems quickly and fix problems before more whistleblowers come forward with details of the increasing problems.

    Army Research Lab2018-11-21
  3. "Journeyman Fellow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    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

    Army Research Lab2018-09-11
  4. Helpful (3)

    "Research Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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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    Advice to Management

    Intellectual freedom is not enough as a selling point for ARL, if the facilities are in disrepair. - Finish fixing the bathrooms, an initiative that start and stopped 6 years ago. -Offer a shuttle service at least from nearby townships such as College Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda, as there is insufficient parking and the nearby drive is quite ugly. -Offer incentives for interaction between research and developers, and make sure researchers know what challenges developers face, not just in the abstract, but at an actual level of engineering new systems.

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    Army Research Lab2018-09-04
  5. "Cluster"

    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 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.

    Army Research Lab2018-05-21
  6. "Fulfilling stereotypes, both good and bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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    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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    Advice to Management

    -Make it possible for us to do our jobs without breaking rules. No, we're not getting punished for it, but literally nothing would get done if we didn't. -More competitive salaries for engineer-level people. We have a lot of postdocs and researchers, but very few system builders, and few researchers want to or are rewarded for making the switch. - Take some of the workload off of mid-level supervisors, the endless meetings and shifts really don't make for good productivity

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    Army Research Lab2018-05-13
  7. "Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Interesting work Great People Flexible hours with opportunities to telecommute Good salaries

    Cons

    Employees are not empowered Excessive amount of briefs required

    Advice to Management

    Trust employees to perform to standard

    Army Research Lab2018-02-02
  8. "Research engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Army Research Lab full-time

    Pros

    Great research opportunities and purpose in supporting the Army

    Cons

    Government agency - lots of bureaucracy

    Advice to Management

    Lots of churn due to changes in management. Try to establish some consistency

    Army Research Lab2017-06-17
  9. Helpful (4)

    "Used to be OK, but rapidly becoming bureaucratic mess"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Sci in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    There is the potential to do some really cool research if you can get in the right situation. You also have the potential to work with some really knowledgeable colleagues who are seeking to do great science. Lower management is generally really fantastic.

    Cons

    The is a serious failure of upper management. There are layers upon layers of bureaucracy that just don't make any sense. We now have "Pillars of ARL", "Directorates", "Campaign Plan Areas" and "Essential Research Areas". It is a train wreck of overlapping research agendas that don't make sense to anyone outside the twisted ARL bureaucracy. The only hope is that we get a new Director that comes in to clean up the mess and make the command and funding lines more straightforward.

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    Advice to Management

    Upper management is running ARL into the ground. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and putting your own stamp on everything. It is confusing to outside collaborators and stakeholders and frustrating to the workforce.

    Army Research Lab2017-04-08
  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work and if you work you do get promoted."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Secretary in Adelphi, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Army Research Lab full-time

    Pros

    They are extremely helpful in furthering education.

    Cons

    I don't live there anymore.

    Army Research Lab2017-03-21
Found 39 reviews