Best Research Universities to Work For 2013

Research universities are known for highly motivated employees. These schools are well funded and are perfect for those looking to advance their field through research and instruction. The research universities include public and private universities with above average pay and offer perks that go above and beyond the norm.

#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Location: Cambridge, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The biggest draw, and reason for job satisfaction among MIT employees is the opportunity to work with the absolute top people in their field. The pay is good, the benefits are great, but the real reason to work at MIT is the prestige of the university.

Notable Perks: MIT is huge and the university has a plethora of resources accessible to both students and faculty. The school offers top notch child care, backup child care, and referral services for elder care, ensuring that the families of their employees are well looked after.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Associates earn $44,500 per year on average, the average salary for research scientists is $66,800 per year, the average assistant professor at MIT earns $10o,200.

#2. University of California Berkeley


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Location: Berkeley, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite the opportunity to work with some of the top scholars in their field in addition to good benefits and pay. The university achieves a family atmosphere among faculty, despite being one of the foremost research universities in the country with a high student and faculty population.

Notable Perks: Berkeley offers a comprehensive retirement pension plan with a lifetime monthly income based on the period of time for which you have worked there, the pension is payable in both lump sum and monthly income forms.

Average Salary: Postdoc Scholars average $46,000 per year, Associate Specialists average $50,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $78,700 per year.

#3. Georgia Institute of Technology


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Location: Atlanta, GA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Georgia Tech remark upon the great work environment that creates opportunities for professional growth. The CEO has a 93% approval rating on Glassdoor, employees enjoy working in an environment with few bureaucratic obstacles.

Notable Perks: Georgia Tech not only offers a child care option, but early education for the children of faculty, staff, and graduate students. The programs serve children six weeks to five years old providing high quality early education in a nurturing and caring manner.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn $44,137 on average, Assistant Professors earn $89,000 on average, Teaching Assistants earn $10.66 per hour on average.

#4. Carnegie Mellon University


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Location: Pittsburgh, PA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Carnegie Mellon University enjoy the extremely focused and academic nature of the culture. Working with some of the best minds in academia provides many networking opportunities, and the city of Pittsburgh affords both faculty and students with a close connection to industry. The CEO has a 97% approval rating on Glassdoor among faculty and staff, indicating strong, trustworthy leadership.

Notable Perks: CMU offers employees a wide range of financial services including the Hannah Gold Advantage program which gives employees cash back rewards on selling or purchasing homes, and contributes money toward closing costs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn an average of $51,000 per year, Graduate Research Assistants earn an average of $24,000 per year, Hourly Student Researchers earn an average of $15.00 per hour.

#5. California Institute of Technology


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Location: Pasadena, CA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The CEO of Caltech enjoys a 94% approval rating on Glassdoor, mostly to do with his focus on fostering an academic community that feels like family. The university features great working conditions for staff featuring strong compensation and benefits

Notable Perks: From their first month full time employees gain 15 paid vacation days per year, this number grows depending on how long you’ve worked at Caltech; this is in addition to 12 paid holidays per year.

Average Salary: Researchers earn an average of $47,000 per year, Staff Scientists average $75,000 per year, and hourly researchers average $20.38 per hour.

#6. North Carolina State University


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Location: Raleigh, NC


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Fantastic colleagues, competitive salaries, and copious professional development opportunities are among the key factors in job satisfaction listed by employees.

Notable Perks: North Carolina State University has great employee appreciation programs, from awards for excellent performance, to employee discounts for both on and off campus activities, and tuition waivers for faculty and staff.

Average Salary: Research Associates earn an average of $44,000 per year, Postdoc Research Associates earn $40,000 per year on average, the average Assistant Professor earns $79,800 per year.

#7. Michigan State University


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Location: East Lansing, MI


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Great location with an accessible town and beautiful surroundings, caring co-workers, and easy interdepartmental cooperation are key factors in employee satisfaction. According to a Glassdoor survey 86% of employees would recommend UNC to a friend.

Notable Perks: The spouse and children of employees receive tuition assistance in the form of reduced cost. The Michigan Resident rate per credit, which is already very cheap, is cut in half again.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average of $80,000 per year, Visiting Research Associates earn $40,300 per year on average, Research Associates earn on average $45,000 per year.

#8. University of Utah


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Location: Salt Lake City, UT


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Great tuition and retirement benefits and free transit passes which cut down on the cost of commuting are among the reasons employees appreciate working at the University of Utah. The university also provides employees with good pay, and flexible hours.

Notable Perks: The University of Utah knows that healthcare is a primary concern for most people in the country and offers strong, affordable healthcare benefits including dental plans and an employee assistance program that provides help with behavioral health needs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn an average of $40,000 per year or $22.00 per hour depending on the position, Research Associates earn $49,000 per year on average, Assistant Professors make an average of $99,800 per year.

#9. Baylor University


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Location: Waco, TX


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Baylor is a newly minted research university having achieved this classification in 2006. Employees cite the high quality research opportunities, religious heritage, and welcoming environment as the key factors behind high employee satisfaction. A strong indicator of faith in the leadership is a 100% CEO approval rating on Glassdoor.

Notable Perks: Full time faculty and staff may take two courses of no more than eight combined credits per per semester for free. After one year spouse and children are eligible for tuition remission of 50%, at two years this increases to 75%, and after three years of full time employment at the university tuition remission for spouse and children is 100%.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors average $77,900 per year, Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $43,800 per year, Lecturers earn an average of $47,800 per year.

#10. University of Mississippi


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Location: Oxford, MS


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Beautiful country and good benefits, such as long vacations are the keys to employee satisfaction at the University of Mississippi. A Glassdoor survey indicates that 79% of employees would recommend Ole Miss to a friend as a great place to work.

Notable Perks: The university offers stellar fringe benefits, including discounts on golf at the local club, free university event tickets, reduced tuition for nursery school; and, the incredible friends of children program, which helps pay for food, lodging, travel, and childcare for faculty and staff with children suffering from extreme medical conditions.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $35,300 per year, Assistant Professors earn an average of $63,300 per year, Web Developers earn on average $20.26 per hour.


Glass Door was used for both salary information, and to evaluate employee values and regard for the institution based on the included employee reviews.

Chronicle of Higher Education’s “best colleges to work for honor roll” was taken into consideration where applicable when deciding which aspects of the university to focus on while evaluated the components of employee satisfaction.

Other information was obtained from university websites.