I must say that I am pleased that my first position outside of college was with Advanced Testing Laboratories (ATL). It is a really good company that does a lot of interesting work but there are serious downsides and pitfalls to their business model. The primary work of ATL is contracting with larger firms to provide a series of laboratory testing (like MedPace or Lab Corp) but where they really excel is in their newest field of what they call "Insourcing".
The basic idea is that they have a contract with a large corporation to provide laboratory or research technicians. The method is they provide people who are trained to do the job on Day one and preform any number of duties for the client. In my case I was brought on to work as a researcher for upstream testing methods. In particular it was real time PCR method development but in the course of working 5 years for the company I changed positions many times based on the need for the work.
The problem is that all the moves were lateral moves. ATL does not hire from within and when an employment position was temporary halted I was reassigned to a simpler Microbiology testing position. While I was given some assurance that I could return to my previous position when the business allowed for it I found to my dismay that instead of reassigning me they hired someone else to fill the position when it again became available. From this and many other experiences I have had I can say that ATL's policy is hire as many people as they can because they have terrible retention rates.
The good aspect about this business model is that people starting out their careers can get a well paying job with great benefits and gain a great deal of experience. There are many opportunities for personal growth and development but this is one of the reasons why their employee retention rates are so poor. The company does not hire from within and people gain work experience that does not result in compensation. ATL has a truly horrible pay scale that starts out above average but does not advance far after that. Unless you take on a managerial position the max you can gain is 3.5% salary per year but again that is the max. In practice due to budget constraints even the best employees do not get more than 2.5% on their yearly review.
I add to this my mixed feelings about the management at ATL. While the on-site managers are great and work well with the individual contractors the actual company management is a joke. They have no idea of the day to day operations and take no interest in the problems or issues of the workers. Likewise the HR department is a mess as they have even worse retention rates than the scientific contractors. In the 5 years of my employment there have been four changes in the representative to who I am supposed to report. Major issues have arisen that were not dealt with and I have personally witnessed HR representatives misrepresent company policy to other coworkers regarding employee compensation. Whether this was due to simple ignorance of what policy ended up being enforced or outright deception I do not know but a friend and co-worker was promised 2 weeks of disability pay and ended up receiving none.
In short I would say ATL is a great company to start your career but I would not suggest you plan on making it a lifelong commitment. Their business model seems to be hire as many workers out of college and not offer them career advancement. I would sincerely say that ATL is a great company for starting your career in the sciences but start applying for better jobs as soon as you have gained adequate work experience.