There are newer employer reviews for Pew Charitable Trusts

14 people found this helpful  

Great until the shine wears off

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Washington, DC
Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Washington, DC

I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts

Pros

Pew does have a lot of benefits. As listed in several reviews, the package is amazing. Great 401k match, really excellent medical and good options for dependants too. Time off is generous too (for Americans anyways).

The people are very smart; there are no slouchers or idiots. If someone gets in and can't do the job, they get cut loose pretty fast.

The work itself has a lot of influence, so you do feel like you're a part of something that can and does affect change. People seem to respect you more (or at least value your network more) when you say you're at Pew.

Work/Life balance is very good. They will often allow you to negotiate for earlier or later hours to accomodate your kid's school or other responsibilities.

Cons

Where do I begin... It's like I said in the title, you have to wait until the "shine' wears off. The shine is a pun on the DC office, which has white floors, white walls, white desks, and glass everything else! It's polished, clean and don't even think about making a scuff mark. We have rules about how many plants you can have, what height they can be, how many pictures can be on which walls, etc. This level of control extends to everything here, from the dress code (no open-toed shoes for instance) to the level of review on documents.

The approval process is incredibly frusterating. Even Tweets have to be looked at by several pairs of eyes before they can be posted. Don't ever even hope to have a quick turn-around on something. "Fast" at Pew is over a month. At any point your work can be sent for a re-write, from your project director to your unit's Deputy Director, to the Managing Director to Government Affairs, then Legal then Communications then a different group of Communications to finally the Executive Office. The CEO has absolute authority and can kill a report or order major changes at her whim. She has an incredible control over everything that goes out the door, and if she thinks something is "controversial," you can expect that it will not survive her gaze.

This level of distrust has a significant trickle-down effect. Almost everyone at Pew feels that they aren't good enough. The culture has a unique way of making you question yourself, making you doubt your professional worth. It takes a while to get to this point though, so you don't really notice it until after a year or two. As a part of this culture, staff promotions are hard to come by. No matter what you do or how much you do, it's often comes to be viewed as part of your role, even if it is above your pay grade.

It's also very political here. "Who likes you?" is just about the most important question. Promotions are pretty much only given to those that are in their department head's buddy circle. This place can get pretty clique-y.

Assistants are often treated the worst, and management doesn't realize it. They are often loaned out to other groups without being asked. They are also asked to do pretty mindless tasks. No, they don't get coffee, but they do print things and put them on people's desks (even though the person has equal access to the printer.) If an assistant has a good manager, then he or she will be given substantive work and allowed to grow their skills. Unfortunately, there aren't near enough good managers to go around.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Give staff more respect, particularily the Junior staff (assistants and associates.) Create CLEAR paths to promotion (not time limits). Right now Pew is bleeding talent because of the lack of forward mobility. Be more open with staff. Just because something isn't "need to know" doesn't mean that it's not "deserve to know."

No opinion of CEO

81 Other Employee Reviews for Pew Charitable Trusts (View Most Recent)

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  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Morale is Down

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts

    Pros

    Pew hires smart, hardworking people. The vacation/sick/401k package is very good.

    Cons

    Morale in Philadelphia is low because the CEO has been moving the office piecemeal to DC for the past few years. Employees across several departments are being told that their positions are being eliminated or that their jobs are moving to the shiny new DC office. Decisions are all made behind closed doors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 12 people found this helpful  

    Bureaucracy undermines staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts

    Pros

    Benefit package is wonderful (amazing 401k match and health benefits). Incredibly smart and talented staff. the Trusts provides an opportunity to work on a range of important issues.

    Cons

    Huge variation in salaries within the same staff level. If you came from the non-profit world, you are penalized with a low lateral salary offer (compared to your for-profit colleagues, you are likely to be getting paid much less). Very few opportunities for growth. Essentially, the Trusts hires incredibly talented, smart people, and then stops them from doing good work at every turn. The institution is incredibly bureaucratic--the CEO reviews almost everything, and there are about 5 other layers of review (all "anticipating" her feedback) before anything gets done. (Note that not following one of the rules in the building, like only having one plant and hanging your coat in the closet, is one of the few times you will get a very swift response from someone). Too many layers of approval and a fear of failure paralyzes a lot of good work. One of the biggest problems is the inability of directors to manage. They hire incredibly smart subject area experts, but many of them are controlling or lack effective communication and delegation skills. Their subject expertise doesn't translate into strong management or the ability to nurture innovation.

    The Trusts generally doesn't invest in staff. For example, the design of the new office is designed for looks, not function or staff satisfaction. Very few opportunities for staff growth or development. Most of the work (and stress) falls on the directors/managing directors, and the managers and below are just stuck with the stressful aftermath of poor delegation.

    I don't know how they will be able to sustain the organization given the growth. The bureaucracy and declining staff morale have gotten worse over the last few years. The place is still run like a foundation with a staff of 50 and the growing pains are chasing staff away.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    "Trust the people?" Try trusting your staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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