Pew Charitable Trusts Reviews

Updated April 19, 2015
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2.7
57 Reviews
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Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca W. Rimel
Rebecca W. Rimel
43 Ratings

57 Employee Reviews

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  1. HR is the problem.

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are good (used to be great but they cut them). The experience is great; if you can learn and handle the game. Culture and work ethic is similar to law firms and top corporations.

    Cons

    HR - They determine everything and unless you allow a sexist man talk down to you or allow the other one to ogle you - you aren't going anywhere in the organization. HR controls everything and doesn't believe in internal promotions, even if you and your possible new boss think you'd be a great fit.

    Have no doubts, the chance of you being promoted at Pew is very slim. Take the job for the name (which will take you far in DC) but plan to be out in 2-3 years (which is when most burnout).

    Salaries vary - negotiate high when you start because raises are terrible.

    Advice to Management

    HR controlling all is not a great strategy. Give them a good look - you'll discover the spiders and rats.

    Allow the staff to have more input in their future and go business casual (you'd win a lot of people over with this simple change).

  2. Helpful (5)

    Good place for ambitious junior professionals to gain experience, take advantage of the name, and move on.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Many high-performing, intelligent AND well-educated, savvy employees. Standard of work, as mentioned, is very high, which is especially nice if you've had rigorous academic training. Challenges you to do your best. You generally won't find yourself looking at colleague work product and laughing at incompetence--people take their jobs seriously and produce quality. Most people truly care about the issues they work on, but after a while it becomes apparent that appearance trumps substance every time at this organization. Campaigns are well-funded and can form partnerships with other organizations to maximize effectiveness, though budgets are increasingly constrained in some departments. Very good benefits, pay is decent. If being downtown DC is something you want, you have it at the DC office. Metro accessible, office has a gym, bike racks, free coffee, etc. If you think you want to cruise the big, powerhouse NFP circuit for a good portion of your career, this is an excellent launching pad and you will learn from some of the best about how to plan, execute, and publicly celebrate big policy wins. If you stick around long enough and have the right personality type, you MAY be able to stay there and climb (but come in relatively high up or it will take you forever).

    Cons

    A fair amount of hypocrisy: talk of integrity and transparency as "core values", but very little actual transparency about HR processes and high-level organizational decisions, and image is more important than true integrity. Day to day experience will depend largely on the individuals on your team and your manager/director, but expect to work hard and receive very little recognition internally, least of all in the area of compensation. The value will be in what you learn and the beefed up resume. It is very sad to see that there are many folks who service the organization internally (Benefits, Payroll, etc staff) who truly do an excellent job, are responsive and keep things running smoothly in the face of constant demands on them to use new processes and technologies, and despite years of service, they do not get rewarded (and no, I am not one of those people, but I appreciate them). Some say work/life balance is better than elsewhere, but family-friendly might be a more accurate way of describing it--it seems that most managers and directors are understanding of the needs of people with (and themselves have) small children, but there is a general sense that if one is not constantly "slammed", they must not be earning their keep. As mentioned in other reviews, and it is absolutely true, the culture is conformist, patronizing, overly conservative and old-fashioned, particularly in the DC office (satellite offices are a different ballgame, but the indoctrination trickles down). The open workspace plan might be better if the culture were not so uptight--as it is, it fosters neither camaraderie/collaboration, nor concentration. In essence, Pew is an organization with the culture of a large, traditional corporation, with none of the opportunities for advancement and a salary that falls somewhere in between corporate and NFP. Don't believe any hype HR sells you to recruit you---understand that your concerns about what they are offering you are probably legitimate. Get in, work hard, learn, get out. But if you are looking for place to land, build something and grow into your own, this is probably not the place.

    Advice to Management

    Just be honest with your employees--the organization hires overqualified workhorses at low levels to churn out short-term wins that look good on paper, and sometimes actually have real, meaningful impacts on our society. That's ok. Don't pretend there's more to it than that. Don't invalidate reality--it is cultish and the people you hire are too smart for it. And for God's sake, loosen up.

  3. Helpful (3)

    It can be okay

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people and benefits are great.

    Cons

    The constant turnover and the lack of opportunities for advancement are troubling.

    Advice to Management

    Work on retaining great staff and put a structure in place for advancement at all levels within the institution.

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  5. Helpful (4)

    The research center is the one with the good reputation. This is the other one.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Pretty good accent furniture around the office. Lucite staircases give a modernist look, along the lines of Frank Lloyd Wright. Free coffee. Really good pep talks from time to time that sound like the version of the organization you wanted to work for. If you are a good talker, you will be able to make your time here sounds really great at your next interview. CEO is very nice on a human level. Beyond that, not enough information to really comment.

    Cons

    They have implemented new management software that pulls information into an ontological black hole and utterly evacuates the information of its semantic content. If Franz Kafka had designed an app, this would have been the result. I believe the intentions were good, but it didn't work out, and no amount of training will make it better. Be advised that if you take a job at this company, you might need to use this software all day, every day. I will also confirm what others have written: nobody I have met at this organization during the past some years has been promoted. You virtually cannot earn a promotion as you would at a corporation. It was better several years ago but it been steadily getting worse. Outlook is grim.

    Advice to Management

    Consider reducing management by two thirds. There are too many people coming up with strategic visions, implementing them unilaterally, and then getting frustrated when the facts on the ground don't match the visions.

  6. Helpful (4)

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits, penn quarter location, positive mission to improve the environment, balconies, nice colleagues, reasonable hours.

    Cons

    It is a big organization so not for everyone. Junior staff/millennials complain a lot about trivial matters.

    Advice to Management

    More training and ditch the dress code.

  7. Helpful (1)

    My boss was racist

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are the best I've seen offered by an organization, especially a non-profit.

    Cons

    narrow-minded company culture. If you don't have a masters degree, you'll stay an admin forever.

    Advice to Management

    fire the current managers that have continuous turnover in their teams because the manager is the problem

  8. Helpful (4)

    Exceeded my optimistic expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits, great office space, exceptional colleagues, interesting work. The DC office is generally a very pleasant place to work. Though many colleagues have impressive backgrounds, all those I have encountered have been friendly and down-to-earth.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy and a rigid structure seems to negatively impact morale.

    Advice to Management

    Address the above issues.

  9. Helpful (4)

    Smart people, well resourced, stifling culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The best things about Pew are that it attracts smart people and gives full funding to campaigns

    Cons

    They seldom promote from within and have trouble responding in a timely fashion to external events

    Advice to Management

    Delegate responsibility downward, show more trust in your employees to do their job

  10. Helpful (1)

    Insanity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Coordinator in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The best benefit was the health care, but that is changing and staff members will have to pay for most of their benefits.

    Cons

    Toxic environment, myopic CEO, egotistical senior management and a work environment with a décor that resembles an insane asylum. All white walls with cheery, rah-rah quotes painted on the walls. Weird.

    Advice to Management

    Lighten up people. Being laid back won't kill you. Pay your staff equally. A nonprofit CEO should not make 20 times what a junior staffer makes. Tell the truth and trust the people. It is written on the walls so why not live it?

  11. Helpful (2)

    great mission and people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Pew is working on economic policy, state policy and the environment - and putting a lot of resources into it unlike most nonprofits. Great benefits and terrific, committed, fun colleagues. Beautiful building in Penn Quarter.

    Cons

    Lots of young employees who are typical mellenials - low-level griping about almost everything. Pew has grown very quickly so needs more focus on explaining HR policies and why they exist to new employees.

    Advice to Management

    Help managers with how to give candid feedback to employees, and explain policies better. Requiring two years within a company before a promotion is pretty standard in corporate America, but seems to strike young people as arbitrary.

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