Urban Institute

www.urban.org
Profile Unclaimed

Urban Institute Reviews

Updated February 9, 2015
Updated February 9, 2015
15 Reviews
4.2
15 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Robert D. Reischauer
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great place to work, but a few beefs

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Drama-free, intellectually interesting, good work-life balance, pretty good pay, down-to-earth coworkers, non-bureaucratic. Overall a great place to work.

    Cons

    Advancement feels like it is based on luck -- whether you were put on a project that happened to involve peer-reviewed journal articles as deliverables, a proposal that happened to be successful, etc. -- it's not enough to just do your assigned work well. Center managers don't communicate enough with their staff -- about when they are recruiting for new positions, submitting proposals for new work, have won new work, when someone is leaving, when there is an opportunity for office moves -- so people feel "in the dark" and personally siloed and not part of a community.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let staff raise their hands to work on projects, rather than being assigned to projects, so they can have more control over their professional development and advancement opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great Work Environment

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    You learn from the top brains in the subject areas

    Cons

    To much silo working by centres

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve on collaboration among centres

  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work with wonderful work environment and benefits!!!

    • 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 Urban Institute full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great studies, you know your work counts because it helps to bring about change in your community and surrounding. Most of the people are good hearted, down to earth people who care. You are not just a number but count. Have a great benefits package with incentives only makes working there an absolute delight.

    Cons

    Most of the employees are introverts so its a very quite environment. There is an invisible divide between the researchers and the admin teams... one must go out of the way to build reppore.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to build better promotional opportunities for the admin personnel so it can help with overall retention. We have a great team but admin change is inevitable since there is no place for them to grow but out of UI.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    A great first job out of college; surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds in the country, you get to learn a lot.

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Cutting edge research, phenomenal work/life balance opportunities, friendly and passionate coworkers, great office location in between Dupont and West End, and really great retirement and insurance benefits packages. A great think about UI is that it is non-partisan giving you the opportunity to be exposed to nonpolitically biased results and methodologies.

    Cons

    Not great professional development opportunities; super hierarchical. Also the base pay is better at other think tanks and government agencies in the area. As a first job out of college, if you're interested in the research world this is a good place to start, but that's really it. Despite being allocated development funds, professional development is never built into your schedule so little to none gets done. Also while it is possible to move up and get promoted after 3/4 years, one really needs to get a higher degree to move up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually invest in your junior staff. If someone comes in with more quantitative experience, expose them to qualitative research and vice versa.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Great place to learn from leaders in their field

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Th Urban Institute is littered with smart people who are held in very high regard in their field, and the opportunity to learn from them has been wonderful. If you share their love of research, many senior researchers will take a genuine interest in your career development.

    Cons

    In some centers, there is nowhere to go after completing your initial 2-3 years right after college other than to leave and go to grad school.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great work environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Urban Institute

    Pros

    - Very intelligent staff
    - Opportunity to work on various projects depending on what you're interested in
    -Senior staff is generally helpful with professional development
    -Good work-life balance

    Cons

    Pay is ok, but then again it is a non-profit. Generally better than some of the other think tanks in the city.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Contract Administrator

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, good working environment, educational opportunities.

    Cons

    Different treatment between admin and research staff re work schedule flexibility.
    Not so much career opportunities for admin personnel.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    A generally excellent place to work

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Easy-going atmosphere. Incredibly smart senior staff who enjoy mentoring young staff members. You have a great opportunity to work on important issues that are discussed in national policy debates. Many opportunities to improve your skills as a researcher. Opportunities to publish as a young post-grad, both in policy papers released by Urban as well as in top-tier journals. Opportunities to present at and attend conferences.

    Cons

    no overtime pay, yet you are expected to put in overtime in order to complete projects that are often over budget.
    Culture varies from center to center--some centers are easier to work within than others.
    Depending on the PI, you can either have an incredibly rewarding experience working on exciting projects or you can be mismanaged and have unrealistic deadlines imposed on you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is no real system of quality control for junior staff management. Many PIs are alright, but it can feel like a crap-shoot as far as how a project will play out and how junior staff members will be managed.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Excellent opportunity for public policy research experience

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Urban offers a laid-back academic research environment. Opportunity to work with very intelligent people and engage in meaningful work.

    Cons

    Very rigid hierarchical structure - don't expect to rise through the ranks without a lot of higher education. Your experience is often highly dependent on your relationship with your assigned supervisor - if they're great, that's swell, but if not, it can make for a difficult experience.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Committed people, high quality research, struggling to modernize

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

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Urban Institute attracts excellence. Researchers are committed to not just high quality work, but work that matters to real people's lives. The salaries are competitive, and the benefits are fantastic. There is room to grow for entry level research assistants and mid-level research associates.

    Cons

    Like any research organization working on contracts and grants, your experience will vary greatly depending on which project you're on. Some centers and project directors are better than others.
    No path for technically inclined staff--there is no programmer role in the research centers.
    IT and communications are somewhat outdated, although the new president is working to modernize them.
    Many grant-based projects don't have sufficient funding to get the work done, meaning mid-level and senior staff take it home.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a programmer role. Research and statistical programming are different skills, and should be recognized and rewarded separately.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

Work at Urban Institute? Share Your Experiences

Urban Institute

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.