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Human Rights Watch Reviews

Updated February 11, 2018
52 reviews

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3.7
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Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth
Kenneth Roth
23 Ratings

52 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people, great experience at a great organisation (in 6 reviews)

  • Amazing people, positive work environment, a direct sense of impact (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Internships are unpaid and there are no benefits, but still a good place to have gain nonprofit experience (in 14 reviews)

  • Upper-level staff do not care about support staff (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "excellent place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Researcher in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Human Rights Watch full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Rigorous standards, top-notch colleagues, independence in shaping your work but excellent support for bringing it to fruition and advocating for change based on the research conclusions.

    Cons

    Some of the work can be isolating and tedious; managers are not hired for management skills; lack of impact can be dispiriting.


  2. "A very bureaucratic organization with no upward mobility"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate, Development and Outreach
    Former Employee - Associate, Development and Outreach
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Human Rights Watch full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Honestly, the name is amazing. I was constantly in awe of the fact that I worked at Human Rights Watch.

    Cons

    You would be amazed how much money, talent, and opportunity a poorly managed organization can waste. Easiest way to tell? HRW has an $80 million operating budget. Try to think of how on earth that kind of money could be effectively used by a team of less than 500 people.

    *I worked in a satellite office, so many of the following concerns might not apply if you get a job in New York.*

    If you're support staff, you will not have work-life balance. You will probably not be trained effectively, you'll be thrown into the deep end, you'll have a to-do list that gets longer and not shorter, you will have difficulty navigating an organization that is massive, bureaucratic, siloh'd, and suffering from consistent turnover. You might even work underneath someone who has no business managing.

    Additionally, the support staff has a formal union, which I would consider a red flag; if an organization treated their employees fairly, there wouldn't need to be a union.

    Support staff doesn't have upward mobility; promotions and raises are non-negotiably every two years; and your salary will be difficult to live on.

    Advice to Management

    Clean house. Require everyone Director-level and up to go through management training, put an HR rep in each satellite office, and listen to what your support staff tells you about their managers; if you do this, you'll have a list within about 2 weeks of about 30 people who need to get let go immediately. You can't afford the bloated salaries of most of these staff.

    Hire more diverse Directors; it's humiliating that every single program director is white. Asia Division? Middle-aged white man who hasn't been to Asia in years. Africa? White. Middle East/North Africa? White. Latin America? White. United States? White. Women? White.

    Listen to the support staff union, and fulfill their requests immediately: a live-able wage, upward mobility, and respected overtime pay.

  3. "Horrible experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate
    Former Employee - Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Human Rights Watch full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You work at a well-known human rights NGO. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Command and control environment. Upper-level staff do not care about support staff. Their goal is to get them to last as close to 2 years as possible with minimal effort. Average support staff last for 1.4 years, which says something about how they are treated, but management knows that there is a deep pool of recent graduates who would give anything to work at HRW. There is a support staff union but they are ineffectual given the aforementioned supply. There is little substantive work and support staff are made to feel guilty if they need to take overtime. Managers are ineffectual because the don’t have to be anything else. Be ready to be treated like the help rather than part of a team.

    Advice to Management

    Management knows all of the above but cost of change outweighs simply replacing support staff every 1.4 years.


  4. "Women's Rights Department Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great name recognition and substantive work

    Cons

    Easy to feel like you're being abused for your work, aka a lot of research for no compensation

    Advice to Management

    Provide speaker series and more intern activities


  5. "Corporate Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Human Rights Watch part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone in the staff is extremely talented

    Cons

    Very corporate culture, difficult to meet and work with people outside of your department
    Department head is very inaccessible


  6. Helpful (1)

    "One of the top human rights advocacy and research organizations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Human Rights Watch full-time

    Pros

    Large international human rights organization with a large capacity to work on regional and thematic issues.

    Cons

    Is very top heavy which leads to few opportunities for growth and to some leadership to stay in the organization for way too long.


  7. "High quality, necessary research and advocacy from a reputable organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Human Rights Watch full-time

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, solid pay amongst similar organizations in field

    Cons

    "Politics" abundant, establishing relationships with right people important to advance

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Researcher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher
    Former Employee - Researcher
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Human Rights Watch full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    High expectations in the company of high achievers push you to do your best work.
    No clock to punch--you make your own schedule.
    Amazing co-workers.

    Cons

    It's a car with an accelerator but no breaks--you work and work and work and work and there's still more work. People pile up vacation days and don't use them. High burnout rates. Tons of document production for internal purposes. Not a lot of room for career advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Take better care of researchers in terms of pay and benefits, encourage division directors to ease up on cue from worker bees.


  9. "Amazing organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Human Rights Watch full-time

    Pros

    Experts at the top of the global human rights field, unparalleled research and policy advocacy experience and learning opportunities

    Cons

    The organization grew very rapidly and there seemed to be a growing disconnect between the leadership and the rest of the staff

    Advice to Management

    Management training would be very beneficial across the board


  10. "Internship Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great team, very interesting work, people are very friendly and interactive, opportunities for research

    Cons

    The position is unpaid, which can be difficult in cities like New York and Washington DC


Showing 52 of 112 reviews
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