Pew Charitable Trusts Reviews | Glassdoor

Pew Charitable Trusts Reviews

Updated May 4, 2017
185 reviews

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185 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • This is a place that values work/life balance (in 33 reviews)

  • Smart people and great benefits (in 35 reviews)

Cons
  • Senior management continues to micro-manage activities, despite our size (in 15 reviews)

  • It is a culture of fear in which people are scared to do or try anything (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (12)

    "Work to make a difference; too bad senior management doesn't provide needed support"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Pew has contributed to many great projects and has a good reputation for using science-based arguments to convince legislators to make much needed changes to legislation.

    Cons

    However, as a company, it is a complete nightmare. If you don't want to deal with extreme bureaucracy, a senior managment who is out of touch with reality and doesn't provide the necessary support and recognition to the staff actually carrying out the work, an HR department which hasn't yet figured out that employee retention should be one of their main objectives, a president who hasn't yet learned to delegate and who everybody is afraid of upsetting, as well as rampant office politics and where the majority of your time will be spent covering your butt, as nobody wants to take responsibility and take the tough decisions so that the work can continue, an operational and procurement unit which is probably one of the biggest obstacles you'll face (it really isn't normal for a basic contract to take 3 months to get approved because over 20 people need to be involved in the review process), then Pew is probably not the "NGO" (it's really a foundation with a lot of money and picture bank/ law firm/ financial institution to get an idea of the uptight atmosphere) for you.

    Advice to Management

    Re-think your HR process. It cost money to hire good people, but even more money to replace them. Senior Management should work on their project coordination and provide the necessary support and recognition to those people actually doing the work.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Great place with great people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great training and organization of the Trusts overall, really excellent work, a non-profit run like a business with lots of talented people

    Cons

    Low-pay for entry level positions, job titles don't match up with salary bands across company


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great benefits, but no room to grow"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Pew is a great place to work if you want to make a difference. They're committed to transparency and making data-driven change, and they tend to achieve their goals. My colleagues are generally very passionate about what they do. The health benefits aren't as great as they used to be, but they're still better than most places. The work-life balance is excellent, there's generous PTO and sick leave.

    Cons

    There's very little room for upward mobility, and pay isn't very competitive. Salary is based off of years of experience and length of tenure rather than talent or accomplishments, so don't expect a significant raise or promotion. While I like the culture of my department, the overall organization is rigid and hierarchical. Everyone seems afraid of the CEO and senior management, who micro-manage everything down to the stringent dress code and very white office space.

    Advice to Management

    Focus less on new recruitment and more on retaining talent.


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  5. Helpful (15)

    "A culture of fear"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Established funding source from the trusts (as opposed to a complete reliance on fundraising)

    - Nice location

    - Beautiful office

    - Great causes to support

    - Extremely smart, capable staff (whom management should trust more than they do)

    - A fun Halloween celebration every year

    Cons

    Where to begin... basically, all the other reviews you'll read here are true. It's taken me a year to post this because that's how long it took to re-assimilate from the culture of fear. In retrospect, I'm beginning to believe that Pew is just an experiment: Put all the mice in a very shiny cage with nowhere to hide. Pressure the mice to perform. Punish them when they do. Periodically reorganize the cage completely, shuffling beloved senior mice out of the cage in the process and hoping the others won't notice. (They do.)

    Some specifics:

    - What I mean by a "culture of fear": Employees are not trusted at all. Everything must go through at least five layers of approval. Even then, there will be reasons to be slapped on the wrist... maybe someone used an adjective in a press interview or wore shoes that exposed both toes and heels. (These are not exaggerations in the slightest.)

    - Extremely top heavy, with a very vertical structure. Junior employees learn very quickly that they are junior and, as such, not worthy. This extends to all areas of work - including seating. For instance, only senior associates get a cube next to a window.

    - The ambiance, while pretty, is oppressive. Literally glass doors, when there are doors. (Only one person's office has one.) Meeting rooms like fishbowls. People tasked with running around making sure employees only have one plant and aren't draping their jackets over their chairs or leaving scuffs on the floor. (Again, not kidding.)

    - Benefits on the decline. The stated reasoning for this was that Pew was too far ahead of the nonprofit pack. However, many of us (myself included) took substantial pay cuts because of the good benefits package.

    - Arbitrary and inconsistent career advancement policies. Employees are told they can be considered for a promotion after two years. For most, that is true. However, promotions have happened at the senior management level for very new employees.

    - High turnover.

    - The two above bullets combined result in junior employees working in multiple positions at once with no possibility of being promoted while doing so. For me, this resulted in working on 5-10 projects for years, only to be promoted to work for just a few of them (dropping the rest).

    - Extremely complex protocols through tons of different channels.

    Advice to Management

    I honestly don't know if what's wrong can be fixed. I shudder to think about another re-org...

    Maybe when senior management retires, just don't hire new people to fill those spots.

    Drop the "two year" promotion rule. You'll save a lot of money and won't have to hire so many people if the ones you have are being compensated for the jobs they're doing.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Hierarchical and stuffy but effective"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Communications Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Communications Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Pros

    Effective and organized nonprofit; thoughtful and mostly hardworking colleagues; Good work/life balance; Overall: good as a mid-career step but not somewhere you want to stay too long -- though experiences do vary from project to project

    Cons

    Very hierarchical and not a good fit for someone looking to own more of their work; Leadership micromanages and could be more transparent; Departments are territorial which can lead to conflict at many levels (esp. with management);

    Advice to Management

    More transparency, collaboration, and team building across departments


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great place for a stint."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Presitigious organization. Excellent facilities and space that can instil pride in work. Smart people and great benefits. Great office location.

    Cons

    HR/Talent Department is a cog in the wheel of progress for many good people. management needs to get a handle on the culture of the place before it is completely poisoned. They offer great benefits but will pay you less than you should be making. That was my experience at least, and that of others I knew.

    Advice to Management

    Empower more people and create more stars. It can be rather high-schooly over there.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Great Place to Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager, Payment Services in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Manager, Payment Services in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    benefits, salary, environment, atmosphere, people
    If you like to work and appreciate what you have there is nothing to complain about.
    promotions are hard to come by but the same as any other organization

    Cons

    same as any other company
    having this be the first place you work will make other places seem less "glamorous" - make sure it is not your first job or 2 - or you will get spoiled.

    Advice to Management

    internal candidates should be looked at first before looking outside - many people have skills that are under utilized


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Here we go again..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Pros

    Beautiful offices and great location in DC. Deep pockets to fund programs. Some great colleagues.

    Cons

    If you have been at Pew for at least one year, you will have already experienced several failed attempts at new technological systems, new groups, new group names, new HR initiatives, new processes. A shared element of these initiatives was a lack of coherent and timely internal communication coupled with a hasty roll-out. The latest internal reorganization is the most ambitious yet, but coupled with the rollout of new titles and career paths, staff are frightened, bewildered, and plain exhausted.

    Advice to Management

    Those at the highest levels shouldn't make decisions in a vacuum. Pay attention to attrition and the number of open positions. Morale is at a new low.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "overly bureaucratic"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Beautiful building, good benefits package.

    Cons

    Pew hires smart, enthusiastic issue experts who are then subject to the whims of an overly bureaucratic, non-expert management team that is more interested in process than outcome. Good people with inspired ideas are systematically beaten down by random rules and nonsensical decisions until potentially relevant research is transformed into text that has no heart and little impact. The stifling environment kills your soul. There is little to no job mobility, but moving up would not be rewarding.

    Advice to Management

    Hire new management.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "A very unique place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Support Specialist in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - IT Support Specialist in Philadelphia, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    You get to meet and work with an amazing group of people.

    Cons

    Sometimes it appears that management flies by the seat of their pants.


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