Pew Charitable Trusts Senior Associate Reviews | Glassdoor

Pew Charitable Trusts Senior Associate Reviews

Updated July 30, 2017
24 reviews

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Senior Associate

2.0
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Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca W. Rimel
Rebecca W. Rimel
14 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • This is a place that values work/life balance (in 34 reviews)

  • Smart people and great benefits (in 36 reviews)

Cons
  • There is truly a culture of fear here which makes everything move very slowly because everyone is afraid to get something wrong (in 9 reviews)

  • Mental abuse by senior management (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (11)

    "Don't Do It."

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

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

    Pros

    The money is decent and you typically get to leave at 5:30 on the dot which is rare for DC.

    Cons

    1) Leadership - Pew is an experiment in which all of the really socially awkward wonks in grad school who just wanted to crunch numbers all day suddenly become senior executives and are forced to interface and manage people.

    2) Diversity - Also, how in Washington, DC there isn't a single person of color in senior leadership (or even leading a policy team) is entirely beyond me. Not a single one. Not a single latina, black man, native woman or other ethnic minority is in a leadership role. For an organization of 900+ people that's like, almost impossible. It's almost like there's some form of structure that limits people of color (+ a lot of women) from succeeding. Weird.

    3) Career Path - Washington knows that Pew staffers kind of suck. Few Pew staffers leave and then land at other top-tier policy/politics shops. Scan the White House (Obama and Trump), top tier federal agencies, the Urban, Bookings, Heritage, and guess what? No former Pew staffers.

    Advice to Management

    Burn it down.


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Pewgatory"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * The best thing about Pew is working with intelligent and motivated professionals.
    * Free coffee.

    Cons

    * Everything else about Pew is awful. The culture is very top down and it is stifling. Management is concerned with little else than making themselves look good, which creates a culture of toadyism.
    * Salaries at Pew are meh at best. Benefits used to be great, but the board (in its infinite wisdom) reduced them, and then the organization tried to sell it as a positive rather than be honest.
    * Experiences differ by project, but for the most part the only benefit of working here is to get the Pew name on your resume. Apart from that, I recommend avoiding this place like the plague.

  3. Helpful (5)

    "A reputation management firm disguised as a non-profit."

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Pros

    I've never been paid more to do less. Great for parents, if leaving at 4:30 and not working weekends is important, it's great.

    Cons

    The organization is so concerned about their reputation they refuse to pursue meaningful work or give their staff the operational space to make a difference. Incredibly top-heavy organizational structure. Son TOPs lack a clear objective and focus and I get the impression that certain managers care more about getting paid than doing good work.

    I was attracted to Pew because of the good work I thought they did. I'm really disappointed in management's insecure pettiness and commitment to mediocrity.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your staff more, cut the bureaucracy let them excel.

    Don't let a fear of how others perceive you stop you from doing good works.


  4. Helpful (8)

    "Awful"

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Pros

    - 401k
    - Metro access is near building

    Cons

    They somehow managed to take down my previous post... not surprising, given that they don't have a much of an ethical business standard. This is the cold, hard truth. Please think about your personal and mental health before you consider accepting a job here.
    - Culture of intimidation and fear
    - Managers treat you terribly for their own personal gain. Will use you as a scapegoat.
    - Completely rigid, unwilling to innovate or make changes
    - HR does nothing about the awful work environment managers have created
    - No work life balance, unless you are a senior leader
    - CEO surrounds herself with "yes" men and women. Her ideas are old, her practices are out of date, and she doesn't particularly care about the underlings that run Pew on a day to day basis.

    Advice to Management

    - Get a new CEO
    - Overhaul management
    - Stop wasting and burning out talent - you aren't doing yourself any favors, and you've created a horrible reputation for yourselves.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Fantastic colleagues, soul-crushing bureaucracy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    This is a well-respected organization with a great reputation and ability to drive policy conversations. Colleagues are very bright and motivated. Benefits are very good.

    Cons

    Inefficient processes are very demoralizing and turnover is high. There is a lot of fear-driven decision-making in some departments. Advancement is slow, so candidates should not accept lower-level positions with hopes of advancing quickly.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Non-encouraging"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    Decent benefits, work with some super talented individuals

    Cons

    Very little to no growth opportunities, will hire outside before inside. There are a lot of rules and procedures and due to this upper management just goes along with it and doesn't question anything even if its causing inefficiency or disrupt.


  7. "Senior Associate"

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

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

    Pros

    Great benefits and location.

    Cons

    A very bureaucratic and stuffy for a non-profit.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Snr. Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Free but not so great health insurance.
    -Nice building.
    -Vacation time off.

    Cons

    -Micromanagement.
    -Culture of fear.
    -You will not move up.
    -I got promoted and my salary went up 2%. A new person got hire for the same job and make $10K more. After consulting HR for a pay scale, got told (quote) "unfortunately, a new hire will a better offer, that's how the system is setup".
    -High turnover. So bad that we had 3 different SVP's in less than than 3 years. This company hire at least 25 employees per month but, at the same time, around 20 employees leave every month.
    -HR department do more damage to the employee than help.
    -Minorities only occupy lower level positions. I only know of 3 managers that can be part of a minority. No higher than that.
    -Non profit ? Really? Someone should look in to that.

    Advice to Management

    Start changing your values at the top. Continue with a new HR department and listen your employees.


  9. Helpful (20)

    "A culture of fear"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great benefits, but no room to grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.