Pew Charitable Trusts Senior Associate Reviews | Glassdoor

Pew Charitable Trusts Senior Associate Reviews

Updated April 25, 2017
22 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
13 Ratings

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 (5)

    "Fantastic colleagues, soul-crushing bureaucracy"

    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

    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.


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Non-encouraging"

    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

    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.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Snr. Associate"

    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
    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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Potential for greatness"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The benefits package, including retirement contributions and matching, healthcare options, and vacation accrual are incredibly generous.

    Cons

    An incredibly toxic work environment with low morale. Out-of-touch senior management, unjustifiably arrogant and patronizing middle management, and defeated and demoralized staff.

    Advice to Management

    Pew has great name recognition and recruitment is not a significant obstacle for the organization.

    The organization's greatest shortfalls are retention, personnel management, and employee empowerment. Throughout my career, I have never encountered an environment where so many smart and talented people are gathered under one roof yet lack any empowerment to do what they do well. Staff at the Senior Associate level and below are treated as inept lackeys. There is a condescending and patronizing culture that permeates and it will continue to drive away qualified, passionate, and enthusiastic staff.

    The CEO actually claims that staff leaving for other organizations is a compliment to Pew, as it speaks to the quality of employees within the organization. This is horribly misguided and Ms. Rimel (and other senior leadership) need to shift retention to their primary concern.

    Having spent a great deal of time in Washington, I fully understand that arrogance is a part of this town's professional culture. In most other environments, however, there's at least some degree of justification for that arrogance. Middle management at Pew are their own biggest fans and go out of their way to make sure staff know how great they (think they) are. Belittling those that fall below you in the Pew hierarchy is the norm.

    The organization identifies many great environmental and government performance areas for research and other work, and there is potential for incredible and profound impact, but there is a stagnancy and toxic culture that don't show any signs of changing.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Senior Associate"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The name only. Good benefits.

    Cons

    It's a place where you are constantly made to feel bad about yourself and the directors can treat you like a punching bag without any recourse for bad behavior. Everything I read on Glassdoor before I took the job was true and then some.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the incompetent, redundant, dead weight (most in director positions managing senior associates and officers). Infuse the culture with one of positivity and empowerment.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Great Opportunities - But Know What You're Getting Into"

    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
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Impactful, exciting, and challenging work, with freedom from the typical funding non-profit funding challenges.

    Cons

    The administration shows very little respect for its employees' development, intelligence, or work-life balance. Recent benefit changes no longer justify the low salary.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Smart People for a cause"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Some amazing smart people working in advocacy fields that most people don't think about.

    Cons

    Tough to move up or achieve higher title status.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "Up to par salaries can't compensate for widespread incompetence"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Just one: salaries are definitely up to par

    Cons

    Making what you would make in the private sector cannot compensate for the widespread incompetence you will find first from senior and junior managers as well as, from most of your peers.

    Difficulties in finding new talent has become an invitation for management to bring in low-level talent from previous jobs, which in turn has made of Pew the number one place for incompetent professionals to apply for jobs

    Lack of diversity: if you're an ethnic minority, get ready to be one of just a handful among more than 700 hundred white people.

    Advice to Management

    More like 'Advice to the Board': step in and do some house cleaning. Also, we are in the 21st century not in the 18th century. Make Pew more diverse, as in ethnicities not gender.