Population Council Reviews | Glassdoor

Population Council Reviews

Updated May 10, 2017
26 reviews

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3.9
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Peter J. Donaldson
13 Ratings

26 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Stellar colleagues, inspiring work, great benefits"

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

    I have been working at Population Council full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Top-notch colleagues and an expectation of quality are the biggest pluses to working here. The benefits are extremely generous and I have a lot of autonomy. I am on my second stint working here, and many colleagues share my experience as "boomerang" staff who end up coming back after working elsewhere for a bit. That speaks very well of the organization.

    Cons

    Some feel that upward mobility is tough to come by as a researcher here, particularly for those who do not have doctorates. Lots of us PhDs can expect to be squarely in middle management for many years, with little hope of breaking into a more senior role.

    Advice to Management

    Consider institutionalizing more flexible work hours, particularly given that so many of us work weird hours in order to collaborate with overseas colleagues/partners in other time zones. There seems to be little justification for requiring people to abide by typical business hours, nor should they need to physically be coming into the office. Telecommuting currently is only permitted at the discretion of the supervisor, but that seems highly antiquated and unfair to those whose supervisors may not be so on board with off-site work hours.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great culture, no growth"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Population Council full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Very relaxed, great benefits, extremely good work atmosphere, great balance with home-life

    Cons

    Lack of vision: Pop Council truly is trying to find itself now and has no clear idea of what areas of research it wants to continue, discontinue, or enter.

    Horrible management: everything is run by consensus even from those without expertise which takes forever; a TON of nepotism and office politics

    Lack of security: almost all positions are contractual (1-2 years) even if treated like permanent, and with few exceptions almost completely funded by outside grants; people are hired and let go almost whimsically; great talent sometimes has to be let go, because there is no funding structure to help the Council retain them if a grant expires

    No career growth: we all say that the only way to get a promotion is to leave and come back; training is non-existent; mentoring/grooming does not happen

    Salaries below average for NYC area

    Vortex: Beware, this place is too comfy. While there are a lot of problems, the work atmosphere and benefits are spectacular. Most people stay way too long without a promotion or raise, which really hurts long-term career and salary goals. Keep in mind most positions are contractual, so there's no job growth AND no job security, a bad combination.

    Advice to Management

    Fund your research rather than making everyone fend for themselves: corporate should be driving funding, even from grants, rather than taking up an incredible amount of time in each lab.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "So so place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Population Council full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    LOTS of holidays and vacations. Good benefits. They have a "mission" that promotes good.Very nice offices.

    Cons

    Antiquated way of doing things. Very siloed. Co-workers don't seem to work together-- setup for failure. Culture has fake veil of working together. Some managers are unqualified and not very respectful. Seems that the ones that bark loudest and not smartest gets promotions.

    Advice to Management

    Your people will start being honest to you once you start being honest to them.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Fulfilling work, great work-life balance"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Scientist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Scientist in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Population Council full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Pop Council US offices come with a standard package that includes 24 days of vacation (plus all major holidays including the fake holidays like President's Day and Columbus Day), and 13% direct contribution to 503b retirement account above your salary after the first year (no matching). The 35-hour work week is strictly observed with a very low-pressure, healthy culture that respects your need to be a human with real life responsibilities that are not always associated with work. However, it is notable that the DC and NYC offices both boast staff members who are very self-driven, and heavily motivated by the mission of the organization. Therefore, moments of high-pressure are usually due to a personal drive to deliver towards the overall mission of the work. Management seems to deviate from their for-profit counterparts by consistently supporting people attempting responsibilities slightly above their station to facilitate personal growth.

    Cons

    This is not an ideal work environment for people who are not able to self-motivate. The non-profit model often puts the projects and staff at the whim of the funding agencies (NIH, USAID, Gates, etc.) which can be fickle at times. Salaries are not as high as for-profit counterparts, but the benefits, annual leave, and work culture more than makes up for this.

    Advice to Management

    The annual review process is an excellent communication tool and very comprehensive. Continue to implement this with the same emphasis. A continued focus on unified communication between the scientific branches of the organization (as is currently a major part of the 5-year strategy) will go a long way to leverage the knowledge and expertise throughout the org.


  5. "Delightful working environment"

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

    I worked at Population Council full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great work life balance, compelling projects, friendly staff and excellent vision.

    Cons

    Some senior staff need more oversight. Extensive travel can wear on you. Overall, not many cons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work, honestly - and do take time to listen to your people.


  6. "Great NGO to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Clinical Database Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Clinical Database Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Population Council full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    PopCouncil is great for career advancement, friendly and supportive management and great benefits overall.

    Cons

    During the time I was there, I didn't notice any cons.


  7. "Excellent work being done"

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

    I have been working at Population Council full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There are a multitude of projects that are going on, in various disciplines and all across the globe.

    Cons

    There are times when there is redundancy due to lack of communication between departments.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management could use more time together in the various disciplines to eliminate work being done independently by separate departments.

  8. "work you can be proud of"

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

    I worked at Population Council full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    This is a non profit organization that helps people plan their families, especially in developing countries. Even if you are not involved in all aspects of their work, the news of their activities is very uplifting. There are a lot of good people working there. It can be a very friendly atmosphere.

    Cons

    the organization has been adversely effected by the down economy. It was a more supportive academic environment, but recently has become a more cold corporate atmosphere.

    Advice to Management

    focus more on talent development and promote better business ethics.


  9. "The best sort of place to work."

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

    I worked at Population Council part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The population council does great work in the areas of the world that need it the most and treats its employees very well (including pay).

    Cons

    I personally felt a little isolated there, but that has a lot to do with the particular position I had. Overall, the staff seem to get along quite well with one another.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "There was a great sense of community"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Population Council full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The people, the purpose and the benefits were all amazing

    Cons

    There was not much room to grow there unless you had extensive higher education.


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