Population Services International Reviews

Updated Jan 13, 2021

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3.3
59%
Recommend to a Friend
87%
Approve of CEO
Population Services International President & CEO Karl Hofmann
Karl Hofmann
129 Ratings
Pros
  • "Congenial work environment, Space for innovation(in 15 reviews)

  • "A great place where one is given an opportunity to make decisions regarding the work that they do(in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • "working at PSI require a lot of engagement(in 33 reviews)

  • "Donor dependent, thus contracts are short(in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. "Great"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Population Services International part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great company to work for.

    Cons

    None at all. That I found.

  2. "Good place to work"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Internal Auditor in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Population Services International full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Career development, human focused, prospective

    Cons

    Good workplace, talented and equipped staff


  3. "Fantastic Work Flexibility"

    4.0
    Current Employee - Global Services 

    I have been working at Population Services International full-time

    Pros

    An organization passionate about its mission

    Cons

    Sometimes find it hard to take decisions due to collaborative nature of organization

  4. "Good place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff 

    I worked at Population Services International part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Bonuses and vacation pay for part time

    Cons

    No promotions for long term workers

  5. "great place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Development Manager in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Population Services International full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    great mission, supportive and collaborative collegues

    Cons

    busy, stressful at times, confising directives

  6. COVID-19
    Helpful (5)

    "Reconsider"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I worked at Population Services International full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Amazing co-workers, people work hard with limited resources and are generally easy-going despite a stressful work environment. Works at being inclusive and listening to all employees. Semi-decent work life balance and remote work opportunities even before the pandemic. Benefits are good.

    Cons

    Pay is very low especially for junior and mid level employees. Salaries were bench marked which has led to lower salaries for APM, PM, and Sr PM employees than they were previously (despite increased cost of living across the board ...makes sense) and HR/ Compensation rarely responds to equity reviews unless it is for high level staff members who already make market level salaries to have an increase. They also are not flexible at adjusting salaries for employees who have been in a similar position for years, have years more experience than external candidates coming in (and may have an MA vs. a BA), or just in general rewarding people for being a team player and even with support from outside of HR you are still told, no. HR then talks about issues of retention and wanting to take it seriously. Make it make sense, please! Now that the workforce has gone remote and people can choose to live remotely in Iowa I guess you can get away with paying people so little. Preach DEI as of late without realizing that things like low pay in DC, lack of clear promotion process or consistent, standard merit increases (I guess they are trying to fix this), or benefits that help people with loan forgiveness directly impacts who can apply and take a position with little room for growth or a decent salary. You really do not need a Masters Degree to figure out why diverse applicants or filling positions with diverse people can be difficult. Most of the opportunities are contingent on your supervisor supporting you or your team. Some teams do not offer this support at all and do not train or onboard employees. Some managers do deserve to be at the level they are at because they work hard and know their stuff, but are TERRIBLE managers, and they should not be managing people below them unless they are coming in with experience and are ready to hit the ground running. All the standardization for onboarding people has been taken on by junior level employees who did so without getting paid to help the org. Overall, both before and during the pandemic the mental health of many people really seemed low.

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  7. "I had an amazing career with PSI and think it is one the more compelling and effective NGOs in public health."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Population Services International full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I was privileged to work for PSI over several years and in multiple roles both in HQ and in the field. PSI gave me numerous opportunities to learn, grow and contribute. I will be forever grateful for the experience.

    Cons

    Funding challenges for all NGOs remains a challenge, and PSI is no exception. I would just say that PSI can continue to thrive if it stays true to its mission, disciplined in maintaining the highest quality work, and to assure that it maintains its commitment to keeping PSI a fun and quirky place to work.

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  8. "Decent Place to Work"

    3.0
    Former Employee - Senior Accountant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Population Services International full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    great benefits and flexible work hours

    Cons

    too many changes to restructuring

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  9. COVID-19
    Helpful (19)

    "Consider Your Options"

    2.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Population Services International full-time

    Pros

    Good healthcare benefits, half day Fridays in the summer, flexible work from home policy, great friendships, solid Mission.

    Cons

    Leadership regularly brings up low morale, low pay, long hours, bullying, toxic work environment, complete and total lack of HR in staff meetings but when it comes to making changes that would help address the root of the issue nothing meaningful is done. At first it was refreshing to see the CEO talking openly about these issues but years later I am just tired. Once leadership collected feedback but in the meeting to discuss the results we were told that none of the reasons we cited were accurate—we were not upset because of pay, burnout, toxic work culture—but because of office renovations. The conversation ended there. When employees expressed anxiety over job security (low cash problems due to COVID/bad management). Leadership’s response was to cut the conversation short saying we ‘should be adults’ when talking about these uncertainties. The message was clear ‘don’t complain if you are afraid of losing your job because that would make you look immature.’ Meanwhile rightsizing is coming. Bad management is rampant (and top heavy). There are managers that belittle, ignore, even yell at their staff. Others dump all the actual work on their staff with no guidance or support. Their names are known but if anyone asks that is not a trusted confidant you better not say anything for fear of retaliation. PSI has a non-retaliation policy that is a farse (see other glassdoor reviews of people who went to HR to with legitimate complaints of harassment only to be put on a performance improvement plan and let go). Given that HR is just as bad or worse at simultaneously doing nothing and being mean about it, it is not a surprise nothing is being done. Reminders of how lucky you are because ‘hundreds of people applied for your job and you were chosen’ with the unspoken and ‘hundreds more will apply when you are gone’ just to let you know that if you are upset about working conditions you can easily be replaced. Junior staff created a committee to bring complaints of harassment, bullying and low pay to leadership (notice they bypassed HR). The response was ‘PSI pays the market rate’ as if underpaying employees is acceptable because other organizations also do the same. The harassment was not addressed. The toxic work environment is so bad that people have exchanged stories about where the best place to cry is so often that it is common knowledge even if you do not need to. Turnover has been high which makes an organization already difficult to navigate even harder. There are no systems, no accountability, feeble attempts at keeping records and an attitude of ‘that’s not my job’ that permeates way too many interactions. There is a paralysis in decision making. It is literally no one’s job to make a decision. Because almost all work is done by lower level employees who do not have decision making authority, they find themselves running around like chickens with their heads cut off until even minor issues are escalated to the Vice President level (that isn’t too impressive, we have at least 10 of them now) where people who really shouldn’t be weighing in on the day-to-day have to get involved. People say ‘good luck’ when you tell them you are going to X person’s office because they have had to pull teeth to get X person to do their basic job functions. Racism from DC staff towards field staff is well known (see other glassdoor reviews). Expats (white, mostly Americans) who live in the countries we work yell at staff, make unfair demands to their time and say racist things. “These people cannot learn,” “these people are lazy,” “they will never understand,” “you have to hold their hands to get anything done.” Worth noting, many of these same people cannot be bothered to have a working knowledge of the 2nd (sometimes 3rd, 4th or 5th) language that local staff uses in the office. They cannot do basic daily tasks in the country they live in such as go to the market or catch a taxi on their own. If you are not sure why someone would move to a country where they do not like the people it's probably because they make 90k+ a year (with many making much more than 100k a year), plus 40% of their salary in cash benefits (that’s tax free), their kids tuition to exorbitantly expensive private schools are paid for, they get to go home 2 times a year on company/project funds, etc. In these countries drivers usually make around $500/month in salary and every expense report they submit is closely scrutinized because god forbid the guy making $6,000/year get an extra $20 in per diem (“those people are always out to take advantage of the system”). The positive reviews on glassdoor look like higher level staff (the one scolding people for leaving bad reviews was funny). They are generally happy because they make more money and are shielded from the worst of the office politics. Not surprisingly they often stay longer. Before you accept a position at PSI, read more of the reviews and really consider where you are in your career. I would not join PSI unless you are starting as a senior manager. It is not a place to grow your career.

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  10. Helpful (5)

    "Why would some one work here"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Population Services International full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Some basic benefits however low in dollar value

    Cons

    Management just wants to fire people when faced with hard choice due to their own misdeeds

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