Urban Institute Reviews

Updated Aug 9, 2020

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3.8
82%
Recommend to a Friend
97%
Approve of CEO
Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell (no image)
Sarah Rosen Wartell
20 Ratings
Pros
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More Pros and Cons
  1. "great"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    some good people........ specially the former management

    Cons

    no cons................. no cons....no cons

  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to your start career"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great work environment and benefits

    Cons

    Low career growth and potential inside the organization


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Good as a career stepping stone"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Exposure to lots of policy areas and networking opportunities; lots of travel if you're staff on a lot of qualitative research projects

    Cons

    Less flexibility to work on projects of interest - staffing will depend on funding and timing can be tricky

  4. "Special Assistant Roles"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Special Assistant and Project Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time

    Pros

    Work closely with different researchers across policy centers as well as EXEC.

    Cons

    Difficult to move internally and gain exposure to policy work

  5. Helpful (1)

    "Wonderful place to work, full of learning opportunities"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Rigorous research, innovative ideas, very strong communications team

    Cons

    Somewhat hierarchical, stress of time-sheets and managing project budgets

  6. Helpful (2)

    "Poised for very big things"

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good benefits, very sharp people throughout the organization, brand new building, reputation for doing excellent work and strive for work to be done in a way that is free of political affiliation which is refreshing. Top leadership are excellent at moving the organization forward in successfully winning, executing and delivering on important opportunities in areas of subject-matter expertise. They also care very much about diversity and constantly actively work to promote it.

    Cons

    Internal business intelligence metrics and project management skills are deficient throughout the organization. Speed of operations is borderline "train coming off the rails" and never slows down. Extreme agility is demanded of non-senior staff, but top leadership lacks basic insight at times, and can allow bad habits to be perpetuated by focusing in on pet areas.

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  7. Helpful (2)

    "Decent if you take it for what it is."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You get to work with some of the best minds in research. Opportunities to travel. Great benefits and a decent work-life balance.

    Cons

    Senior staffers have little regard for assistants. You really have to advocate for yourself and set boundaries. There is little room for internal growth. Billable hours can be a pain. Low pay. Coworkers can be cliquey and complain a lot.

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  8. "Great Workplace"

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Nice and friendly working environment,

    Cons

    Limited promotion opportunities after certain higher level positions (require PhD for more senior positions)

  9. "Identity crisis"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Manager 
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Urban Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Mission-oriented and growing business. Incredibly smart staff with commitment to affect policy.

    Cons

    Old guard vs new guard created some internal political challenges. Lack of proper business planning meant that operations staff were often placed at the center of conflicting priorities with limited resources. Each center run as its own fiefdom with center leaders held to little accountability.

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  10. Helpful (3)

    "Fascinating work, great benefits,"

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

    I have been working at Urban Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    At Urban you'll work alongside some incredibly smart people who are passionate about using rigorous evidence to advance solutions to social problems. There's a pretty good work life balance, excellent benefits, and a collegial/collaborative environment.

    Cons

    Academic nature of Urban staff and work can sometimes make it feel like insights are disconnected from the communities they are meant to help and there can be a negative view of policy-focused Urban work that is not "pure research". Also, nature of Urban's funding structure means constantly chasing grants/RFPs which can be stressful.

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