• Senior Associate, Philadelphia Research Initiative

    Location US-PA-Philadelphia
    Posted Date 5 months ago(10/1/2019 4:55 PM)
    Job ID
    The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Overview

    Full Job Title:  Senior Associate, Philadelphia Research Initiative


    The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our home town and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.

    Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.

    The Philadelphia Program
    Through the Philadelphia Program Pew seeks to enhance civic life in its hometown. We partner with many local institutions in encouraging a thriving arts and cultural community, supporting the health and welfare of the region’s most vulnerable residents, informing discussion on important issues facing the city, and, more broadly, strengthening Philadelphia’s appeal to visitors and residents alike.


    Philadelphia Research Initiative
    The Philadelphia research initiative produces timely, well-documented and highly readable reports and issue briefs on issues facing Philadelphia for the benefit of decision makers, the news media and the public at large. Topics come from a number of subject areas including demographic trends, government performance and innovation, tax and fiscal policy, K-12 education, economic development and job creation, and public safety. In addition, the initiative performs research in conjunction with the Philadelphia Policy Exchange, designed to stimulate focused conversations among policymakers and policy influencers on a range of issues. Those issues include, but are not limited to, evaluating tax incentives, improving tax collections, managing revenue volatility through rainy day funds, strengthening public sector retirement systems, delivering cost-effective corrections services, and reducing opioid abuse.

    The initiative's staff conducts research using a range of methodologies, including representative-sample polling, and looks beyond the city for relevant information from comparable cities. The research typically is based on public or proprietary data, peer-reviewed research methodologies, close consultation with subject-matter experts, and regular interaction with officials of local governments and organizations. Most of its reports lay out the facts and findings on a given issue. Some go further to discuss the data-based pros and cons of various policy options. In either case, however, the initiative does not advocate for specific solutions or favor any particular point of view. Its mission is to be an honest broker on the issues and effective contributor to civic discourse in Philadelphia and, where applicable, other cities. The goal is to be a consistent and effective contributor to civic discourse in Philadelphia. Examples of the initiative's work are available at www.pewtrusts.org/philaresearch.


    The initiative's work products consist of the following:

    • Major research reports that get to the bottom of complex and important issues, often making use of data-based comparative examples from other cities.
    • Research briefs on issues that require illumination or updating but not full-length reports.
    • Shorter “web analyses” that provide updates on issues, especially those covered by previous reports or briefs, and highlight new, city-related data.
    • An annual “State of the City" report that tracks key indicators about Philadelphia’s condition—from crime to employment to demographic change—over time and in relation to comparable cities.
    • Random-sample polling to measure Philadelphians’ attitudes about the city in general, policy issues in particular, elected leaders, city services, and residents’ own situations.
    • A monthly e-newsletter that reports on work that the project has published and intends to publish, developments related to past reports, and the work of other Pew programs.
    • Public presentation of research findings to civic groups, other research organizations, and governmental bodies or officials, including City Council.

    The initiative’s work products are produced primarily by staff members working collegially and effectively within the team and across the larger Pew organization, as needed. When specialized expertise is required, the initiative hires external consultants but continues to manage the product.


    In addition, working with the Philadelphia Policy Exchange, staff help organize convenings to highlight the initiative’s work and engage the public and policymakers in conversation about issues and policy options.


    Position Overview
    The senior associate, who is based in Pew’s Philadelphia office, reports to the manager, Philadelphia research initiative. The senior associate’s job is to help conceptualize, design and complete research and analysis on key issues affecting the city of Philadelphia. A research background, relevant experience, expertise in one of the initiative’s key subjects, and/or strong writing skills are desirable.

    The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.


    • Under direction of the initiative’s senior staff, compile and maintain datasets from various sources that may be used in research projects, perform first-level analysis of data, and conduct general background research on issues, including literature reviews and media scans.
    • Help senior staff organize and write reports, briefs, and web analyses. When appropriate, take the lead on producing shorter pieces.
    • Monitor and identify emerging urban policy issues that are relevant to Philadelphia. Help prepare internal written summaries and data charts, tables or visualizations to help researchers and senior staff track and assess current and emerging issues for potential further research.
    • Working with the initiative’s staff, draft internal documentation of projects and contracts with outside providers or consultants, as needed. Help manage contractors, as needed.
    • Help catalog, index, and preserve the initiative’s data holdings, with the goal of keeping them accessible and current for ongoing tracking of issues. Help create and maintain a data-management plan. Proactively identify new or unexplored datasets that may reveal fresh angles or insights.
    • Contribute to and participate in other work tasked to the Philadelphia research initiative as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities.
    • Help organize events organized by the Philadelphia policy exchange that facilitate discussion of issues facing the city, sometimes working with outside partners, in order to engage policymakers and bring attention to Pew’s work. Assist in efforts to maintain contact with policymakers to ascertain their priorities and to increase their awareness of and input into Pew’s work.
    • Participate in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities to keep current on a broad range of urban policy issues.


    • Bachelor’s degree required; an advanced degree is preferred.
    • At least four years of applicable experience, including demonstrated skills in data analysis and research, data services or data management.
    • Experience in urban policy, the public sector, university research, private research services, or data management and analysis preferred.
    • Knowledge of current trends and issues affecting Philadelphia specifically and cities in general is preferred.
    • Strong research skills, including a proven facility with quantitative data. Ability to work with spreadsheet and database software.
    • Good communication skills including written and oral presentations.
    • Ability to view an issue or question in terms of the hard data that may illustrate or shed light on it. Familiarity with public and proprietary datasets.
    • Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines, respond to multiple constituents, and set priorities with a high level of organization.
    • Ability to work collegially and effectively with co-workers ranging from support personnel to senior staff to meet project goals.
    • Experience working as a member of a team, providing support for research undertaken by other colleagues or contractors, helping the team produce rigorous, relevant, and timely results.
    • Ability to work professionally and collegially within a creative and corporate culture that emphasizes excellence and teamwork.
    • Attention to detail, including exacting standards to maintain accuracy in all work products.

    The position is based in Philadelphia with overnight travel for meetings and conferences as required, as well as occasional trips to Pew’s offices in Washington, DC.


    Total Rewards
    We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.


    The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


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