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Associate, Research, States' Public Sector Retirement Systems


Job posted by: The Pew Charitable Trusts

Posted on: June 20, 2014

Job description

Pew Overview:

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the best interests of the people. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Brussels and London and staff in other regions of the United States as well as Australia, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.

Project Overview:

Public pension reform is arguably one of the most significant fiscal challenges facing states and municipalities today. In fact, our research shows that as of 2010, state governments had pension debts totaling $757 billion. Although some plans are well-funded, in other places, if changes are not made, retirees, workers, and taxpayers will be left with rising costs and unpaid promises for years to come.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every state and municipality has a unique set of policy preferences and budgetary challenges. Given the high stakes for states' budgets and workers, policy makers need trusted information and guidance to help them consider possible options, understand what is known about each, then make decisions based on the best available information. This project will work with states to examine their challenges and help policy makers consider data-driven policies that result in sustainable retirement systems while maintaining states' ability to recruit and retain skilled workers.

Specifically, the project will:

  • Provide highly credible, independent, and nonpartisan research, including 50-state reports, to help answer critical questions about which policy actions are most effective at controlling costs, meeting states' policy goals, and providing workers with retirement security;
  • Provide selected states with customized technical assistance informed by tailored research; and
  • Engage influential stakeholders to build the support necessary to enact reform.

Position Overview:

It is expected that this position is for a term period through June 30, 2015, with the possibility of an extension pending the success of the program, funding sources and board decisions on continued support.

  • Research: Working collaboratively across a team of researchers, policy analysts, reporters, and communications professionals, help develop and implement research—including but not limited to 50-state assessments and state-specific analyses—on public sector retirement benefits. Contribute constructively at every stage of the project, including:
  • # Conducting background research and helping conceptualize policy-relevant project ideas and plans.
  • # Identifying and developing contracts with external advisors or researchers.
  • # Helping design and conduct rigorous collection and compilation of quantitative and qualitative data, literature reviews, and other research.
  • # Analyzing and communicating results accurately, both verbally and in writing.
  • Enhancing internal expertise: Contribute to internal knowledge base of state retirement systems by:
  • # Helping build and maintain internal collection of relevant research and datasets on public sector retirement benefits.
  • # Monitoring relevant developments on state pension and retiree health care systems and identifying key emerging trends.
  • # Attending and reporting on conferences, trainings and other professional development opportunities.
  • # Critically synthesizing information sources, including careful consideration of the limitations and opportunities presented by each.
  • # Building team expertise through internal memos and presentations.
  • Outreach: Contribute to communication and outreach efforts by helping to develop and execute programming and logistics for in-person and online convenings of policymakers and other key audiences; research and write Web-only content, prepare talking points and presentations for senior staff, and other tasks as assigned.
  • Quality control: Contribute to a high level of quality and accuracy in work by:
  • # Maintaining a constant commitment to accuracy in all Pew's work.
  • Participating fully in Pew's rigorous internal quality control process.


  • Associate's degree required; Bachelor's degree preferred.
  • A minimum of two years of professional experience conducting research projects with quantitative components aimed at informing and advancing effective public policy. Experience working on issues related to public sector retirement benefits a plus.
  • Demonstrated skills in researching and analyzing public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue. Demonstrated ability to learn and master new issues quickly. Understanding of state budget and fiscal issues preferred.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and/or Microsoft Access required; use of or strong familiarity with SPSS, Stata, and/or SAS preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills. Clear, effective writing style.
  • Able to develop and manage productive and collaborative relationships both internally and externally.
  • Ability to think strategically, critically, and creatively, juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time efficiently, remain attentive to details, and identify resources for projects.
  • Ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization.
  • Ability to fit into a creative, fast-paced, and highly professional corporate culture which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork. Has a proven track record of working both individually and as a member of a team to meet goals.


Occasional travel to relevant national conferences expected.

Pew is an equal opportunity employer.

Apply Here


How to apply


Washington, DC, 20004, US


Application deadline
August 19, 2014
Education requirements
Employment type
Full time
Professional level
None specified
Job function
Owner's areas of focus