Senior Associate, State Policy, Strengthening Public Sector Retirement Systems (Pension Reform)

02 Jul, 2019


Senior Associate, State Policy, Strengthening Public Sector Retirement Systems (Pension Reform)

Pew Charitable Trusts
Washington, DC

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 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 philanthropic 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 investments 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.

Project Overview
Public pension reform is one of the most significant fiscal challenges facing states and municipalities today. In fact, our research shows that as of 2016, state governments had pension debts totaling $1.4 trillion. 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

Pew seeks to hire a senior associate to provide intensive analytical support for work in selected states where Pew is providing customized technical assistance and the support needed to enact reform. This position, based in Pew’s Washington, DC, office, reports to the manager, state policy, and has a set timeframe that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.

Successful candidates will have data analysis and stakeholder engagement experience gained through policy-focused positions. The ideal candidate has an educational and employment background in data analysis, financial modeling, public policy, or a related field. Knowledge of public-sector retirement and benefit systems is desired but not required. Stakeholder engagement or background working with multiple partner organizations internally/externally is valued to support state technical assistance work. Finally, those skilled at effectively communicating complex information both verbally and through the use of data visualizations would be highly valued.


  • Provide intensive technical assistance to states engaged with the project and its partners, including high-quality data analysis, financial and benefit modeling, development of evidence-based policy options, tracking of relevant policy issues within and across jurisdictions, and effective policy maker and stakeholder education of proposed policies and practices.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of legislative strategies.
  • Help conduct state assessments and make recommendations of states to receive assistance from the project.
  • Assist in the production and dissemination of state-based publications from the project and its partners, including generating ideas for publications (that may include original research), managing development of the ideas into viable publications, and drafting copy and graphics.
  • Develop relationships with respected policy makers, stakeholders, and experts in the field and seek out potential partnerships to advance the project’s agenda and expertise.
  • Assist in ensuring all state assistance components are well-coordinated and strategically focused.
  • Maintain and continue to develop an understanding of emerging public sector retirement and benefits system issues by monitoring publications and participating in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities.
  • Understand state and federal laws regarding lobbying activity and disclosure thereof.
  • Help draft, review, and shepherd project funding agreements and contracts, contract amendments, and renewals, through the administrative and review process.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks within the department as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities.




  • Bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree in finance, economics, public policy, business, or other relevant field strongly preferred.
  • Strong data analytics skills that include specific proficiencies with Excel to present, analyze, and manipulate data are required. More advanced quantitative analysis skills are welcomed but not required. Moreover, experience with financial modeling is preferred and a working knowledge of public sector retirement and benefit systems is desirable.
  • Clear written and verbal communication skills and the ability to synthesize and summarize complex data in easy to understand terms using data visualizations and presentation tools is preferred.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details, and exercise sound judgment in problem-solving. Ability to develop and move complex projects forward with a high degree of independence within a creative, fast-paced, action-oriented and collegial environment.
  • Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to establish a systematic course of action to ensure project completion.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team, foster consensus, and collaborate with diverse partners to advance pragmatic solutions.
  • Acute political awareness and nonpartisan perspective and approach.


Occasional domestic travel for conferences and meetings.

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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Job posted: 2019-07-02