government economic service


Government Economic Service

Put economics at the heart of the policy-making process, to influence and shape the government’s response to some of the key issues of the day


3 to 5 years






Being a government economist is not just a question of analysing figures. It is work that sees you closely involved in important current issues and helping shape government policy. We are the UK’s largest recruiter of economists, with over 1,400 professionals across government in more than 30 departments and agencies.


You can also apply for the Diplomatic Service (Economist) scheme provided you meet the requirements for the Diplomatic service.


  • you need to be eligible to work in the UK
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:1 degree or higher or a post-graduate degree in an economic subject
  • for mixed degrees, at least 50% should be in economics

What will you experience?

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You'll have the chance to develop your expertise through postings in areas such as macro-economic modelling, competition policy, international financial issues, labour market trends, taxation, housing benefits, local government finance, public health and criminal justice.


You could be working for a wide range of government departments or agencies and sometimes even overseas. There's also the option to join the Diplomatic Service as an economist.


The type of economics used will vary hugely. Wherever a GES Fast Streamer might end up in 10 years, they would be leading a team that puts economics at the heart of the policy-making process.

What do they say

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Life at the Office for National Statistics – an assistant economist’s experience

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Your progression through the programme

What you’ll learn

The GES actively encourages continuous professional development. Chief economists have agreed that the guideline for CPD is 100 hours per year. At least 50 hours of this must be spent on economics.

Your development will be closely monitored by your line manager who will provide on-the-job coaching and will discuss with you, and advise on training and broader development. New assistant economists are expected to attend a one-day induction course, a one-day course on economic appraisal and a one-day course on impact assessment.

Up to £55k

If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you'll earn around £45k to £55k.

What benefits will you enjoy?


You’ll have a unique chance to work on issues that really matter, and to gain experience internally and externally. It’s the best foundation for promotion and long-term progression.

Promotion and successful completion of the scheme will see you earn around £45k to £55k, while other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more.

Application process


Online tests

The online tests consist of 2 questionnaires, an e-tray exercise and a video interview. We recommend you do some practice questions: Situational judgement questions.

You'll only move on to the next test, if you've successfully passed the previous one.


Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests, you'll be invited to complete an Application Form and this will be sifted by the scheme owner. If successful at the sift, then you will be invited to attend a half-day assessment at one of our assessment centres in either London or Newcastle.

We'll ask you to take part in a series of exercises. This includes a leadership exercise, a group exercise and an analysis exercise


Final selection

If you are successful at the assessment centre, you’ll be invited to take part in a final selection process.

The specialist assessments will assess your broad capabilities and motivation to be part of the profession you’ve chosen. You’ll be sent detailed guidance before the assessment to explain what is involved.

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