government operational research service


Government Operational Research Service

Use scientific and mathematical techniques to help the government find solutions to complex management problems


3 to 5 years






In a nutshell, Operational Research (OR) is the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.  We do this using techniques ranging from quick back-of-the-envelope calculations to complicated systems dynamics models.


Other OR techniques you might know are forecasting, simulation and analytics.  We require intellect and creativity as problems can be complex, often with no single “right answer”.


  • you need to be eligible to work in the UK
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:1 or higher in a highly numerate degree subject; or a 2:2 with a highly numerate postgraduate degree
  • highly numerate degrees include subjects like maths, statistics and physics; for mixed degrees, at least 50% should be in a highly numerate subject

What will you experience?

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Our work supports all areas of government, including policy-making, strategy and operations. For example your department may wish to make an operation more efficient, achieve better customer service, or reduce costs. Different OR techniques can be used to objectively assess the current situation and how different changes might affect it. This means our work brings government policy to life and so affects everyone in the UK.


Operational researchers commonly work with economists, statisticians, social researchers, scientists and those who work in policy. Often these people will be within your own department, but there are frequent opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration.

What do they say

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Your progression through the programme

What you’ll learn

You will be invited to a 2-day residential induction course, and will be offered a range of high quality training courses to develop your OR professional skills and wider leadership and management skills.

You will have access to a programme of cross-government events and conferences which will deepen your knowledge of particularly techniques and expand your knowledge of OR in other departments.  If you are interested, you will be supported in achieving professional accreditation by the OR Society.

Up to £55k

If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you could 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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