Identify, evaluate policy, analyse and interpret the social trends and research that help influence major decisions
3 to 5 years
A career in the Government Social Research (GSR) involves working at the heart of government – ensuring ministers and policy makers have the data to understand social issues, and helping evaluate the policy responses to them. Research underpins all policy made by government on areas such as health, crime, work, pensions, education and transport – in fact everything that affects us as the people of the UK.
GSR has members in all the main government departments as well as the devolved administrations and other government bodies.
For a full list of the eligible disciplines please visit our FAQ page.
For more further about GSR and the assessment centre please see www.gsr.gov.uk
You’ll contribute to the reporting of social trends, the development of government policy and evaluation of how policies make a difference to public services. Your work might involve developing surveys, analysing data, producing statistics, reviewing existing research evidence and working with other analysts in government to provide timely, relevant and robust briefings for policy colleagues and ministers.
In your first year on the fast stream, you will be allocated to a department where you will be supported to learn essential research skills and begin to understand how government research works.
In year two you can discuss with your manager and departmental lead whether you will rotate teams, and where to. Some people continue developing knowledge in their initial role, others move teams, and some people will be able to move to a different department.
In some government departments you will be expected to go for promotion to Senior Research Officer after around two years. Exact timing depends on skills, experience and the availability of Senior Research Officer roles, and some government departments promote straight from fast stream to Principal Research Officer without any grade in between.
After a few years on the fast stream as either a Research Officer or Senior Research Officer you should have developed the skills and experience needed for promotion to Principal Research Officer. The length of time on the fast stream varies by person and by department, so make the most of the opportunity while you have it.
Your manager will help you create a development plan to increase your skills and widen your experience. There are formal and informal opportunities to enhance your analytical skills. In your first few years you can expect to move jobs approximately every 2 years, and you may take a secondment to another government department to gain wider analytical expertise.
The GSR fast stream provides a platform for talented and motivated social researchers to reach the highest levels of responsibility in the Civil service. Promotion is based on merit. The first promotion is to Senior Research Officer and you should be ready for this after 2 years or so. Exact timing depends on skills and experience and the availability of Senior Research roles.
After a couple of years as a Senior Research Officer you should have developed the skills and experience needed for promotion to Principal Research Officer. Ideally, you will be keen to take on a post in the Senior Civil Service after gaining a range of experience at this level.
Up to £55k
If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you could earn around £45k to £55k.
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.
In joining the Government Social Research you will become part of a wider social research community in government which opens doors to other opportunities to expand knowledge and analytical experience.
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.
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.
You can take a virtual tour of the assessment centres at the following links:
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.
Fast Stream Assessment Centre info evening , Royal Holloway, The Event Space, RHUL
18:30 - 19:30
Jet to success: Passport Challenge , Royal Holloway, The Event Space, RHUL
19:00 - 20:00