Identify, analyse and interpret the social trends and research that help influence major decisions
3 to 5 years
A career in the Government Social Research Service (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.
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.
You’ll be allocated a department for your first posting for a minimum of 2 years. Afterwards it’s up to you and your manager how often you move, and where to.
Through the GSR mentoring scheme you can find a mentor who will be able to provide a broader view of the organisation. You may also find it useful to talk to them for more detailed advice and if there is a particular department you're interested in being seconded to, you may wish to speak to them to see what opportunities are available.
Your first promotion will be 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'll be keen to take on a post in the Senior Civil Service after gaining a range of experience at this level.
I’ve been on the Social Research Fast Stream for 2½ years in the Home Office, and in that time I’ve helped run evaluations to support front line staff in the police and immigration enforcement, contributed to complex analysis, as well as getting the opportunity to work across government.
I’ve worked on a range of interesting projects in two Government departments in my first two years, and joining the GSR community has opened my eyes to the variation of fascinating research across the Civil Service.
The GSR Fast Stream has given me the opportunity to work across multiple policy areas within two departments – including areas as varied as Regulatory Oversight, Labour Markets, Higher Education and Corporate Governance.
Receiving regular requests from high profile institutions like No 10 makes me feel like I’m able to help influence policy and shape public opinion, whilst being stretched and increasing my competence.
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.
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.