government social research


Government Social Research

Identify, evaluate policy, analyse and interpret the social trends and research that help influence major decisions


3 to 5 years


From £27k




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


  • you need to be eligible to work in the UK
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:1 or higher in any social science degree subject with a substantial social research methods component, or a relevant post-graduate degree
  • social science degrees include subjects like criminology, human geography, social anthropology, social work, sociology, demographics

What will you experience?

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.

What do they say

Your progression through the programme

What you’ll learn

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.

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.


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.

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.

You can take a virtual tour of the assessment centres at the following links:




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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