Government Social Research
On the GSR Fast Stream, you'll work on the issues that really matter
Government Social Research (GSR) is the analytical profession that provides social and behavioural research and advice to government. Our researchers enable government to understand issues relating to society, groups and individuals; supporting policy debate and decision-making through a variety of approaches, advice and evidence.
GSR members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and disciplines, covering the breadth of social and behavioural sciences. Our work puts people at the heart of government decision-making by providing expertise and interventions to solve complex problems. GSR takes a scientific and tailored approach supported by bodies of knowledge and a range of research methods to inform, influence and provide robust and defensible decision-making at all levels.
GSR aims to deliver the best social science evidence for government and we need highly skilled social and behavioural scientists to do that. You can read more about our strategy and commitment to diversity and inclusion in our strategies.
For more details on the current criteria for GSR please visit the FAQ page - 'What are the relevant disciplines for the Social Research Fast Stream?'.
- You need to be eligible to work in the UK
- You can apply through either one of the following routes:
- 1) Qualification route. You need, or expect to have, a minimum of a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree, or a 2:2 with a postgraduate degree.
A qualifying degree is one which contains substantial social research methods training (comprising of one third of modules taken in the course) including quantitative research methods and at least three of the following: systematic/literature reviews; qualitative methods; interpretation of data and presentation of results; study design and hypothesis testing; and application of ethics to research.
- 2) Experience route. You need, or expect to have an undergraduate degree at a minimum of 2:1, or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree, in any subject, or a degree equivalent (e.g. an advanced Certificate or Diploma from MRS), plus have at least 4 years’ social research practice experience. Social research practice experience consists of experience working in a research agency, market research agency or specialist research team.
What will you experience?
As a Government Social Researcher you'll contribute to the identification, investigation and reporting of social trends, the development of government policy, and the monitoring and evaluation of how policies make a difference to public services.
You will develop your social research skills, learning how social researchers operate in government, contributing to evidence-based decision making, evaluation, and consideration of the social dimension of differing policy areas and challenges.
GSR Fast Streamers are represented in all the main government departments, as well as the devolved administrations and other government bodies. On scheme you will therefore undertake a broad range of tasks, building up your professional and leadership experience, and developing your skills as a social researcher. 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.
Promotion and successful completion of the scheme will see you earn around £45k to £55k. The scheme is designed so that, wherever you find yourself working in government beyond the GSR Fast Stream scheme, you will have the skills and experience that allow you to be a professional leader within government, helping ensure that social research and analysis sit at the heart of the policy-making, monitoring and evaluation processes.
Your progression through the programme
Year 1 - In your first year on the GSR Fast Stream you will be allocated a department for your first posting. You'll learn what is expected of a Government Social Researcher, learn essential research skills, and how social research is used to support the work of your home department. You will be expected to hit the ground running, contributing from the beginning to the work of the GSR in your home department. At the end of your posting you will undertake a short review to ensure that you are on track for scheme completion.
Year 2 - As you move to your year two posting your responsibilities will increase. You will be able to take on a different role to begin broadening your experiences across government. You will also undertake another short review at the end of year two to ensure that you are on track for scheme completion.
Year 3 – You will move to a final post that will further broaden your experience and understanding of the application of social research across government, supporting your career development. After the usual end-of-posting review you will also undertake an assessment to ensure that you meet the requirements for scheme completion and to help you prepare for the next stage of your career.
Supporting your learning
We want our GSR Fast Streamers to be the future leaders of the profession. Therefore, on scheme you will undertake a specific Learning and Development Curriculum to develop your leadership skills and wider understanding of the UK Civil Service.
In parallel you will also develop your professional social research skills and knowledge through on-the-job learning. You will also be able to access social research specific technical training, seminars and other courses, which can be tailored from our annual programmes to your specific learning needs.
Up to £55k
If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you could earn around £45k to £55k.
What benefits will you enjoy?
The GSR Fast Stream offers a unique and fantastic opportunity to begin your career as a government social researcher on the strongest possible footing. You will have the opportunity to work on issues that really matter, learn how government works, and gain the skills and experience that will allow you to be a future leader within the UK Civil Service.
In addition you will also have access to the benefits available to all UK Civil Servants, including the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more.
Learning and Development on the Government Social Research Scheme
Alongside the scheme-specific learning offer, you will complete the universal training which provides core foundation skills and leadership & management skills.
The online assessments consist of Work Style Questionnaires, a multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaire, Numerical Test and Work Based Scenarios.
If you pass the online assessments, you'll be invited to undertake a half day assessment centre. This will be conducted virtually on line. The Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC) reflects some of the key elements of a Fast Stream role and will consist a leadership scenario, a team scenario and a written scenario. Information will be presented via an app that you will be able to access remotely.
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.