Chief Analyst, Social Mobility Commission

Department for Education
07 Sep 2017
20 Sep 2017
Contract Type

The Social Mobility Commission is an independent statutory body that assesses progress towards improving social mobility in the UK and promotes social mobility. The Commission has established itself as the authoritative voice on social mobility issues and is helping to drive progress on this vital issue. It is chaired by the Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn.

Robust and insightful analysis is central to the Commission's work, and this post offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to the continued success of the Commission. The post-holder will help shape the Commission's strategy and work programme and will be responsible for the quality of its analytical outputs. They will produce analysis for the Commission's Annual Report and other publications and will supervise and quality control the analytical work of other members of the Secretariat.

The post-holder will have the opportunity to work closely with the Chair of the Commission and the other high-profile Commissioners. They will report to the Head of the Secretariat.

Job Purpose: To lead and oversee the Commission's analytical work, including executing original data analysis and supervising and quality controlling other pieces of data analysis undertaken within the Secretariat and for the Commission. The Secretariat is a highly collaborative team and the post-holder will be expected to work flexibly and to have strong collaborative skills.

Key aspects of the post-holder's work include:

1) Ensuring the Annual State of the Nation Report is analytically robust- our Annual Report quotes a wide variety of analytical material published by other organisations, but it also features original analysis by the Secretariat. The Chief Analyst will work with the policy leads in the Secretariat to increase the amount of original analysis we include in the Report both by undertaking such analysis him or herself and by supervising and quality assuring data analysis undertaken by other members of the team.

2) Developing and delivering an impactful research programme - each year we commission around eight research reports into various social mobility issues. The Chief Analyst plays a key role in developing interesting and impactful ideas for the research programme and in ensuring that all research undertaken for us is of high quality and makes a positive contribution to the public debate.

3) Initiating and producing short, focused pieces of data analysis - the Commission publishes short pieces of analysis independently of the Annual Report, e.g. the Commission's Social Mobility Index, and the Chief Analyst will lead on designing and producing these. They will also work with policy leads to ensure that any other publication they produce are analytically robust.

4) Supporting and developing the analytical skills of the rest of the Secretariat - the policy leads within the team have varying levels of expertise and confidence in relation to data analysis and the Chief Analyst will provide expert support to them and help them develop their analytical skills to boost the overall impact of the Commission's work.

The role would suit an experienced analyst who is a strong strategic thinker, sensitive to the likely impact of their analysis and how it will be picked up by policymakers and the media. The post will appeal to someone who likes to work in a fast-paced, high profile position that is intellectually demanding, politically sensitive and involves regular contact with senior stakeholders. The post-holder will need to have good communication skills and to enjoy working collaboratively.

The Commission's main roles include:

• Publishing a major annual independent report setting out its views on progress made towards improving social mobility;
• Undertaking social mobility advocacy, challenging external institutions including employers, Universities and schools to play their part in promoting social mobility.
• Providing published advice - at the request of Ministers.

More information at:

As well as the Civil Service competencies listed below, applicants will need to demonstrate their analytical skills. In relation to the professional analytical competency, we are looking for the following:

1. Professional Analytical Competency

• Strong quantitative research design, analysis and reporting skills;
• Experience of synthesising academic research, data and secondary analysis to steer strategic thinking, policy development and decision-making;
• Confidence in presenting and developing analytical outputs in a range of formats, tailored to a range of audiences (including senior policy colleagues)

The Civil Service Competency Framework outlines the three high-level leadership behaviours that every civil servant needs to model (setting direction; engaging people; delivering results). Within those, the skills that are important for this role are:

2. Making Effective Decisions
a. Draw together and present reasonable conclusions from a wide range of incomplete and complex evidence and data - able to act or decide even when details are not clear.
b. Identify the main issues in complex problems, clarify understanding or stakeholder expectations, to seek best option

3. Leading and Communicating
a. Confidently engage with stakeholders and colleagues at all levels to generate commitment to goals
b. Clarify strategies and plans, communicate purpose and direction with clarity and enthusiasm

4. Seeing the Big Picture
a. Anticipate economic, social, political, environmental and technological developments to keep activity relevant and targeted
b. Ensures relevant issues relating to their activity/policy area are effectively fed into strategy and big picture considerations

5. Delivering at Pace

a. Maintain effective performance in difficult and challenging circumstances, encouraging others to do the same.


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:
  • Professional analytical competency (see above)
  • Making effective decisions
  • Leading and communicating
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Delivering at pace

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and personal statement. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Please note that your personal statement should be aligned to why you are interested in this role and why you think you would do it well.

The Sift will be based on the personal statement and the five competencies.

Interview candidates will be asked to give a five-minute presentation, setting out the conclusions of a piece of analytical work that they have played a key role in. This will be an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate their ability to analyse data and to translate this into clear and compelling conclusions.

An initial sift based on competency 1 may be held if a large number of applications are received

If your application progresses to a full sift, all competences will then be considered.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.