The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for designing and administering the UK social security system. It is the biggest government department currently in charge of an annual expenditure of around £135 billion. Our work touches the lives of millions of people at all stages of their lives. Every day the DWP:
- makes 2.5 million benefit payments;
- deals with over a million personal contacts – callers to our offices, visits, telephone calls and letters; and
- places nearly 6,000 people into work;
Our vision is to:
- contribute towards fair, safe and fulfilling lives, free from poverty for children, people in work, people in retirement, disabled people and carers;
- reduce welfare dependency and increase economic competitiveness by helping people to work wherever they can whilst providing support for whom work is not appropriate; and
- provide greater choice, personalisation and a higher quality of service for all of customers.
It is an exciting time to be part of the DWP. An ageing population means we are facing new challenges to our pensions system. We are working towards an exciting new Welfare Reform agenda to encourage people back into work and reach our goal of 80% employment.
How economists work in DWP
You will become part of a community of around 200 economists working at DWP. Our economists work in a variety of different areas including pensions policy, working-age benefits, disability and carers issues, and health and safety.
Most of our economists are embedded within policy teams, where they work alongside policy colleagues, statisticians and social researchers. The jobs test a wide range of skills including the ability to provide briefing to very tight deadlines, the ability apply economics to public sector problems and to produce robust in-depth technical analysis. Assistant economists move posts roughly once a year with economics advisers moving every 2-3 years.
All of the work areas provide opportunities to engage in a fast-moving policy debate where analysis and evidence has a major role to play. Economists are expected to draw on the latest thinking and research in their field. There are also many opportunities to engage with Ministers and officials at the top of the decision making chain, and a range of delivery bodies including Jobcentre Plus and the recently created Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to see how policies are implemented.
There is a lively culture of learning and debate. You will have access to courses provided by the Government Economic Service as well as a chance to develop non-economic skills at the National School of Government. We also hold a regular series of economic seminars at which you will be given the opportunity to present your work to an audience of your peers.
If you join as an Assistant Economist you may have the opportunity to spend one year studying for a funded Masters in Economics.
Some examples of what DWP economists do:
- Work as part of high-profile policy teams, such as the Child Poverty Unit
- Feed into the Government’s Welfare Reform Agenda, providing evidence and analysis for the Welfare Reform White Paper
- Provide analysis and briefing on key drivers on the numbers of people on out of work benefits
- Work alongside private sector contractors to set up the new Personal Accounts Delivery Authority
- Forecasting benefit expenditure for the Government’s budget and developing models to make predictions about customer behaviour
Pay and conditions
- Opportunity to be based in London, Sheffield, Leeds or Liverpool
- Assistant Economist starting salary is minimum £27,970 (London)
- Economic Adviser salary minimum is £44, 460 (London)
- 36 hour working week (London, 37 out of London)
- 22 days holiday in year 1, rising to 25 thereafter
- Final salary pension option
- Flexible working hours (subject to business needs)
Flexible starting pay is available for people with a Masters qualification or relevant work experience in an economics related post.