My first six months in the GES has just flown by. It is the mid-year review stage and a chance to reflect on what I’ve done so far and what I want to do next.
For those of you making decisions about departmental preferences, let me first say that as an Economist, I’m very happy that I chose to work for DWP. Perhaps more so than any other department, we are involved in designing and implementing policies that have the potential to impact millions of people. Without trying to be too general, as there’s a huge variety of work to become involved with here, there are three main types of analytical roles in the Department.
The first, and my current post, is as a member of a labour market strategy team. Remember all that stuff from EAC about communicating economics to non-economists? That is what this role is all about. You’ll provide briefings on the latest labour market data to very tight deadlines and will be in regular contact with the Ministerial private office. I am responsible for written briefings on youth unemployment and have recently become the Department’s analytical contact for issues relating to migration.
Secondly, you can work in a policy or operational (Jobcentre Plus) team – perhaps working on an evaluation of the Youth Contract or putting together a Cost Benefit analysis to support the Welfare Reform Bill. These roles allow you to build on your research skills – lots of econometrics and stats needed – as well as your ability to present the findings so that they can effectively inform policy making.
Finally, there’s the Forecasting Division. More demanding technically, you’ll learn some programming skills and will be part of a team that, for example, models how the public sector pension liability will respond over time as a result of planned changes to the benefits system or changes to growth forecasts.
As you can imagine, opportunities to do something new come up all time. Last week, I led a session on the current state of the labour market for young people at an away day. I find speaking in front of 10 people a bit nerve-racking, so 200 was a big challenge! I am now really looking forward to a two week private office secondment.
Congratulations to all of you that have passed the assessment centre and have been offered a post.