Senior Operational Researcher/Analyst

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Job Description

Do you want to be a part of shaping big decisions?

The ONS is the UK’s largest producer of official statistics, covering a range of key economic, social and demographic topics. These include measuring changes in the value of the UK economy, estimating the size, geographic distribution and characteristics of the population, and providing indicators of price inflation, employment, earnings, crime and migration.

Operational Research is about working with decision makers and managers to generate the most appropriate options for future action. OR analysts use a range of analytical techniques, from detailed statistical analysis, simulation, and mathematical modelling through to facilitation and problem structuring so that they can explore problems and give objective advice.

Job description

Operational Research is a growing profession within ONS. ONS is the largest producer of official statistics in the UK and as part of the UK statistical system is dedicated to producing high quality analysis and statistics to inform better decisions. OR analysts are uniquely placed to help achieve this aim. In addition, the changing environment for producing official statistics, for example, the greater use of administrative and big data, offers a new set of challenges that OR analysts are equipped to tackle.

ONS OR analysts will belong to the Government Operational Research Service (GORS), a cross-governmental profession with analysts working at 25 government departments and agencies.


At ONS our senior operational researchers work in multi-disciplinary teams on projects such as:

  • Reviewing statistical outputs to ensure they meet world class standards and evolving user needs
  • Engaging with analysts and stakeholders within ONS and externally, in other public sector bodies, private sector and academic institutions
  • Acquiring and analysing administrative and commercial datasets, developing data linkage methodology, building models with a view for incorporating them into Official Statistics
  • Using OR techniques, and problem solving, to conduct evidence-based analysis for policy queries
  • Leading teams carrying out developments using analytical tools (such as Excel VBA, R, Python, SAS) in high profile statistical areas such as GDP
  • Supporting the head of profession to promote OR at ONS
Person specification
  • Strong analytical experience, including a track record of leading in breaking down complex analytical problems, along with extensive knowledge and a depth of understanding of OR techniques.
  • Demonstration of an ability to consider multiple approaches to a problem, factoring in customer needs, possible techniques, and data structures.
  • Good communication skills in working with senior officials and external stakeholders, with the ability to explain the results, context and impact in the delivery of analytical work.
  • Experience of managing work, with appropriate planning and risk awareness, to deliver high quality outcomes that give value for money.
  • Ability to manage a team and prioritise tasks in line with organisational objectives

You must have a highly numerate degree to join GORS and become an OR analyst at ONS, which must be one of the following:

a minimum 2:1
a 2:2 with relevant work experience or a relevant postgraduate qualification.

To meet our definition of a highly numerate degree, at least half of your degree course must be from one or more of the following subjects: maths, physics, operational research, management science, engineering, statistics, econometrics or similar.

To qualify for these senior roles, you MUST have at least two years relevant work experience in operational research, data science, data analytics or related fields. This should be detailed within the CV section of the application.

The demonstration of your qualifications is required in an additional attachment. Please use this to detail your bachelors and any postgraduate degrees (even if you are still studying for it) ensuring that you include:

  • Type of qualification (for example BSc, MSc, PhD)
  • Course or qualification title (for example Maths, Physics, OR)
  • Subjects, modules or thesis (listed by each year they were taken)
  • Degree class or mark awarded or expected (for example 1, 2:1, MA)

We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Working Together
  • Technical skills
  • We’ll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:
  • Knowledge and Application of OR Skills and Techniques
  • Achieving Impact with Analysis

As well as a competitive salary, you’ll enjoy:

  • Generous holiday allowance – 25 days annual leave, rising to 30 days after 5 years’ service in addition to public holidays;
  • Good work-life balance – working options include flexible working arrangements Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm;
  • Strong ethos of equality and diversity;
  • Up to 3 days paid leave per year for voluntary opportunities;
  • Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks plus an additional week of departmental paternity leave all at full pay;
  • Highly competitive contributory Civil Service Pension;
  • Career development and progression – Career pathway options such as apprenticeships and recognised qualifications for a variety of professions are available;
  • Free onsite car parking in Newport and Fareham;
  • Cycle to work scheme

Every analyst will be supported to achieve 100 hours continuous professional development per year. There are many core OR courses that all OR analysts at ONS will complete.

ONS also offers a wide variety of courses covering different elements of official statistics, coding, modules of post graduate qualifications in data science or official statistics and more general skills.

It is also encouraged to arrange more informal job shadowing sessions, attend seminars and share knowledge with other OR analysts at ONS.