Vacancy -- Senior Research Officers (SEO) & Research Officers (HEO)

Recruitment Principles

The Welsh Government's recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

Vacancy Details

Health and Social Services
Social Research and Information Division
SEO - £38,355 - £45,850
Salary range to be determined following assessments - either £38,355 (SRO) or £29,850 (RO)
Full time (applications are welcome from people who work part time, as part of a job share or who work full time)
Pan Wales
'Pan Wales' means that the location in which the vacancy can be based is flexible, subject to the needs of the business. A list of the Welsh Government's offices can be found on our website ( Please note it may not always be possible to accommodate a preference for a specific office location, but requests will be taken into consideration.

Purpose of Post:

This is an exciting opportunity to join a group of researchers working as part of the Government Social Research (GSR) profession. As a Research Officer or Senior Research Officer at the Welsh Government, the postholders would work closely with policy colleagues and other analysts and be responsible for the development and oversight of a programme of research. The available posts are:

  • Higher Education senior research officer. Tertiary Education in Wales is going through substantial reforms. The post-holder will take a lead role implementing the stage one phase of the evaluation of the Student Finance Reforms, and supporting the evidence needs for the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Tertiary Education and Research Bill.
  • Senior research officer for Museums, Arts, Archives and Libraries Division. The Welsh Government is committed to supporting the artistic, cultural and heritage sectors in Wales. The post-holder will work closely with policy leads, sector professionals and other analysts to identify, agree and deliver on analytical priorities, as well as supporting pan-Wales research and collaboration with key stakeholders such as Arts Council Wales and National Museum Wales.
  • Early years senior / research officer. The Welsh Government has committed to reform the provision of early years care to ensure children get the best possible start in life. The post-holder will commission and undertake a range of in-house research and analysis to support policy and delivery decisions to help realise this vision.
  • Welsh European Funding Office research officer. The Welsh Government must ensure that the European Structural and Investment Fund Programmes are fully compliant with European Commission monitoring and evaluation requirements. The post-holder will assist in delivering a schedule of monitoring and evaluation, and providing expert advice on research and analysis.
  • National Survey for Wales – contract management (senior research officer). This is the Welsh Government’s largest research contract and the survey is high-profile, with interest from policy teams and Ministers across all areas of Welsh Government.  The postholder will manage the contract, as well as be closely involved in work to design the next contract to deliver the survey. 
  • National Survey for Wales – contract management and content development (research officer). The postholder will help manage the contract to deliver the survey; and will work on survey content, leading on prioritising and developing survey topics for several policy areas.

All posts will involve supporting emerging needs from the relevant policy areas as well as contributing to projects working across different research teams in the Research Division. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about any of these posts.

Key tasks:

The indicative key tasks outlined below may not all necessarily be required within a single post and other tasks may also be undertaken. The level of responsibility will vary between Research Officer and Senior Research Officer roles with a greater emphasis on autonomy and leading projects for a Senior Research Officer role.

 Research programme/projects

  • Work closely with policy colleagues and other analysts to support the delivery of departmental evidence plans by identifying and prioritising research requirements and evidence gaps, and developing projects that meet departmental requirements.
  •  Lead and/or manage the development and delivery of research and evaluation projects.
  •  Support and encourage policy colleagues to develop their understanding and appreciation of how social research can support wider Welsh Government aims.
  •  Contribute to the development of an evidence base for policy and budget decisions by providing relevant, timely and reliable evidence.
  •  Ensure that research findings are communicated effectively and feed into policy and service development, delivery and evaluation.

Building links

  • Develop and maintain strategic links with the wider research community within Wales, the UK and internationally.
  •  Work with other public sector organisations where common areas of interest are identified.

Other research activities

  • Keep abreast of relevant evidence and methods and communicate findings to relevant policy colleagues.
  •  Provide advice and support to internal colleagues on technical and professional social research issues.
  •  Contribute to other areas of research and evaluation, as deemed appropriate by line manager.


  • Ensure any line managed staff are developed through the provision of direction, advice and support for training and professional development.
  •  Ensure projects and contracts are delivered within deadlines, resource constraints and to appropriate professional standards, by using project management techniques.
  •  Ensure that sound financial management procedures are followed.

 Corporate GSR activities

  • Promote the effective use of social research in strategy, policy development and delivery across the Welsh Government and externally.
  •  Contribute to quality/improvement activities within own job, and corporately through the wider GSR network.
  •  Deputising for Principal Research Officers as required.


Development opportunities:

All posts offer excellent development opportunities, such as being involved in the development and evaluation of key Welsh Government priorities and working alongside senior officials and in some cases Ministers and Special Advisors.

There will be opportunities to contribute to the work of the other analytical teams and to corporate GSR activities. The post holders will be encouraged to take up training and professional development opportunities as appropriate.

As noted above, the posts would provide any candidates with Welsh language skills with opportunities to use and develop these skills.

Closing Date:

15/04/2020, 16:00

Disability Confident

Welsh Government accepts the social definition of disability, in which it is recognised that barriers in society act to disable people who have impairments or health conditions or who use British Sign Language. We are committed to removing barriers so that all (or potential new staff) can perform at their best. The Equality Act 2010 uses the medical definition of disability (“a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities”).

We guarantee to interview anyone who is disabled whose application meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence in your application which demonstrates that you generally meet the level of competence for the role and any qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential. We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people.

If you have an impairment or health condition, or use British Sign Language and need to discuss reasonable adjustments for any part of this recruitment process, or wish to discuss how we will support you if you were to be successful, please email as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you to discuss your requirements and any questions you may have.

Welsh Language Requirements

The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and Welsh language skills are considered an asset to the organisation. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. 

The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the line manager on behalf of the Welsh Government of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.

Not necessary to undertake the duties of this post

Competencies / Job Specific Criteria


 1. Setting direction : Changing and improving

Actively encourage ideas from a wide range of sources and stakeholders and use these to inform own thinking

2.Setting direction:  Making effective decisions

Recognise patterns and trends in a wide range of evidence/data and draw key conclusions, outlining costs, benefits, risks and potential responses

3. Engaging People : Leading and communicating

Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner with all stakeholders and stand ground when needed

4. Delivering Results : Managing a quality service

Make effective use of project management skills and techniques to deliver outcomes, including identifying risks and mitigating actions

Job-specific criteria

1. Hold a minimum of 2:1 in an undergraduate degree or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree and;


  • A relevant social science subject at undergraduate or postgraduate level which contains substantial social research methods training (we would expect social research methods to represent around a third of modules taken)


  • At least 4 years’ social research practice experience (this would be experience designing, managing and conducting research in a research agency, market research agency or specialised research team.  For this route you must make explicit the breadth and depth of your research experience and skills)

2. Relevant research experience, including both quantitative and qualitative research. This should be evidenced with an overview of your relevant experience.


3. Experience of managing or commissioning research work that meets the needs of policy colleagues and/or customers. This should be evidenced with an overview of your relevant experience.

Assessment Process


Candidates who are successful at the sifting stage will be assessed via Government Social Research assessment techniques:
• A written GSR knowledge test
• An oral briefing exercise
• A general competency-based interview, covering the competencies and job specific criteria listed in the advert
For more information and news about the GSR please visit the GSR website –

Other Information

Applicants will be assessed initially for the Senior Research Officer roles at the SEO grade, however if the applicant is not found appointable at the grade, they will be assessed for the Research Officer role at the HEO grade. 

If applicant is graded at SEO (SRO), they will have a starting salary of –£38,355

If applicant is graded at the lower grade HEO (RO), they will have a starting salary of - £29,850

Steven Marshall - - 03000 255868

How to apply

All applications for this vacancy should be made online via the Welsh Government's online application system.  If you have a disability which would prevent you from applying on-line, please e-mail to request an application pack in an alternative format, or to request a reasonable adjustment related to a disability in order to submit your application.

To apply, you'll need to have an account on our online application system.  Click the 'Apply' button below, and you'll be asked to 'Log in' if you already have an account, or 'Register' if you don't yet have an account.  Registration takes just a few minutes to complete.  You'll need an e-mail address to be able to register.  Once you've registered for an account and logged in, you'll be taken to the online application form, which you'll need to fully complete and submit before the deadline on the closing date.  

If you’d like to apply for this vacancy in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

For further information regarding the Welsh Government recruitment process, please see the Recruitment Guidance for External Candidates (link).

When evidencing your suitability for the post, it is recommended that you refer to the Civil Service Competency Framework (link)