Principal Economist - Communities and Skills

Contract Type
Public Sector
£63,112 per annum
Expiry Date
The role of the Principal Economist is to provide expert economic analysis to support a wide range of skills and employment programmes and policies delivered by the Greater London Authority (GLA), with a focus on the Adult Education Budget (AEB).

Job Description

1.    Provide high quality economic information, analysis and advice to inform the GLA’s skills and employment strategy and policy development, with a focus on supporting the GLA’s on-going responsibility of skills provision and funding under the AEB/ASF.  

2.    Lead on research projects and initiatives commissioned by the GLA. These are likely to involve joint working with other organisations and sectors.

3.    Analyse large administrative datasets, including the Individualised Learning Record (ILR) and Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) datasets.

4.    Help the GLA identify its needs for data and other information to re-shape post-16 skills provision in London, and to support the work of the wider Skills and Employment Unit to ensure these needs are met. Also, help develop a more ‘open data’ approach to skills, qualifications, progression and earnings that would bring benefits to and improve choices for learners and employers, while acknowledging and protecting data privacy where relevant.

5.    Help maintain the GLA as an authoritative and well-regarded source of reliable data, information and analysis about London’s skills supply and labour market, its drivers and trends, assisting in the dissemination of data and insights to policy makers and broader stakeholders. 

Principal accountabilities

1.    Provide high quality analysis, evaluation, and appraisal to assist the team’s role in advising on the direction of education and skills policies and funding, with a focus on informing the on-going development of priorities for the AEB/ASF in London.

2.    Manage the provision of data and commentary as required to support the approach to post-16 skills reforms and future commissioning of adult skills funding by the GLA. This will include the access and analysis of the ILR and LEO datasets.

3.    Support the external publication of the AEB/ASF programme data, ensuring that this is presented in informative, transparent, and statistically robust releases.  

4.    Present data and commentary to senior managers and other stakeholders through written material, verbal presentations and help with the organisation of seminars, conferences, and similar events.

5.    Manage, direct and conduct objective analysis and meta-analysis (e.g. lessons learnt on what works, performance, value for money, impact) of evidence from evaluations and other performance-related data /information. Also, to undertake cost benefit analysis, return on investment and unit cost calculations as well as providing information on comparators where applicable.

6.    Assist the Supervisory Economist and other staff members in reviewing and analysing economic data and information in order to identify key issues and trends of relevance to education and skills policy development and service delivery.  

7.    Maintain an up-to-date understanding of London’s skills and labour market and the forces and trends at regional, national and international levels that affect it, ensuring that the GLA is seen as an authoritative source of data, analysis and commentary in these areas. 

8.    Manage staff and resources allocated to the job in accordance with the Authority’s policies and Code of Ethics and Standards.

9.    Realise the benefits of London’s diversity by promoting and enabling equality of opportunities and promoting the diverse needs and aspirations of London’s communities.

10.    Realise the benefits of a flexible approach to work in undertaking the duties and responsibilities of this job, and participating in multi-disciplinary, cross-department and cross-organisational groups and project teams.

Person specification

Technical requirements/experience/qualifications
1.    A degree or professional qualification in economics or a related subject, preferably to post-graduate level, or an ability to demonstrate the equivalent level of knowledge through professional experience in economics or a related field. 

2.    Successful track record of conducting research and / or complex analysis to inform policy and strategy development. Experience of working with the Individualised Learner Record or similar datasets (e.g. National Pupil Database, Higher Statistics Agency Data, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs data or the London Learner Survey) is desirable.

3.    Strong evidence of computer literacy including proficiency in using project management, spreadsheet, database and presentation software. Demonstrated capacity to use specialised statistical software packages (e.g. Python, R, SQL, Stata) for statistical and econometric analysis.

4.    Evidence of clear personal, verbal and written communication skills, and of ability to communicate complex issues to a range of audiences effectively, including using data visualisation techniques.

5.    Broad knowledge about labour markets and education policy in London, or demonstrated capacity to acquire expertise and provide economic advice in policy areas relevant to the work of the GLA Group.

6.    Evidence of ability to work on and, where appropriate, lead on multi-disciplinary, multi-agency projects.

Behavioural competencies

1. Research and Analysis
… is gathering intelligence (information, opinion and data) from varied sources, making sense of it, testing its validity and drawing conclusions that can lead to practical benefits.

Level 3 indicators of effective performance
•    Expands networks to gain new information sources for research and policy development
•    Identifies and implements methods to ensure intelligence is of a high quality
•    Encourages others to analyse data from different angles, using multiple perspectives to identify connections and new insights
•    Tailors research investment in line with likely impact for Londoners and policy priorities
•    Retains a bigger picture view, ensuring research recommendations are appropriate and practical for the GLA and its stakeholders

2. Stakeholder Focus 
… is consulting with, listening to and understanding the needs of those our work impacts and using this knowledge to shape what we do and manage others’ expectations.  

Level 3 indicators of effective performance
•    Understands diverse stakeholder needs and tailors team deliverables accordingly 
•    Is a role model to others, encouraging them to think of Londoners first
•    Manages stakeholder expectations, so they are high but realistic 
•    Removes barriers to understanding the needs of diverse stakeholders, including hard to reach groups
•    Focuses own and team’s efforts on delivering a quality and committed service

3. Problem Solving
… is analysing and interpreting situations from a variety of viewpoints and finding creative, workable and timely solutions. 

Level 3 indicators of effective performance
•    Clarifies ambiguous problems, questioning assumptions to reach a fuller understanding
•    Actively challenges the status quo to find new ways of doing things, looking for good practice
•    Seeks and incorporates diverse perspectives to help produce workable strategies to address complex issues
•    Initiates consultation on opportunities to improve work processes 
•    Supports the organisation to implement innovative suggestions

2. Communicating and Influencing
…is presenting information and arguments clearly and convincingly so that others see us as credible and articulate, and engage with us.

Level 3 indicators of effective performance
•    Encourages and supports teams in engaging in transparent and inclusive communication
•    Influences others and gains buy-in using compelling, well thought through arguments
•    Negotiates effectively to deliver GLA priorities
•    Synthesises the complex viewpoints of others, recognises where compromise is necessary and brokers agreement
•    Advocates positively for the GLA both within and outside the organisation

3. Building and Managing Relationships 
…is developing rapport and working effectively with a diverse range of people, sharing

Level 2 indicators of effective performance
•    Develops new professional relationships 
•    Understands the needs of others, the constraints they face and the levers to their engagement
•    Understands differences, anticipates areas of conflict and takes action
•    Fosters an environment where others feel respected
•    Identifies opportunities for joint working to minimise duplication and deliver shared goals

4. Managing and Developing Performance
… is setting high standards for oneself and others, guiding, motivating and developing them, to achieve high performance and meet the GLA’s objectives and statutory obligations.

Level 2 indicators of effective performance
•    Seeks opportunities to develop professional skills and knowledge and encourages team to do so.
•    Ensures own and others’ workloads are realistic and achievable
•    Provides staff with clear direction and objectives, ensuring they understand expectations 
•    Recognises achievements and provides constructive feedback and guidance 
•    Gives staff autonomy and confidence to perform well and to their potential

5. Planning and Organising
… is thinking ahead, managing time, priorities and risk, and developing structured and efficient approaches to deliver work on time and to a high standard.

Level 3 indicators of effective performance
•    Monitors allocation of resources, anticipating changing requirements that may impact work delivery
•    Ensures evaluation processes are in place to measure project benefits
•    Gains buy-in and commitment to project delivery from diverse stakeholders
•    Implements quality measures to ensure directorate output is of a high standard
•    Translates political vision into action plans and deliverables

This role is based at London Fire Brigade’s Head Office (Union Street SE1 0LL).