Behavioural Science Advisers - Flexible, part-time, full-time or job share

United Kingdom
£29k-£45k DOE + benefits
04 Sep 2018
26 Sep 2018
Contract Type


Leeds, Quarry House 
London, Caxton House
Sheffield, King’s Court

About the job Job description

DWP Behavioural Science is an exceptional multidisciplinary team set up to address the problem that “sometimes government departments make decisions based on inaccurate assumptions about behaviour”. We have developed our own unique proposition for how behavioural science can be applied to help government make better decisions about policy and process design. 

We recommend reading the job description and the candidate pack carefully to help you understand who we are looking for. We are not a “behavioural insights” team and have our own specification of what our behavioural science practitioners do, and what attributes enable them to do it. 

This advert covers 4 posts across two Civil Service Grades (Higher Executive Officer and Senior Executive Officer). You only need to make one application and any job offer we may make will make it clear at which grade the offer applies. Please make it clear in your application whether you have any preference around the grade(s) for which you would like to be considered. 

Essential skills and experience: 

For those wishing to be considered at the SEO grade, we would expect a stronger academic background in relevant subjects and/or a greater level of experience applying behavioural thinking. This would be demonstrated through strong academic qualifications in relevant subjects (e.g. PhD / Post Doc) or by having worked applying behavioural thinking for more than 2 years or across different settings 
At the HEO level, the experience and qualifications required are reduced so for example applicants may have some degree of relevant work experience (demonstrated for example by having worked applying behavioural thinking for 1-2 years) or hold a BSc/BA or MSc/MA in a relevant subject (or both). 

As well as the background and experience above, we are looking for a candidate who can demonstrate evidence of: 

Behavioural thinking: 

• Can translate outcomes into the concrete behaviours needed to achieve them, explore what barriers people may face in taking up that behaviour, and provide advice on how to take these into account in designing systems and processes 

• Has very strong perspective taking skills; an ability to simulate and understand how a situation would look for someone else, and develop hypotheses about the factors which might affect someone’s response 

Scientific mindset: 

• Is highly critical and a logical thinker, able to formulate hypotheses, spot assumptions that aren’t evidenced or logical, and notice imprecise language and ambiguities 

• Is fearless in the face of uncertainty, and able to break complex problems into manageable pieces without losing sight of the whole 

• Has genuine curiosity, naturally and constructively questioning of the status quo and their own assumptions with the objective of improving understanding and outcomes 

• Possesses high levels of openness towards new ways of doing things, even if that means ‘unlearning’ some of the approaches, habits and assumptions you already gained in previous roles (we find that this blog describes these attributes well: 

Being a strong collaborator: 

• Has very strong verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex concepts persuasively to a lay audience 

• Has strong listening and observational skills 

• Is comfortable (constructively) challenging and being challenged, has high levels of self-awareness around their own behaviour and is able to adapt in response to feedback 

• Adept at working with stakeholders and team members to understand their needs, explore problems and iteratively develop solutions 

• Has strong facilitation skills and actively seeks to build partnerships 


Experience of some of the following areas would be valuable in the role but are not vital: 

• Working in a policy / design setting 
• Project management, particularly agile project management 
• Collecting qualitative data 
• Interpreting quantitative data 
• Consulting 
• Negotiation 
• Theory of Change 
• R&D 
• User research 

You'll find more information once you click on the APPLY button, which will take you to the site - about the DWP benefits, how to apply and how to reach us. 

Deadline 26th September 2018. 

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, and Part-time