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Secondment opportunity

Secondment Opportunity written in white on navy background


Please note that the deadline to apply for this opportunity has now passed. 


The Social Mobility Commission is looking to appoint two secondees to join our dynamic secretariat on a 3-month secondment. 

The Social Mobility Commission is an advisory arms-length body which is sponsored by the Cabinet Office. The Social Mobility Commission exists to create a United Kingdom where an individual’s future isn’t determined by the circumstances of their birth. The Commission promotes meaningful paths of opportunity for those in positions of disadvantage, so that everyone has a decent chance of a better future. The Commission was established by the Child Poverty Act 2010 and was previously referred to as the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. It is operated in accordance with the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. 

The Commission is led by an Interim Chair and set of Commissioners and has a small secretariat, who work to deliver the Commissioners’ priorities and ensure the Commission meet its statutory responsibilities. 

This is a unique opportunity to use your skills to help inform our understanding of social mobility in the UK and learn more about the workings of a Government advisory arms-length body.

downloadable version of this job description is available.

Job description

We are looking for two secondees to come and join the team and help us deliver and grow the work of the Social Mobility Commission. Working directly to the Deputy Director: Evidence and Analysis and the Evidence and Analysis Team in the secretariat, you will lead on developing our understanding on the following research areas: 

  • Post 16 qualifications – Lead an evidence review on a key research question exploring post-16 qualifications (e.g. BTECs, T-levels, A-levels etc) and their impact on aspects of social mobility. For example, we might explore the labour market returns from studying certain post-16 qualifications and comparing this to other qualifications. The project will involve reviewing academic literature and policy reports to help the Commission arrive at an evidence based position on the question.
  • Family Characteristics – Lead on an evidence review on a key research question concerning the influence of family characteristics on social mobility. This might include a variety of topics including but not limited to aspects of family composition, structure, and engagement. The project will involve reviewing academic literature and policy reports to help the Commission arrive at an evidence based position on the selected question. 

The role will be an excellent developmental opportunity giving an insight into how a Government arms-length body uses research to develop policy and informs our engagement work. The post holder will have exposure to senior leaders and gain experience and insight of policy development, advocacy and campaigning.

The post holder will

  • Work closely with the Deputy Director: Evidence and Analysis to give support on projects
  • Review the academic and grey literature to produce summaries and a longer evidence review
  • Analyse internal and/or external data, synthesise evidence and summarise findings
  • Draft reports and provide advice to Commissioners on the research areas 
  • Together with the team, present findings to the wider secretariat and Commissioners. 

About you

  • A expertise and knowledge in one of the research areas outlined above
  • A good track record of writing evidence based reviews, briefings, reports 
  • Good knowledge of research methods, including rapid evidence reviews
  • A strong understanding of descriptive statistics, regression analysis techniques and causal inference (or econometrics) and be able to implement these and /or critique literature using these methods
  • Working with a range of teams to deliver work with impact and at pace
  • Communicating technical concepts relating to the analysis of social mobility problems. This would be to a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences, including senior leaders
  • You are enthusiastic and quick to learn.

Contract details 

The secondment will be of a fixed 3 month term. 

The Commission is open to flexible working and home working but there may be times when attendance at the London office is necessary. 

As per the Cabinet Office’s Policy for secondments, during the period of secondment, secondees are paid and formally employed, by the organisation who seconded them to the Social Mobility Commission– the donor/exporting organisation. The donor/exporting organisation then invoices the Social Mobility Commission for repayment or partial repayment of the secondee’s salary and related costs. The amount for repayment, will need to be agreed prior to the Commission formally offering the secondment. 

Please note that prior to formal confirmation of the secondment a pre-employment and right to work check is required to be completed. The donor/exporting organisation will then be sent a Secondment Agreement by the Cabinet Office.

The team

The Social Mobility Commission is an advisory arms-length body that is sponsored by the Cabinet Office and has publicly appointed Commissioners. The Commission is independent of the government and has a responsibility to monitor the government’s progress on social mobility and improve social mobility in the UK. The Commission works directly with government, charities, think tanks, employers, academics and more to deliver on our Commissioners’ statutory responsibilities and priorities. 

What is social mobility? 

Social mobility is the link between a person’s occupation and income and the occupation or income of their parents. In other words, it’s about ensuring your background does not determine your future. There are lots of ways about thinking about social mobility, including income, levels of wealth, levels of occupational status to name but a few. The movement can be in a downward or upward direction.  

The Commission believes that a healthy society is one where people can make choices about where they are in society. In a country of low social mobility your outcomes in life are largely determined by where and to whom you were born. We try to shift this and make the UK a more mobile society.  

Application details

To apply please email a copy of your CV and statement of suitability to by 13.00 Monday 12 June 2023

The statement of suitability should be 1 page. A statement of suitability should provide a summary of your skills and achievements to show that you have the relevant experience, skills and attributes required for the role. Please detail your experience relevant to the role.