Statistics and research: recruitment

Information on working as a researcher or statistician in the Scottish Government.

About Us

Social researchers and statisticians work across a wide range of areas and cover many different topics including Scotland’s economy and employment levels; the health of our nation and the NHS; Educational attainment; Justice; Communities and Transport. Our social researchers and statisticians work closely with other analysts and policy makers to add value to government decision making and support the development of Government policies.

Statisticians are involved in planning and managing data collections; undertaking statistical analysis; preparing statistical outputs and publications; and working with users and providers to ensure statistical needs are met efficiently and effectively.

Social Researchers provide research-based advice and expertise to policy teams and Ministers, undertake research activities such as secondary data analysis and reviews of the existing evidence base and commission, develop and manage internal and external programmes of research.

Our positions may be for you if you are bright, motivated and creative and want to use your talents to help make a difference to the lives of the people of Scotland. The Scottish Government works to make Scotland a more successful country and a better place to live. Having the right people producing and communicating powerful analysis is vital to helping Government achieve this.

Employment Opportunities

Opportunities for permanent positions within the Scottish Government Social Research and Statistical  Groups are advertised oWork for Scotland 

The Scottish Government sometimes recruits through  the UK GSR (Government Social Research) and UK GSS (Government Statistical Service) Fast Stream scheme,. More details of the annual Fast Stream recruitment process are on the UK Fast stream website.

If you are interested in any short term non-permanent opportunities that may arise to work on specific tasks or projects in the Social Research or Statistics Group, please send your up-to-date CV to Social Research or Statistics.

We will retain your CV on file for a period of 12 months.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for each profession are slightly different. 

Current entry requirements are:

Social Research 

First or upper second class Honours degree in a relevant social science with a substantial social research component* OR, a first or second class Honours degree, with a relevant postgraduate qualification in social research*.

*the qualifying degree must contain a minimum of 30% social research methods covering at least 4 out of the 6 criteria outlined below (it is not sufficient to hold the majority in one area – coverage across all 4 areas is required).
Social Research Method Degree Content Criteria – at least four out of six must be demonstrated:

  • Qualitative methods, including research design, data collection (i.e. interviewing, focus groups, ethnographic), data analysis (e.g. thematic analysis).
  • Systematic reviews.
  • Quantitative methods, including research design, data collection (i.e. questionnaire design, sampling, weighting), data analysis (e.g. statistical analysis).
  • Interpretation of data (qual & quan), presentation of results, provision of recommendations/ conclusions.
  • Study design, hypothesis formation, testing and evaluation.
  • Application of ethics to research.


At least four years work experience in a relevant social research job, together with (at least) a second class degree (this can be in a non-social science subject).


You should have, or be expected to obtain, one of the following:

  • A minimum of a 2:2 degree in a numerate discipline such as mathematics, economics, psychology or geography. Your degree should contain some formal statistical training.
  • A PhD or Master’s Degree which contains a high level of statistics or numerate content.


At least four years work experience  in a statistics related field, plus continuing professional development in a relevant area that leads to qualifications (for example the Open University Professional Certificate in Practical Statistics).

Our blog features first-hand experiences of working as a statistician in the Scottish Government. 

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