Economist careers at Ofcom
Communications are crucial to the lives of UK citizens and consumers, and as the sector regulator Ofcom’s role is to ensure these markets work for everyone.
The fast-paced nature of the markets we oversee means this role is ever-changing, and economics provides a key basis for much of what we do.
The Economics Group is crucial to ensuring Ofcom's decisions are based on robust research and analysis. Ofcom's economists apply innovative conceptual thinking and a wide range of quantitative methods.Luisa Affuso, Ofcom's Chief Economist
Ofcom has one of the largest competition and regulatory economics teams in the UK, with more than 60 economists working on issues related to TV, radio and video-on-demand sectors, fixed-line telecoms, mobile and postal services, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.
In December 2020, the UK Government decided to appoint Ofcom as the new regulator for online harms. This means we will take on new responsibilities to protect children and vulnerable people when they are online and give everybody greater confidence to enjoy the huge benefits of being online safely. These new responsibilities will require new and innovative conceptual thinking, and the application of a wide range of quantitative methods.
Our work involves many stakeholders and uses a range of skills. For example, you might be working in teams that:
- use behavioural economics to understand how people buy communication services and make it easier for them to switch provider;
- assess the potential positive and negative impact on the media sector of BBC services such as new TV channels and apps;
- analyse competitive conditions in broadband markets using applied industrial organisation theory, and identify ways to address market power and promote competition in the build out of fibre networks;
- provide financial insight and economic modelling to help ensure the provision of the universal postal service; and
- adopt some of the principles of game theory and auction theory to inform the best ways to allocate portions of the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.
As an Ofcom economist, you will get involved in the issues straight away, helping to formulate policy options and considering what analysis and evidence is needed to reach robust decisions.
We recognise that not everyone has the same needs and we strive to offer flexible working arrangements to help manage work and personal commitments. We have family friendly policies that actively seek to support our colleagues and enable our teams to work in the most effective way. Opportunities are available in our London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast offices.
We're looking for people who can bring their unique skills and experience to our economics team. We need all types of people, because we believe a diverse group of people is able to offer breadth of experience and thinking.
In return we provide a stimulating and rewarding environment where you'll be working with people who thrive on being challenged. Sharing your unique skills, knowledge and experience to make a real difference and contributing to our success.
“One of the best parts of working at Ofcom has been the variety of projects I have been involved in, which have required me to use a range of skills including behavioural economics, competition economics and modelling skills. I’ve worked on high-profile projects that make a difference to millions of people, including: making switching TV, landline and broadband provider easier and more reliable for consumers; designing the BBC regulation framework; a market review into landline prices to protect elderly and vulnerable consumers; and ensuring universal broadband access.
On each project, I have worked with high calibre professional economists, as well as lawyers, policy colleagues and technical experts. There is also a real focus on development and a very supportive environment which means I have been able to progress as an economist.” – Anjli Dixon, Economic Advisor
As well as a competitive salary, we offer a range of benefits to choose from.
Our standard benefits include:
- flexible benefits allowance;
- pension allowance;
- 25 days’ holiday plus birthday day;
- private medical insurance;
- life assurance;
- annual health check; and
- income protection insurance.
On top of this you can also choose from a wider range of flexible benefits, including the option to purchase additional annual leave, travel insurance, private medical cover for your family and much more.
We recognise that not everyone has the same needs and we strive to offer flexible working arrangements to help colleagues manage work and personal commitments.
We have family-friendly policies to support our colleagues and enable our teams to work in the most effective way.
At Ofcom, our people are our greatest asset. We provide a great variety of opportunities for our colleagues to develop, including:
- a comprehensive range of internal training courses;
- career coaching;
- investment to attend appropriate external courses;
- sponsorships for professional or academic qualifications; and
- membership of professional bodies.
We also encourage secondments, project-based work and on-the-job learning.
The economist graduate scheme has two possible pathways.
As a graduate economist, you will be working collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams from day one to help ensure our policies have a sound economic foundation and deliver a real, long-term benefit to consumers.
Requirement: At least 50% of your degree should be in economics.
Data Analytics Economist
As a graduate data analytics economist, you will be working collaboratively on projects which require the analysis of data using tools such as econometrics and artificial intelligence/machine learning.
- An undergraduate degree in economics or a mixed degree that includes economics, or post-graduate qualification.
- A basic understanding of, or familiarity with quantitative tools in the fields of econometrics, artificial intelligence or machine learning; and relevant analytical software (for example, Stata, Python or R).
Find out more about the Ofcom graduate scheme.
Ofcom is interested in economists with the advanced skills developed in doctorates. We are particularly interested in those whose research covers:
- applied econometrics or data science;
- applied behavioural economics;
- industrial organisation;
- auctions; or
When we recruit PhD students we do this through the Economist Jobs Market website.