Economist - Food Chain Analysis

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 1st October 2023



Reference number



£37,295 - £44,724
National: £37,295 - £41,425, London: £40,262 - £44,724 For details of our pay on appointment policy, please see below under the heading ‘Salary’.
A Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Job grade

Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

DEFRA - FBT - Agri-Food Chain - Food Chain Analysis Team

Type of role


Working pattern

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

Number of jobs available



Bristol, London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York

Job summary

This role presents an exciting and rewarding opportunity to be at the centre of shaping the UK’s food policy and security through high quality analysis. It involves driving forward complex, technically challenging, and impactful economic analyses that support the delivery of Defra’s food objectives. You will work closely with policy makers, other Food Chain Analysis Team analysts and stakeholders to lead impact assessments, business cases, econometric modelling and policy analysis. No two days are ever the same in Agri-Food Chain and focus areas currently span: food security, food prices, supply chain fairness, sectoral insights (e.g. production, retail, manufacturing), supply of labour and migrants, productivity, and innovation. If you are looking for a chance to develop your technical and analytical leadership skills while making a positive difference in one of the UK’s largest economic sectors – this role is for you!

Job description

The role is a blend of analytical leadership and delivery, with a focus on innovating and modernising our approach to economic modelling and embedding good practice across the team. Working closely with the senior economists in the team, the post holder will be expected to take control of part of the analytical portfolio of the branch, driving forward new analytical projects and priorities in that area, ensuring the continuous flow of novel and impactful economic analysis, identifying and proactively addressing evidence gaps and acting as a friendly challenge function for analysis across the team.

Person specification

The candidate will need to be able to demonstrate skills as both a technically proficient and forward-thinking analyst and as a leader to perform the role effectively.

We are looking for sufficient leadership experience to carry out the role. This could potentially include evidence of a combination of line management, activity management, mentoring or other activities alongside evidence of having designed and effectively-delivered a number of analytical projects.

The successful candidate will be expected to regularly brief and liaise with senior members of staff (primarily G6 and DD) so experience of disseminating analysis to senior colleagues is important.

We are also looking for individuals who relish the opportunity to evaluate and challenge economic analysis across the team – acting as a critical friend for all of the analysts in the Food Chain Analysis Team.

As a Senior Executive Office (SEO) grade economist you should be able to demonstrate your abilities against the GES technical framework: GES Technical Framework 2022 - GOV.UK at SEO/Level 2 Practitioner grade.

GES Technical Competencies

- Application of knowledge: Strong knowledge of economic theory and analytical skills to be applied within a policy setting to assist decision making.

- Analysis of data: Leading economic analysis, including advanced econometric modelling, in a fast-paced environment while ensuring effective process governance and quality of outcomes.

- Effective Communication: Ability to communicate economic analysis and theory in an engaging, clear and useable manner to non-specialists, ranging from stakeholders to senior policy leaders and ministers.

Essential Criteria

Leading and contributing to project teams by applying economics to real-world issues and communicating the complex results of that analysis to non-specialists

Experience of delivering analysis and analytical projects to a high standard under challenging timescales

Quality assurance of analytical outputs

Evidence of having produced a consistent flow of novel and thought-provoking analysis

Experience of using at least two types of economic and/or econometric analytical techniques

Evidence of leadership experience to potentially include a combination of line management, activity management, mentoring or other activities.

We are also looking for individuals who relish the opportunity to evaluate and challenge economic analysis in the branch and wider team – acting as a critical friend for all of the economists in the Food Chain Analysis Team.


You must have at least an upper second-class (2:1) honours degree with at least 50% of the modules in economics, or have a masters in economics. This could be evidenced by formal academic qualifications or from other vocational routes, such as the completion of a relevant apprenticeship.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Government Economic Service - Application of knowledge
  • Government Economic Service - Analysis of data
  • Government Economic Service - Effective communication
Alongside your salary of £37,295, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contributes £10,069 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • 25 days annual leave, with 1 day per year annual increases to a maximum of 30 days
  • Employee discounts and rewards
  • Season ticket, cycle to work, bicycle and tenancy deposit loans
  • Tax-free Childcare scheme
  • Enhanced parental leave

Blended Working

Defra operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

Individuals are expected to work from one of the office locations stated in the advert to connect with their colleagues, as required by their role and business team needs.  There is flexibility to split the working week, spending minimum of 40-60% in the workplace, unless exceptional circumstances apply and/or you are a contractual home worker.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

Online tests

After submission of the first stage of your application, you will be invited to complete a Civil Service Judgement Test. If you successfully pass the test, you will be invited to complete the final stage of the application. 

Please complete the online tests as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours is recommended), the closing date for the tests and application is 23:55 on 01/10/2023 If you fail to complete the online test before the deadline your application will be withdrawn. Guidance for the test will be available when you are invited to take the test. The tests are administered online and accessed via the CS Jobs website. 

Do not leave completing the tests until the last minute in case you experience any access or technical issues. There may not be technical support available after business hours and after 2pm on the closing date of 01/10/2023. 

While the tests should work on most operating systems and modern browsers with a good internet connection, we cannot guarantee that every combination will work. At the beginning, the test will check which browser you are using, and alert you if it is likely to be incompatible. 

It is highly recommended that you complete the online tests on a desktop computer, not a mobile phone or tablet. 

Please note that online tests associated with this vacancy are not subject to time limits. Click for test guidance

Application Process

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a 750 word personal statement. 

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.


Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.


At interview candidates will be asked a range of questions covering the behaviours, strengths and technical skills required for this post alongside giving a technical presentation on a topic to be announced on invitation to interview. Candidates are strongly advised to refer to the Civil Service Success Profiles behaviour and strengths descriptors and Government Economic Service technical framework at Senior Executive Officer (SEO)/Level 2 practitioner grade for clear guidance around what behaviours and technical knowledge is expected (both documents are attached with this advert). Strength based questions will also be assessed.

Candidates performance at interview will be scored on a standard scale and the candidate meeting the benchmark with the highest score will be offered the post. Candidates scoring at or above the benchmark for the grade but not being highest ranked will be added to our reserve list for 12 months.


Please be aware that this role(s) will be contractually based in a Defra group workplace/office. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time.

Candidates applying for these roles will be based at one of the Defra hubs as advertised.  

For information, our core Defra hub locations are:

  • York – the Kings Pool
  • Newcastle – Lancaster House 
  • Bristol – Horizon House (Please note that space at this office is limited and it may not be possible for all Policy roles to be recruited to this location)
  • London – 2 Marsham Street

Internal (core Defra) employees can apply for this role and choose to remain in their current location or to be based in one of the advertised locations.

All other applicants will be based in one of the advertised locations.

Defra continues to support a blended working model and candidates are currently expected to attend their office base  for 40-60% of the week.

Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

Reserve List

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

Merit Lists 

Where more than one location is advertised, candidates will be posted in merit order by location. You will be asked to state your location preference on your application.


New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

Reasonable Adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. 

Please note tests on this vacancy are timed, therefore if due to the need for a reasonable adjustment such as additional time contact us as below.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should: 

  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs
  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional

Defra’s Agri-Food Chain directorate is a friendly and collaborative group, working on some of Defra’s highest priority objectives. The group benefits from an inclusive culture and we are looking for candidates who can contribute to making this a welcoming and positive place to work. We want our recruitment to be inclusive too, so if you have any reasonable adjustments to request at interview, please read the guidance further down the advert about how to notify us of these. This can include asking for the questions to be written down to accommodate neurodiverse candidates, extra time within the interview, making the panel aware of the need to schedule breaks for candidates with epilepsy, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional. Everyone’s needs are different, and any requests will be reviewed discreetly and treated on a case by case basis, taking into consideration your own unique personal circumstances and the facts provided. Anything you tell us will not affect how your application proceeds.

Criminal Record Check

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check may be carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading. 

Internal Fraud Database Check

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Higher Security Clearance 

Please be aware the levels of national security clearance are changing which may impact on the level needed for this role by the time of appointment. All efforts will be made to keep candidates informed of any changes and what that will mean in terms of vetting criteria. For more information please See our vetting charter.

All of these posts require the successful candidate to hold basic security clearance. Candidates posted to 2 Marsham Street may be subject to a higher level of clearance because of the security requirements for that location. Job offers to these posts are made on the basis of merit. Security vetting will only take place after the receipt of a job offer.

Childcare Vouchers 

Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Michael Archer
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact:
Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission.

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