Senior User Researcher

HM Revenue and Customs

Apply before 11:55 pm on Friday 22nd September 2023



Reference number



£52,598 - £59,294
A Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Job grade

Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

HMRC - CDIO - Chief Technology and Design Officer

Type of role

Information Technology

Working pattern

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

Number of jobs available



This role can be based in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Telford or Worthing. We offer a hybrid working model that allows you to work between home and office locations, giving you greater flexibility about where and when you work. Occasional travel to other sites will be required.

Job summary

This role is in Chief Technology and Design Office, part of HMRC’s Chief Digital and Information Office (CDIO). We are responsible for managing all IT demand and change coming into CDIO, as part of this we ensure User Centred Design is at the heart of is at the heart of everything we do. This enables us to ensure the solutions we deliver help users succeed the first time.

See what it’s like to work at HMRC: find out more about us or ask our colleagues a question. Questions relating to an individual application must be emailed as detailed later in this advert.

Job description

HMRC is currently undertaking some of the largest digital transformation programmes across Government and other sectors. Our user researchers are at the core of keeping user needs central to design and implementation, providing an opportunity to shape and improve Services that impact millions of users daily.

You will be joining a thriving and supportive User Researcher community, with regular opportunities for insight sharing, training and discussion. Our team draws together expertise from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors and welcomes new ideas on how we can continue to conduct robust research with real-world impact.  You will be based at one of our CDIO Centres across the UK with access to research labs and facilities.

This is an exciting time to join an organisation that is at the forefront of cutting edge user research. Our blog and video tells you a bit more about what we do and how we do it.

Working for HMRC - YouTube

If this sounds like the sort of thing which excites you, this is the job for you.

If you want to know more we will be running two interactive webinar events, we’ll chat to you about what we do and give you a chance to ask us any questions before you apply – see more details below.


As a Senior User Researcher, your responsibilities include:

  • Leading on planning, recruiting and conducting user research for new technology concept testing, including playing back user research to stakeholders and digital teams.
  • Understanding the service problem then aligning user research activities to influence and support decision-making.
  • Applying a range of techniques to analyse and synthesise user research insights, creating research outputs in an actionable way.
  • Advocating for, and including, all kinds of users in appropriate research activities to help teams design accessible services for all users.
  • Contributing to the user research community at HMRC.
  • Managing and/or mentoring Junior User Researchers.
  • Participating in HMRC’s cross-government research and conferences.

Person specification

Essential Criteria

You will already have:

  • Significant experience working at a senior level within a user research role, with a focus on the improvement of digital services to meet users’ needs.
  • Ability to understand complex problems a team is trying to solve. Align user research activities to inform decision-making and action.
  • Exceptional research and analysis skills. Using a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies including ethnographic techniques, usability testing, remote testing, and survey design.
  • Experience using a wide range of analysis and synthesis techniques. Producing appropriate, actionable research outputs that clearly demonstrate insights and recommendations.
  • Advocating for user research and engaging sceptical colleagues and stakeholders. Helping teams to adopt user-centred service design and delivery practices and embed them into their agile workflow.
  • Ability to include all kinds of users in appropriate research activities, to help teams understand the diversity of users of government services.
  • A degree in psychology, cognitive science, human factors, computer science, product/interaction design, human-computer interaction or related disciplines or relevant user research experience.

Desirable Criteria

Ideally you will also have knowledge and experience of:

  • Experience of using the GDS Service Manual, working to meet the Government Service Standard.
  • Excellent communication, presentation and interpersonal skills; the ability to communicate complex concepts clearly and persuasively across different audiences and varying levels of the organisation.
  • Enthusiasm for coaching and mentoring of team members.
  • An understanding of agile approaches and experience of working in agile teams.
  • Some knowledge of current technologies used to build and operate digital services, and the different technical roles in a digital team.

Technical skills

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

  • Research Skills
  • Analysis and Synthesis
  • Strategic Insight

Technical skills

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

  • Research Skills
  • Analysis and Synthesis
  • Strategic Insight
Alongside your salary of £52,598, HM Revenue and Customs contributes £14,201 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%

Find more about HMRC benefits in 'Your little extras and big benefits handbook' for further information or visit Thinking of joining the Civil Service.

Selection process details

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

As part of the selection process, you will be asked to complete:

  • A copy of your CV detailing your job history, qualifications, and experience.
  • A Personal Statement (a maximum of 1000 words), which will outline how you are suitable for this role and how you meet the essential and desirable criteria, providing evidence where possible.

In the event of a large number of applications an initial sift will be carried out on your CV to assess Experience.

If you progress to full sift, we will then review your personal statement to assess your ability to meet the requirements of the job role and essential criteria. Desirable criteria will only be assessed in the event of a tie break between candidates.

Would you like to find out more?

We will be holding virtual presentation sessions which will give you the opportunity to hear from our User Researchers on what it’s like to be a user researcher in HMRC.

These will be held on the following dates - 7th September at 13.00pm and 11th September at 10.00am. 

To register your interest please email

There will be limited capacity so places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Both events will have the same structure, so you only need to attend one.

The sift is planned to happen during week commencing 25th September after the advert closes on the 22/09/23. 

Interviews are currently expected to take place week commencing the 09/10/23.

Interview Process Details

During the panel interview, you will be asked about your Experience (how you meet the Criteria) as well as Technical skills questions which demonstrate the things you do well and/or are motivated by.

You will be asked to bring a portfolio to showcase the work you have done. A portfolio could include summaries of projects, accomplishments, skills and samples of work that provide evidence of what you have done.

We will ask you to complete a short user research exercise before the interview. Details will be provided if you are successful to this stage.

Please Note: The successful applicant for this role will need to be eligible for and willing to undergo standard BPSS Checks following appointment into the post.

New appointments will normally be made at the minimum of the relevant grade for the post. Under exceptional circumstances, and where there are compelling and evidenced reasons to support the decision, a higher starting salary may be offered based on the knowledge, marketable skills and competencies of the successful candidate.

We reserve the right to raise the score required at any stage of the process in order to manage numbers.

Interview dates to be confirmed.

A reserve list may be held for a period of up to 12 months from which further appointments may be made for the same or similar roles – if this applies to you, we’ll let you know via your Civil Service Jobs account.


To check that you are eligible to apply, review this eligibility information

Important information for existing HMRC contractual homeworkers:

This role may be suitable for existing HMRC employees who are contractual homeworkers. Occasional attendance to the office will be required where there is a business need, so please review the advertised office locations for this role when applying and only select locations from the ‘location preferences’ section that you are able to travel to.                            

Reasonable Adjustments

We want to make sure no one is put at a disadvantage during our recruitment process because of a disability, condition, or impairment. To assist you with this, we will reduce or remove any barriers where possible and provide additional support where appropriate.

If you need a reasonable adjustment or a change to be made so that you can make your application, review this information on reasonable adjustments, and contact as soon as possible.

Equality and Diversity

We’re committed to creating a great place to work for all our colleagues here at HMRC. We want everyone to feel valued, supported and comfortable being their true self at work. 

We’re proud to be a diverse and inclusive employer, supporting social mobility by giving opportunities to people from all walks of life. We want to maximise the potential of everyone who chooses to work for us and offer a range of flexible working patterns and support. Our aim is to make a fulfilling career at HMRC accessible to you. 

For more information on how we make this happen, review this information on our culture and values.

Applications received from candidates with a criminal record are considered fairly in accordance with the DBS Code of Practice and the Recruitment of ex-offenders Policy.

We welcome applications from those who need to work a more flexible arrangement and will agree to requests where possible after considering operational and customer service needs. We can’t guarantee that we can meet all requests to work flexibly, as agreement will be subject to business ability to accommodate, and any request to work a more flexible arrangement should be made prior to your acceptance of the provisional offer.

Customer facing roles in HMRC require the ability to converse at ease with members of the public and provide advice in accurate spoken English and/or Welsh where required. Where this is an essential requirement, this will be tested as part of the selection process.

The Civil Service runs 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.


HMRC has a presence in every region of the UK. For more information on where you might be working, review this information on our locations.

Security Update

For more information on the level of security checks we will carry out, review this information on security checks

Further Information

The Civil Service values honesty and integrity and expects all candidates to abide by these principles. The evidence you provide in your application must relate to your own experiences.

Any instances of plagiarism or other forms of cheating will be investigated and, if proven, the relevant application/s will be withdrawn from the process.

Duplicate applications for the same vacancy will also be withdrawn.

Transferring into HMRC from Civil Service If you are currently working for an ‘Other Government Department’ (OGD) and would like to consider the impact on your pay when joining HMRC, please see the attached document "Combined T&C and OGD Pay English”, found at the bottom of this advert. Further information on staff transfers can be found on

Problems during the application process

If you experience accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

If you think you’ve made a mistake on a submitted application (e.g. you’ve ticked the incorrect eligibility box), please contact at least two working days before the vacancy closes. After this, we won’t be able to reopen your application.  

Please use the subject line to insert appropriate wording e.g. Please re-open my application - 310578 & vacancy closing date 22/09/2023.

For reasonable adjustments queries or requests, please see details within reasonable adjustments section above.

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.
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 : Autumn Wang
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

Appointment to the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. You have the right to complain if you feel a department has breached the Recruitment Principles. In the first instance, you should raise the matter directly with the department concerned via If you are not satisfied with the response, you may bring your complaint to the Commission. For further information on bringing a complaint to the Civil Service Commission please visit their web pages: Click here

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