The Analysis Function represents around 17,000 analysts in a diverse range of roles and teams across government. Our Career Framework aims to:
- showcase the roles available
- raise awareness of the skills, skill levels, and experience needed to work successfully in different roles across the Function
The Career Framework is intended to support analysts with their career planning. It can be used to promote effective development conversations with line managers to produce personalised and ambitious Personal Development Plans (PDPs).
How this Framework has been developed
We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the Framework is representative of the Function as a whole. Our stakeholders include government departments and the analytical professions.
Who the Career Framework is for
The Career Framework is designed to be used by:
- government analysts who are planning their career and development options
- leaders within government analysis that are interested in building analytical teams
- leaders within government analysis that are interested in resourcing — for example, by using the role profiles and Resourcing Hub referenced in the Framework
- non-analyst civil servants that want to learn more about analytical careers and skills
- people who are considering a career move to government analysis now or in the future
- any other people or organisations that are interested in government analysis
How to use the Career Framework
You can find out about the range of analytical roles available across the Analysis Function in the role profiles and career pathways section of the Framework.
The role profiles give general principles for departments to follow when they are recruiting to specific roles. They also give guidance for analysts and aspiring analysts to help progress their careers. The role profiles contain guidance on:
- the typical entry, exit and progression routes for each role
- the purpose of each of the roles
- the typical duties and responsibilities for each role
- the skills and knowledge needed for each role
- the skill levels needed to successfully work in each role
The content of the role profiles is indicative. The content of a role can vary depending on the scope of the role, the department, or the specific context. The profiles are a starting point and can be adapted for each role as appropriate by hiring managers.
The Career Framework also provides:
- guidance on our preferred learning model that combines on the job learning, learning through others, and technical learning
- a summary of cross-cutting core analytical skills that are critical to analysts regardless of discipline or specialism
- a diverse range of inspirational career stories that give first-hand accounts of analytical careers from 21 analysts from a range of backgrounds and perspectives
- access to the Analysis Function Resourcing Hub that provides a summary of entry-routes to government analysis and resourcing best practice
We recommend using the Career Framework regularly throughout your career in government analysis. In return, we aim to ensure that we refresh it regularly with updates to ensure that it is fully reflective of current practice.
A career in analysis offers an excellent opportunity to have a positive effect on a national scale.
We have put together a comprehensive library of case studies that celebrate the career development of talented analysts across the Analysis Function. These case studies help to demonstrate both:
- the diversity of routes into the Function from a variety of backgrounds
- the fact that there are many paths you can follow to develop your career in analysis
There are many methods of developing your skills and knowledge. Research consistently demonstrates that the most effective learning happens when you work on more challenging assignments, and when you are learning on the job. The “70:20:10” learning model is based on this approach and suggests spending:
- 70% of your time learning on-the-job
- 20% of your time learning through other people — for example through networking
- 10% of your time learning through formal learning — for example through technical e-learning
The funnel shows the 70:20:10 model visually.
The widest part of the funnel represents the “on-the-job” learning that should form most of your learning time. The middle of the funnel represents learning through other people, which should form a smaller part of your learning time. The narrowest part of the funnel represents formal training, which should form the smallest part of your learning time.
There are a variety of tools available across the Analysis Function to support your development in both the 20% and 10% aspects of the learning model.
On-the-job learning, or “the 70%”
On-the-job learning typically involves informal, experiential learning connected to:
- completing day-to-day tasks
- taking decisions
- facing and overcoming challenges
- asking questions
- learning from mistakes
Learners are most likely to retain information when they work on an activity themselves, rather than simply being shown or told how to complete an activity. Self-reflection, seeking and being open to feedback is also important to being able to develop and prepare for future challenges.
At a departmental level you might also be able to access additional opportunities to broaden your on-the-job learning. These could include:
Social learning and development, or “the ‘20%”
Working with others, or “social learning” often happens in the workplace. This could happen informally through observing others completing a task or action, or through more formal shadowing, coaching and mentoring activities. It can also happen through networking and attending events to increase knowledge or skills.
A range of social learning activities are also provided or facilitated by the Analysis Function:
- Coffee Connect provides informal networking opportunities for analysts, policy professions and members of the Go-Science profession
- Mutual Mentoring connects junior analysts that face barriers to progression with senior analysts, so that both people can exchange ideas and experiences — this mutually increases understanding and development
- the Reproducible Analytical Pipeline (RAP) Champion Network champion the implementation of RAP across government
- Analysis Function events — these events take place throughout the year to showcase all things analysis and highlights include Analysis in Government Month and the Analysis in Government Awards
- Analysis Function Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) working groups — government analysts are encouraged to join these working groups that help to achieve the aims of our D&I Strategy
There are also opportunities to consider joining our Analysis Function Shadow Board, working and steering groups, special interest groups, and the AF Champions Network. All opportunities are advertised in the AF newsletter.
Leaders in Analysis events are advertised quarterly on the Analysis Function website. These events provide analysts throughout the Function with inspirational insights on how senior analytical leaders have progressed through their careers in government analysis.
Civil Service talent and leadership programmes
The Analysis Function does not provide leadership development programmes or learning. However, there are many opportunities for leadership development available through cross-government schemes.
The schemes generally aim to develop high-potential individuals which builds a strong and diverse pipeline to the most senior and critical Civil Service roles. These schemes include:
- the Future Leaders Scheme (FLS), which is aimed at high-potential grade 6 and grade 7 civil servants — this scheme provides a leadership development curriculum including webinars, workshops, action learning sets, and coaching
- a Minority Ethnic Talent Association (META) programme, which is integrated into FLS for participants who identify as being from an ethnic minority background — the META programme provides additional tailored support
- a Disability Empowers Leadership Talent (DELTA) programme, which is integrated into FLS for participants who have a disability or long-term health condition — the DELTA programme provides additional tailored support
- the Senior Leaders Scheme (SLS), which is designed for high-potential deputy directors and aims to help progression towards the most senior roles in the Civil Service — each cohort is mentored by a senior sponsor, and content includes organisational visits, one-day modules, and executive coaching
- the Directors Leadership Programme (DLP), which supports the highest performing directors to provide the skills, networks and knowledge to lead effectively — this programme takes place over a 12 month period
- the Individual Development Programme (IDP) provides for the accelerated development of directors general in preparation for future leadership roles, including the role of Permanent Secretary
Formal learning, or “the 10%”
Formal learning is often considered to consist of activities that we most traditionally associate with training and development. This could be attending a training course in person or completing a piece of e-learning online. Formal learning remains important and is particularly successful when the skills gained directly relate to your role and you can apply them practically to your work soon after the training.
The Analysis Function has a wide range of technical and other learning available in the Learning Curriculum. This can be used alongside the Career Framework. In particular, the Technical section of the Learning Curriculum contains a significant number of relevant modules.
We have worked with analysts across-government to identify the four core skills that are common across analytical disciplines and roles. These skills include:
- data visualisation — the ability interpret user needs and present data in a clear and compelling way, using graphical representations and data visualisations
- communicating insight — the ability to share insights with stakeholders using strong verbal and written communication skills
- quality assurance — the ability to complete data quality assurance, validation, and linkage
- software programming, tools, and techniques — the ability to use coding and programming skills for data analysis
We recommend you explore these skills as part of your development and to support your transition into and across the Function. These skills are complimentary to the analytical profession frameworks that describe specific and specialist technical skills that are needed in certain roles.
Developing your core skills
There are a variety of Analysis Function learning opportunities to help you develop in the core skill areas.
The Analysis Function Data Visualisation e-learning is designed for analysts and non-analysts that are interested in how to present data and information effectively. It provides guidance on:
- how to create charts that communicate messages clearly and effectively
- best practice approaches for formatting and publishing data visualisations
- how to make data visualisations more accessible to all, regardless of health condition or impairment
The learning is made up of 11 modules that include:
- “Choosing visualisations”
- “Accessibility and colour”
- “Guidance for charts and tables”
You can find practical communications advice in our “Communicating quality, uncertainty and change” guidance.
The Presenting Data Effectively module on Prospectus Online includes content on developing compelling stories and applying an ethical lens to data presentation.
The Advance Your Writing in Government module includes content on writing using plain language and structuring writing to according to the audience and purpose.
The Verbal Communication module supports learners to be more purposeful communicators and helps to develop styles of communication to produce improved outcomes.
Quality is a broad concept with many applications both within and beyond analysis. The following are useful introductions:
- the Managing Quality module helps learners to understand how managing quality can help to improve customer experiences
- the Data Quality module on the Civil Service Learning website will help you consider data quality issues and give you the skills to have more effective discussions with data specialists
- the Quality of Evidence, Uncertainty and risk module will develop your confidence in working with data to present a strong evidence base, and help you understand how personal biases can affect results
Analysts across government use a wide range of different software titles and programming languages to produce quality analysis. The following learning is not exhaustive but provides a signpost to useful resources in this area:
- on the Fundamentals of R module you will learn how to create effective statistical outputs and to visualise data using R’s library
- the Python Programming 1 module is one of a series and includes using Python to write and test simple scripts
- Microsoft Power BI Desktop helps learners to shape data from multiple sources to create engaging and interactive reports with data visualisations
- Excel Forecasting and Data Analysis includes guidance on how to visualise trends and forecasts in Excel charts
- SAS Programming 1: Essentials includes free self-guided learning as an introduction to the platform
- Getting Started with SPSS provides an overview of defining a variety of statistical variables and entering basic data into SPSS
The Analysis Function also provides a number of Learning Pathways that bring together analytical modules from a range of providers. Each provides a sequence of learning that enables learners to develop a more detailed and rounded understanding of chosen subjects. These can be particularly useful where new roles and projects require specific skills.
Analytical learning for non-analysts
Analytical skills are in high demand across government and are often needed in many roles. It is important all civil servants hold the analytical capability to:
- interpret basic data and produce clear and accessible tables, charts and graphs
- work alongside analysts and analytical teams to commission projects
- use evidence to inform decision-making
To support with this, the Analysis Function has developed a learning pathway for non-analysts, which is aimed at civil servants in any government profession outside of analysis. This provides a range of useful resources including:
- help with understanding basic analytical concepts
- access to guidance and best practice documents
- more detailed practitioner-level resources
We recommend that learners start at Stage 1 of the learning pathway. This includes YouTube videos and an analytical literacy learning module.
The Analysis Function Resourcing Hub
The Government Analysis Function works to ensure that we have skilled people in the right place at the right time to provide the best analysis for decision-makers and the public.
The Analysis Function Resourcing Hub provides a comprehensive overview of the recruitment and accreditation routes available within Government Analysis. This includes:
- mainstream profession recruitment
- profession agnostic recruitment
- Fast Stream schemes
- student placements
The Hub provides a central repository for resourcing best practice. It encourages more consistent and efficient processes across the Function, which will help meet the demand of government priorities. Guidance is tailored towards departmental resourcing teams, senior leaders and members of the analytical community who are planning to run a recruitment campaign for government analysts.
The associated products include:
- an overview of the routes into Government Analysis
- guidance on recruiting analysts
- a process map for running analytical recruitment, including case studies and best practice
- an accreditation toolkit suggesting approaches for accrediting Government Analysts
- a surge resourcing policy pack for managing analytical resource more flexibly
- a policy for managing analytical resource more flexibly, including case studies
Connect with the Analysis Function
There are a range of ways to be updated on activities across the Analysis Function:
- follow @gov_analysis on X, previously known as Twitter, to join the conversation or start a new one
- connect with Gov_Analysis_Function on LinkedIn
- subscribe to the Government Analysis Function YouTube channel to find interviews, learning seminars, and more
- sign up to receive the Analysis Function newsletter
We want to ensure that the Career Framework continues to improve and contains information that is useful and interesting to readers and learners. If you would like to provide feedback on the Framework or ask any questions, please email us at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk.