MPs need help gathering the information that goes into the policies and portfolios they work on, and they employ researchers to do this. Researchers use this information to draft reports, policy briefings and notes for committees and debates.
Other typical responsibilities include:
- analysing and interpreting data
- advising on policy issues
- keeping up to date with legislation, upcoming debates and bills
- responding to enquiries from the public and other politicians
- writing newsletters and media releases
- keeping records.
The political parties represented in parliament employ research officers, most of whom are based at party headquarters.
Opportunities are advertised on party websites and in party magazines, along with specialist websites such as Working for an MP.
You'll need a good knowledge of how parliament works to get into this career. This could be through a degree in a subject such as politics, government, public/social administration, sociology, law, history or economics. You may also be able to gain this experience through voluntary work.
Recruiters look for candidates who are organised and have experience of carrying out, and reporting on, rigorous research. Other essential skills and qualities include:
- knowledge and interest in politics and current affairs
- IT skills
- numerical skills
- strong communication skills and confidence working with people from all backgrounds
- an understanding of the importance of confidentiality.