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Assistant Economist


Glasgow, Scotland : London : Manchester, North West

About the job

Job description

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is the independent regulator for Britain's railways and the independent monitor of Highways England. We are here to ensure the network operates safely, reliably and provides value for taxpayers and customers.

The rail network plays a vital economic and social role. Your work will help improve how the railways operate and make a positive difference to the experience of 1.7 billion passenger journeys and to the movement of around 80 million tonnes of goods and raw materials each year.

Working at the ORR, you will help develop policy alongside a diverse range of experts and stakeholders, get involved in novel analytical work and support the design of prices, incentive mechanisms and the wider regulatory framework that ensure the railways deliver for users and tax-payers. It is also an exciting and challenging time to join the rail industry, as we seek to adapt our regulation to support continued growth of the network and help meet the many potential changes on the horizon.

About the role:

You will join the ORR’s Economics team in the Railway Markets and Economics (RME) directorate. Our team works on a diverse range of economic and regulatory issues, much of which is related to the economic regulation of Britain’s national rail network.

You will provide key economic and policy support to a team of over a dozen economic and regulatory specialists, working flexibly across different projects. You will learn how network industries and infrastructure monopolies work and are regulated. In addition, you will have opportunities to develop your skills in policy development, stakeholder engagement, project management and economic analysis.

We expect you to work flexibly across the following three main areas of our work:

• the design of the price mechanisms that help incentivise operators and infrastructure owners to make the most effective use of capacity and take the right long term decisions;
• the economic analysis of user and operator behaviour, employed for example to determine the value created by new train service proposals;
• the econometric analysis of infrastructure costs, used to help ensure that monopoly infrastructure managers, such as Network Rail, are as efficient as they can be;

You will initially focus on one of these areas. Over time, and subject to your interests and skills, there will be opportunities to work across all three.

From time to time, you may also be asked to support the work of the rest of the Economics team, which focuses on developing the frameworks within which we regulate Network Rail and other infrastructure managers. This includes adapting how we regulate the performance of Network Rail’s local business units and the national System Operator function and developing regulatory frameworks for parts of the network owned by other parties, such as High Speed 2 (HS2, the proposed high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds), the Channel Tunnel, HS1 and Crossrail.

Your key responsibilities on joining the team will be to:

• work under the supervision of policy and analytical leads, as part of a broader team, to help design or deliver policy proposals and to produce standalone pieces of economic analysis;
• produce draft reports, evidence reviews and briefing papers;
• carry out, and report on, analysis using econometrics and transport economics software;
• develop spreadsheet models;
• be an active member of the economics team, including being involved in team development and representing the team in pan-ORR activities; and
• participate in meetings with rail industry stakeholders, other regulators and government; and
• produce presentation materials;

This job description is subject to review; it is intended to provide a general indication of the type of work you are likely to do. You will be expected to work flexibly across the team and other duties appropriate to the grade may be assigned from time to time.

There may be scope to change your areas of responsibility over time, including to support your continuing professional development.

About you

This post would suit individuals with a broad range of economic, analytical and communication skills, and a keen interest in policy development. Knowledge of regulatory economics and/or transport economics and an understanding of public policy would be desirable. The ability to engage effectively with internal and external stakeholders and to write and present clearly and persuasively is important.


• Knowledge: a good understanding of relevant micro and macroeconomic principles, and their application. Knowledge of regulatory economics and/or transport economics and an understanding of public policy would be desirable.

It would also be desirable (but not essential) of having worked in public policy and/or regulatory and/or transport economics.

Please click APPLY to see the Candidate Information Pack for further details on the role and selection process.