Type of work
The nature of the role is project-based, with projects ranging from a few days to multiple years in some cases. Economists will typically be working on 2-3 projects or proposals for projects at any one time. There is lots of variety and every day is different to the next one.
We work in individual project teams to deliver work for our clients. These teams may be large, for example including partner firms or associates, or it may be that you are working closely with a senior staff member to deliver the work.
On projects, economists will:
- undertake a range of analytical tasks;
- contribute to project discussions and brainstorming sessions;
- draft client deliverables (reports and slide packs); and
- present to external and internal stakeholders.
Economists are given responsibility and will learn lots in a short space of time, often finding an interest in an area they previously had little knowledge of.
To win work, we typically need to submit proposals to demonstrate our experience and expertise. Economists will often help in developing these proposals, conducting research into a certain topic and drafting relevant sections of our bid.
Economists also make a vital contribution to the ongoing operations of the company, including developing marketing notes or supporting with procurement.
Making an impact
Public policy sits across our work across all of our sectors. Our work impacts on people, not just shareholders.
We enjoy working on interesting and challenging projects at the cutting-edge of policy-making and furthering the evidence base in a given field.
Lots of our work is directly for decision-makers at the national or international level, with the effects felt by large populations. CEPA works with a prestigious client base and we want our work to make a positive impact.
Our work is on applied policy and you will often see the contribution of your work in your day-to-day life.
Training and support
CEPA promotes a culture where everyone is encouraged to support one another. Many of our senior staff joined at the economist level and remember what it was like, so are there to help.
We are committed to providing staff with training and professional development opportunities on a more structured basis, including:
- a ‘buddy’ to help you settle in at CEPA;
- a staff manager to provide ongoing feedback and help you improve;
- a mentor to discuss your personal and professional development with, outside of appraisal channels;
- onboarding training to help develop key skills and expertise upon joining the company;
- ongoing training, including fortnightly internal training sessions run by members of the team;
- external training courses; and
- external events and networking.
The main application process begins each September for positions starting the following September. We may also look for economists at other stages during the year and are open to alternative start dates.
Our process aims to take into account the commitments individuals have and limit disruption to their life, using remote assessment where possible and aiming for the process to be as concise as it can be. We also try to give a flavour of the type of work you might be doing through the application process.
Please note that we do not accept speculative applications and do not currently offer internships.
Please click through from 'Current Opportunities' on the right hand side of this page for current job advertisements.
At what grade will I join?
Our entry-level grade is the ‘Economist’ position. There are then four grades below company management (Consultant, Senior Consultant, Managing Consultant and Principal). Many of our new joiners at the economist position do have some work experience.
How much control do I have over the type of work I will be doing?
The ‘default’ for CEPA economists is to get experience working across our sectors and services rather than specialise in an area immediately. CEPA’s working structure involves project teams, rather than sector-based departments. This means that individuals can pursue a career in the areas they enjoy most and are best suited to, even when these span across multiple sectors.
Economists will work to develop different skills across both quantitative and qualitative analysis, working with different project managers to gain exposure to working in varied settings and gain this versatility.
The appraisal process and mentoring scheme will involve a two-way discussion on the type of work you’d like to do in future, with the ability to highlight particular projects or work of particular interest on an ongoing basis. Relevant experience or interests will also be taken into account when forming project teams.
What is career progression like?
There is no single set path for an individual at CEPA. The timing and degree of specialisation will depend on an individual and be assessed on a person’s merits, rather than waiting for a space to open up at a higher level.
Many of our current directors and principals include individuals who joined as an economist and have made their way up through the company.
Individuals will naturally specialise more as they progress, however some individuals retain a broad focus whereas others adopt a narrower area of expertise.
How does it feel working at CEPA?
One of the challenges of growing as a company is retaining the working environment of a small company. This includes an absence of bureaucracy, more of a collegial feel and an environment where individuals can make positive change to company culture.
For prospective new joiners, we hope that we can demonstrate this to you (beyond text on a website!). This could be through chatting with members of the CEPA team at events, seeing the role of team members in the recruitment process or seeing the office environment at the interview stage.
Economists are given responsibility and autonomy from the start, with a collaborative culture being important to our continued success.
How much will I use my degree?
Economics sits at the heart of what we do for projects, so this is a theme that typically spans across our work. Your work could involve technical aspects e.g. econometric analysis or relevant theoretical frameworks, or rely on the tools/ approach an Economist uses to address a problem.
We consider that our work is more 'micro' than 'macro' in nature, given our analysis focuses on decisions by individuals (consumers and businesses), market structures and outcomes produced. This is informed by macro-economic developments and our work often has an impact at the overall population level.
Our recommendations are used to inform policy; analysis cannot be made in a vacuum. We need to consider practical implementation issues and take into the account views of different stakeholders.
How much will I travel?
Travel will depend on the nature of the project. For example, where our work involves an evaluation of a programme in global health, travel to meet with stakeholders and conduct this evaluation means that travel is more likely. Travel would be to present findings, interact with the client or conduct in-person research.
The majority of your time will generally be spent at CEPA working with other members of the project team. An exception to this would be working on a secondment at a client on an embedded basis. This will typically be part-time and will be discussed with you before submitting a proposal.
Can I work across multiple offices?
Our projects at any one time will involve clients or policy issues in a range of countries. Working in either office will not preclude you from working on a project and it is often the case that individuals in the London and Sydney offices will work together on a project, even though the physical location where you are employed by CEPA is not flexible between offices.
Applicants should be fluent in English. Given the international nature of our projects and client base, other languages are an advantage.
What our Economists say
"I was torn between CEPA and the public sector for my first proper job. Seeing the variety of interesting projects CEPA gets from public sector clients and the ability to work across sectors, I'm glad I made the choice I did!"
"CEPA strikes a great balance of a smaller company where you know everyone and can make a noticeable contribution, with a client base and reputation of a larger firm. The lack of bureaucracy and internal politics is refreshing."
"Our sectors span core aspects of human life (food, water, energy, transport, health, payments). The work you do isn't abstract and you can see the relevance and impact."
"A major attraction of the role is being able to have something new to do each day here. I didn't know where I wanted to specialise, but could develop my skills and knowledge while figuring that out."