Careers Research Assistant

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The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the nation’s leading progressive economic think tank, is seeking a Research Assistant who is highly organized, detail-oriented and has the ability to gather, understand, analyze and compellingly present a wide variety of economic data. This position will be responsible for providing research and technical support to EPI professional staff, along with occasional administrative tasks.

Besides competitive pay and excellent benefits (detailed below), EPI RAs receive extensive training in data management, programming, and content management systems. EPI RAs regularly go on to attend competitive graduate programs in economics, political science, public policy and law. In short, the EPI RA position is one of the best launching pads in the D.C. policymaking ecosystem to begin a career using in economic policy research from a progressive perspective. 

Please note that EPI is a hybrid workplace with attendance in our Washington, D.C., office required at least two days per week (currently Tuesday and Wednesday). 

What You Will Do 

The main responsibilities of the Research Assistant will be: 

  • Collect, organize, and analyze data from published sources and from the Internet: Requires extensive knowledge of official data sources (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census, Department of Commerce, etc.). 
  • Complete monthly, quarterly, annual updates of EPI’s databases. 
  • Respond promptly to ad hoc data requests from researchers. 
  • Analyze data to supplement research. 
  • Conduct external outreach to clarify survey methodologies and appropriate applications of frequently used and new data sources. 
  • Utilize statistical packages in the economic analysis of times series and cross-sectional data sets:
  • Clean datasets and conduct statistical analysis in Stata, R, and/or Python using industry-standard programming practices. 
  • Automate, improve, and document data collection, organization, and analysis processes to ensure replicability. 
  • Contribute to the development of coding norms and guidelines to be used across the organization. 
  • Prepare data visualizations, including charts, graphs, and presentation materials: Demonstrate mastery of WordPress functions and options to generate EPI web content and maintain existing online data repositories. 
  • Incorporate charts and graphs into publication, presentations, and web content. 
  • Develop and update interactive web features in coordination with the communications department. 
  • Prepare background research and memoranda: Conduct literature reviews and summarize relevant background material.
  • Participate in the design and execution of research projects, including the description of data sources, data sets and research results: 
  • Prepare accurate and organized drafts of technical reports (e.g. data appendices). 
  • Use technical expertise to provide input on the methodology and research design. 
  • Establish a division of labor and timeline for the project with the other analysts and provide regular updates on research progress. 
  • Co-author and author papers, blog posts, statements, and memos in conjunction with the objectives of EPI’s economists and researchers, in addition to facilitating the publication of EPI reports. 
  • Respond to media and partner requests in coordination with the communications department, including interfacing with journalists, partner organizations, and the offices of policymakers. 
  • Oversee editing and fact-checking of papers from both internal and external authors, including the construction of data visualizations. 
  • Attend meetings and conferences to represent EPI, as needed, and prepare short memos summarizing the key events that took place. 
  • Guide the hiring and onboarding process of new Research Assistants (RA): 
  • Recruit, screen, and evaluate RA candidates. 
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for candidates throughout the process, including coordinating and conducting interviews. 
  • Develop, administer, and evaluate a written and technical test to applicants.
  • Recommend candidates to senior staff. 
  • ​​Train new RAs on EPI processes (see points #1 through #9)​​ ​​​​​ ​​ ​​ 
  • ​​​Provide guidance and direction to interns, overseeing their project progress as needed.​​ 
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Who You Are 

We do not expect that every candidate will have this full range of experience, but the following qualities and experience are highly desirable: 

Proficiencies: 

  • Academic background in economics or other social sciences, with a working familiarity of statistics and basic data gathering and organizational techniques. 
  • Ability to work independently, to meet project deadlines, and complete tasks in a timely fashion.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills required, as well as excellent time-management skills and ability to communicate effectively with managers and co-workers about the status of projects.
  • Word processing (Microsoft Word preferred) 
  • Spreadsheets (Excel preferred) 
  • Ability and desire to master more advanced statistical packages and content management software is required. 

Preferred:

  • A passion for economic justice issues. 
  • Deep interest in understanding the workings of the U.S. economy through data 
  • Familiarity with more advanced statistical packages strongly preferred (R/Stata/Python). 
  • Experience with advanced data visualization tools (tableau/D3js/ggplot2) 

Education: Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent. 

Experience: Previous experience of paid or unpaid work as a research assistant, or similar type of work, preferred but not necessary. 

Salary and Benefits 

EPI is a unionized workplace with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). This position is the bargaining unit and reports to the Director of Data Management and Analysis. 

The salary for this position ranges from $58,700 to $61,000, dependent on experience, plus benefits. 

EPI offers an ​​excellent benefits package, including generous paid time off, a 9.25% employer-provided 401k retirement contribution, partial tuition reimbursement, eight weeks of parental leave, and fully employer-funded medical, vision, dental, short- and long-term disability, and life insurance for individual employees. 

Location 

This position is based at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. As a condition of employment, EPI requires all staff to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination which meets the guidelines recommended by the CDC. Currently, the CDC recommends that everyone ages five years and older receive 1 dose of updated (2023–­2024 Formula) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. 

To Apply 

Candidates should send a cover letter highlighting their relevant experience and explaining their interest in working at the Economic Policy Institute, along with resume, to epijobs@epi.org with “Research Assistant – Last Name, First Name” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

EPI believes that having a diverse and inclusive workplace not only strengthens the institute’s work but is also essential for understanding and creating economic policies that support all working people. We encourage applicants who bring lived experience and nontraditional backgrounds to apply to our positions.

EPI is an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior history of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, caregiver status, or other categories protected by law. 

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