We caught up with Rhian who is in her second year with Ofcom, to discover how she found the application process, what life is like there, and her top tips for other bright members wanting to apply!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role
Hello, I’m Rhian, and I’m just about to start my second year on the statistics graduate pathway at Ofcom. I first became interested in statistics when studying psychology at the University of Cambridge and resultingly decided to complete a masters in statistics and social research methods at the University of Manchester.
Within Ofcom, there is a research department, who commission and conduct research into our sectors. This research serves to both inform the policy Ofcom creates, and to monitor its impact later. I have a role on both sides of the research process. Before we conduct this research, my job involves advising on the design of these studies, so that they are best suited to measure the questions to which we are after answers. Then, when the data are collected, I help out with conducting statistical analysis on the results and communicating insights from this research to others in the organisation.
What inspired you to apply to Ofcom?
When I saw the job description for this graduate pathway, I thought the job would be a great way to put my education in social research and statistics to use in a subject area I found really interesting. Additionally, I liked the idea that in this role, the research I help with, and the answers gathered from such research, would be directly involved in informing policy and making decisions that benefit society.
Talk us through a typical day in your role
Day to day, my role can vary. Some days, I spend conducting small pieces of analysis and advising on a wide range of different research projects across Ofcom. Alternatively, I can be buckling down and spending several days straight working on various aspects on one project I am more heavily involved in. For example, I have recently been project managing research into the affordability of communications services during lockdown, and this has involved helping to design the questions asked to respondents, as well as checking, analysing and presenting the findings of this research to internal stakeholders.
What choice do you get in the projects you work on?
I have been able to request to work on various projects within market research based on what I am interested in/skills I need to develop. This has given me insight into findings across lots of sectors that Ofcom regulates and the different types of research we conduct. Furthermore, as I am interested in developing my data science and coding skills further, I have been able to request a rotation in Spectrum that will help with this. However, if your interests lie elsewhere, you can absolutely request whatever rotation placements best suit your development.
What is the culture at Ofcom like?
I have found the culture at Ofcom really lovely and the people fun to work with. Even before lockdown, there was a lot of accommodation for different work patterns and styles, which has become even more embedded as more people had to work from home. Additionally, with the lockdown, there was a massive focus on welfare and checking people were okay as a priority over making sure everything was completed on time, which I have appreciated.
How did you find the application process?
I liked the variety of stages of the application process. If I was weaker at one thing (online interviews were never my forte), I knew that wasn’t the only thing my application was riding on. Additionally, the assessment centre tasks used real Ofcom data in a way quite similar to how you would on the job itself, therefore, it gave me the chance to show off my statistics knowledge, while also getting more of a feel for what my day to day work would involve.
What tips would you give to someone thinking of applying to Ofcom?
Reading Ofcom’s recent publications is a great way to gain an understanding of the type of data we collect, how we collect it and how we use it to gain an understanding of the focus of the research. If you don’t understand a particular point/explanation in these publications, asking about this at interview will show engagement with the work we do and a willingness to learn more.
Interested in following Rhian's footsteps? Find all opportunities with Ofcom here.