Sr. Researcher & Policy Analyst

Washington D.C.
$98,000 - $103,200
Apr 20, 2021
May 11, 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) seeks a Senior Researcher & Policy Analyst with strong research and communications skills who will develop persuasive analyses of public policies, data, labor market conditions, and employment laws through a racial equity framework. You will advance NELP’s programs and policy campaign with a particular focus on social insurance programs, including unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. This is an extraordinary opportunity to leverage your talent to join a team who are at the forefront of ensuring underpaid workers of color and their families receive critically needed UI benefits in this moment of crisis and beyond.

Who We Are

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) is a national non-profit with the core goals of building worker power and advancing racial and economic justice. Founded in 1969, we promote federal, state, and local policies to create good jobs, strengthen workers’ standard of living, enforce worker rights, and improve benefits and services for unemployed workers. In collaboration with national and grassroots partners, NELP advances its work through research, advocacy, litigation support, and technical assistance. Our work is designed to raise wages, end wage theft and workplace violations, strengthen unemployment insurance, ensure employer accountability for workers in contract employment, encourage fair chance employment practices, and promote a comprehensive policy framework to build a good jobs economy. For more information, read our annual reports and explore our website:

What You Will Do
You may be based in any of NELP’s three office locations (Berkeley, California; New York City; or Washington D.C.) and will report to the Director of Social Insurance. Knowledge of UI is not a requirement for the candidate, although it is preferred; however, the commitment and excitement to build your UI expertise will be critical. Your work includes:



  • Advocating for state and federal policies that will ensure all people have access to the social insurance programs they need to ensure financial security, plus eliminate policies that exclude people of color from core protections such as UI. 
  • Cultivating thoughtful, strategic partnerships and serving as a technical expert by providing legal, policy, research, communications, and strategic support to state partners and for campaigns across the country.
  • Authoring original research products combining empirical work and policy analysis that center racial equity, with a particular focus on UI; plus, drafting reports, op-eds, blogs, and educational materials to amplify our policy agenda.
  • Designing, analyzing, and synthesizing surveys, focus groups, or participatory research to ensure our policy agenda is responsive to the needs and experiences of workers of color and amplifies the lived expertise of Black, immigrant workers.
  • Conducting media and literature reviews or drafting research to support amicus briefs and strategic litigation related to social insurance issues.
  • Representing NELP in coalitions, public forums, legislative and agency hearings, and in the media.
  • Sharpening the vision of our social insurance strategic priorities with a racial equity framework in collaboration with our team.

Who You Are

  • You have seven+ years’ advocacy experience promoting labor and employment rights, civil rights and racial justice, or other social or economic justice issues; advocacy experience related to unemployment insurance is preferred, not required.
  • You have a PhD or Master’s degree in policy, public administration, labor studies, economics, or a related social sciences field, or JD or equivalent experience.
  • You are detail-oriented and skilled at designing and implementing high-quality, thorough research and data analysis; training and experience using SPSS, Stata, R, or other statistical packages is preferred, but not required; experience analyzing government survey and administrative data a plus.
  • You are a relationship-builder and have a proven track record of working in coalition with diverse groups, such as: national policy groups, state and local groups, grassroots organizations, legal advocates, labor, and Black- and immigrant-led worker centers.
  • You have strong campaign and project management skills and are able to prioritize effectively. You are a strategic and clear-headed thinker and doer, have experience managing multiple projects, overseeing, and tracking details, and a track record of achieving timely results.
  • You are a skilled communicator in written products, with a demonstrated ability to convey complex concepts, technical information, and data in compelling and digestible work products such as memos, reports, op-eds, toolkits, and/or issue briefs; for example, you have experience developing research briefs and policy memos for the general public.
  • You are adept at engaging with the media, presenting, and/or testifying, or are committed and excited to building your skills and experience in this area.
  • You have strong racial equity competencies and center your role and work in an analysis and understanding of how race and power shape systems in our society and culture and are continuously learning, reflecting, and growing; you support a feedback culture and operate constructively across lines of difference.
  • You operate with a commitment to excellence, integrity, diplomacy, humility, and camaraderie.

Start Date, Location, Compensation and Benefits:  In response to the pandemic, all staff are currently working remotely and are not traveling. When conditions are amenable, the position will require some travel. Candidates must be able to work from one of our three offices (Berkeley, New York City, or Washington D.C.) at the point that we return to working in the office. The start date will be as soon as possible. This position is in NELP’s bargaining unit, represented by National Organization of Legal Service Workers, UAW Local 2320. Classification and compensation for NELP bargaining unit positions is commensurate with relevant experience and education and based on NELP’s collectively bargained scales. Based on our union scale, the salary range for a Senior Researcher & Policy Analyst with a PhD with seven to nine years of post-graduate relevant experience is $98,000 to $103,200. Compensation also includes an excellent comprehensive benefits package, including full coverage of family health insurance, a medical reimbursement plan, generous vacation and sick leave (totaling 43 days per year,) plus additional organization-wide holidays, significant contribution from employer to a retirement plan (both an unelected contribution and employer match), 12 weeks paid parental leave, and student loan repayment assistance for qualifying participants.

To Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to selecting the “SI Senior Researcher & Policy Analyst” option under position. If you have questions regarding this announcement, please forward those to, noting “SI Senior Researcher & Policy Analyst” in the subject line. No phone calls or other email inquiries please. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. Applications due by May 11, 2021.

NELP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and 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 record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.   

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