Think Tank Employee Survey 2021


This short briefing from Smart Thinking is based on the second survey of UK think tank employees conducted in September 2021.

For the second year running we surveyed those working in UK think tanks to get an understanding of what working in this sector is like and provide any commentary on what should be noted or improved. We also analysed data from our own jobs site to provide a better idea of pay.

Key findings:

  • Salary is ranked as the most important thing to look at when looking at a job
  • The average salary for a think tanker with ‘Head’ or ‘Director’ in the job title was £59,000 compared to £43,000 for those with ‘Senior’ in the title and £30,000 for a ‘Researcher’ or ‘Officer’
  • 87% are on permanent contracts which is a slight increase of 3% on last year
  • There has been a big jump in professional development opportunities offered. 85% had been offered PD at work this year compared to just 68% last year although you are still more likely to be offered these opportunities if you work in research
  • Other formal structures at work have improved. 96% had a formal appraisal process in place at their work
  • 32% had been bullied or witnessed bullying in their organisation. 80% agreed or strongly agreed that they would feel comfortable reporting it to HR or senior management
  • 63% of think tank employees are back in the office in some form and 65% are happy about it
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