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Senior Researcher - Unemployment Insurance

Job ID 1633-3

Position Description:

Mathematica applies expertise at the intersection of data, methods, policy, and practice to improve well-being around the world. We collaborate closely with public- and private-sector partners to translate big questions into deep insights that improve programs, refine strategies, and enhance understanding. Our work yields actionable information to guide decisions in wide-ranging policy areas, from health, education, early childhood, and family support to nutrition, employment, disability, and international development. Mathematica offers our employees competitive salaries, and a comprehensive benefits package, as well as the advantages of being 100 percent employee owned. As an employee stock owner, you will experience financial benefits of ESOP holdings that have increased in tandem with the company’s growth and financial strength. You will also be part of an independent, employee-owned firm that is able to define and further our mission, enhance our quality and accountability, and steadily grow our financial strength.

We are seeking a senior researcher who is passionate about improving the well-being of U.S. workers to lead research, evaluation, and program improvement projects. In particular, we seek a senior researcher to lead projects such as evaluations of UI benefits, service interventions aimed at UI recipients, strategies to reduce errors in UI payments, efforts to modernize UI data systems, and other employment-related programs and policies. Our clients include the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other government agencies at the federal, state, and local level as well as private philanthropic and nonprofit clients. Our current and recent work includes projects such as:

  • A synthesis of state practices on UI work search, including requirements, communication, data collection and overpayment tracking.
  • A study to examine the experiences and well-being of individuals who exhausted UI benefits during the Great Recession.
  • A study to examine provisions that encouraged states to increase access to and generosity of UI benefits.
  • A study for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to evaluate its State Intensive Services Initiative aimed at reducing UI improper payments in 10 states.
  • A technical assistance project for the Office of Unemployment Insurance to develop a knowledge management system that consolidates information for states on all aspects of benefits data validation and reporting and train states on its use.
  • A study to explore the use of behavioral science to improve DOL programs and policies.
  • An evaluation of the DOL Pathway Home Grant Program which supports 42 grantees with the goals of increasing the provision of workforce services to eligible incarcerated individuals and strengthening the continuity of pre-release and post-release employment and other support services
  • Analysis of strategies for expanding apprenticeship to evaluate a variety of DOL investments, including two recent grant programs: (1) the Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies, and (2) the Closing the Skills Gap grants.
  • Assisting DOL in building the evidence base to support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by identifying and conducting rigorous evaluations of program models, components, or service strategies.
  • Supporting states with Unemployment Insurance (UI) data validation (DV), a systematic procedure for assessing the accuracy of states’ UI reports by ETA.
  • An evaluation of the Retaining Employment & Talent After Injury-Illness Network (RETAIN) demonstration to test promising early intervention approaches to improve the labor force participation and retention of individuals with recently acquired injuries and disabilities.
  • A study to examine barriers to and catalysts for improving employment outcomes and career development for young adults on the autism spectrum.

The senior researcher will join our growing interdisciplinary staff with backgrounds in economics, public policy, social science, data science, and other fields in the Education and Employment Division within the Human Services unit. Senior researchers contribute to continuing growth in the division by directing projects, identifying and obtaining new opportunities, and mentoring junior staff. 


  • Engage with clients to understand the challenges they face and work collaboratively with them to develop innovative solutions
  • Lead interdisciplinary teams to conduct research, evaluation, and program improvement projects in the Education and Employment Division
  • Bring an equity-focused lens to the process of conducting research and evaluation, study design, execution, and reporting
  • Contribute to business development and proposals for new projects for the U.S. Department of Labor, other government agencies, and foundations
  • Work collaboratively with federal grantees and other practitioners to develop, implement, or test strategies for improving program performance and services
  • Oversee project budgets, schedules, and staffing to ensure high-quality project delivery
  • Communicate with project officers on the financial status of projects, design and technical issues, and project reports and presentations
  • Provide thought leadership in the area of employment services, training, and Unemployment Insurance through communications, testimony, publications, and conferences in professional, practitioner, and research settings
  • Contribute to the professional development of other research staff working in the division

Position Requirements:

  • Ph.D. or equivalent in economics, public policy, or a related field or a combination of equivalent education and work experience
  • Extensive knowledge of Unemployment Insurance policies and other employment programs
  • Eight or more years of experience working to research or evaluate programs/interventions designed to improve employment  
  • Direct experience leading projects and working with clients, including DOL, other federal agencies, states and local agencies, or foundations
  • Experience interacting with state agencies, federal grantees or other program practitioners through such activities as training and technical assistance, program or curriculum implementation, and evaluation.
  • Experience applying principles of equitable evaluation and incorporating diverse stakeholder, participant, and community voices to identify and meet research and analytic needs and contextualize findings is preferred
    • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including experience communicating research questions, designs, and findings in non-technical language to program practitioners, state and federal agency staff, and program funders and experience facilitating trainings or meetings for large groups.
    • Strong interpersonal skills, including a demonstrated ability to deal tactfully and diplomatically with clients and other external stakeholders
    • Evidence of successful business development activities with the federal government or federally funded state or local government agencies

One of Mathematica’s core values is a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our research is more robust because it is informed by a variety of diverse perspectives, and our mission to improve societal well-being is strengthened by a greater understanding of issues and challenges facing the populations we serve. Mathematica’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion is woven into our everyday actions, policies, and practices—including decisions regarding recruitment, training, compensation, and promotion. We are dedicated to maintaining a work environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. We offer Employee Resources Groups on a variety of topics, local diversity and inclusion activities in each office, and a Diversity council.

We take pride in our employees and in their commitment to excellence. We encourage staff to collaborate in developing creative solutions to difficult problems and to share the responsibility and enjoyment of carrying out complex projects. This collegial spirit has helped us earn our reputation for innovative and high quality work. As a winner of the "Excellence in Diversity Award," we know that building an inclusive culture based on the diverse strengths of employees from different backgrounds is key to our success. 

Mathematica offers a strong benefits package, which includes a profit-sharing 401(k) plan; Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP); health, dental, disability, and life insurance plans; comprehensive paid time off; and tuition benefits. Training and professional development are also provided. Read more about our benefits here:

A cover letter and resume should be submitted at the time of application via our online application system. The deadline for applying to be considered for an interview is April 30, 2022.

This position offers an anticipated annual base salary of $115,000 - $155,000. This position may be eligible for a discretionary bonus based on company and individual performance.

We offer remote flexibility. Available locations: Princeton, NJ; Washington, DC; Cambridge, MA; Ann Arbor, MI; Oakland, CA; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

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