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Real Life Career Pathways

In this section, we share with you some real life career pathways undertaken by members of the Government Statistician Group (GSG). This information is presented to help those who are interested in joining the Civil Service as a statistician to view the types of role and pathways through the profession. This may also be of interest to those who are already in the GSG, and are looking for ideas on how to progress their careers.

If you are in the GSG and interested in sharing your story with us, please contact us here

Neil McIvor (SCS)

NeilMcIvorNeil McIvor is the Deputy Head of Profession for the Department for Work and Pensions and the Chair of the GSS People Committee.

Neil joined the Civil Service in 2001 as a HEO Generalist whilst completing a Maths and Statistics Degree with the Open University. After finishing his degree, Neil passed the Fast Stream in 2003 and subsequently became a member of the Senior Civil Service (SCS) in 2013.

The contents of this article are taken from an interview with Neil in November 2015 where he shares his experiences and his career history so far.

Stephanie Howarth – Grade 7 Statistician, Welsh Government

Stephanie Howarth Portrait“I joined the statistical fast stream in 2005 and took up a post in the Welsh Government, where I spent the first seven years of my career. During this time I worked on a vast range of subjects – from understanding the GSS fundamentals of managing data collections and publishing statistics, through to preparing the first Welsh census legislation. This is one of the real benefits of working in devolved government – all these opportunities under one roof.

With a degree in Psychology, I’ve never felt like a ‘typical’ statistician (whatever that might be) and I think this is reflected in the roles I’ve undertaken since joining the GSS. I’ve taken up a couple of fascinating secondment opportunities. In 2007 I worked for the National Assembly for Wales’s research service (the Welsh equivalent of the House of Commons library), and in 2015 I spent three months working for BBC News during the UK general election. Both of these helped me see official statistics from the customer’s perspective. I’ve also worked outside traditional statistical roles, such as dealing with information management for one of Wales’s inspectorates.

In 2012, I joined the UK Statistics Authority, working on GSS strategy, and I later moved into the GSS Good Practice Team. This involved stepping away from the number crunching and gaining a wider view of the statistical system, as well as getting out there and talking to a huge number of colleagues across the Civil Service and beyond.

I’ve since moved back to the Welsh Government, where I now work in the Welsh Treasury”.