Chief Economist

UK-Edinburgh or London
Strategy, International, Technology, Economists
Salary Details
Job Type
Full Time - Permanent
Job Level
Contract Duration
Flexible working arangements available
Closing Date

About the Job

Ofcom is the independent regulator for the UK communications sectors and we are globally respected for the work we do. We regulate TV and radio broadcasting, fixed and mobile telecoms, postal services, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.


We place the interests of consumers at the heart of everything we do. We believe that effective competition is generally the best means of delivering good outcomes, so making markets work well for consumers, businesses and the economy is a core priority. But we also recognise that markets sometimes fail, and are willing to intervene more directly where that is necessary.

Ofcom’s economists contribute to a wide-ranging work programme, for example:

  • Communications markets are often highly concentrated, and we are responsible for addressing any competition concerns which arise. We work within an ex ante competition framework designed specifically for our sector, but also have the power to carry out ex post competition law investigations.
  • Many communications services rely on access to radio spectrum, which is therefore a critical but scarce resource. We make sure that spectrum is allocated in a manner that is both efficient and protects competition, using economic mechanisms such as spectrum auctions.
  • We will sometimes intervene directly to promote the interests of consumers. For example, a key priority over the next year will be the design of a broadband Universal Service Obligation. Economic input is essential to ensure such interventions are both effective and proportionate.
  • Ofcom is both an economic regulator and a media regulator, and these roles come together particularly prominently within our new role as the independent regulator of the BBC. We are responsible for ensuring an appropriate balance between the BBC’s public policy objectives and it’s market impact.


Ofcom’s economists also make an important contribution to the culture, values and diversity of the organisation. They work collaboratively with other economists, as well as lawyers, technical experts, accountants and policy specialists. They empower individuals, so that junior as well as senior specialists have a voice. And the make-up of the economist teams within Ofcom must reflect the diversity of the society we serve.

What you will be doing

The Chief Economist is a member of Ofcom’s Policy and Management Board, so contributes as a key member of Ofcom’s senior executive to decisions made across Ofcom’s work programme.


She / he is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the 65 economists across Ofcom have the technical skills required to deliver the programme, and are capable of working in a way that fits with the culture and values of the organisation. This requires a clear articulation of the competences required, and the recruitment and career development policies which are necessary to deliver a strong talent pipeline.
  • Working with other senior leaders in Ofcom to deliver on broader organisational objectives. This includes work which is currently underway to improve the way we collaborate (‘Project Agile’). It also includes ensuring that Ofcom’s economists contribute to Ofcom’s broader diversity targets
  • Working with Ofcom’s economic directors to ensure that economic analysis carried out within Ofcom is both high quality and delivered in a timely manner. This requires effective processes for identifying key economic issues early, and for peer review and quality assurance of the subsequent analysis.
  • Supporting the work that is required to defend Ofcom’s decisions when they are challenged in court. This requires an understanding of the economic arguments for and against our decisions, and an ability to deal with them appropriately in an appeal court hearing, for example as an expert witness.
  • Ensuring that Ofcom is aware of new approaches to economic regulation being considered elsewhere (academia, other regulators and competition authorities, government, think tanks). Where appropriate, influencing the development of new frameworks for economic regulation.


She / he currently sits within Ofcom’s strategy group, and has direct management responsibility for the team of 8 economists within that group. There is also a substantial team of 55 economists in Ofcom’s competition group, plus some individuals elsewhere, for whom the Chief Economist is responsible as the Head of Profession. There is some flexibility as to the details of the organisational structure.

Essential Skills / Experience

Recognised economic expertise: You will be a recognised expert in economic regulation, with experience in at least one of the areas within which Ofcom works, and an ability to adapt that experience across the range of Ofcom’s programme. This experience may have been obtained within an economic regulator, but we are also keen to encourage applications from other relevant backgrounds (e.g. economic consultancies, academia, government departments)


Leadership skills and experience: You must be able to demonstrate your ability to lead and motivate the professional community of Ofcom’s economists. You might have gained this through a leadership role on individual projects, or through line management responsibility for a specialist team of economists.


Collaboration and communication: You will be expected to communicate convincingly and with authority to a variety of stakeholders, internal and external. We value collaboration and empowerment, so a willingness to listen to others is also important. Excellent drafting is vital, as is the ability to review the written work of others, often to tight deadlines.


Quality and delivery: An important part of the role is the ability to oversee a range of economic issues, ensuring timely delivery whilst maintaining quality. You will need to demonstrate an ability to anticipate issues early, prioritise effectively and handle the tensions that inevitably arise in any complex programme.

Further Information

To apply please submit an up to date CV and cover letter explaining your suitability for the role. You can do so by following the instructions above at “Apply for this job online.


Ofcom offers competitive salaries plus pensions and flexible benefits package.


Ofcom is an equal opportunities employer and committed to equality of opportunity for all. We particularly welcome applications from groups who are currently under-represented (women, ethnic minorities, disabled, LGBT) and we welcome flexible working.


As an accredited Two Ticks employer disabled candidates who meet all the essential criteria of a job description will be guaranteed an interview. If you have a disability or special need and wish to request a reasonable adjustment at any stage of the recruitment process please do so by contacting Recruitment@ofcom.org.uk or calling us on 020 7783 4050.


Please contact Stephen Unger (Stephen.Unger@ofcom.org.uk) for more information about this role.






Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed