Employment Hub Research Specialist

from International Rescue Committee
Closing date: 10 Sep 2017


The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.

As a global humanitarian organization, the IRC has unique capabilities - and is particularly known for rigorous research and evidence-based programs. A key initiative that supports this strategy is the IRC Research & Development (R&D) lab, aimed at investing in the design, development, and scaling of new humanitarian interventions and delivery models. The lab seeks to apply best practices from human-centered design, rapid iteration, multi-disciplinary problem-solving, and an innovation portfolio management function in the humanitarian context.

Through the Jordan Country Program, the R&D lab is launching an innovative employment hub that aims to generate at scale employment opportunities for Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan The IRC has been operational in Jordan since 2007 and today, the IRC responds to refugees and Jordanians most urgent and sensitive needs, including health care, women's protection and empowerment, child protection, and economic resiliency. Building off existing IRC Jordan livelihoods and protection programming, the employment hub will house a series of new, data-driven, experimental interventions that seek to match-make Jordanians, refugees and firms and provide the necessary support to individuals in getting to work.

Job Overview:

The Employment Hub Senior Research Specialist is the technical and management leader for the design and execution of all fast-paced A/B testing and experimentation, monitoring and evaluation and learning for the Employment Hub. The Employment Hub is a two-year project out of which two core activities are run: i) a mobile network of entrepreneurial IRC officers who will work with Jordanians, refugees, and firms to proactively facilitate matchmaking and help to address common access issues, and ii) a jobs collation platform that allows IRC officers, existing outreach staff and other stakeholders to algorithmically match jobs and job-seekers. An additional set of complementary and experimental activities, including behavioral nudges, flexible budgets, childcare support, transport support, and retention incentives, will be implemented as well. In line with the R&D approach, the objective is to structure fast-paced, small-scale experimentation to iteratively adapt a set of activities to optimize design and generate impact. During year 1, a series of experiments will be conducted to identify what works and in year 2, the program will scale a select set of interventions.

The Senior Research Specialist will lead on the learning strategy for the employment hub, including the design and execution of an approach that seeks to reduce the amount of time between experimentation, data collection and learning. This Specialist will have the latitude and capacity to run a set of innovative experiments and bring a new, innovation-driven, approach to learning to the humanitarian sector. This includes designing and implementing of a series of high frequency, small-scale randomized controlled trials, and conducting analysis to generate actionable program implementation changes. The Senior Research Specialist will also be responsible for overseeing all monitoring and evaluation of the Employment Hub as well as supporting the design and scale up of a larger-scale randomized controlled trial in year 2 for the Hub. The Senior Research Specialist will coordinate with the Employment Hub Staff, including the Employment Hub Coordinator and Platform Senior Specialist, Country Program and R&D Lab to coordinate over a learning and experimentation strategy that serves all partners and mitigates any risks. This job provides the opportunity to bring rigorous experimentation and innovation to the launch and implementation of groundbreaking employment work in Jordan, with the ultimate goal of designing the optimal program through rapid experimentation.

Major Responsibilities:

Evaluation and Learning Strategy and Design

  • Oversees the strategic planning and execution of all experimentation, monitoring and evaluation, and learning for the employment hub and technical leadership on all of these activities for the hub.
  • Oversees the design, implementation, and analysis of high frequency, small-scale RCTs during first year of the employment hub. Works with external academics to set up and launch large scale RCTs during the second year of the employment hub.
  • Works with the R&D Associate Director and REL team to design all experiments and measurement strategy for the employment hub and its programmatic sub-components.
  • Conducts all analysis and data visualization with the support of the R&D Associate Director, drafting memos and reports to present and discuss evidence and learning.
  • Provides recommendations on course corrections and program implementation changes in light of findings.
  • Works with all external partners and academics to coordinate relevant learning activities.
  • Develops and prepare ethically responsible experimental designs and ensure ethics screening to minimize risk and reputational concern.
  • Create linkages between the MEL design and existing platforms and standards, including COMET, MfA and the country program's Universal Expectations around Measurement.
  • Incorporate evidence and data into programming and advise on implementing data-driven programming in line with the learning strategy.
  • Works closely with the R&D lab, senior IRC Jordan leadership and M&E department to ensure that the appropriate methodologies and technical approaches are developed and implemented for all research and learning activities.

Monitoring and Evaluation Implementation

  • Designing all case intake forms, follow up forms and any related survey tools for the employment hub.
  • Contributes to regular field monitoring and modification to ongoing programming as required.
  • Leads project monitoring initiatives including tool design and analysis, as well as partner and sub-contractings for data collection.
  • Provides capacity building, monitoring support and direction to staff in implementation to improve quality of R&L activities within program components.
  • Together with the Employment Hub Service Coordinator, Associate Director of R&D and Deputy Director of Programs, develops and implements a full monitoring and evaluation framework for employment hub, as well as learning strategies, and adapts them to the different program methodologies.
  • Contributes to regular donor and internal reporting.
  • Provides direction to employment hub staff in implementation of their work plans and technical quality of activities as it relates to research and learning.

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Employment Hub Service Coordinator Position directly supervises: N/A

Indirect Reporting: N/A Other Internal and/or external contacts:

Internal: R&D Department, ERD Technical Unit, Grants Department, Supply Chain, Finance, HR, Research Evaluation and Learning Technical Unit

External: Academic partners

Job Requirements:

Minimum Requirements

  • Masters in economics, political science or statistics with a focus on applied methodology; PhD preferred.
  • Extensive experience designing and analyzing randomized control trials and observational data; familiarity with A/B testing models a plus.
  • Ability to quickly design and conduct analyses on multiple simultaneous experiments.
  • Facility with translating research results into actionable program design.
  • Advanced expertise in statistical software; STATA, MATLAB or R preferred.
  • Comfort leading on innovative R&D-oriented research in challenging settings.
  • INGO experience required; experience in economic programming or livelihoods a plus.
  • Demonstrated understanding of micro or macro economics.
  • Experience in adaptive management and iterative experimentation.
  • Prior experience working in emergency settings or insecure environments preferred.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, effective in representation and liaison with external parties.
  • Personal qualities: Works well in and promotes teamwork, comfortable in a multi-cultural environment, flexible and able to handle pressure well, has a strong sense of humor.
  • Fluency in English required, Arabic a distinct advantage.

Working Environment:

The position is based in Amman with frequent travel to field sites in Irbid and Mafraq.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l'Intégrité, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l'exploitation et les abus, la protection de l'enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l'intégrité financière, et les représailles.