Research Analysts

Each year, Motu looks for outstanding students in economics, statistics, or a related field who will have completed an Honours or Masters’ degree by the end of that year.

come in were hiring 4Applications for these positions starting in summer 20/21 are now open and will close on 1 April 2020.

If you would like to work for a small Wellington-based organisation whose mission is to conduct top quality economic and public policy research and disseminate it to those who can use it, while building research capacity in New Zealand, applications are now open to work at Motu, the top ranked economics organisation in NZ and one of the world's top ten economic think tanks (as ranked by RePEc).

Please note research analysts work with a senior fellow on a Motu project, so these positions are unlikely to suit current Ph.D. students hoping to work on their own dissertations.

If you aren't eligible for an internship or RA position because you are heading overseas to do your PhD, you may be interested in the Statistics NZ Motu Programme for PhD Research. This will give you space at Motu for at least four months and free access to Statistics NZ's microeconomic data.

Who are we looking for?

Someone who wants to get their hands dirty with every stage of the research process, working closely with a senior researcher with a PhD from a renowned university such as Harvard, Stanford, or the London School of Economics.

Strong candidates will have:

  • an advanced university degree (honours or higher),
  • a curiosity about economics questions,
  • good computer and data analysis skills,
  • strong inter-personal skills, and
  • an interest in doing economic research on social or environmental issues.

We offer a relaxed yet stimulating work environment where you will be challenged and your skills as a researcher extended. Our past RAs have gone on to high level public sector positions and to PhD-level study at top international universities.

We invite you to browse our website to learn more about Motu and the types of research we do. You can read about our current and past RAs on our People page or check out the impact of our RAs.


To apply for a position as a Research Analyst please fill out this form and return it to by 1 April 2020. You will also need to write a cover letter and attach a CV along with all your university transcripts. Have a read of this document for tips on how to apply successfully. Answers to some of the frequently asked questions on these positions are listed below.

We welcome applications from individuals who have completed some or all of their tertiary study outside New Zealand. However, if this is you please help us understand your university and how the grading system in your country works. The more relevant information you can provide us with, the better we’ll be able to assess your application. Some examples of relevant information:

  • The economics department at [your university] is ranked second in [country] by [source, with link]
  • My GPA of 5.5 on a 6-point scale puts me on the 95th percentile of economics graduates at [university]. [link that verifies information]
  • HD is the highest grade awarded in undergraduate courses at [your university]. This grade is awarded to approximately the top 5% of students in each course. [link that verifies information]
  • My GPA of [GPA] on an [x-point] scale is equivalent to a New Zealand GPA of 8.5. [link to online GPA converter]

We respect the time it takes to put in an application. We will always acknowledge receipt of your application within a week, and will contact you to let you know your outcome, regardless of whether you are successful. If you haven’t heard anything from us two weeks after the closing date, please follow up to ensure you application hasn’t gone astray, but please don’t follow up to enquire about the outcome earlier than this. I promise you we are working as quickly as possible to fairly evaluate all the applications we received, and will contact you as soon as we can.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to some questions you might have about applying for an internship or research analyst (RA) position at Motu. Isabelle Sin has also prepared a document with advice for submitting a great application.

Should I apply for an RA position or an internship? RA positions are permanent full-time positions for graduates who will have at least an honours degree when they begin work. Internships are for students who have completed undergraduate studies (or are close to it), and plan to return to study at the end of summer for further study at the honours level or higher. If you’re not returning to postgraduate study then you are not eligible for an internship, and should apply for an RA position. If you already have an Honours or Master’s degree and are returning to study at a higher level next year then apply for an internship.

I’m in my second year of undergrad at university. Can I apply for an internship? Yes, but you’re unlikely to be seriously considered unless you will have completed 300 level microeconomics and econometrics by the time of the internship.

I will have a PhD by the end of the year. Am I eligible to apply for an RA position? RA positions are suited to early career economists who are not yet ready to conduct independent research. If you have a PhD, please apply for a Fellow/Senior Fellow position instead.

Can I work as an RA at Motu while I do my PhD? No. RAs assist Senior Fellows on specific projects for which the Senior Fellows have obtained funding and do not perform independent research.

What are the options for career progression from an RA position? We hope RAs will stay with Motu for two to four years, during which time they will learn a lot about how to conduct economic and policy research. By the end of four years RAs tend to have reached the limits of the position and we encourage them to move on to either PhDs or more senior positions at other organisations. Experience at Motu is excellent preparation for further study or many government positions. There are no direct career progression options within Motu--Fellows and Senior Fellows are required to hold PhDs.

Should I include a photo in my CV? It’s not going to make a difference to your application, but feel free to include a photo if you’d like.

Should I send documents other than the ones you ask for? You should include the application form, a cover letter, a CV, and your university transcripts. If you have letters of recommendation should you include those? Additional documents you send will not count against you, but neither will omitting them. We may ask for references if you reach the final stage. Feel free to include additional documents if they are pertinent. For example, you might want to send an essay you’ve written as part of your university coursework to demonstrate how well you write.

I’m a foreign student and I don’t currently have permission to work in New Zealand. Do I need to secure a work visa before I apply? No. If we decide to make you an offer we will help you to secure a visa.

How many applications do you get for these positions each year? We usually have more applicants we would love to hire than we do vacancies, so if we don’t make you an offer it doesn’t mean your application wasn’t good.