Research assistant on big data analytics (6 months)

Closing date is 31 October, 2018, 23:59 GMT+2

This vacancy is now closed.

Station: National Treasury, Pretoria, South Africa.

UNU-WIDER is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to contribute to the SA-TIED programme. 

The Research Assistant will assist the Research Associate for the Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development programme (SA-TIED).

About the Work

The recent availability of tax administrative and other micro-data on enterprises and jobs in South Africa provides a valuable resource for policy-relevant academic research. This allows for a deeper understanding of the functioning of the private sector, the labour market, and public revenue mobilization. The goal is to create well-documented longitudinal datasets with key variables that can be augmented with research topic-specific variables. This serves as the basis for programme research that requires micro-level administrative data.

For this project, you will join researchers from the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa (NT), and the South African Revenue Service (SARS), to build and expand the tax administrative and other micro-data available for research efforts in South Africa. This work is based on the understanding that policies that promote development need to be built on reliable facts. You will help to provide these facts through your work with the administrative tax datasets at the National Treasury.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Retrieve, clean, and process data in SQL and Stata
  • Maintain the data and resolve errors in the extraction and data-cleaning process
  • Assist in drafting, reviewing, and revising documentation related to the data
  • Assist in research efforts (analyse existing data, surveys, reports, technical journals, and other media)
  • Actively participate in meetings related to the position
  • Other duties as requested by your supervisor


  • Valid work permit for South Africa
  • BSc degree (economics, statistics, geoinformatics, data science or equivalent)
  • Currently enrolled in or clear intention to enrol for an MSc degree
  • Excellent skills in statistical software (STATA) and SQL, knowledge of R and ArcGIS is an advantage
  • Excellent analytical and drafting skills
  • Fluent in oral and written English
  • Knowledge about productivity growth, the personal income tax curve, and empirical economics will be considered an asset


The Research Assistant will be issued a six-month consultancy contract with UNU-WIDER. The Research Assistant will receive a lump sum of US$1,000 per month to supplement living expenses while stationed in Pretoria/Johannesburg, South Africa. No extra payments for housing or living expenses will be made. Pre-approved project-related costs will be covered by the project.

Application should include

  • short personal statement/description (max. 1 page)
  • curriculum vitae
  • copies of diplomas

The application must be submitted electronically. Deadline for applications is 31 October 2018 at 17:00 (GMT +2). Interviews will be held as quickly as possible thereafter.

The position is open from 1 January 2018, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Apply here.

Further questions should be addressed to