Policy analysts gather and analyse information to assist in the planning, development, interpretation and review of government or industrial policies.
Policy analysts usually earn
$68K-$116K per year
Policy analysts working as principal advisors usually earn
$132K-$155K per year
Source: Public Service Commission, 2022.
Pay for policy analysts varies depending on experience, responsibility, and the organisation they work for.
Pay for policy analysts working for the public service:
- policy analysts usually earn between $68,000 and $85,000 a year.
- senior policy analysts usually earn between $102,000 and $116,000
- principal advisors usually earn between $132,000 and $155,000.
Policy analysts working in the private sector may earn a higher salary, particularly when working in an economic or financial role with the right qualifications.
Source: careers.govt.nz research and Te Kawa Mataaoho Public Service Commission, July 2022.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Policy analysts may do some or all of the following:
- identify issues (such as ethical, legal or political problems) to research and analyse
- develop, interpret and review existing policies and legislation
- consult and collaborate with interested parties
- provide advice and recommendations to senior management and government
- prepare speeches, correspondence and Cabinet papers for ministers
- write and present reports.
Skills and knowledge
Policy analysts need to have:
- knowledge of political, economic, social and cultural aspects of New Zealand life
- an understanding of how parliament operates and government policy is developed
- knowledge of legislative processes and the Treaty of Waitangi
- knowledge of research methods.
- usually work regular business hours
- work in offices
- may travel domestically to do research or attend meetings and conferences.
To become a policy analyst you usually need to have a Bachelor's degree. Employers will normally consider graduates from a variety of subject areas such as:
- public policy
- social science
- resource management
Employers often prefer candidates to have completed a postgraduate qualification.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include history and classical studies, economics, te reo Māori, geography, social studies, maths and English.
Policy analysts need to be:
- perceptive and inquisitive
- strong communicators
- able to work well in a team
- good planners and problem solvers
- motivated, enquiring and patient
- skilled in analysing and interpreting information
- able to work well under pressure, as they need to meet deadlines.
Useful experience for policy analysts includes:
- building and maintaining relationships with clients
- research and interpreting statistics
- community work
- work in a government agency.
What are the chances of getting a job?
Job opportunities for graduate policy analysts average
Chances of getting work as a policy analyst are average for graduates due to high competition for roles at entry-level.
Graduates may increase their chances of getting a job by gaining experience through internships or voluntary work.
According to the Census, 7,353 policy analysts worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Strong demand for experienced policy analysts
Chances are good for experienced policy analysts due to high turnover, which means vacancies arise regularly. Policy analysts often shift:
- to another part of the public sector, to gain experience
- into the private sector, where they can earn more money.
Most policy analysts employed by government
Most policy analysts work for government departments and organisations, but other employers include:
- local authorities (city and district councils)
- private companies
- unions, community organisations and business or interest groups such as Federated Farmers.
- Hipkins, C, Hon, 'Government to Reduce Reliance on Consultants', June 2018, (www.beehive.govt.nz).
- Law, N, policy manager, Department of Internal Affairs, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2018.
- Sochor, R, talent adviser, The Treasury, careers.govt.nz interview, July 2018.
- State Services Commission, 'Public Service Workforce Data', December 2017, (www.ssc.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ. '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- van de Merwe, P, senior adviser, talent acquisition, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2018.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Policy analysts may start off in junior positions before progressing to more senior or management roles. They may also move between the private and public sectors.
Last updated 28 July 2022