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Policy Analyst

Policy analysts conduct research to identify emerging issues, develop policy and advocacy initiatives, and determine policy positions and solutions.

  • Avg. Salary $55,368.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.54
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 3,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Policy Advisor, Policy Consultant, Program Officer, Research Analyst, Research Officer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Science Policy and Program Officers (4161.4);  Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts (4162);  Social Policy Researchers (4164.1);  Housing Policy Analysts (4164.3);  Health Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (4165);  Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (4166);  Recreation, Sports and Fitness Policy Analysts (4167.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts (E032);  Health Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (E039);  Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (E035);  Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants (E036) 
  • 2011 NOC: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts (4162);  Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4165);  Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4166);  Recreation, sports and fitness policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4167) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

12%
12%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Policy Analyst is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Science Policy and Program Officers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to conduct research and to develop policies and programs in the natural and applied science fields

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise governments on policies related to scientific field

METHODICAL

Interest in administering programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts
INNOVATIVE

Interest in conducting research and developing models to analyze, explain and forecast economic behaviour and patterns; in devising methods to collect and analyze data; and in studying the nature of money, credit and credit instruments, and the operations of banks and other financial institutions in order to develop monetary policies and forecasts of financial activity

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to monitor economic data and regional and local economic trend; to forecast the production and consumption of renewable resources and supply, consumption and depletion of non-renewable resources; to forecast production and consumption of specific products and services based on records of past production and consumption and general economic and industry-specific conditions; and to prepare forecasts of income and expenditure, interest rates and exchange rates

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise government agencies on policies to increase economic activities; in conducting research on market conditions in local, regional and national areas to set sales and pricing levels for goods and services, and to assess market potential and future trends

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Social Policy Researchers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to develop programs, legislation and proposals based on analyses, and to evaluate pilot projects

DIRECTIVE

Interest in implementing and administering social programs and projects

SOCIAL

Interest in consulting with government officials to advise on social policy issues

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Housing Policy Analysts
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to assess economic, demographic and social trends for the development of housing policies

DIRECTIVE

Interest in administering and implementing housing programs

SOCIAL

Interest in consulting to report on the implications of economic, demographic and social developments for housing policies

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Health Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in producing newsletters, magazines and other documents to provide information to members of associations and organizations, and to the public; and in designing health projects and programs

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to maintain, update and manage health care information databases, to assess compliance to health standards and identify remedial action if necessary, and to conduct evaluations and assessments of health projects and programs

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting with clients in private organizations, and government departments and agencies; in providing advice to senior managers and officials on issues such as health promotion, regulations, standards and financing; and in implementing health projects and programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Education Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in conducting research, developing the structure, content and objectives of new programs, and creating teaching materials and other resources for program delivery

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to conduct statistical analyses; and in administering educational policies and programs; may administer specialized testing and assessment programs

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to provide ongoing professional development and training to teachers; may supervise the work of other policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Recreation, Sports and Fitness Policy Analysts
SOCIAL

Interest in consulting with governments and organizations involved in recreation, sports and fitness to conduct research and write policies

DIRECTIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to develop policies

INNOVATIVE

Interest in conducting background research and analyses to develop recreational, sports and fitness policies

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Policy analysts review and analyze political and social events, raise public awareness of issues and shape government or organizational policy. They may specialize in areas such as: education, health, national defence, public finance, international trade, industrial organization, international relations, energy, environment, labour, urban and regional development or agriculture.

Duties vary from one job to another depending on the employer and policy area. However, in general, policy analysts:

  • maintain, update and manage databases
  • assist in the preparation of strategic and operational plans
  • gather and analyze statistical information and write reports
  • review, analyze and advise on federal and provincial legislation, regulations and policies
  • distribute program and policy information 
  • engage with stakeholders and steward committees to get their input in the identification, scoping and development of policy and advocacy initiatives 
  • research and write policies for an organization
  • monitor trends and emerging issues.

In government settings, policy analysts:

  • perform cost-benefit analyses to determine ideal policy positions or initiatives and recommend how tax dollars should be spent to maximize the benefits to taxpayers
  • study policies and programs to assess the need for policy change and, if required, explore potential alternatives
  • monitor social and political trends and policies, and their impact on the economy or population.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Policy analysts typically work regular business hours in an office setting. They may be required to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines, attend meetings and complete reports. Policy analysts sometimes travel to attend conferences and meetings.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Policy analysts need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to think logically and analyze complex problems
  • the ability to use plain language to express complex ideas, in person and on paper
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail
  • strong data, statistical, economical analysis skills
  • strong interpersonal skills and enjoy collaborating with others
  • an interest in current events.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Some entry-level policy analyst positions may require only a bachelor's degree, but professional advancement often requires a master's or doctoral degree. A wide range of majors can prepare a person for a career as a policy analyst, but common fields of study include political science, sociology, economics, law, public policy and international relations. A security background check may be required to work in this occupation.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Concordia University of Edmonton

University of Victoria - Victoria

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Policy analysts may work for:

  • government departments and agencies
  • research institutions, such as universities
  • policy think-tanks
  • consulting firms
  • regional economic development partnerships.

Experienced policy analysts may advance to management positions, such as senior managers or directors.

In Alberta, policy analysts are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications:

  • 4161: Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers
  • 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts
  • 4164: Social policy researchers, consultants and program officers
  • 4165: Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers
  • 4166: Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers
  • 4167: Recreation, sports and fitness policy researchers, consultants and program officers.

78% of people employed in the Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group work in the following industries:

77% of people employed in the Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts occupational group work in the following industries:

76% of people employed in the Social policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group work in the following industries:

79% of people employed in the Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group work in the following industries:

79% of people employed in the Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group work in the following industries:

83% of people employed in the Recreation, sports and fitness policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,900 Albertans are employed in the Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 59 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Over 3,500 Albertans are employed in the Social policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 39 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Over 2,000 Albertans are employed in the Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 58 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Over 1,600 Albertans are employed in the Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 21 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Over 2,100 Albertans are employed in the Recreation, sports and fitness program supervisors and consultants occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 40 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Note: As policy analysts form only a part of the larger occupational groups on which this occupational forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for policy analysts. Forecast information is not available for the other related occupational groups.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016
Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.12 $60.58 $40.42 $38.43
Overall $35.92 $74.31 $48.46 $47.73
Top $41.04 $79.65 $54.07 $50.38

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

30%
30%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

12%
12%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

1%
1%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.96 $44.96 $34.09 $33.32
Overall $30.36 $55.66 $41.81 $39.25
Top $32.20 $62.50 $49.55 $48.64

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Construction
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

42%
42%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

1%
1%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Education policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.54 $53.42 $32.06 $30.27
Overall $20.07 $64.25 $40.17 $42.08
Top $22.54 $75.60 $48.86 $52.36

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Educational Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

47%
47%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

5%
5%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

1%
1%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Recreation, sports and fitness policy researchers, consultants and program officers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.50 $42.62 $28.74 $27.04
Overall $17.05 $52.36 $33.54 $30.20
Top $19.13 $53.57 $38.00 $40.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

47%
47%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

13%
13%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) website: www.aamdc.com

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) website: www.appam.org

Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) website: www.ipac.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 26, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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