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  • » Senior Researcher, Qualitative Focus

Senior Researcher, Qualitative Focus

Status: Full time, exempt
Location: We currently work remotely. We anticipate returning to an SF East Bay office in late summer where staff will work in-person at least 1 day per week.


California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy aims to solve the state’s thorny social and economic problems by conducting rigorous higher education and workforce policy research. Through our research, we guide decision makers in developing and implementing policies that bolster equity so every Californian can engage, contribute, and succeed. We envision a California where our state and regional economies and communities thrive, fueled by equitable and racially just postsecondary and workforce outcomes. California Competes benefits from the expertise of our highly respected, bipartisan Leadership Council, which comprises current and former public officials, business executives, and community leaders from across the state.

Our diverse staff brings decades of experience in higher education and public policy. We work statewide and travel across the country to research and advocate for a higher education system that provides opportunities for all Californians.

With an organizational budget of approximately $1M annually, California Competes is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners. For more information, please visit


Reporting to our Executive Director, the Senior Researcher will be one of our in-house research experts, designing and managing research projects, gathering and analyzing data, preparing research reports, developing presentations, and collaborating with partner organizations. The role requires someone whose passion for answering critical research questions using rigorous research methods is matched by a deep interest in higher education and workforce policy. To join our team the successful candidate will need to be wildly curious, self-directed, and a team player.


  • Collaborate with Executive Director and other senior researcher to develop and implement the organization’s research agenda
  • Manage large and often complex research projects that may involve other organizations
  • Design and lead qualitative research projects, including:
    • identifying appropriate research method to address research question at hand
    • managing research teams
    • developing and administering surveys
    • developing focus group and interview protocols
    • recruiting research participants
  • Conduct qualitative research analysis, including:
    • conducting fieldwork, including focus groups and interviews
    • rigorously analyzing qualitative data, including qualitative survey data, interview and focus group transcripts, primary and secondary documents
  • Develop, in partnership with the team, reports, briefs, presentations, and proposals
  • Conduct literature reviews and syntheses
  • Interact with collaborators and project partners to identify research opportunities and to evaluate the policy implications of findings
  • Develop strong working relationships with institutional researchers for the UC, CSU, and CCC systems
  • Develop data documentation manuals or other learning materials, as needed
  • Guide and work collaboratively with the team
  • Manage and guide work of other staff, contractors, interns, and graduate student researchers,
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

Relevant education, experience, and knowledge

  • Master’s degree in Sociology, Education, Public Policy, or closely related field with qualitative research training and 10 years of work experience; or PhD in Sociology, Education, Public Policy, or closely related field with qualitative research training.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of current issues in higher education policy
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including presenting complex findings to lay audiences

Research expertise

  • Demonstrated expertise in designing and leading research projects
  • Demonstrated expertise in qualitative research analysis
  • Demonstrated experience in reporting qualitative findings and producing research reports

Racial and social justice orientation

  • Recognizes ways that race and ethnicity, gender, and other identities intersect in postsecondary access and success
  • Understands the historical context for racial inequity and its present-day implications, and is driven to make creative and concrete changes through advancing systemic change through strategic communications
  • Deeply believes that racial equity and social justice are important and is comfortable communicating about race and ethnicity, gender, and other identities in plain (non-euphemistic) and specific terms
  • Able to hear, reflect, and act on feedback regarding identity and equity with the aim to learn

Work orientation

  • Creative, intellectually-curious self-starter with a strong work ethic, high standards, integrity, and a commitment to excellence
  • Demonstrated ability to multitask, meet deadlines, and manage time well
  • Demonstrated professional level of attention to detail and accuracy of work
  • A team player with a diplomatic, professional manner, and a sense of humor

Additional Desired Qualifications

Ideal candidates will also have knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Workforce development issues, particularly in employment and training efforts targeted towards underserved populations
  • Ability to lead or support quantitative research projects


  • Full-time, exempt position
  • Starting salary range is $100,000-130,000, depending on education and experience
  • Medical, dental, and vision benefits; voluntary 403(b) plan

Application Process

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to with “Senior Researcher” in the subject line. Review of candidates will begin May 31, 2022 , but we will continue to review applications until position is filled.

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