Postdoc Opportunity at Berkeley
Job Posted: 31 May 2019
Company:  UC Berkeley
Closing Date: Until Filled
Location: Berkeley, CA


The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley (IRLE) seeks an outstanding scholar to join an exciting new research initiative for the study of public work.
IRLE is an interdisciplinary institute at the University of California, Berkeley that connects world-class research with policy to improve workers’ lives, communities, and society.
IRLE has a strong track record of launching new research initiatives, including the
Opportunity Lab and the California Policy Lab. We are developing a new initiative focusing on work in the public sector. This initiative will build on existing IRLE and Berkeley expertise on the nature and quality of public work, including research on public pensions, teacher pay and shortages, training for early childhood educators, and diversity in the public workforce, and will become a prominent source of research and analysis on policy issues affecting the public sector workforce. The initiative will contribute to UC Berkeley’s strategic initiatives on Equality, Equity, and Opportunity and The Public University of the Future.

Please share this post widely with your colleagues and students who may be interested. Questions may be directed to IRLE's Associate Director Sara Hinkley ([email protected])
About the position

Under the direction of IRLE’s
Director and Associate Director
, the postdoctoral scholar will join an interdisciplinary and collaborative community dedicated to producing rigorous research that informs public debate.
S/he will work with IRLE’s research staff and affiliated faculty to develop a research agenda that explores multiple themes:

  • How changes in public spending have restructured the quality and availability of jobs in the public sector;
  • The impact of public employment on local and state economies;
  • The changing conditions of public employment: wages, working conditions, benefits, career opportunities, etc.
  • The role of public jobs as a pathway to equalizing opportunity for people of color, women, and the formerly incarcerated, among other groups;
  • The challenges facing specific sectors of the public workforce: e.g. teachers, homecare and medical workers, and public safety officers; and
  • Other related interests the scholar brings to this collaboration. 

We expect that in this initial year of the initiative, work will focus on:

  • The identification and creation of datasets (e.g. public union contracts and public employment data) that can be used by researchers;
  • Publishing a series of policy briefs on the above themes, including a series on the state of the California public workforce;
  • Convening an advisory group that brings together faculty and students to develop a long-range plan for the initiative;
  • Organizing a conference that explores the challenges of maintaining a quality public workforce in the face of rising inequality; and
  • Identifying sources of funding and developing grant proposals. 

The postdoctoral scholar will:

  • Conduct and publish independent research in core areas of the program’s mission;
  • Help develop research proposals;
  • Collaborate with IRLE researchers, faculty and graduate students on their own projects; and
  • Participate in strategic planning for the new initiative. 

This is a terrific opportunity for a scholar interested in research that impacts policy, the translation of research findings for public audiences, and the intersection of labor and employment with issues of public finance.
The desired start date is August 1, 2019. The fellowship is for one year, with the option to renew for a second year contingent on performance and funding.

Minimum Qualification (by the start date):

A doctorate in the following or related fields: economics, sociology, urban and regional planning, public policy, or geography.

 Preferred qualifications:

Experience directing research projects on labor and employment
Excellent writing skills, including demonstrated ability to communicate to a non-academic audience
Experience working on new programs
Experience supervising other researchers, ability to define and guide research projects executed by others

We are interested in candidates who will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education through their work. UC Berkeley offers excellent health and welfare packages, and has a number of policies and programs in place to support employees as they balance work and family.
Email IRLE Associate Director Sara Hinkley ([email protected]) for more information.