Vacancy: Design researcher / Service designer

We’re looking for a new mid-level design researcher or service designer to join our team at Shift. Read on to find out who we’re looking for.

*Please note that we’ve published this job ad twice under two different job titles – Design Researcher and Service Designer. This is to further our recruitment reach and because we don’t want anyone to be turned off by a specific job title. If you’re applying for this role, you only need to fill in one of the two to be considered.

Key role information

  • Salary: £38,000 – £45,000
  • Full time (we’re up for discussing part time options too)
  • Level: Mid-level
  • Location: Our Farringdon office (Tues, Weds, Thurs), Remote/from home (Mon, Fri)
  • Application deadline: Thursday 30 June 2022
  • Apply via Workable


About Shift

We’re a social innovation charity with a team of 12 researchers, strategists and designers. We exist to help charities and purpose-led organisations strengthen and sustain their social impact. We do this in three ways – helping partners to make things that work, helping partners to unpick problems and find where to focus, and helping partners to build design mindsets and skills. Our work is centred around areas deeply affected by inequality – including mental health, money, work and funding. Check out our work and focus for the future.

We work differently

Working at Shift is different to working at other places. To give you a taster – we don’t do line management, every team member runs their own reviews and our salaries are transparent. Two years ago we made a decision to experiment with ways of operating and organising that push against the norm. We’ve learned loads and will continue to adapt – you can read about our journey to a flatter, roles-based, leaderful organisation here. You’ll love Shift if you’re no ego, kind, collaborative, hardworking and willing to ask for help when you want it.


About the role

We expect that your first 6 months will be spent working on two projects. One of which will be our Growth Impact Fund project – a new initiative focussed on funding underrepresented founders of social businesses, e.g. those that are women-led, black-led and LGBTQ-led. We are working on this in partnership with UnLtd and Big Issue Invest.

Your role on the project will be to work with the core Shift team and our partners to create plans for research and continuous learning using a range of different research, design and learning methods.

Your role on the project will be to:

  • Map out the user journey of social entrepreneurs/founders and identify pain points or successful approaches that can be replicated in the wider sector
  • Deliver workshops with local partners to test messaging and outreach approaches
  • Conduct qualitative interviews with social entrepreneurs and delivery staff
  • Do observation studies of fund committees to understand how decisions are being made
  • Create online surveys for applicants to the Growth Impact Fund
  • Facilitate workshops with the Growth Impact Fund team to reflect on what is and isn’t working
  • Design simple tools and techniques and help to capture learning about what is and isn’t working within day-to-day work
  • Respond to emerging insights and needs of the fund

All of this learning activity will support the Growth Impact Fund team to translate learning into feasible improvements in real time. You’ll also be analysing research and learning data from multiple methods and producing clear, evidence-based reports, creative outputs and ‘packaged’ tools or resources to share more widely in the sector.


What we’re looking for in our new hire

We strive for diversity in our team. We believe in order to be innovative, our team must be representative and inclusive. We’re keen to receive applications from people of all backgrounds, all ages, and all types of formal or informal education. We particularly welcome applications from people with disabilities, Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds, LGBTQIA and from different socio-economic and/ or educational backgrounds.

All applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

Must-have experience

  • You have three or more years’ experience working in a role focused on research, learning, service design or continuous improvement (we don’t mind what your job title has been before)
  • You have experience in all stages of scoping, planning and delivering end-to-end research, learning or improvement projects
  • You have a depth of experience in two of: qualitative interviews, observations, survey design, assumption testing, focus groups
  • You have experience conducting analysis of different types of data (e.g. interview data, survey data) and using this to present back actionable insights or improvement opportunities
  • You have experience facilitating groups or workshops, for example, to generate insights based on data collected, to have reflective or learning focused conversations or to co-design solutions to identified challenges
  • You can self-manage (this means managing your own deadlines and planning your own learning and development)
  • You have experience working with under-represented groups (underrepresented groups are groups of individuals with characteristics outlined in, but not exclusive to, the Equality Act 2010)

Bonus points for any of these (*although not essential)

  • Experience working in an agency, consultancy or client-facing role
  • Experience working with product, service or innovation designers
  • Experience in quantitative data analysis, desk research, literature reviews, developing impact frameworks or running rapid prototyping/experimentation
  • Experience working with social businesses or knowledge of how social businesses get funded
  • Experience setting up and supporting others to run research activities and to surface ongoing learning


What we offer

  • You’ll get 25 days annual leave, 8 bank holidays, an additional day for each year at Shift, and discretionary bonus leave over the Christmas period
  • Work from home on Mondays and Fridays
  • Access to childcare vouchers
  • A bike to work scheme
  • Matched pension contribution up to 4%
  • We support you with an onboarding buddy when you join to get you started (remember because we don’t do line management)


How to apply

You can apply for the role using this link. You’ll be asked to answer three questions about your previous experience in line with our ‘must-haves’ for the role and include a CV.


  • Application deadline: 30 June by midnight (we won’t consider applications submitted after this time)
  • Shortlisting: 1 July
  • First round interviews: 6 and 7 July
  • Second round interviews: 13 and 14 July
  • Candidate selected: 18 July
  • Ideal start: Mid-August (we can be flexible with this)

Interviews will normally run between 9am-6pm, but if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours.