Research Assistant at Bank of England

Top Employer
Placement Year (10 Months+)
London Central London and City
Review Date
£18,000 - £19,999

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Bank of England is a Top Employer


The Role



The Role

Role Description

Assist economists with inflation and labour market forecasts.

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

I enjoyed aspects of the placement. The work was at times interesting and rewarding but far too often repetitive and dull. The vast majority of my time was spent on excel spreadsheets, which became tedious. The people made the placement for me. I made some good friends who kept the job enjoyable.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

The extent to which I felt valued varied by colleague. A few members of staff took advantage of the fact that I was the least experienced and least authoritative member of the team by trying to delegate unnecessary work to me. Others made me feel like an invaluable member of the team. I think this is going to be the case where ever I work, but the Bank certainly has people who treat you like a valued member of the team despite your youth and inexperience.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

Support and guidance is available at the Bank to those who ask for it. I have never been rebuffed by a colleague when I've asked for help, and I feel that I asked a lot of questions, especially during my first few months. The only issue with this is that I was not pushed to challenge myself. Colleagues tended to leave me to my own devices unless I actively sought out work. My manager was really supportive when I had any issues with other members of the team.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

The job involved a mixture of very busy periods and very quiet periods, with few days being in between. I would tend to have two very busy weeks, followed by two very quiet weeks. In my first 6 months, the routine tasks took a lot longer and I was therefore busier. As I got better at the day to day stuff, I found myself having a lot more spare time which I had to find work to fill. If I hadn't have used my initiative and designed projects to do during the spare time, I would've been bored. Though the idea of being busy every day with routine tasks is not appealing.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I was given a surprisingly large amount of responsibility very early on during my placement. A large part of my team's work involved producing work for the Monetary Policy Committee, and I was fully involved in this from the outset. Whether it be creating charts in presentations or updating them with the latest inflation forecast, I was given important work from very early on. I was also responsible for managing the handover period with my successor towards the end of my placement, whilst also managing a couple of secondees to the team throughout the year.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The area in which I developed skills the most was probably in Microsoft excel. Though I doubt I'll use them much during my final year studies, excel skills are very valuable and I'm sure I will need them in my future career. The most useful skills I developed were personal skills, like maturity, confidence, problem solving and networking. I feel like I've learnt how to act in an office environment in order to get the best out of myself and colleagues. I'm much more confident talking to strangers and enjoy working through problems, which will stand me in good stead.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

The atmosphere was very relaxed. It was almost completely silent quite often, which I didn't like. I preferred the office when people were casually talking to each other - it keeps things a bit more interesting. The atmosphere did get quite stressful during the busier times, and some colleagues did get on my nerves at times, but generally it was a pleasant environment.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

I was pleased with the level of organisation during the placement. It started with a month- long handover period with my predecessor, which was vital to me settling down quickly and learning my role. We had a Three day induction from human resources, which was reasonably well organised, though slightly too long for me. The rest of the year was down to me to organise, though I did get some help doing that from my manager.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

The company provided lots of opportunities for me to develop my skills. There were plenty of training courses available, ranging from technical skills like excel, word and programming software like Matlab and stata. The month long handover period at the start of the placement was the key to my development - it would've taken many more months to learn the job had I been on my own from the beginning.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Subsidised/Company Gym
  • Financial Bonus
  • Working from home
  • Travel loan

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

The future employment prospects at the bank would be great if I wanted to pursue a career in economics. I decided fairly early on that the bank wasn't for me, and so I did not apply for the graduate scheme. I believe that if I was interested in pursuing that type of career, then the bank would be a great place to do so. A placement is a great foundation to move onto a more senior role at the bank, and there are some great perks to the grad scheme, but it wasn't for me.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There were roughly 35 placement students, so there was a good sized group who often organised social events. I was restricted slightly in that I had to commute from about 40 miles away, so I didn't make any social events On weekends and often had to skip some on weekdays. There were fewer opportunities to go for drinks with the team - this kind of thing isn't that popular amongst the older staff at the bank, but those social events we did do were fun.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

I lived in High Wycome, so it took me an hour and a half each way to Commute. That cost of living wasn't an issue as I was living with parents, but I had to buy an annual train ticket which cost over £4000. The bank did provide me with a loan for this though, which was ideal. I did find that the extent to which I could socialise suffered a lot because of the distance, and living with parents again after the independence of uni was a real struggle.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

The nightlife in central London is obviously very good. There are countless pubs near the Bank, many of which are quite grand and fun to visits. You have to go a bit further out to find decent nightclubs, but obviously the transport links make that very easy. The only down side is the fact that drinks are often extortionately expensive (and still very expensive otherwise), so a night out takes a big chunk out of the public sector paycheque.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

There were plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. The bank has a sports club with tennis courts, football pitches, a cricket pitch and other facilities, as well as a gym in the bank itself. The only downside is that the sports club is quite far from central London, in Roehampton, so I didn't take advantage of the facilities. The bank also offers volunteering schemes such as teaching maths to children in local schools.