Job Vacancy: Policy Manager, Labor Markets

Innovations for Poverty Action and J-PAL are looking to hire an experienced Policy Manager with a focus on Labor Markets to contribute to its mission of promoting evidence-informed policy.

The selected candidate will be based either at the office of J-PAL’s close partner organization, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Nairobi, Kenya or Lagos, Nigeria, or at the J-PAL Africa office in Cape Town, South Africa.

They will be willing to travel frequently to build partnerships across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Policy Manager will report to J-PAL’s Labor Markets sector Manager and depending on location, either the IPA Country Director or J-PAL Africa Associate Director of Policy.

The Jobs Initiative will provide targeted funding to generate rigorous research that addresses the world’s most pressing employment challenges, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Jobs Initiative will focus on evaluating the impact of programs related to training and matching, job creation, and the future of work.


As a Policy Manager, your primary tasks will involve partnership and project development, evidence dissemination, communications/writing, and event planning.

Partnership and project development:

  • Map and develop a deep understanding of key actors, policies, and programs related to employment policies in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa (with a focus on Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa).
  • Forge new connections and maintain strong relationships with key partners in government agencies, NGOs, foundations, and the private sector. Initiate and build partnerships to identify new opportunities for rigorous evaluation of labor market policies.
  • Build relationships with African universities and researchers to identify potential academic partnerships.

Evidence dissemination:

  • In close collaboration with IPA and the J-PAL Labor Markets sector, develop technical knowledge of the academic literature related to labor markets and job growth.
  • Raise the profile of IPA and J-PAL’s work throughout the region by presenting IPA and J-PAL’s work and research.

Communications / Writing:

  • Working with sector teams at IPA and J-PAL Global, create materials for policy outreach, including tailored evidence note presentations, policy briefs, as well as other high-level deliverables, as requested by IPA/J-PAL staff and affiliates.
  • Write blog posts and other materials to support outreach around IPA and J-PAL’s activities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Event planning:

  • Organize convenings with key partners in government agencies, NGOs, foundations, academia, and the private sector designed to spur new research collaborations and share policy lessons from completed research.


  • Additional tasks, projects, and areas of work may be added as needed.
  • This position will require travel within sub-Saharan Africa, and occasionally to the United States.


Your technical expertise, strong communication and organizational skills, passion for translating research into action, and interest in poverty reduction and development make you an ideal candidate for this role.

  • A Master’s degree in economics, public policy, or a closely related field, including coursework in microeconomics, econometrics, and development economics.
  • 4 or more years of relevant and substantial work experience, including work related to impact evaluations and evidence-informed policymaking in sub-Saharan Africa. You have a successful track record of identifying opportunities, developing and managing external partnerships, and relevant experience in communication and development.
  • Strong project management skills, preferably including Salesforce and Asana and understand how to write and manage budgets.
  • Excellent written and oral communication in English and an excellent command of Excel, word and PowerPoint. Experience running or interpreting randomized evaluations is desirable but not required.
  • Detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills; understand how to communicate policy lessons from technical academic research in ways that policymakers and practitioners understand.
  • Precise, clear, creative and adept at managing relationships across countries and time zones.
  • Strategic thinker and can handle multiple projects at once with little supervision, meet deadlines while conducting high-quality work, and effectively manage time.
  • Love learning and passionate about international development policy and the rigorous research that informs it.
  • Self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams. You are able and willing to travel frequently across the continent.

Application Instructions

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application.

After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Policy Manager, Labor Markets”.

Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application.

Fill out this Google Form and include the PDF in the relevant field and create a single PDF with the filename “PM_Labor_Lastname_Firstname” that includes:

  • One-page cover letter stating: (i) Why you’re interested and (ii) Why you’re qualified
  • Curriculum vitae or resume (no more than two pages)
  • Transcripts of your undergraduate and graduate courses (unofficial transcripts accepted)

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Deadline to apply: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until position is filled

Desired start date: ASAP

About IPA: Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it.

IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.