Data Scientist

World Bank, Washington, United States

Skill Required:, IT and ICT
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
1st January, 2020

Job Description


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit
The Development Data Group provides technical expertise and helps mobilize resources for clients; it provides global public goods, including methods, standards, and tools for data work, and statistical indicators and datasets; and it delivers corporate services, supporting the Bank’s Data Council, the internal use and management of development data, and the provision of specialized knowledge to other Bank teams. It is the Bank’s interface to the international statistical and development data communities.


The selected candidate will work in the Sustainable Development Statistics team, situated in the Indicators & Services cluster of the Development Data Group.

This team manages various high-quality data outputs, including the World Development Indicators (arguably the leading cross-country database of its kind) and the World Bank’s data catalogue (the platform for sharing the Bank’s wider data assets with internal and external users). The team collects, curates and publishes reliable, high-quality statistics on demography, education, environment, finance and markets, gender, health, labor and employment, migration, poverty and inequality, and urbanization. Members of the Sustainable Development Statistics team are expected to develop a domain specialization in one or more of these areas of development (for this position, gender and labor).

It is also responsible for developing and maintaining several internal monitoring systems, for example the World Bank's monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Development data raises statistical challenges ranging from methodological ambiguity to uneven data quality. The team plays an important role in addressing these challenges, where possibleand where not, in accurately communicating them to end users. By shedding light on the methods and processes by which development data is compiled, we aim to improve the usefulness and accessibility of development data. The team also publishes innovative data-driven, visualization-centered stories on development issues, aimed at general audiences, via the World Development Indicators website, the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals and the World Bank’s Data Blog (the Bank’s most popular channel, with nearly one million readers each year).


The general duties of the position involve methodological research, data analysis and data communication (including visualization), with a particular focus on gender and labor statistics. In particular, the successful candidate will:

Methodology and analysis

Lead the team’s methodological work on gender and labor statistics, to improve quality and harmonization of the indicators, as well as contribute to effective dissemination of these indicators.Lead a new Data Letters initiative, a sequence of methodological notes, published several times each year, on approaches, quality issues, current practices and changes in development data.Contribute to the improvement of World Bank methodologies for curating development data, in particular the World Development Indicators (e.g. researching methods for handling missing data, outlier detection, and aggregation).Conduct research and analysis on the Bank’s classification of countries into income groups, which is used for analytical purposes and is broadly influential within the development community.Contribute to research on alternative data sources for development indicators (for example, satellite imagery or social media using machine learning)Contribute to systems for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty.

Data communication

Lead particular data visualization projects (such as the Atlas of the Sustainable Development Goals) using a range of data visualization tools to communicate data effectively.Participate in the editorial team for the World Development Indicators website and World Bank Data Blog.


Liaise with other World Bank departments to contribute towards the development and improvement of data methodology, and coordinate effective compilation and documentation of the data.Participate in the working groups that coordinate activities across various World Bank departments involved in gender and labor data, and generally data management.Attend certain international meetings relevant to the themes of gender and labor statistics.

Selection Criteria

Formal Requirements:

Master’s degree or PhD in economics, statistics, mathematics, or related socio-economic field (eg. public policy, demography, labor, public health) with a strong quantitative and computational background.Relevant professional experience in data collection or analysis linked to international development (at least five years of experience for candidates with a master’s degree).

Technical Requirements:

Experience in statistics, econometrics, development economics, and public economics. Familiarity with gender and labor economics is strongly preferred.Excellent working knowledge of modern statistics, scripting and programming languages such as STATA, R and Python and associated software libraries; demonstrated ability to implement advanced data analysis and data management tasks.Excellent working knowledge of data visualization tools and libraries such as R ggplot, R Shiny, D3 and Tableau. Knowledge of SQL and familiarity with management of data in enterprise environments is an advantage.Technical experience in various aspects of the data science pipeline; data acquisition, cleaning and management; curation; interpretation and analysis; and presentation and communication of results in an engaging and reproducible manner.

Soft Skills:

Analytical skills: ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze, interpret and integrate data/ information from varied sources into clear conclusions and recommendations; ability to be data quality conscious and detail oriented to identify key data issues, formulate options, and make recommendations.Communication skills: excellent oral, written and data presentation skills, including data visualization with ability to translate complex research findings into policy relevant language.Ability to produce quality work with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. ‘Self-starter: ability to take the initiative and work independently, to keep abreast of new developments in relevant fields and to identify opportunities for increasing the understanding and use of development data;Strong team work orientation, good interpersonal skills, and a proven ability to work effectively with a range of clients and colleagues.Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, development and data work.


Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – collaborates across organizational boundaries, internally and externally with a sense of mutuality and respect. Consistently engages others in open dialogue, brings out any conflicting viewpoints and incorporates viewpoints into solutions, giving credit where credit is due. Leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes. Makes choices and sets priorities with a World Bank Group (WBG) corporate perspective in mind.Lead and Innovate – encourages and works with others to identify, incubate and implement relevant solutions. Identifies opportunities in changing circumstances and energizes others to continuously improve, using intentional strategies to boost morale, team spirit, and productivity in context of WBG's values and mission. Helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context.Deliver Results for Clients – Develops and implements solutions that show understanding of how clients and/or own work achieves results that are financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. Shares new insights based on in-depth understanding of the client and recommends solutions for current and future needs of clients. Holds self and team accountable for risk management and outcomes.Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners. Is known across WBG in their subject area and is sought out by WBG colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to technical knowledge products of others. Builds networks across the WBG and as part of external professional groups/networks.Make Smart Decisions – applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG's strategy. Evaluates risk and anticipates the short- and long-term implications of decisions. Commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached. Maintains a high degree of initiative, and can derive and implement clear courses of action, even when information is incomplete, incorrect, or the situation is otherwise ambiguous.


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