Shift is hiring!



The Shift Project Research Fellow Opportunity


About the Position

Professors Daniel Schneider (Harvard Kennedy School) and Kristen Harknett (University of California, San Francisco) are recruiting up to two full-time predoctoral research fellows to start in summer 2023. The fellows will support and collaborate on survey data collection from frontline retail and food-service employees, assist with data cleaning and analysis, and contribute to research reports and papers.

The successful applicants will receive mentoring from faculty within a tight-knit research community at the Wiener Center and access to a broad range of activities at Harvard. Prior Fellows at the Malcolm Wiener Center have gone on to attend PhD programs in Sociology, Economics, Labor Studies, and Public Policy.

This position is based at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, MA. Appointment terms for Fellows are for one year with the strong potential for a second-year renewal. Preference will be given to applicants who have availability to work for two years.

This is a hybrid position based on our campus in Cambridge, MA.  As a campus-based institution, we place a high value on the in-person experience, cross-team collaboration, and strong community building in order to create a vibrant campus for our students, faculty, staff, and research fellows. The position is required to work in-person on campus a minimum of four days per week during the academic year.


About The Shift Project

The Shift Project is led by Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett and based at the Harvard Kennedy School. Since 2016, The Shift Project has collected original survey data from service-sector workers across the United States in order to understand the contours, causes, and consequences of precarious work in the United States, with a particular focus on unstable and unpredictable work schedules.

The Shift Project employs an innovative recruitment method using online advertisements to target workers at specific large firms. Shift’s unique dataset comprises over 200,000 responses and includes measures on overall job quality, work-family conflict, financial security, and respondent health, which we use to monitor workforce management practices at the largest service-sector companies, to evaluate state and local laws, and to capture spillover effects of precarious employment on workers and their families. These data have been used in journal publications, research briefs, and policy evaluation. Shift’s recent policy-relevant work includes documenting access to paid sick leave for front-line workers and COVID-19-related workplace health and safety procedures.


About the Wiener Center

The Malcolm Wiener Center is a vibrant intellectual community of faculty, Master’s and PhD students, researchers, fellows, and administrative staff whose mission is to address pressing public policy questions through academic research, teaching and policy outreach. The work of the Center covers the domains of health care, human services, criminal justice, labor markets, education and political and economic inequality. The Wiener Center addresses pressing questions in these areas by carrying out research on important public policy issues, educating the next generation of academics and policy scholars, and ensuring that research and education are closely tied to and draw from policy and practice.


  • Assist with survey data collection by preparing online survey instruments, facilitating survey recruitment, and processing survey data
  • Conduct statistical analyses of data using Stata and R
  • Prepare literature reviews, background research, and other content for grant proposals and academic papers
  • Draft project reports, research briefs, and other project documents




  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Sociology, Public Policy, Economics, or related field
  • Outstanding organizational and time management skills
  • Prior experience as a research assistant or fellow in sociology, labor studies, public policy, or economics
  • Proficiency programming in Stata and R
  • Distinguished academic record
  • Significant interest in labor studies, public policy, and sociological research
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Proficiency programming in Python
  • Experience using Adobe InDesign
  • Experience with citation management software, preferably Zotero
  • Prior experience as a retail or food-service worker


How to Apply

Send an email to with the subject line “Shift Project Fellow Application” followed by your first and last name (e.g., “Shift Project Fellow Application – Jane Doe”).

Attach the following documents as a single PDF:

  • CV/Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Official or unofficial transcripts for all degrees earned or underway
  • An excerpt from a single-authored academic writing sample (no more than 5 pages in length)
  • Brief coding sample in Stata
  • Contact information for three academic or professional references


Compensation and Benefits
  • Wiener Center Fellows receive a competitive salary and are eligible for Harvard University’s partially subsidized healthcare options from which an individual can enroll in and purchase a medical insurance plan. Fellows are also able to take advantage of a broad array of activities at Harvard including academic seminars, forums,networking opportunities and special The project will fund an opportunity to take an online course during the first year. Fellows can also enroll in one Harvard Extension School class per academic year.
  • Professor Schneider and Professor Harknett value having a diverse research team and encourage applicationsfrom individuals from women, people of color and from other groups which historically have beenunderrepresented in the field of economics, labor studies, and sociology.
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and will not be considered complete until all elements are received. The final application deadline is March 6, 2023. Applicants selected to move forward in the recruitmentprocess may be required to complete a technical exercise and participate in multiple interviews.