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User Researcher

Paper -

Full-time (Permanent)
£25,000 - £35,000
Published on
11 October 2021
6 November 2021

User research at Paper

Being a researcher at Paper is about having a deep understanding of the people who use services and what they’re trying to achieve. Our goal is to bring users and the people that need to learn from them as close together as we can.

It’s an exciting time to be a user researcher, it seems more and more people see the value in what we do but there is still more to do to define our specialism and advocate for it.

Good user research supports the teams we’re working with and the people who use the services we design. You’ll be championing evidence over assumptions, creating space for users to have a voice in the design process and spotting opportunities for the team to learn where there are blind spots.

What the job is

We’re interested in meeting people with different levels of experience. You don’t need to have “user researcher” on your CV to apply for this role. If you relate to the description above please consider applying, or having a chat with us before you do.

Our research teams have a range of capabilities and you’ll be working in a multidisciplinary team using a range of research methods and usually with a design team.

Core capabilities of a user researcher at Paper

Paper defines three levels of capability with all our specialisms and this role is open to:

  • Learners. You may be learning about the role and about the individual capabilities required.
  • Practitioners. You have existing experience in the role and are repeatedly practising individual capabilities.
  • Specialists. You’re refining and leading your expertise in this role and within individual capabilities.

You’ll need some of the following capabilities (with varying levels of learning, practising and specialising within each):

  • Understanding what your team needs from research
  • Choosing the right research methods and tools
  • Writing unbiased research questions
  • Facilitating research and keeping participants safe
  • Supporting other researchers in an observer role
  • Analysing research findings
  • Creating usable outputs to share with your own team and wider stakeholders

Nice to have experience

This experience isn’t necessary to apply for the role (and doesn’t apply to those learning) but do let us know if you have any experience with:

  • Central government or local authority
  • Planning research that will meet a client’s strategic goal(s)
  • Working with multidisciplinary teams which include design specialisms


You might have experience with different methodologies and you might feel that there are some methodologies you’re self conscious about not having experience of; don’t worry. At Paper we are most interested in the ability to assess each situation and come up with a research plan that’s going to be the most helpful. If that means learning a new way of doing things, great, we’ll support you.

Salary and benefits

We offer 25 days of holidays.

Salaries for the role start at £25,000 for those learning and increase to £35,000 for practising (depending on experience and capability). You also get a £1,200 annual training budget.

Parental leave

We also have what we believe is a leading parental leave policy which includes 3 months full pay during your parental leave.

We worked with Pregnant then Screwed and Gendering Change to design it to be inclusive and cover more than the standards set out by the government. We understand family is important and we want you to not feel under pressure at an important moment in your life.

You get time to work on research and development (R&D), and third sector

We encourage our team to experiment on project ideas which further our collective thinking. These might be things we don’t get to try on projects or an idea which you’ve been thinking about for a while. You can use the people and resources of Paper to develop that further.

In your contract you’ll be given protected time to work on things which aren’t billable (typically 1 day per week depending on projects). Our R&D pipeline has a wealth of opportunities to learn and experiment (and you can bring your own, and contractually you own those ideas), while our principles (2 and 3) encourage Paper to work on third sector projects too (which we invest in heavily, to diversify our opportunity to learn).

We encourage a flat structure and are self organised

We have 3 directors, who guide and represent Paper, but we don’t like to think of them as bosses. We don’t have a management team and everyone who works at Paper has shared responsibilities, a shared backlog (sales, tasks, marketing, ways of working etc) and is self organised.

We value how we treat people

One of our R&D projects developed a code of conduct to share how we expect to treat people, and how we expect to be treated. We created this to encourage diversity and inclusivity at Paper and with our clients.

We do sensible things

We’re a flexible employer, who understands life is more than just work. If you need to start work late, that’s cool. If you need to work from home, that’s cool too. What, there’s one day you need to work around in December because the bank holidays fall weird? We might as well just have the day off (unless you really do want something to do!).

Paper is designed to be a happy place to work, we’re not perfect but we work hard to improve things every day.

The past 18 months has shown we can work remotely. This position can be remote too, but we do still want to meet up as a team when it’s safe to do so at our studio in Sheffield. If you’re ok with some travel to Sheffield (and client sites when it’s safe and needed), but want to work remotely otherwise, this is for you.

Our studio has been created as a collaborative work space. From various spots to perch (sofa’s, high tops, hot desks or plug in to a monitor) to quiet spaces to work. It’s a space called Kollider which has a variety of facilities along with hip places to eat as we’re right above Kommune. It’s also a ten minute walk from the train station.

In addition to the studio our flexible working policy allows you to work where you are best placed. Whether that’s on a client site, at home, or from the studio, we encourage a healthy mix of environments.

Paper also does a lot of work with government organisations which require us to perform DBS checks for everyone who works for and with us. We often work with vulnerable people, children and schools and will perform an enhanced DBS check as a condition of any job offer we make you. If you have any concerns you can speak to us confidentially and without judgement.

What’s it like to work at Paper?

We work hard to make Paper a great place to work. We’re an honest and transparent group of people and are guided by our principles. We’re not here to be a bum on a seat, we’re here to make a difference. We’re not “yes people”. We’re realists and we work hard to make things the best they can be.

Diversity and opportunity

We are an equal opportunity employer and diversity is very important to us as a business both in the work we do and the people we work with. We encourage you to get in touch no matter what.

We’ve been working recently with Diverse & Equal and Dr Muna Abdi of MA Education Consultancy to get advice on how our organisation can think beyond our privileged understanding of personal and systemic racism and reflect on the biases we might have and display ourselves.

Our team attends anti-racism training to continue to learn about improving diversity in our industry.

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