Think Tanks

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Think Tank Jobs

Because you are so good at arguments and love to research problems and issues, your friends are encouraging you to look at jobs with “Think Tanks”. You think they might be on to something but you have no idea how to proceed.

What is a Think Tank?

In general a “think tank” is a company or non-profit organization that engages in research and advocacy for any issues that impact people’s lives particularly in the sphere of social problems and issues. Some are into social policy and law, others might do research on the look of future society and how to influence its coming into being, or other aspects of science, technology or culture.

Think tanks in Calgary can get their funding from individuals, from the Canadian government, from corporations and from special interest groups. These non-governmental organizations are often called policy institutes or research institutes as well. People who work for them are almost always committed to the cause of the think tank.

Skills Needed

Think Tanks hire people with a variety of skills, but all of them lend themselves to the business of research and persuasion. They include the researcher, the analyst, writers, editors, consultants, speakers, and legislative aids. You might do all of these things in one job or only one of them depending upon the size, structure and funding of the organization.

Most think tanks require degrees and credentials for full time positions but they often hire interns as well. It is a very good training experience to see if this is the kind of work you would want to do. Whether degreed or not, excellent written and oral communication skills are needed to work in this field.

The best degree subjects for think tank jobs include public policy, public relations, international relations, gender studies, education, international business relations, economics or any of the other social sciences.

Types of Job

There are various types of think tanks and the jobs that are within each of them vary by their structure and interest. Think tanks can be formed along the following grounds:

  • Corporation or business think tanks.
  • Global think tanks
  • Regional think tanks
  • Political party think tanks
  • Non-profit ideological and philosophical think tanks.
  • Policy research institutes are usually affiliated with universities
  • Personal think tanks
  • Government think tanks such as The Institute for National Strategic Studies.


If this is a field of interest for you there are plenty of think tanks in Canada and even more around the world. Of all the think tanks that exist today, more than half have been formed since the 1980’s and there is no reason to believe there will not be a lot more in the future.