Emma Pollard


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Principal Research Fellow


+44(0)1273 763 446

Emma joined the Institute in 1996. During her time at IES she has worked for a wide range of clients including employers, educational establishments and policy bodies; and has a solid grounding in both policy-focused research and consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience of researching education and employment issues and now leads the Institute's work on higher education (HE). Her key research interests include student choices and decisions about undergraduate and postgraduate study, diversity in students' HE experiences including the experiences of minority groups in HE and the labour market, graduate transitions to the labour market and their early careers, the workings of higher education and further direction of the sector.

Emma is an experienced project manager – leading teams within the Institute; working in partnership with other research organisations, survey houses and academics; and working with sub-contractors to guide research from the development stage through to dissemination. Emma has extensive experience of qualitative research methods and has conducted and managed telephone and face-to-face interviews, and focus group discussions with a range of senior managers, employees, young people, students, undergraduates, graduates, and training providers. She has considerable experience and understanding in collecting quantitative primary data through postal, telephone and online surveys including national large scale surveys, longitudinal surveys, and surveys requiring liaison with a number of organisations to draw a representative sample. She is also very experienced in using large data sets; organising and conducting complex analysis; and working with secondary data sources such as national student or destinations data, sector performance data, and organisational personnel data and records.


2001 University of Sussex MA, Applied Policy Studies
1993 University of Brighton BA, Business Studies


1994‑1996 Research Assistant, Career Development Unit, University of Sussex

Research publications

Articles and chapters

Conference appearances

  • How do we know what's going on in the labour market?, Pollard E, Hirsh W, CDI/NICEC, April 2022
  • Student wellbeing and what it means for recruiters, Pollard E, Wilson S, Graduate Recruitment Network seminar on student wellbeing and what it means for recruiters, Graduate Recruitment Network, London, June 2018
  • Creative graduates: leading the way with new forms of work, Pollard E, ICeGS international conference: Imagining new perspectives on work - the role of career development in shaping futures, International Centre for Guidance Studies, Derby, May 2018
  • Showcasing research findings, discussing opportunities, challenges and trends, Pollard E, Universities UK conference: Accelerated degrees: understanding the opportunities, Universities UK, London, June 2017
  • Rethinking the traditional approach to Level 7 study: if we build it will they come?, Pollard E, SRHE Post-Compulsory and Higher Education Network event: In whose interests? Access, participation and progression in a context of changing configuration of HE, Society for Research into Higher Education, London, May 2017
  • Challenges and changing practices in graduate recruitment: the real experiences of employers, Hirsh W, Pollard E, CIPD Applied Research Conference 2016, CIPD, London, December 2016
  • Influencing recruitment: changing employer practices in graduate recruitment, Pollard E, Artess J, AGCAS Annual Conference for HE Careers and Employability Professionals, AGCAS, Chester, September 2016
  • Expert panel, Pollard E, Review of part-time and mature higher education, Universities UK, London, May 2013
  • What Do Researchers Do? What Do We Understand About Researchers’ Careers?, Mellors-Bourne R, Pollard E, Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, Vitae, London, September 2012
  • Expanding and Improving Part-time Higher Education, Hillage J, Pollard E, Newton B, Higher Education Seminar, Department for Business, Inmovation and Skills, London, June 2012
  • 'Creative Career Stories: the reality of Creative Careers', Pollard E, Creative Journeys, Plymouth University, Plymouth, September 2011
  • Labour Market Information, Pollard E, Vitae researcher development international conference 2011: realising the potential of researchers, Vitae, Manchester, September 2011
  • Creative Graduate Stories, Pollard E, Oakley J, Culturing Growth: The contribution of specialist arts education to the UK economy and society. ukadia conference 2011, ukadia, London, February 2011
  • Doctoral Graduate Destinations: 3.5 years on: Analysis of the Longitudinal Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, Pollard E, Sixth Postgraduate Careers Symposium, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester, January 2011
  • Creative Graduates Creative Futures, Pollard E, Regional Careers Advisors Forum, Coventry University, September 2010
  • What Do Researchers Do?, Pollard E, Hunt W, Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2010, Vitae, Manchester, September 2010
  • What can Creative Graduates Creative Futures tell us about the role of placements, internships and volunteering for new graduates, Pollard E, Ball L, Playing at Work: Education Briefing, Futurising Conference, London, June 2010
  • The impact of HE financial arrangements: student perspectives, Pollard E, At what cost? The Impact of Finance on Access to HE, Educational Access Research Network, London, April 2010
  • The Role of Finance in the Decision-making of HE Applicants and Students, Pollard E, Universities, education and student demand in the post-recession economy, Universities UK Longer Term Strategy Group, Brighton, April 2010
  • Challenges for creative careers in the 21st century, Pollard E, Ball L, HE and the Creative Economy, University of Southampton, University of Southampton, March 2010
  • Going into HE, Pollard E, Sumption F, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Research Seminar, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, London, February 2010
  • Creative Graduates Creative Futures: The challenges for creative careers in the 21st century, Pollard E, Ball L, Moving Forward: 4th Annual National Arts Learning Network conference, United Kingdom Art and Design Institutions' Association, London, February 2010
  • Student Income and Expenditure: Results from SIES 2007/08, Johnson C, Pollard E, Low N, DIUS Customer Insight Event: Students' financial well-being, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, London, April 2009
  • Income and Expenditure Among Welsh-Domiciled Students: Results from SIES 2007/08, Johnson C, Pollard E, Parfrement J, Welsh Assembly Seminar, Cardiff, April 2009
  • What graduates really want (and how do they expect to get there)?, Pollard E, Barber L, Millmore B, The Tough Guide to Graduate Recruitment, AGR Graduate Development Conference, AGR, London, March 2009
  • Participation in Postgraduate Study: a look at creative arts and design, Pollard E, Hunt W, What Now for Widening Participation in the Arts, 3rd National Arts Learning Network Annual Conference, NALN, London, February 2009
  • Provision and participation in postgraduate creative arts and design: what do we need to know and why?, Pollard E, The Postgraduate Landscape in Art and Design, National Arts Learning Network, Royal College of Art, London, June 2008
  • University is not just for young people, Pollard E, Participation Research Group, School of Education, University of Southampton, School of Education, University of Southampton, June 2008
  • Graduate Choices: University, Living and Working, Cowling M, Pollard E, Universities, Graduates and Innovation – The Regional Impact of Higher Education, ESRC Impact of Higher Education Institutions on Regional Economies Initiative, Cardiff, June 2008
  • University is not just for young people, Pollard E, Million+ Residential Conference, Birmingham, May 2008
  • (Widening) routes to postgraduate study: what does the data tell us? , Pollard E, Hunt W, Widening Participation in the Arts: What Next?, National Arts Learning Network, Royal Institute of British Architects, London, February 2008
  • Welsh graduates and their jobs, Pollard E, Careers Information Conference, Careers Wales West, Carmarthen, June 2007
  • Evaluating delivery and impact of adult advice and guidance, Page R, Pollard E, NICEC seminar, National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, Brighton, May 2007
  • The under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic students in postgraduate creative arts and design, Connor H, Pollard E, Widening participation in the arts - what works?, National Arts Learning Network, London, February 2007
  • Graduate Employment Choices in the East Midlands, Pollard E, Williams M, Graduate Employment Choices, East Midlands Development Agency, EMDA Conference Centre, January 2005
  • Choices and transitions: studying and working in the SW, Pollard E, Perryman S, The South West Graduate Labour Market: Unlocking the Potential, University of West of England, University of West of England, March 2003
  • Schools Access Funds Evaluation, Maginn A, Pollard E, LEA Awards Officer Conference, DfES, London, June 2001
  • Schools Access Funds Evaluation, Pollard E, Bates P, Maginn A, LEA Awards Officer Conference, DfES, Birmingham, June 2001
  • Open Internal Job Markets, Tamkin P, Pollard E, HR Network Seminar, for IES Scottish members, Scottish Executive, Edinburgh, September 2000
  • Institutional Racism: Where’s the Prejudice in Organisations?, Rick J, Tamkin P, Tackey N D, Pollard E, British Psychological Society Occupational Psychology Conference, British Psychological Society, Brighton, January 2000
  • Heard it on the grapevine, Pollard E, Regan J, CVCP conference, CVCP, London, June 1999

Advisory roles and affiliations

  • National Institute for Career Education and Counselling Fellow (2016 - present)
  • Associate of the International Centre for Guidance Studies (2016 - present)
  • Associate of the Education and Training Foundation (2015 - present)
  • Member of the Research Advisory Group for the Postgraduate Experience Project (2015 - 2016)
  • Associate Researcher for the Department for Education (2014 - present)