Penny Tamkin

BSc, PhD, CIPD Diploma, Dip Econ

staff photo

Director, Employer Research and Consultancy

+44(0)1273 763 407

Penny Tamkin has over 20 years’ experience of what helps people perform better at work and the contribution of management and leadership, human capital and learning and development. She initially joined IES in 1993 and for 13 years worked on projects related to human capital, management and leadership, the impact of workforce/management development and race issues in organisations. Penny has published and spoken widely on these subjects, conducted research and evaluation studies and worked with UK policy makers and organisations of all sizes to develop new thinking, understanding and practice. In 2007 Penny joined The Work Foundation where for three years she headed up their programme of research and consultancy on leadership and people effectiveness. Penny returned to IES in 2010.

Penny has conducted numerous studies into how organisations train and develop their employees, and what difference development makes to individuals or organisations. She has undertaken major evaluations of development activity for employers, employer bodies and policy-makers. Penny has published and spoken on the evaluation of development interventions many times.

A major stream of Penny’s work has been on management and leadership issues. This work has included an initial review into the measurement of UK management and Leadership capability as part of the CEML initiative and a further two studies along similar lines for the DTI. She has previously reviewed the status of existing research on management and leadership to develop a management research strategy for DTI and DfES and worked as a member of the BIS Leadership and Management Network Group leading work on the evidence base on the importance of management and leadership for organisational performance. Most recently Penny reviewed the existing state of knowledge on the contribution of management and leadership to productivity on behalf of the UKCES just before it was disbanded. Penny led a major investigation into the characteristics of outstanding leadership. This research has explored the differentiating factors between outstanding and good leadership across a range of major employers and resulted in a well-received report. Evaluation of whether the identified characteristics are developable led to encouraging results.

Penny has a considerable track record on researching High Performance Working Practices and skills utilisation including major work for IIP UK, Eurofound and UKCES. More recent work has explored the factors affecting the uptake of innovation including the innovation of work and working practices.

Penny originally joined IES from a local authority where she was Head of HR.



Open University

Diploma in Economics


Brighton University

PhD, Management Learning


Open University

Diploma in Personnel Management


University of Exeter

BSc, Psychology



Programme Director People Effectiveness, The Work Foundation


Programme Director Leadership, The Work Foundation


Principal Research Fellow and Associate Director, Institute for Employment Studies


Head of HR, Brighton Borough Council


Personnel Manager, Parcelforce, NWPDO

Research publications

Articles and chapters

Conference appearances

  • Implementing effective human resource and global mobility strategies in a post-Brexit world, Tamkin P, International Research Networks' Brexit Business Planning Forum, International Research Networks, London, September 2017
  • New performance management systems and trends, Tamkin P, 2nd Human Resources Management for Power and Utilities Industry 2017, Prospero Events Group, Berlin, February 2017
  • Brexit workforce implications for local government, Tamkin P, London Councils' Great London Employment Forum, London Councils, London, February 2017
  • A deep dive into outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, CASS business school masterclass series, CASS Business School, London, April 2015
  • Practice = Performance: Re-setting the Leadership and Management Agenda for Improved Productivity, Tamkin P, Taking Jersey Forward, Jersey Skills, Jersey, March 2015
  • Chair, Tamkin P, Utility Week HR Forum 2014, Utility Week, Birmingham, June 2014
  • Leadership and worker involvement practice on the Olympic Park, Tamkin P, Leadership and Worker Involvement: Learning from London 2012, October 2012
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Oxfam Leadership Development Programme, Oxfam, Oxford, September 2012
  • Exceeding expectations: the principles of outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Guildford CIPD, CIPD, Guildford, April 2012
  • Occupational Regulation, Tamkin P, UKCES internal policy seminar, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, London, March 2012
  • Principles of outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Internal staff seminar, Big Lottery Fund, London, February 2012
  • Management capability, Tamkin P, Inhouse seminar, Astra Zeneca, London, February 2012
  • Exceeding expectations: the principles of outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Ordnance Survey HR Conference, Ordnance Survey, Southampton, November 2011
  • The future of leaders, Tamkin P, RNIB, Herefordshire, RNIB, RNIB Headquarters, July 2011
  • Chair, Tamkin P, The Learning and Development Forum, Symposium Events, London, May 2011
  • Exceeding expectations - what is outstanding leadership?, Tamkin P, Leadership and Management Conference: Building resilient organisations - New ways of working, LSIS, London, January 2011
  • Motivation in austere times, Tamkin P, Leadership and Talent Management 2010; New Era; New Challenges, London, September 2010
  • Exceeding expectation: the principles of outstanding leadership (from recent Work Foundation research), Tamkin P, Reinventing Sector Management and Leadership for Turbulent Times - PQP Masterclass and Graduation, London, May 2010
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Cultural Leadership Conference, London, May 2010
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Hirsh W, Institute for Government, lunchtime seminar, April 2010
  • A workforce fit for purpose, Tamkin P, Public Sector Skills: Creating a 21st Century workforce, London, March 2010
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, IES HR Network forum, London, February 2010
  • Going beyond recruitment: the benefits of skills utilisation, Tamkin P, Skills for Logistics conference, London, February 2010
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, Seminar, Exeter University, December 2009
  • People and business performance, Tamkin P, NOCN Network Meeting, October 2009
  • Driving performance improvements through learning, Tamkin P, World of Learning Conference, October 2009
  • Outstanding leadership, Tamkin P, ACEVO conference, Liverpool, September 2009
  • Low skills and policy, Tamkin P, Resolution Foundation Seminar, London, September 2009
  • Capitalising on human capital to improve organisational performance, Tamkin P, Workforce Management: Reducing Absence, Improving Well Being, Increasing Effectiveness, London, December 2008
  • Leading for change, Tamkin P, IRS Change Management Conference, September 2008
  • Global warming and the iceberg; a tale of development and careers, Tamkin P, Jaguar Landrover talent conference, Gaydon, July 2008
  • People and performance, Tamkin P, IES Network Members forum, London, June 2008
  • Employee engagement and leadership, Tamkin P, IDeA engagement conference, CBI conference Centre, March 2008
  • Impact of the business partner model on HR careers, Tamkin P, CIPD members event, Gatwick, February 2008
  • Leadership profiling: seeing ourselves as others see us, Tamkin P, IRS Advancing Leaders, Improving Results Conference, February 2008
  • Skills and performance: fact, fluke or fiction?, Tamkin P, Skills for Health Conference, Birmingham, November 2007
  • Linking HR Activity and Organisational Performance, Tamkin P, IES HR Network forum, London, November 2007
  • Talent management, Tamkin P, GMG HR workshop, October 2007
  • Changing organisations, Tamkin P, Good Work, TUC workshop, Lords Cricket ground, September 2007
  • Skills; the big issue, Tamkin P, SSDA Research workshop, London, June 2007
  • Self managed learning and careers, Tamkin P, Houses of Parliament Staff Away day, May 2007
  • The changing HR function, Tamkin P, Reilly P, CIPD annual conference, CIPD, October 2006
  • IES and policy issues, Pearson R, Hillage J, Tamkin P, Robinson D, Tyers C, Connor H, DfES seminar, DfES, London, March 2004
  • 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

Advisory roles and affiliations

  • Member of the Leadership and Management Network Group, BIS (2011 - 2012)
  • Working and Employment Steering Group Member, Beyond Current Horizons, DCSF (2009 - 2010)
  • Member of the ESRC steering group on Management Practices Survey design (2009 - 2010)
  • Member of the UK Commission for Skills and Employment Expert Panel (2008 - 2010)
  • Expert Advisory Panel, Sector Skills Development Agency (2006 - 2007)
  • Editorial Board, special edition of The International Journal of Training and Development (2006 - 2006)
  • Citizen Focus project board of the Policing Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF) considering measures of equity and fairness in policing. (2003 - 2004)
  • Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership, measurement working group chaired by Dr Neville Bain (Chair of the Post Office), jointly funded by DfEE and DTI. On the measurement group (one of six working groups) advised by John Burgoyne. (2000 - 2002)