Tony Wilson


staff photo

Institute Director

Tony has worked in employment policy and research for most of the last twenty years, in a range of roles spanning central government and independent institutes.  As Institute Director at IES, Tony leads a team of forty people delivering research, analysis and consultancy support on employment, skills, education and HR.  He has particular expertise in labour market policy and analysis;  the design, delivery and evaluation of employment and skills programmes; supporting organisations to understand and apply evidence of ‘what works’; devolution and local delivery; and leading complex programmes.

Prior to joining IES in October 2018, Tony was Director of Research and Development at the Learning and Work Institute, and before that a Director at the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion.  Between 2001 and 2011 he worked on employment, skills and welfare in the Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus and latterly in HM Treasury. 

At DWP, this included responsibility for the design and implementation of a number of labour market programmes during the last recession, including the Future Jobs Fund, work experience programmes and integrated employment and skills support for young people.  Prior to this, he was an expert policy adviser to David Freud on his independent review of welfare to work, published in 2007, which led to the creation of the Flexible New Deal and extension of employment programmes to support lone parents and disabled people.  Before leaving government, Tony was Head of Employment Policy at HM Treasury, where he advised Treasury Ministers on labour market developments and policy responses to the recession, and oversaw government spending on employment and welfare.


2000 Selwyn College, University of Cambridge MA, History



Director, Institute for Employment Studies


Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute


Director of Policy and Research, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion


Head of Employment Policy, HM Treasury


Head of Employment Projects, Department for Work and Pensions


Senior Adviser to Director of Welfare to Work, Department for Work and Pensions


Team Leader, Department for Work and Pensions


Department for Work and Pensions Fast Stream

Research publications

Articles and chapters

Conference appearances

  • Fair flexible futures , Wilson T, Timewise, April 2022
  • Back to the Future: what comes next for the UK's post pandemic labour market?, Wilson T, The Economy 2030 Inquiry, November 2021
  • Youth Employment and Skills Summit 2021, Wilson T, Learning and Work Institute, October 2021
  • House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee, Wilson T, Youth Unemployment Committee, June 2021
  • Community Renewal Fund: briefing for employment sector support , Wilson T, ERSA, April 2021
  • Will the employability sector recover?, Wilson T, Aptem, April 2021
  • Employment options and support for young disabled people, Wilson T, National Deaf Children’s Society, March 2021
  • Covid Realities: Documenting everyday family life on a low-income during the pandemic, Wilson T, CRESR SHU webinar, March 2021
  • Analysing the budget from an employment and skills perspective , Wilson T, ERSA webinar, March 2021
  • How can UK tech companies get involved to help more young people find work, Wilson T, Adzuna and DWP webinar, March 2021
  • Rising to the youth unemployment challenge , Wilson T, ERSA webinar, February 2021
  • Restart programme: Action and Analysis, Wilson T, ERSA webinar, January 2021
  • Storm ready: how to keep us afloat as unemployment hits, Wilson T, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, September 2020
  • 'Essential work' to 'good work' - ensuring the post Covid labour market is secure, Wilson T, Tony Blair Institute, September 2020
  • Securing young people's futures in a Covid disrupted world, Wilson T, Think Forward Webinar, October 2020