Tony Wilson


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Institute Director

Tony joined IES in October 2018. He has more than fifteen years’ experience of employment research, policy and programme management. Tony has particular expertise in the design, delivery and evaluation of employment and skills programmes; supporting organisations to understand and apply evidence of ‘what works’; devolution and service integration; labour market analysis and leading complex programmes.

Prior to joining IES, Tony was Director of Research and Development at the Learning and Work Institute, where he led a multi-disciplinary team of 31 people working across employment, skills and learning.

In recent years, he has led a wide range of research programmes in areas including disability employment, pay and progression, employment and skills devolution, work and health trial design, and employment service reform. He has also advised UK government departments, parliamentary committees, the governments of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, local councils and international bodies including the World Bank on employment and skills policy and research.

Before this, Tony spent a decade working on employment, skills and welfare in central government, in a range of roles across HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions, and Jobcentre Plus. At HM Treasury, Tony was head of employment policy: advising on labour market trends, policy responses to the downturn, delivery of employment programmes and welfare reform. Before this he was responsible for the design and delivery of a number of Department for Work and Pensions employment programmes. This included overseeing the design and implementation of the Future Jobs Fund; work experience programmes; and integrated employment and skills support for young people. He was an expert policy adviser to David Freud on his independent review of welfare to work, published in 2007.


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