Trustees at the Institute for Employment Studies

Do you want to help make a lasting difference to public policy and workplace practice? Do you have the skills and experience to support a successful charity in the next stage of its development? And do you have around 3-4 days that you could spend over the course of the year, for four Board meetings and a visit to Brighton?

If so, then we want to hear from you.  At the Institute for Employment Studies we are currently recruiting for up to three new Trustees to help oversee the running of the Institute, and to support us in shaping a future where everyone has the opportunity of good quality, secure and meaningful work. The Institute is going from strength to strength, working with employers, governments, industry bodies, and charitable trusts and foundations in areas related to employment, human resources, education, skills and health.

Our Board of Trustees is a non-executive body that is responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Institute (in accordance with our governing document, legal and regulatory guidelines) and plays a key role in supporting and challenging the executive management team in the day-to-day running of the Institute and in defining their strategic ambition. Trustees are appointed for a three year term, with an option to reappoint for a further three years (up to a maximum of nine years). There is more on the role itself and the skills and experience that we are looking for below, but if you want to know more or to have an informal conversation with the Chair or the Institute Director then please contact us.

The Institute is actively seeking to improve the diversity of our workforce and it is particularly important to us that our Board can bring a diverse range of perspectives and experience, especially from those who are under-represented or disadvantaged in the labour market – for example because of their race, age, sexual orientation, gender, a disability or class.

Role description

The key responsibilities of Trustees include:

  • Attending Board meetings (normally four per year), participating in the decision-making of the Board and contributing to the development of the Institute’s strategy, in particular in areas such as its work programmes, priorities for impact, markets and funding sources, and dissemination.
  • Reviewing and agreeing any major changes to IES.
  • Reviewing and agreeing the Institute’s annual business plan and budget.
  • Overseeing and giving feedback on IES’s progress towards the objectives that it sets in its annual business plan and budget.
  • Appointing and supporting the Institute Director and other Trustees.  The Director is appointed by the Trustees as Chief Executive, to manage the day-to-day operations of the Charity. The Director then has delegated authority for operational matters, working with a senior management team.
  • Monitoring the performance of the Director and maintaining an overview of the performance of the executive management team.
  • Establishing remuneration policy for the Director and approving the salaries of executive management team members.
  • Participating in sub-committees to the Board where appropriate.
  • Ensuring that IES policies are in line with current legislation and good practice, maintaining a robust overview of the principal risks facing IES, and complying with IES’s conflict of interest policy.
  • Promoting the work of IES where appropriate.

In addition to the above duties, Trustees are also encouraged to use their skills, knowledge, experience and judgement to help the Board reach sound decisions. These may involve scrutinising Board papers and other documents, leading discussions, providing advice and guidance on new developments in policy and practice, and other issues in which the Trustee may have specific expertise.

Person specification

IES Trustees are usually people with expertise or experience in a field relevant to the Institute’s work. Trustees are often people who have (or have had) careers in a field such as civil or public service, trade unions, HR management, research or employment law. However it is not essential to have these backgrounds, and we would welcome applications from people who meet other parts of this specification and do not have a background directly in the areas above.

In particular, following a review of the skills and experience of current Trustees, we would particularly welcome applicants who have skills or experience of one or more of:

  • Financial management and accounting;
  • Applying technology, including machine learning and large language models;
  • Policy and practice in pre-18 education; and/ or
  • Business development and commercial expertise.

It is not essential to have current or previous experience of being a charity Trustee. We provide an induction that sets out the roles and responsibilities of Trustees, and can provide access to further training on this where that would be helpful.

Whatever your background and expertise, Trustees are able to bring a fresh perspective to the Board’s work and should be prepared to challenge the status quo. They will be comfortable working in Board meetings and group discussions, and working constructively with people who have different perspectives.

Time commitment

Meetings are held four times a year and typically last two hours. Meetings are now hybrid (both online and in person) but we try to meet in person once a year for a longer discussion (usually in Brighton, where IES is based). Time commitments overall, including engagement with the team outside of meetings, will depend on circumstances as well as the expertise and interests of the individual Trustee, but are unlikely to involve more than 3-4 days per year in total.

This role is not remunerated but reasonable expenses will be paid.

Statutory requirements

Applicants must also satisfy statutory requirements in order to become a Trustee, as detailed below:

Any person aged 16 or over can act as a Trustee of a charitable company provided that they are not disqualified by law. The Charities Act 2011 disqualifies people who:

  • have unspent convictions for offences involving deception or dishonesty
  • are undischarged bankrupts
  • have been at any time removed from Trusteeship of a charity by the Charity Commission or the court in England, Wales or Scotland, because of misconduct
  • are disqualified from being company directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
  • have failed to make compositions (i.e. come to an arrangement) with their creditors and have not been discharged.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to be a Trustee at IES, then please in the first instance write to us at to tell us a bit more about yourself, why you would like to apply, and what skills you feel that you would bring to the role. Please also submit a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form, which can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

We would welcome applications by Thursday 22 February 2024. Interviews with shortlisted applicants will then take place during March.

If you’d like to arrange an informal discussion with the Chair of IES (Kathy Poole) or the Institute Director (Tony Wilson) then please email us at

Legal note

The Institute for Employment Studies:

  • is a registered charity (no. 258390)
  • seeks to be an equal opportunities employer
  • is an Investor in People