Skill demand and utilisation

IES has been researching employers’ demand for skills, how skills are deployed and high performance working for over 15 years. 

We have conducted major reviews of the demand for skills across the UK and in individual sectors and organisations. We have also researched how skills are deployed at work and the links between skill development, individual productivity and performance and bottom-line business outcomes.

Skill demand

The skills that employers need both now and in the future has long been of interest to public policymakers, as well as practising managers engaged in workforce planning.

Our work in this area encompasses two main areas:

  • Analyses of current and future skills needs at national, regional, occupational and sectoral levels, including synthesising available forecasts and developing and exploring future scenarios.
  • Evaluations of specific interventions and advice on policy choices and designs to improve the depth and type of skills supply and use at national, sectoral, regional, occupational and organisational levels.

Contact: Jim Hillage

Our work in this area

Work innovation

The content of work changes as jobs react to trends in technology, consumer demand and how people want to work. As well as examining the pressures on skill demand, our research into work innovation includes:

  • business practices – including knowledge-sharing and staff development;
  • workplace organisation – including devolution of decision-making to employees;
  • external relations – between employees in one part of an organisation and those of other departments or externally; and
  • changes to employment contracts – including use of variable pay in reward systems or atypical employment contracts.

Contact: Stephen Bevan

Our work in this area

High performance working

High performance working encompasses the design and implementation of a number of workplace practices which help create a working environment in which employee talents can be deployed for the optimal mutual benefit of themselves and their employer. These practices cover three areas:

  • Standard HR (eg appraisals) and effective recruitment.
  • Reward and commitment (eg linking employee effort to business performance).
  • High involvement (eg access to organisational information and involvement in decision-making).

High performance working brings bottom-line business benefits. IES has conducted major studies linking people management practices to business performance, including customer retention, productivity, sales performance, profit, survival and growth.

Skills utilisation encompasses a range of high performance work practices with a focus on creating a working environment in which employee talents can be deployed for the optimal mutual benefit of themselves and their employer.

Contact: Jim Hillage

IES experts

Jim Hillage

Jim Hillage
Director, Employment Policy Research

Related projects

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European Centre for the Development of Vocational Education (CEDEFOP)

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European Commission

The labour market for nurses in the UK and its relationship to the demand for, and supply of, foreign-born nurses in the NHS
Migration Advisory Committee

Support in the development of MOD Skills Strategy
Ministry of Defence