Workforce planning and labour market change

IES has, since its foundation, undertaken research on how labour markets function, both to inform national and international policymakers, and to support individual employers’ decision-making.

Workforce planning

IES has unparalleled expertise in workforce planning. We support specific projects, or offer general advice about what to think through when considering the future workforce.

We help employers make effective, practical and sustainable resourcing decisions to be sure their workforce is ‘fit for purpose’ both now and in the future.

We help them answer key questions including: finding the right number of people at the right time to deliver business goals; identifying the resourcing implications of change; understanding bottlenecks in talent pipelines better; and exploring opportunities to develop more diverse workforces.

Contact: Wendy Hirsh

Our work in this area

Labour market research - including local and regional labour market research and evaluation

The performance of labour markets depends on the balance between the supply and demand, and the influence of  many complex factors. We understand the general operation of the labour market (including specific occupations, sectors or locations) and are expert commentators on the key shifts over time, such as the continuing growth in part-time work, flexible working patterns and, most recently, the surge in self-employment. IES has considerable expertise in converting its labour market research findings into practical intelligence for employers and for policymakers at national, regional and local level.

  • For employers, IES has supported numerous organisations manage location decisions, resolve recruitment, retention or skills difficulties, (we have specific expertise on the graduate labour market) and explore diversity issues through our labour market analysis skills.
  • For policymakers, IES’s work includes economic assessments to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a local economy and how these interact with economic priorities; assessing the value added of projects and programmes; developing an economic strategy; and answering specific questions such as how a local area can deliver a reduction in worklessness and promote economic inclusion or meet the future demand for skills.

Contact: Jim Hillage

Our work in this area

Migrant workers and labour mobility

Migration is a highly emotive area in which IES has a reputation for level-headed research and expertise. IES has built up a strong portfolio of research which includes significant studies on the importance of migrant workers to British employers; the workings of the Points Based System; and how to target future European Social Fund (ESF) resources to better integrate migrants into European labour markets.

We continue to research the movement of workers in Europe, with renewed interest following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Contact: Jim Hillage

Our work in this area

Recruitment and retention

Even when labour markets are loose there are inevitably some people or skills sets that are difficult to find. IES has helped:

  • evaluate attraction and recruitment processes – from a candidate’s perspective;
  • analyse employee turnover – globally and at a sub-group level;
  • identify the cost of turnover – particularly key staff groups;
  • conduct risk analyses of the impact of losing key staff; and
  • evaluate exit or reasons for leaving data.

Contact: Stephen Bevan

Our work in this area


IES helps employers achieve a clear action plan for aligning graduate strategy to business needs. We enhance effectiveness in:

  • talent planning;
  • assessing the supply pool;
  • attracting and recruiting graduates; and
  • developing and retaining graduate intakes.

Contact: Emma Pollard

Our work in this area

Flexible working

Increased flexibility has been one of the hallmarks of modern work patterns with benefits for both employers and employees. At IES we support organisations to design flexible working approaches and ensure policies and processes are implemented and supported appropriately.

We help employers to:

  • develop flexible working business cases;
  • implement the most business appropriate forms of flexibility;
  • skill up managers faced directly with requests; and
  • review whether you are getting the most from your current flexible working arrangements.

Contact: Duncan Brown

Our work in this area

IES experts

Matthew Williams Dilys Robinson Nigel Meager Wendy Hirsh

Matthew Williams
Senior Research Fellow

Dilys Robinson
Principal Associate

Nigel Meager
Principal Associate

Wendy Hirsh
Principal Associate

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