What do graduates do? What skills do employers need? Meeting the employment needs of businesses

This is an event in the Ideas in Practice series taking place in Leeds on Friday 17 May 2019

Industry and employment reports, conferences and the business media abound with questions such as ‘How can we address the skills gap? Where do we find the best graduates?  Are we losing our regional graduate talent to London or other regions? What skills do our industries really need? How do we use our talent to meet today's demands?'

This seminar/workshop addresses some important labour market issues: first we look at graduate employment destinations (geographic and sector), graduate career and employments interests, effective methods of recruiting graduates and new and/or major trends and shifts in working. This will include regional and local analysis on how well we perform at retaining our graduates and attracting those from other areas. These are key issues for both businesses and public sector employers.

While much is commented on the soft skills graduates require; few would doubt that the world of work has changed dramatically in the past decade with digitalisation, analytics, AI and evidence-based decision making featuring prominently across business careers. It is not surprising that the value and importance of quantitative analysis and data skills in 21st century jobs is widely recognised. Graduates going into business and management are increasingly required to demonstrate skills in these areas.

  • The Nuffield Foundation's national Q-Step programme has resulted in a step-change in provision of quantitative skills for students across the social sciences (including business, arts and humanities). We will look at the value of quantitative and data skills, and employers' needs in these areas.

  • In recent years there has been major growth in students taking analytics degrees at Leeds University Business School.

There is no charge to attend this event.

Event format

9.00am Registration
9.30am Welcome and introduction: Christopher Forde, Professor of Employment Studies, Co-Director of CERIC
9.45am Presentation: Graduate employment destinations and career choices, Jane Campbell, Head of Student Careers and Andy Blunt, Data, Systems and Quality Manager, University of Leeds
10.15am Presentation: Talent that works - how employers bring entry level hires into their businesses, Professor Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer, Institute of Student Employers
10.45am Tea/coffee break
11.15am Presentation: How I learned to stop worrying and love the quants, Simon Gallacher, Head of Quantitative Skills, Nuffield Foundation
11.45am Stand up and be counted: valuing quantitative and data skills for students in business, arts, social sciences and humanities, Presentations from placement students, placement hosts and alumni
  1. Q Step summer placements - Department of Health & Social Care


  • 2017 placement student: Fiona Powell, currently MA Social Research student



  • 2018 placement student: Emily Lagan, currently final year BSc Economics student



  • 2018 placement host: Clark Rushbrook, Economic Advisor, Department of Health & Social Care


  2. Q Step summer placements - Leeds City Council, Policy & Plans


  • 2017 placement student: Stella Spriggs, now working in a planning role at Leeds City Council



  • 2017 placement host: Usman Umar, Senior GIS Officer, Leeds City Council


  3. Year in Industry placement – PwC


  • 2018/19 placement student: Emily Catterson, BSc Business Analytics student


  4. MSc Business Analytics alumnus


  • Aritad Choicharoon, currently working as a KTP Associate - Data Scientist, Leeds University Business School


12.45pm Networking lunch
1.45pm Breakout groups

Theme - Employer skills needs, challenges and solutions

In smaller groups, participants will discuss and feed back on the following issues:


  • What are the most important skills needs of businesses at the present time and in the immediate future?
  • What challenges are businesses facing in meeting these skills needs?
  • How can these challenges be overcome?

Groups will be led by:

Simon Gallacher

Chris Forde

Barbara Summers, Professor of Human Judgment and Decision Making, Leeds University Business School

2.45pm Presentation: The skills needs of businesses in the Yorkshire region, Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
3.15pm Event close

For further information, please contact Naomi Colhoun at research.lubs@leeds.ac.uk