Key findings from our research

Download a summary of our research into employer engagement.

Our research has been frequently cited in UK government strategies and papers, including the recent UK Industrial Strategy (2017), the Department for Education’s Careers Strategy (2017) and Careers statutory guidance (2018). Our work has also been published in a number of academic journals, including the leading international Journal for Education and Work. It has formed the backbone for many delivery programmes across the UK and internationally.


Our research in secondary

• Participation in career talks with employee volunteers can change the attitudes of Key Stage 4 pupils to education, influence their future plans and subject choices, motivate them to study harder, and support an improvement in academic attainment.

• Statistically there is “nothing in common” between the career aspirations of young people and labour market demand (2013)

• Young people who take part in careers activities such as jobs fairs and job shadowing are more positive about schooling and its helpfulness in adulthood (2016, 2017, 2017)

• The more young people encounter employers whilst in school (4 or more often being cited), the more they earn and the lower their chances of becoming NEET as young adults (2013, 20142016, 2017)

Structural changes in the operation of the youth labour market are making employer engagement more important for young people (2016)

Independent schools have extensive links with employers and use those ties to give students advantages in their transitions out of school e.g. university admissions (2012)

• Evidence suggests that employment gains are more due to enhanced social capital and career knowledge than enhanced employability skills (2014)

• Those young people who have most to gain from employer engagement currently have least access to it (2017)

• There is a positive relationship between the number of employee contacts that a young person recalled receiving while at school and their eventual decision to embark upon an apprenticeship (2018).

• Drawn together existing literature assessing the skills and behaviours young people need to find work, and then thrive once there (2019).


Our research in primary

• Children’s aspirations are shaped by their gender and who they know. Using a sample of 13,000 primary aged children we demonstrated the patterns of jobs chosen by seven-year-olds mirror those selected by 17-year olds (2018)

• We have also drawn together the existing evidence of the benefits of career-related learning in primary school, establishing ‘what works’ for primary children (2019a) (2019b).