Three year ESRC-SDS funded PhD Studentship on the Employer’s Voice in the Skills System

PhD Studentship, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling
Full-Time with start date of (preferably) January 2014 (but later dates considered)

Studentship: Fees plus £13,726 per annum stipend (only for students eligible under ESRC residential rules)

Funded by: the Economic and Social Research Council and Skills Development Scotland.
Closing date: Midnight 26th November 2013.

Project Title
Employer voice in engaging with the education and training system for high performance workplaces.

The Post
This 3-year PhD studentship (covering fees and a living allowance), jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Skills Development Scotland, is targeted at a highly motivated individual who wishes to work with our team on a study the voice of employers in influencing the skills system. The successful applicant will conduct their PhD in Business and Management working with Professor Ronald McQuaid (Lead Supervisor) and Professor Alex Wood.

Project summary
The importance of employer involvement and engagement in the design and delivery of skills-related programmes is well recognized, although the evidence on the effectiveness of this is mixed and the implementation of a demand-led approach to training and skills-related intervention is complex, leading to differences in local delivery models and outcomes.

This project will look at different approaches to giving employers a voice in the skills system in relation to preparing people for entry to high performance workplaces.  It will critically review direct and indirect approaches to incorporating employer voice, looking at the key issues in Scotland, the rest of the UK and two other countries. The project will also consider the major challenges involved in raising the demand for skills in the context of high-performance workplaces and will explore the tension between a responsive employer engagement system which constantly adapts and a system which employers can readily understand.

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Specialist training would be available (e.g. on specific techniques) and the student would be part of a vibrant and expanding group of researchers on skills and the Scottish economy. The University of Stirling is a member institution of the ESRC Scottish Doctoral Training Centre. The student would also join as full member the Behavioural Sciences Centre (, an interdisciplinary research centre which brings various disciplines.

Strong intrinsic interest in research in the topic; an ability and willingness to contribute to the intellectual life of the Management School and the Behavioural Science Centre; a good Honours degree with a postgraduate degree being desirable; excellent written and oral communication skills; an ability to work individually and autonomously as well as potential to work as part of a team; and some proficiency in STATA and/or SPSS and/or nVivo.

Application Process

NOTE: Former applicants do not need to re-apply as applications will be considered

In the first instance students should make a preliminary application through e-mail to Mrs Lisa Reid ( with the subject line: “PhD Studentship on the Employer’s Voice Application”. The application must include (at least) two documents;

(1) A full CV, documenting qualifications and any relevant previous experience and existing skill sets.

(2) A cover letter of approximately 1,250 words specifying why they are the right candidate for this post.

Applicants should consult the further details concerning the post and the contents of the cover letter are available via the ‘Apply’ button below.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Professor Ronald McQuaid (

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