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IED Online Conference preview: in conversation with Emsi UK


Emsi UK is Gold Sponsor for the IED Online Conference, ‘Understanding Building Back Better’, on 25th-26th May. It helps organisations to gain the understanding of their local labour market that will help them make better decisions relating to their local economy. Ahead of next week’s conference, we caught up with Will Cookson, Director of Economic Development.

Thank you for sponsoring the IED Online Conference. Why did you decide to do so?

“Emsi UK has a long history of supporting the IED Conference and we continue to feel it provides a great opportunity to engage with the sector, even if this time it is being delivered remotely. It feels like a critical time to reconnect and share our labour market insight with those that are considering responses to the disruption that we have seen over the last year.”

The title of the conference is ‘Understanding Building Back Better’. What does that mean to you?

“The concept of ‘building back better’ is something that Emsi UK has been actively considering as we entered this calendar year. We feel that the disruption caused by the pandemic alongside underlying issues such as migration, automation, Brexit, demographic challenges and net zero provide an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-focus on areas of growth. We have been bringing our labour market insight to our customers to support them to identify opportunities that can be built upon a local strength or to help them approach a broader imperative such as the carbon neutral agenda.”

Tell us about your own session at the conference – what can delegates expect?

“I will be part of a panel on Day 2 that is looking at How Employment and Skills Contribute to Building Back Better. I will be sharing some of the insight that we have gleaned in regard to how recovery is tracking across the UK and specifically how local economies have been affected, and where and how employer demand is re-emerging. We will be looking at how the demand for skills has changed over the last year and identifying which occupations have been hit the hardest, with a view to how this insight can be deployed to identify priorities for targeted employment and skills activity.”

Which other aspects of the conference are you especially looking forward to?

“I always find the keynote addresses to be insightful. I am also particularly looking forward to the Perspectives from the Frontline of Levelling-Up opening panel session on Day 1 as I am keen to better understand the perception from those at the forefront of this work.”

What do you think the next 18 months holds for economic development professionals?

“After the last year I would be very reluctant to attempt to predict the future, but while I am sure there will be challenges, I do believe that there is a genuine opportunity to take new approaches to economic recovery and growth. I think the net zero agenda will become a significant area of focus for economic development professionals, and I imagine that there will be a heightened focus on inward investment and business attraction activity as well.”

What services do you provide that may be able to help them?

“Emsi UK brings together official statistics, proprietary data and robust economic modelling to provide an unparalleled, multi-dimensional view on labour markets and business activity down to the local authority level. We provide economic consulting, data analytics and a variety of software tools to provide information to support successful decision-making. Analyst, our flagship labour market insight tool, gives users direct access to our wealth of data. Over a third of Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mayoral Combined Authorities and a growing number of Local Authorities are using our Analyst tool to support and inform their work. We are committed to continuously improving our products and services to serve the organisations that we work with and, even now, are working to expand our datasets to better connect individuals, education institutions, economic developers and employers.”

Tickets for the IED Online Conference, ‘Understanding Building Back Better’, on 25th-26th May, are available here.

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