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Professor Wendy Hirsh

Visiting Professor

Kingston Business School
Kingston University
Kingston Hill campus
Kingston upon Thames

01273 813752 Ext:


Wendy works as an independent consultant and researcher on a range of employment and people management issues. Much of Wendy's work concerns the strategies for and processes of career development, talent management, succession planning and leadership development, from both organisational and individual perspectives. Wendy is especially interested in how strategies for developing employees link with changing business and skill needs, and also how workforce development is supported by line managers.

Wendy works closely with a number of centres of expertise in the UK. She is a Principal Associate of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), where she was formerly Associate Director, Fellow of the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling (NICEC), Research Associate of Roffey Park Institute, Visiting Professor at Kingston University and Associate of the Institute for Government.


  • Succession planning, talent management and career development. Assignments include policy development and workshops on talent management in a wide range of organisations. In government departments, this has included addressing issues of specific professional groups as well as the wider leadership population. Talent and career development work in the private sector has included career workshops for individuals in high potential pools (eg Rolls-Royce, Acergy, Vodafone) and advice on articulating career paths (eg BAe). In the public sector, Wendy has worked with many Civil Service departments, including an evaluation of talent management at HMRC through in-depth surveys and interviews with members of varied corporate and local talent pools. She has helped the European Parliament develop their strategy and processes for talent management in close collaboration with Directors General and is working with Plan International, a major global children’s charity, on succession for their key roles. Wendy has often worked on the interface between higher education and employment, most recently in several studies of how HEIs are engaging with employers.
  • Leadership and the development of managers and leaders. Research has included studies of management development trends and of the evidence of the link between leadership development and business performance (for CEML, the ABS and central government amongst others). Wendy worked on a major Work Foundation study (led  by Penny Tamkin) of what effective leaders really do and how they think about their leadership. She was also part of the research team for the CIPD research programme, Shaping the Future, on how organisations can help their people to achieve sustainable high performance. She has conducted empirical research into how managers develop the skills and careers of the people under them, and wider academic research on workplace learning. Wendy is leading IES research into the evaluation of management and leadership development. She is also examining how performance management systems can be implemented more effectively
  • Workforce and skill planning, including the quantitative and qualitative examination of demand and supply, and audits of current and future skill needs (both for organisations and for sectors). Examples include working with a major oil company on scenario planning, a global bank on its pipeline of graduate talent, a regional government office on a skill audit and co-authoring the IES Workforce Planning Guide. Wendy has been working with Birmingham City Council to integrate its workforce planning with talent and succession management, and to look at the wider workforce challenges in emergent models of public service delivery.
  • HR function, including research on What Customers Want from HR and Obtaining Customer Feedback on HR: developing instruments for measuring the effectiveness of the function from the perspective of its internal customers. This research underpinned support for an action learning set of five London Boroughs to improve the integration of their HR functions and communication of their services. Wendy recently conducted a major research project and conference for the Corporate Research Forum on Evidence-Based HR.

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