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Employer engagement ideas and resources

We emphasise the importance of a clear ask to employers in the Developing your Network section, but how do you go about determining the best employer engagement activity to meet your needs within the resources you have? 

This section aims to help you do just that. You’ll find outlines of a range of different employer activities. For each one, we summarise how we used them, what we found to be their key advantages and their resource implications. We also provide session templates, that have worked well for us and advice on planning and running sessions.  

Selecting an employer engagement type that works for you with a live audience

The table allows you to quickly compare three type of employer engagement interaction. You can then choose which you're interested in reading more about.

Workshop Panel sessionFireside chat
Number of employers needed2 to 4 2 to 4 1
Maximum audience size 10 to 16 100’s
(limit on your Zoom
account or room size) 
5 to 30
Session duration 60 to 90 minutes 60 to 90 minutes 45 to 50 minutes
Audience pre-work required? YesNot necessarily Not necessarily 
Level of audience/speaker interaction Most interactive,
high level of interaction 
Moderate interaction Moderate interaction 

For employer engagement without a live postdoc audience

Employer interviews and 1:1 discussions

We carried out over 30 in-depth employer interviews when co-creating Prosper. These feature in both written and video formats on the portal. We also carried out many 1:1 discussions to inform our thinking.  

Carrying out informal discussions with employers is a great way to develop your own knowledge about different industries in order to inform your own practice. If you wish to conduct more formalised interviews which can be featured on your institutional website or shared on the Prosper portal, our top tips might help. 

Be consistent - try to stick to the same broad themes and topics when interviewing employers as this will benefit you if you wish to combine, or compare and contrast across your interviews in the future. Of course, conversation topics can ebb and flow naturally and it may be that you wish to explore some topics in more or less detail with different individuals. If you do want to make these interviews available make sure you collect expressed permission following UK GDPR legislation and best practice. 

When co-creating Prosper, we asked employers about the key skills and competencies required to thrive in their industries. This enabled us to develop content on key in demand skills that is enriched with employer insight. Examples of questions you could use are provided to download here.

Consider your format– there is no right or wrong format for conducting employer interviews. Virtual video interviews are relatively simple to conduct and upload, provided they require minimal editing, while a written interview may be easier for postdocs to engage with. It may be beneficial to vary which format you use. This also helps cater to a diversity of postdoc and employer preference. 

Download example initial email to employer approach for 1:1 discussion.

Sample employer questions.

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