Business at Staffordshire University


In this blog you can find links to all of our courses and social media pages

Updated august 2023

Catalyst Building Leek Rad
The Catalyst Building – Leek Road houses the Business School

In the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, we offer a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional business courses, delivered either full-time, part-time or via distance learning. More information on each individual subject and course can be found below:




Professional Courses

We also have a selection of professional courses in Business, Marketing and Human Resource Management.

Social Media

To keep up to date on all of our latest news and events make sure you follow us on social media. Here are links to all of our social media channels:

PhD, research, academic, European and other specialist job sites

by Prof Jon Fairburn

This blog should be especially useful for PGT, PGR and early career researchers looking for jobs, fellowships or scholarships. I also cover some relevant placement opportunities below for UG. The second half of the blog covers jobs in sectors I know well, environmental, digital marketing, placements and the West Midlands public sector.

For funding for all postgraduate training (there’s several charities that fund for example) including PhDs try

If you’re looking for a PhD then try or

In the UK all public sector jobs (with very few exceptions) have to be publicly advertised. All British Universities will have a jobs/vacancies page and most will allow you to set alerts for when jobs are being released.

The main website for anyone wanting to work in British Universities is has a useful list of research jobs

A useful site for senior academic/management jobs (especially those that go through recruitment agencies) is

The Times Higher Education is the main publication for news on the HE sector in the UK and further afield – their jobs page is here


Two forces over the next 12-18 months are likely to create hundreds of new research and academic jobs. Firstly, hundreds of posts including PhDs, post doc fellowship positions, etc. will be funded in UK universities through the EU Horizon programme. Your starting point for these is this site which covers research jobs all over Europe

Secondly, Ireland is continuing to expand jobs in it’s academic sector – the main site for academic jobs in Ireland is

Brussels is a major centre for research think tanks, charities, regional agencies as well as being home to several Universities – is an excellent starting point for research and research related jobs in Brussels.

Other Euroscience jobs can be found here


If you want a job in a Business School anywhere in the world try

Perret Laver are recruitment specialists for senior academic and management positions used by many universities and other organisations, you can register with them as well as browsing their vacancies

Specialist Environment/ sustainability/ geography

The best site for environmental jobs in the UK (especially starter jobs for graduates) is they also have plenty of volunteering opportunities on the site

For largely technical and specialist environmental jobs including many which are global try

The Guardian environment jobs page is also worth checking

Digital marketing/PR and the media

Prolific North is a fantastic site for all the news in the North of England – the jobs page is here

Charity Comms for the charity sector – the jobs page is here

If you want to work in the Sports industry as a digital marketer/content creator/ brand manager etc

Student Placements and careers

Rate my placement is the best starting point

Public Sector Jobs in the West Midlands

Please note this is my final blog for a while, after 30+ years service at Staffordshire University I have been given the honorary position of Emeritus Professor from April. My email will remain the same but I won’t be checking the account so often. If you haven’t done it yet then connect with me on Linkedin I regularly post jobs and news there.

Careers, jobs, research, environment, digital marketing
Careers, jobs, research, environment, digital marketing

The Danish Jobrotation model: A path to an inclusive labour market

by Prof David Etherington

Since 2020 a number of studies and reports[1] have been produced jointly between Staffordshire University and Citizens Advice North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent (CANSS) on poverty in Stoke on Trent highlighting the following challenges to an inclusive employment system. This includes:

  • Underfunding of benefits and employment support – the inadequate level of benefits (including sick pay) is a key driver of poverty.
  • The focus on conditionality rather than employment and skills support which is reinforcing the low pay low skills cycle.
  • Austerity has negatively impacted on local government and health services which are vital element of employment support.
  • The lack of integration of employment and skills.

Given the relative success of Jobretention models throughout Europe there are calls for such a scheme to be rolled out in the UK. In 2023 I undertook a research visit ( funded by QR Talent fund) to Denmark interviewing experts and labour market policy actors on the Danish labour market model and in particular the jobrotation initiative. The visit made contact with a consultancy firm which had undertaken evaluation of jobrotation on behalf of the Danish Government. This was a follow on from an earlier research visit (in 2022) which was focused on mapping the Danish model and included interviews with a variety   market actors. Key features of the Danish model include:

Denmark has a more sustainable social protection system meaning that benefits are at a level which provides a more effective cushion against poverty. Unemployment benefit rates are 90% of previous earnings up to a maximum of 2,527 Euros a month compared with around 500 Euros a month for Universal Credit which is 17% of average wages. Affordable childcare is crucial in relation addressing labour market inequalities. Denmark’s investment in childcare is one of the highest in the EU and still maintained after the economic crisis broke out. Vocational training policy as with other key economic social policies is decided via social dialogue between the Government, Labour Market Institutions and the trade unions.

Jobrotation (JR) provides a model that emphasises upskilling workers and unemployed and social dialogue involving the representation of disadvantaged groups such as trade unions and community organisations in policy. The initiative was developed and rolled out via major labour market reforms in the early 1990s. Its success caught on and became a major EU programme funded under EQUAL and ADAPT. JR is still promoted by the Danish Government and in particular is seen by the trade unions as a way of upskilling low skilled workers and unemployed people.

Work on JR in collaboration with North Staffs and Stoke on Trent Citizens Advice, North Staffs TUC and the Employment Related Services Association has pointed to the relevance and application of the Danish model of job retention and rotation as a vehicle for developing an inclusive labour market both at the national level and in Stoke on Trent.

Information from interviews highlighted some important outcomes from JR:

1) JR meets three separate but inter-related needs of local economies: tackling unemployment, addressing skills shortages, encouraging business development through staff training and learning and the promotion of Lifelong Learning.

(2) JR helps disadvantaged labour market groups by providing a period of paid work placement, along with the opportunity to improve their vocational skills and qualifications.

(3) Employers reap the benefits of enhanced training for existing employees, and the enhanced capabilities of future employees, improving their retention, reducing turnover and saving costs to their business. We know that it’s difficult to engage employers/businesses in programmes, largely due to the number and complexity of programmes. The JR model is effective and efficient in reaching its target groups and reduces the potential for programme duplication and employers being approached by multiple providers.

Email David at

[1] Etherington D Telford L and Jones M and Harris S and Hubbard S (2022) The Pending Poverty Catastrophe in Stoke on Trent: How benefit cuts and the cost of living crisis impacts on the poor, Staffs University/(Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent),

Etherington D and Jones M and Harris S and Hubbard S (2021) ‘Powering up’ or reducing inequalities? Assessing the impact of benefit cuts and withdrawal of employment support(furlough) on Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire University/ Citizens Advice North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent

Etherington D and Jones M and Harris S and Hubbard S (2021) Post-Covid Crisis and its impact on poverty and destitution in Stoke-on Trent, Staffs University/ Citizens Advice North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent) (April 2021)

 Etherington D (2020) A disappearing safety net: post Covid-19 crisis and its impact on poverty and disadvantage in Stoke on Trent, Report to Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission (May 2020)

Business and Management Research News 2024

Staffordshire Business School was ranked No1 in the Million+ group of universities in REF2021 – you can see our submission on the national results website here and for Business Schools across the sector there is an analysis by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (we ranked 51st out of 107 overall and 16th for Impact).

You can read our previous research news for 2023 here , 2022 here.

Peer review papers

Abbas, A.F., Khwaja, M.G., Abbasi, A.Z. and Hameed, A. (2023), “Market mavenism, tourists’ co-creation experience, loyalty, vaxication intention: mediating role of travel incentives in the post-COVID-19 environment”, Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 532-550.

Abbasi, A. Z., Rather, R. A., Hooi Ting, D., Nisar, S., Hussain, K., Khwaja, M. G., & Shamim, A. (2024). Exploring tourism-generated social media communication, brand equity, satisfaction, and loyalty: A PLS-SEM-based multi-sequential approach. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 30(1), 93-109.

Barnett, N. J., Giovannini, A., & Griggs, S. (2024). Serial adapters? Local government chief officers and the navigation of space and time. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 0(0).

Dimungu-Hewage, D., & Poletti-Hughes, J. (2023). Does board diversity decrease corporate fraud? International evidence from family vs. non-family firms. Review of Corporate Finance, 3(1–2), 175-211 –

Etherington, D., Jones, M., & Telford, L. (2023). ‘COVID crisis, austerity and the ‘Left Behind’ city: Exploring poverty and destitution in Stoke-on-Trent’. Local Economy, 37, 692-707

Etherington D, Jeffery B, Thomas P, Jones M and Ledger-Jessop B (2023) ‘Trade union strategies to tackle labour market insecurity: Geography and the role of Sheffield TUC’ Industrial Relational Journal, 54, 261-277.

Hameed, A., Khwaja, M. G., & Zaman, U., (2023). Configuring optimal contextual performance and task performance in offshore business processing organizations. Business Process Management Journal.  29(1), 285-307

Hazzam J. & Wilkins S. (2023). The influences of lecturer charismatic leadership and technology use on student online engagement, learning performance, and satisfaction, Computers & Education,

Malik, M.F., Khwaja, M.G., Hanif, H. and Mahmood, S. (2023), “The missing link in knowledge sharing: the crucial role of supervisor support- moderated mediated model”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 771-790.

Mami, D, Lami, E and Pugh G (in press) Fiscal Enforcement and Elections in the context of high corruption. Public Finance Review. ISSN 1091-1421

Poletti‐Hughes, J., & Dimungu‐Hewage, D. (2023). The effectiveness of gender diversity reforms and the impact of a familial culture: a spillover effect on board independence. British Journal of Management, 34(3), 1316-1339.– 4* Journal

Turi, J.A., Khwaja, M.G., Tariq, F. and Hameed, A. (2023), “The role of big data analytics and organizational agility in improving organizational performance of business processing organizations”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 2081-2106.

Wilkins, S., Ireland, J.J., Hazzam, J. and Megicks, P. (2024). Service contract type and consumer choice behavior: the contributory roles of perceived value, brand reputation and consumer incentives, Marketing Intelligence & Planning,

Wilkins S., Hazzam J., Ireland J. & Kana R. (2023) International branch campuses: the influences of country of origin and campus environment on students’ institution choices and satisfaction, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management,

Zaman, U., Aktan, M., & Khwaja, M. G. (2023). Linking Regenerative Travel and Residents’ Support for Tourism Development in Kaua’i (Hawaii): Moderating-Mediating effects of Travel-Shaming and Foreign Tourist Attractiveness. Journal of Travel Research, 62(4), 782-801. (ABS 4)

Zaman, U., Florez-Perez, L., Anjam, M., Ghani Khwaja, M. and Ul-Huda, N. (2023), “At the end of the world, turn left: examining toxic leadership, team silence and success in mega construction projects”, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 2436-2462.

Zaman, U., Naeni, L. M., Huda, N. ul, & Khwaja, M. G. (2023). Time Flies When You are Having Fun: The Mediating Effects of Project Opportunity Management in the Relationship Between Project Leaders’ Self-Efficacy and Multidimensional Project Success. Project Management Journal, 54(2), 132-148.

PhD Completions

Mayowa AKINBOTE (2023) The Impact of the ECB’s Unconventional Monetary Policy Announcements on Financial Markets and Investors’ Behaviour (Principal supervisor Prof. Nirmala Lee and secondary supervisor Dr Lan Jiang) from London Metropolitan University

Dilrukshi HEWAGE (2023) The Effectiveness of Board Diversity Reforms and Corporate Practices: The Moderating Role of a Familial Culture, Prevalence of Family Businesses and Family Ownership (Principal Supervisor: Dr. Jannine Poletti Hughes, seconday supervisor Dr Yang Zhao) from the University of Liverpool.

Spiro LAZAROSKI (08/23). Investigating the transmission channels by which exogenous shocks originating in the global economy are transmitted to the countries of the Western Balkans (2003-2015). (Prof Geoff Pugh Principal Supervisor) from Staffordshire University

Tiantian LIU (03/2023). Chinese entrepreneurial proclivity and the conjectured link with the experience of foreign sojourns: Evidence from a study involving undergraduate students based in Beijing. (Harper Adams University With Dr Keith Walley and Dr Paul Adkins and external supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh)

Khaoula OMHAND (02/24) The Race to the Top: The Experiences and Strategies of Women of Colour in UK Academia from Wolverhampton University

Vicky ROBERTS (12/23) Branding in Micro- Organisations – A Network Approach from the University of Bradford

Ema TALAM (09/23). Evaluating the potential of public policy to jointly promote firms’ exporting and innovation. (Prof Geoff Pugh Principal Supervisor with Emeritus Professor Nick Adnett and Dr Mehtap Hisarciklilar) from Staffordshire University

Ongoing Projects

Prof Geoff Pugh, Prof Jon Fairburn, Prof Mark Gregory and Christine Dover are working with the University of Manchester ESRC funded project entitled Digital Stoke

Prof Jon Fairburn and Craig Holdcroft are part of the cross Unversity team delivering an Advance HE grant for the use of AI in training researchers including free workshops sign up here

Prof Jon Fairburn and colleagues at OCSI have completed phase 1 of preparation for the next Index of Multiple Deprivation (due Spring 2025). As well as assessing the issues of updating the air quality compenent of the IMD Prof Fairburn was also asked to research and assess potential new environmental indicators.

Prof Steven Griggs is leading a project to evaluate the development of the Goods Yard in Stoke on Trent

Bids in the pipeline

ESRC responsive mode: new investigator grants round two –Digital Marketing Capabilities in SMEs – To be submitted in February Dr Joe Hazzam


New book by Kieron Chadwick – available here

Progress from last year’s small research awards

Drivers and outcomes of digital marketing activity – Dr Joe Hazzam, Paul Dobson, Vicky Roberts, Dr Bharati Singh

First paper has been submitted to the European Journal of Marketing (3*). The second paper is due to be submitted in April to the Journal of Small Business Management (3*)

Exploring factors leading to augment destination tourism in the northern areas of Pakistan using digital channels – Dr Muddasar Khwaja and Carol Southall

Khwaja, M.G., Southall, C., (2024). Exploring Factors Driving Destination Tourism Augmentation in Northern Pakistan through Digital Channels. 8th International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics, 8-10 March, 2024. Prague, Czech Republic.

Based on the suggestions and recommendations, it will be submitted to International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (ABS 3*) by the end of March 2024.

Exploring the development of Islamic financial technology in South east Asia. A sentiment analysis – Dr Syed Zaidi and Dr Muddasar Khwaja

Title: “Does electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) increase financial appetite? Configuring through the lens of facilitating conditions, information usefulness, and argument quality.”

Authors: Khwaja, M.G., Zaidi, S.M.T., & Abbas, A.F. Journal: International Journal of Bank Marketing (under review)

Job rotation and the inclusive labour market – Prof David Etherintgon and Duncan Adam

Full details will be available in an upcoming blog shortly. The blog on the conference that was organised is already here

Small research awards for 2024

Inclusive Labour Market – Engaging Stakeholders and Delivering Impact in Islington – Prof David Etherington and Prof Steven Griggs

Navigating Financial Evolution: Holistic analysis of financial inclusion, neo-banks and challenger banks in Pakistan’s transformative landscape – Dr Syed Zaidi and Dr Muddasar Khwaja

Diversity and inclusion in the workforce: A case study of Alton Towers – Carol Southall, Amanda Payne and Dr Andy Hanks

The Impact of Entrepreneurial Education on Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SMEs) performance.  – Dr Itoro Ekpo and Dr Fred Nyakudya

Gender and forced displacement: Investing in women refugee entrepreneurship to reduce GBV Vulnerability – Dr Khaoula Omhand, Dr Dilrukshi Dimungu Hewage, and Dr Susan Sisay

Role of firms’ governance in stimulating Corporate Carbon Productivity in the UK – Emission Trading Schemes vs. Government Policy Intervention – Dr Dilrukshi Dimungu Hewage and Dr Khaoula Omhand

Conferences and presentations

Carol Southall presented at the ‘UK Coach Tourism: Volume, Value, Perceptions & Professionalisation’ conference Jan 2024

Ibrahim, B., Hazzam, J., Aljarah, A., & Qalati, S. (2023). How Do artificial intelligence-driven Chatbots impact customer-brand relationship? Travel and Tourism context, The 5th Spring Conference on Futuristic Approaches, Istanbul, Turkey.

Ibrahim, B., Hazzam, J., Aljarah, A., & Elrehail, H. (2023). Social media marketing elements and online brand engagement: an investigation in the coffee shop industry, 2nd International Conference on Contemporary Issues in Commerce, Istanbul, Turkey.

Khwaja, M. G., (2023). Inspecting patients’ Experiential Value to build Patients Loyalty in private and public sector hospitals: An Empirical Investigation. 22nd International Marketing Trends Conference, ESCP Business School, Paris. France (19-21 January, 2023).

Khwaja, M.G., Southall, C., (2024). Exploring Factors Driving Destination Tourism Augmentation in Northern Pakistan through Digital Channels. 8th International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics, 8-10 March, 2024. Prague, Czech Republic

Upcoming Tourism conference organised by Carol Southall, NTAN & ATHE on the theme  the dynamic interplay of “People, Place, and Pride” in the realm of tourism – 27th June


Dr Ema Talam, Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn submitted evidence to the UK Parliament, Business and Trade Committee which is investigating industrial policy

Etherington D and Jones M (2023) ‘Political economy of the inclusive labour market: welfare through work revisited’ in J Ingold and P McGurk (eds) Employer Engagement: Making Active Labour Market Policies Work (Bristol University Press, Bristol) 34-51

Grattan N and Jones M (2023) ‘More-than-civc: higher education and civic society in post-industrial localities’ in J Dobson and E Ferrai (eds) Reframing the Civic University: An Agenda for Impact (Palgrave Macmillan, London) 121-141

Hussain, K., Abbasi, A.Z., Khwaja, M.G., Hussain, A., and Hooi, T.G. (2023). Perceived Value of Images Carrying Tourism Location Information on social media and Customer Brand Engagement. in Brand Co-creation tourism research: contemporary issues and challenges. CRC Press. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. Book chapter

Havoli B, Fairburn J, Pugh G, Talam E, Efendic A, Stojcic N (2023) Promoting the creative sector in three deindustrialised economies: the United Kingdom; Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Croatia. Project Report. Staffordshire University.

Jones M (2023) ‘Dr Gordon MacLeod (1964-2022)’ Scottish Geographical Journal, 139, 242-246.

Jones M (2023) ‘Relationality’ in L Lees and D Demeritt (eds) Concise Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elgar, Cheltenham) 333-337

Middleton, J, Southon, P and Fairburn, J (2023) The impact of environmental provisions in trade agreements on non-communicable disease: working paper. PETRA.

Staffing changes

Good luck to Dr Muddasar Khwaja who has a new job at Keele University and Dr David Cook who has a new job at Nottingham Trent University

Good luck to Vicky Roberts in retirement

Professors Geoff Pugh and Jon Fairburn will be Emeritus Professors from April 2024.

Workshops (free and in person) – Training in the use of AI for PGR and PGT researchers

A cross university team has won a grant from Advance HE (read more here). The first set of workshops for the project are now available to be booked.

Participants can sign up to 1-5 workshops depending on their needs.

Link to eventbrite here

Workshop 1- An introduction to AI by Craig Holdcroft Lecturer in Business and Digital Marketing, Business School – Weds 21st Feb 1.00-3.00

Workshop 2 – How to use AI for your Literature review and synthesis by Dr Jane Wellens, Head of the Graduate School – Weds 28th Feb 1.00-3.00

Workshop 3 – Reviewing and repurposing your research for different audiences with Prof Jon Fairburn, Business School – Weds 6th Mar 1.00-3.00

Workshop 4 – Using AI to provide research career support with Gary McNally, Research Training Manager, Research Impact and innovation Service – Weds 13th Mar 1.00-3.00

Workshop 5 Qualitative skills and AI with Dr Jane Wellens, Head of the Graduate School – weds 20th March 1.00-3.00

All sessions in R312 Science Centre Leek Road, Staffordshire University

New project: Generative AI research practice – funded by Advance HE

A cross disciplinary groups of experts from Staffordshire University have been awarded a Collaborative Development Fund grant by Advance HE to develop and support postgraduate research students.

Project overview

Generative AI (GAI) presents a paradigm shift for research practice; Sabzalieva and Valentini (2023) identified a range of possible uses including during the writing, research design, data collection and data analysis stages and Nordling (2023) found that 33% of postdoctoral researchers use ChatGPT to support their research. However, those numbers may well be exception in disciplines where AI technologies are integral to the science, most researchers are currently novices in terms of understanding the opportunities and limitations of GAI in their own disciplinary and research contexts. This project will also consider postgraduates on taught and doctoral programmes as well as those supervising them, and those leading the governance of programmes and research practice.

As researchers increasingly deploy GAI, there is a need to ensure that they are
aware of its potential and limitations, know how to evaluate the reliability and validity of outputs and understand its wider societal, ethical and integrity implications.

This project will work with postgraduate students and doctoral supervisors to:
(i) Co-create, deliver and evaluate an experiential workshop programme of workshops
exploring the application of GAI technologies in five different areas of research practice:
a. Literature reviews and synthesising of existing research
b. Reviewing and re-purposing own research for different audiences
c. Translation and undertaking research in another language
d. Qualitative Research skills
e. Researcher career support
(ii) Integrate cross-disciplinary activities to enable participants to:
a. Review, compare and critically evaluate the usefulness, validity, and reliability of the
GAI outputs for different research processes, methodological and disciplinary
b. Explicitly consider the societal, ethical and integrity implications of utilising GAI in
these contexts.
(iii) With participants, co-create a set of principles for GAI for consideration by senior leaders in HE.
(iv) Disseminate the outcomes as re-usable learning objects and case studies for use by those involved in supporting researcher development


Jan 2024 to June 2024

Project team

Overall lead: Dr Jane Wellens – Head of the Graduate School e:

Prof Jon Fairburn – Business School

Craig Holdcroft, Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Business School e:

Gary McNally, Research Training Manager

Dr Jim Pugh – Director of the Institute for Education

Other partners

UK Council for Graduate Education

Other resources

For any staff or PGR student interested in AI issues – Jon Fairburn and Gary McNally have already established a pan University MS Team to discuss and co-ordinate activity in this area – feel free to join.

AI and research

You may also be interested in another of our projects Digital Stoke which is researching the size, characteristics and growth of the digital sector.

Digital Stoke – a research project

by Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn

About the project

This project is interested in the presence in Stoke-on-Trent of an IT or digital sector of substantial size, high productivity, and continued growth relative to the local economy. The purpose of this research is to conduct primary research:

(i) to map the IT sector in Stoke;

(ii) to analyse the IT sector origins, structure, performance, and current and potential role in the local economy; and

(iii) thereby to inform evidence-based policies to sustain and develop this emergent sector.

Some Initial Findings

In keeping with many other local authorities, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has placed the digital sector at the centre of its economic development strategy. Anecdotally at least, there does appear a strong base to build on. The emergence of a cluster of creative media businesses on the former Spode Pottery site, the success of privately owned, cyber security business Synectics Solutions, and the continuing growth of the e-gaming capabilities at Staffordshire University all suggest that, unlike some areas chasing the digital opportunity, “Silicon Stoke” has real potential.

The available data, notwithstanding the widely known limitations at the local area level, is entirely consistent with the anecdotal picture: digital is already a major component of the local economy. In 2019, according to the experimental local area ONS GVA data[1], the digital sector accounted for 10.6% of GVA in Stoke-on-Trent, significantly higher than both its 2.1% contribution to output across the rest of Staffordshire and its 6.2% share of UK GVA. And digital in Stoke -on-Trent is fast growing: the relatively high share of local economic output reflects growth of 500% in GVA in the city since 2010, compared to a rough doubling of the sector across the UK and in the rest of Staffordshire.

As a result of this rapid growth, Stoke-on-Trent had the 42nd largest digital sector in the country in 2019 among ITL3 regions in GVA terms, despite being only the 122nd largest local economy. By contrast, Staffordshire was the 23rd local economy in size terms, but only 65th when ranked on size of its digital sector.

Striking as these figures are, they don’t tell us the full story. The 2019 GVA data identifies Stoke-on-Trent as having the 11th largest Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (AER) sector in the UK among ITL3[2] areas. The AER sector in Stoke-on-Trent is almost 3 times the value of that in Staffordshire, despite the county’s local economy being three times that of Stoke-on-Trent in total. The explanation is not hard to find; gambling accounts for over 97% of the AER sector in Stoke-on-Trent, reflecting the presence of the HQ and core operations of Bet365, one of the world’s leading online betting companies.

On any measure Bet365 is a digital company. If we adjust the ONS data using employee numbers as a proxy for GVA share, the digital sector in Stoke-on-Trent would on a conservative basis have been worth around £1 billion in GVA terms in 2019. This level of GVA would make Stoke-on-Trent, the 25th largest digital ITL3 area in the UK. On productivity, the performance is even more impressive. Matching the available data on employment to the sector GVA data at the local authority level[3], Stoke-on-Trent’s digital sector productivity of £153k per job is the fourth highest in the UK. Adjust for Bet365’s presence and the city moves up to third place, just ahead of the City of Westminster and behind Hounslow, home to Heathrow Airport, and Portsmouth, home of IBM. Even allowing for the fact that by combining some ITL areas the local authority measure may dilute the digital strength of places such as Reading, this ranking is very different to that for productivity (GVA per job) across the local authority area, in which Stoke-on-Trent is in the bottom quartile nationally.

The structure of Stoke’s digital sector initially appears to comprise of one (very) large firm (bet365) together with a large number of micro, small, and medium  size firms. To what extent might bet365 be functioning as an “anchor” firm is to be investigated. However, it is clear that “digital Stoke” is not a one-firm phenomenon but is based on a wide range of firms in a range of sub-industries.

Next steps

We are currently processing and collecting primary and secondary datasets for mapping using Geographic Information Systems.

We will be looking to interview past and current workers in the digital sector starting in 2024.

If you can assist or are interested in further information about the project please contact Christine Dover below.

Research team

Prof Geoff Pugh email

Prof Jon Fairburn email

Visiting Prof Mark Gregory email

Christine Dover (Research Assistant) email

Research Fellow (University of Manchester) starts 1st Feb 2024

Funded through the ESRC in collaboration with the Productivity Institute at the University of Manchester.

[1] Regional gross value added balanced by industry and all ITL regions. May 2021, ONS.

[2] International Territorial Level, a recognised classification to allow comparison of places of similar sizes.

[3] Regional gross value added (balanced) by industry: local authorities by International Territorial Level (ITL) region. May 2022, ONS. Business Register and Employment Survey. 2021, Nomis.

Celebrating Entrepreneurship – Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 – 13th to 20th Nov

by Dr Ema Talam

Risk-taking, curiosity, flexibility and adaptability, or opportunity-seeking are often thought to be characteristics of entrepreneurs. Positive effects of entrepreneurship are far-reaching. Entrepreneurship can be a contributor to economic growth and development, creator of employment, lead to increased spending in markets, lead to knowledge transfers, and innovation (Meyer and de Jongh, 2018).

Global initiative Global Entrepreneurship Week is a campaign designed to “celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world – especially those individuals who face structural barriers or may have never considered the idea of launching a startup”.

Thousands of activities are organised across the world to celebrate entrepreneurship and Staffordshire University join the cause. Several sessions were delivered this week and while we are coming to the end of Global Entrepreneurship Week, there is still some time to engage with some of the activities. The sessions delivered by Staffordshire University staff and entrepreneurs in residence (Kieron Chadwick, Dr Joe Hazzam, Dr Ema Talam and Jonathan Westlake) and have covered topics such as digital adoption for entrepreneurs, social media and AI in the context of entrepreneurship, ethical considerations when starting your business, and intrapreneurship and building skills and competencies to act as an entrepreneur. Over 120 students have engaged with Global Entrepreneurship Week this year and there is still some time to engage with exciting activities around entrepreneurship if you follow this link.

At Staffordshire University, we offer variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes related to entrepreneurship. Full list of courses offered is available here.


Notes on the Conference: Inclusive Labour Market: Exploring Job retention, rotation and social dialogue

Professor David Etherington and Dr Duncan Adam

Purpose of the Conference

Both Staffordshire University and ERSA have been exploring models of labour market policy which are inclusive and democratic. The Job retention rotation model promoted by the Danish Government and trade unions has had a great deal of success in engaging unemployed/ disadvantaged groups with employment and at the same time providing unskilled workers opportunities to participate in vocational training. The model enables employees to be released from work to undertake study, by replacing them with substitutes who have been unemployed. The unemployed participants receive pre-employment support and mentoring as part of the scheme. Through this approach, those otherwise excluded from the workforce, are given a unique opportunity for paid work experience and vocational training. Employers benefit because production/services continues while staff are freed up to develop their skills.

This model has been mainstreamed in some European countries, promoted by the European Union, and successfully piloted in Scotland by the Workers Education Association. An essential ingredient of the JR model is the role of social dialogue and the bringing together of relevant labour market partners, including trade unions and worker representatives. For more information on the Danish approach see

The main aim of the Conference was to focus on solutions to poverty and inequality by considering the possibilities of initially piloting such an initiative in the UK, possibly in the Stoke/North Staffordshire area. Previous reports by Staffordshire have drawn attention to deep seated in work and out of work poverty (see ) where a large proportion of working age adults are either excluded from the labour market or in low paid/skills employment. A key focus is also to assess how trade unions/civil society organisations can play a greater role, along with other stakeholders within the UK employment and skills system.

Summary of all the presentations is available for download below at the bottom of the page

Speakers at the conference

Professor Martin Jones (VC) Staffordshire University

Professor David Etherington, Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development, Staffordshire UniversityJob retention and social dialogue: Lessons from Denmark

Jill Rutter, Head of Programme and Policy, Learning and Work InstituteWhich way now for employment support?

Dr Katy Jones,  Research Fellow, Centre for Decent Work and Productivity, Manchester Metropolitan UniversityWhat role for employers? Universal Credit and Employers: exploring the demand side of UK active labour market policy

Matt Pointon West Midlands TUCand the development of the TUC-WMCA Skills Partnership.

Simon Harris, North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Citizens Advice

Alexandra Jones, Policy Manager – GingerbreadThe Single Parent Employment Challenge: Overview and Key Findings

Plenary SummaryElizabeth Taylor CEO Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

All notes in one document below

Looking for help with Digital marketing?

We are now offering again the opportunity for a student placement to assist you with your digital marketing needs. This placement is credited as part of their course MSc in Digital Marketing Management

To get our Masters students ready for the industry we have two modules:

Digital Marketing Strategy in Practice (Jan to April 2024)

This module will prepare a tri-partite agreement between the student, the academic staff and the organisation as to the focus of the project. During this time the student and the organisation will develop the working relationship and the student will receive access to the data and systems needed to carry out the initial assessment

First, the student will assess the existing marketing practice (using analytics, comparison against four competitors, best practice in the sector and discussion with the organisation as to what they are trying to achieve).

From the evidence strategic options will be prepared and discussed with the organisation and the strategy agreed for the placement. Finally, consideration will be given as to how to make the project sustainable (so that it can continue after the student leaves).

Once there is agreement the tripartite form is completed and signed. This work carried out between January to April 2024.

The Digital Marketing Work Placement

A credited work experience (600 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned. (April to August 2024).

The project can be in any type of organisation e.g. private sector, public sector, charity or a university. It is not essential for the work project activity to take place at the premises – many of the projects have been remotely delivered due to COVID.

Here’s a blog with examples of previous projects our students have completed.

Here is the link to profiles of this year’s students. Please contact them direct to start a conversation. If you have any other issues please contact either Prof Jon Fairburn or Craig Holdcroft 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. We’re not sure what we’re doing with our marketing can you help? You are very suited to a placement. The student will first review your activity and then in discussion with you provide you with options depending on what your needs are.
  2. What is digital marketing? Digital marketing covers a very wide range of techniques to both get your messages out and to get customers to engage with you. From website design, SEO optimisation, content creation (including podcasts, films and blogs), email marketing, social media, PPC campaigns and more – digital marketing is so much more than just social media. In fact, we have found that in general in recent years social media has been quite a way down the list of effective strategic approaches that organisations can take to develop their digital marketing.
  3. We need someone to set up and run some social media accounts? This has been a common request but so often it is based on very little. What are you trying to achieve? Which social media channel matches the personas of your customers? What is the size of your marketing budget for paid adverts on these channels? Most social media channels have been tightened so organic growth can be very small without a budget.
  4. We’re a B2B business can you help? Yes, B2B often requires a different approach to a B2C organisation. B2B organisations are often sitting on unused assets.
  5. What resources will the placement need? A line manager who can respond to updates and proposed work to give feedback. To provide a recommendation on Linkedin at the end of a satisfactorily completed project.
  6. Will we need to pay for the placement? We have had paid and unpaid placements on the course (the work-placement is credited). Placements that are paid are likely to have access to a wider range of possible students. Some companies have paid a stiped for satisfactory completion of the project. We would expect any organisation to pay for any transport costs and meal allowance if working on site.

If you are ready to start, please contact the student direct. If you have any other queries, then please contact one of the staff tutors below

Prof Jon Fairburn

Craig Holdcroft

MSc in Digital Marketing Management also recruiting for January 2024 intake