I joined City-REDI / WMREDI in May 2021, and I am excited to be a member of a multidisciplinary and highly skilled team. I am particularly attracted by the fact that City-REDI and WMREDI advance the public good and bring together academic researchers, policymakers, and industry representatives. The Institutes’ projects do not merely concentrate on regional growth and the development of policy strategies, but they also place a strong emphasis on inclusivity, which is a critical element of the ambitions of this team.
This ties in very well with the previous quantitative research I conducted during my doctoral studies in Economics at the University of Bath. Specifically, the aim of my empirical PhD project was twofold. First, in the context of widening participation, I explored discrepancies in performance and progression through higher education in the UK between students from different ethnic backgrounds. Second, my work shed light on ethnic pay inequalities in the British labour market among UK-born graduates and quantified the contribution of specific employees’ characteristics to earnings differentials. During my PhD years in Bath, I also worked at the Institute for Policy Research, where I wrote a research proposal evaluating the impact of a governmental policy on educational choices, welfare, and other outcomes of young people in the UK. Furthermore, I was involved in a Local Industrial Strategy project conducted at the Department of Economics on behalf of a Local Enterprise Partnership. This project provided a thorough knowledge base to inform the development of an economic policy strategy around promoting the proper skills profile leading to economic prosperity and regional growth. Moreover, I have a rewarding experience in teaching Econometrics undergraduate courses and marking the students’ coursework and final exams. My academic background also includes a BSc in Statistics and an MSc in Applied Economics and Finance, both from the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Before being awarded the competitive PhD studentship by the University of Bath in 2017, I had worked in the Economic Research Department of ICAP Group (in Greece) for five years (2009-2014). In this role, I designed and conducted more than 30 market research studies, focusing on various industries of the Greek economy. Also, I undertook the design, research and writing of special reports, which were disseminated to policymakers and the broader public through presentations at conferences, roundtable events, and the media. In 2014, I moved to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) and joined the Analytics Centre of Excellence team. My employment as Project Manager in IRI helped me develop planning and organisational skills at the senior level, establish effective communications with all stakeholders, prioritise tasks and meet tight deadlines.
My research fellowship in City-REDI and WMREDI provides an excellent opportunity for career growth and engaging in exciting projects that match my research interests. As a first stage, I plan to contribute to the “Skills and Local Labour Markets” theme of the WMREDI research agenda. Specifically, I seek to explore different choices and pathways of higher education graduates in the West Midlands, investigate their performance at university compared to other UK regions, examine what jobs they land once they complete their studies, and analyse their contribution to the regional economy. This project becomes particularly important in light of the current challenging times because of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Early evidence suggests that socio-economic inequalities have been exacerbated during the pandemic, resulting in disproportionate effects on education, employment prospects and earnings among ethnic minorities and low-income families.
I am looking forward to meeting my new colleagues in person and working closely with them in Birmingham.
This blog was written by Kostas Kollydas, Research Fellow, City-REDI / WM REDI, University of Birmingham.
The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI / WM REDI or the University of Birmingham.