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Futuretrack 1-4: Meet the Research Team

Principal investigator

Kate Purcell

 Kate Purcell has been working on the relationship between higher education (HE) and employment since 1979 and conducted a series of longitudinal studies of graduate transitions into the labour market, follow-up studies of graduate early careers and related research on tertiary educational policy and practice and with graduate employers. Her main interests are on the impact of HE expansion on labour market stratification, occupational change and organisational restructuring with reference to equality of opportunity in employment and career development, mapping the increasingly diverse HE participant population and graduate labour supply, and identifying the socio-economic costs, benefits and wider impact of HE to individuals, organisations and the wider community, beyond financial premia. She is a passionate advocate of the value of mixed-methods research to address policy-related issues. Awarded the status of Emeritus Professor from 31st December 2012 when she retired, she continues to work at the institute on a part-time basis on graduate labour market isues, the transition from education to employent and particularly, on developing the potential of the Futuretrack project.

Contact Kate: Kate dot Purcell at warwick dot ac dot uk

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Research team


Peter Elias is an internationally-recognised expert on occupational classification. Primarily a statistician and labour economist, he has become increasingly interested in the gap between policy labour market information requirements and the deficiencies of available microdata – particularly with reference to the extent to which the expansion of HE can address national skill shortages and erode obstacles to social mobility. His research experience includes statistical monitoring of the status of particular groups in the labour market and the relationship between education, vocational training and labour market outcomes.

Contact Peter: Peter dot Elias at warwick dot ac dot uk

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Gaby Atfield is a social geographer and experienced qualitative researcher who has worked on both the Futuretrack survey analyses and related projects. Her research primarily focusses on differential access to education and employment and social inclusion and exclusion. Within this broad theme, she is particularly interested in the relationship between geographical and social mobility and in the higher education experiences and outcomes of students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Contact Gaby: G dot J dot Atfield at warwick dot ac dot uk

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Heike Behle is a quantitative sociologist who has studied the school-to-work transitions of young people relationship and more broadly between education and employment in Germany and in the UK. She is experienced in longitudinal research and interested in the increasing education-led mobility in Europe and internationally, and in the motivations and experiences of EU and overseas students who have chosen to study in the UK, and also has a strong interest in the experiences and subsequent labour market outcomes of those who have studied in the UK as mature students.

Contact Heike: Heike dot Behle at warwick dot ac dot uk

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Ritva Ellison provided data management, analysis and technical support for Futuretrack project and has worked extensively with Professor Purcell and Professor Elias on graduate surveys, occupational and industrial classifications and automated coding of data. She has excellent dataset management, survey administration and data handling skills and has worked with a wide range of national and international datasets. In 2014 she moved from the IER to work at the UK Medical Careers Group at the University of Oxford.


Daria Luchinskaya was awarded an ESRC/HECSU-funded CASE studentship to carry out mixed-methods research for a PhD on an aspect of graduate employment and skill utilisation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), drawing on and following up relevant Futuretrack survey data. She embarked on the studentship in January 2011 when he project was at a very early stage, and worked alongside the Futuretrack research team, contributing to and complementing the core project activities in her PhD research on the impact of organisational size on early graduate career progression. She is now a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the IER.

Contact Daria: D dot Luchinskaya at warwick dot ac dot uk

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