Purpose ‐ This study aims to consider the place of employability in universities, with a focus on research-intensive institutions, and to outline an initiative that was introduced to promote employability skills development at the University of Nottingham. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Following a discussion of literature on the promotion of employability in higher education, the development of the "Inside Employment" initiative is outlined. The project was developed using an action research methodology. Findings ‐ The major findings from each cycle are outlined here, demonstrating the different factors that informed the programme's establishment. Practical implications ‐ The paper makes a number of recommendations for developing opportunities for employability skills development in universities in general, and research-intensive universities in particular. Originality/value ‐ The paper will be of value to those involved in developing employability initiatives in higher education, particularly at research-intensive institutions.