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IER newsletter - May 2016

IER Newsletter - May 2016

In this month's issue...

Women in Maths Day Prize





IER Researcher wins poster prize at Women in Maths Day

Women in Maths Day, Cambridge, 15 April 2016 - this year's surprising poster winner is not a mathematician but a sociologist !Milena Kremakova presented some of her research findings at this year's Women in Mathematics Day at Microsoft Research in Cambridge on 15 April 2016. This event has been run annually by the London Mathematical Society (LMS) for 17 years and attracts many mathematicians from academia and industry at different stages in their careers. Milena's poster, entitled 'Mathematicians in love: Are there real solutions to the two-body problem?' attracted a lot of attention from other participants and won the poster prize provided by Wiley. The event was covered by Cambridge TV.



Kate Purcell at Launchpad initiative run by the Cabinet Office

On 28 April, Kate Purcell attended an invitation-only initiative, Launchpad, run by the Cabinet Office at No. 10 Downing Street, to bring together civil servants and leading thinkers in work, well-being and technology. Following short presentations about current and projected impacts of technology and demographic change on the UK labour market, researchers and innovators from academia, Whitehall and the private sector moved among different working groups to exchange ideas, and, drawing on their research and experience, discuss the nature of work, the future of work and the implications for employment, education and training and wider social welfare policies. The objective of the event was to draw together experts from a wide range of labour market experience to inform current policy-makers in developing and steering relevant policy decision-making.

Chinese Students Employability Project

On 18 May, the findings of the British Council-funded Chinese Employability Project were launched at the Warwick Business School London campus in the Shard. In this project, the Student Careers and Skills of University of Warwick together with IER and AGCAS conducted a survey of Chinese students and graduates. The aim of the project was to identify UK-educated Chinese students' needs for evidence-based employability and entrepreneurship support. The findings have also been recently reported in Times Higher Education (THE).

More information about the project and the launch of the survey findings can be found here.

Employability and Social Mobility

Heike Behle was invited to present findings on employability and social mobility at the SRHE 'Employability and Social Mobility' networking event at Aston University, in Birmingham on 24 May. She presented findings based on the joint IER publication Behle, H., Atfield, G., Elias, P., Gambin, L., Green, A., Hogarth,T., Purcell, K., Tzanakou, C. and C. Warhurst (2015). 'Reassessing the employment outcomes of higher education'. J Huisman and J. Case (eds.) Investigating Higher Education. International perspectives on theory, policy and practice. Oxon and New York, Routledge Press: 114-131.

Click for more event information and Heike's presentation.

Invited address at meeting of Italian universities' senior management

Working with Daria Luchinskaya, IER Director, Chris Warhurst, was invited by AlmaLaurea to Naples to address a meeting of Italian universities’ senior management. Drawing on the IER’s Working Futures (a collaboration with Cambridge Econometrics and sponsored by UKCES) and Futuretrack studies, the address focused on employment prospects for graduates in Europe.

Workshop on precarious labour in Europe

Milena Kremakova, together with Neda Deneva from the Humboldt University of Berlin, is co-organising an international workshop entitled Precarity or Flexibility? Changing Realities of Labour in the New Europe. The event brings together a small group of researchers (anthropologists and sociologists) who deal with issues of labour, employment, migration and insecurity, in order to discuss the concept of "precarity" and its different manifestations across eastern and western Europe, in low- and high-skilled jobs. The counterpoint to the predominantly European focus of the workshop Yoko Tanaka (University of Tsukuba) will provide an international counterpoint to the predominantly European focus of the workshop with her comparative research about precarity in Germany and Japan. The discussion will be led by Jürgen Kocka, one of Germany's leading historians of work, and Andrea Muehlebach, sociologist of work at Toronto University.

The workshop takes place in Berlin on 30 May 2016 and is generously hosted by the Käte Hamburger International Centre “IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History ” (re:work), where Milena is Guest of the Director for this academic year. The re:work institute is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research through the Excellence Initiative.

You can download the workshop programme here.



IER's latest PhD confirmed

Warwick Graduate School has confirmed the successful outcome of Daria Luchinskaya's PhD 'It’s not already laid out for you in a small company: UK graduates’ knowledge and skills utilisation in small and large businesses.

Daria is delighted to receive her PhD award from the Institute for Employment Research and has found it a pleasure working with her colleagues and friends in IER and supervisors Professor Kate Purcell and Dr Kevin Mole (Warwick Business School). She looks forward to continuing her academic work in employment research in the future.



Understanding Skills Mismatches: New BIS Research Paper

A new research paper entitled, Research to improve understanding of the extent, nature and potential effect of skills mismatches in the economy was published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on 12 May. The report, co-authored by Lynn Gambin, Terence Hogarth, Chris Warhurst and colleagues from IFF Research details their research looking at skills mismatches in the economy and their potential effect on employers, individuals and others.

At the simplest level, skill mismatches refer to a failure of skill supply to meet skill demand. Mismatches, depending upon their intensity and scale, can be damaging: they can act as a drag on economic growth, limit the employment and earnings opportunities of individuals, and prevent companies maximising their performance.

The key findings from the study indicate the following:

  • At any single point in time, the incidence of skill shortages in the economy is modest. An experimental method developed in the report has indicated the relatively short list of occupations where shortages are likely to exist. Many of these are skilled trades jobs.
  • Employers tend to be risk averse when looking to recruit people. If they are unable to recruit someone with all of the skills and attributes they are looking for, they would prefer not to recruit. Instead, they look to develop work-arounds but realise that these are not ideal and may constrain organisational performance.
  • Training more people is seen as a medium- to long-term solution in avoiding skill shortages, but employers have concerns about finding training that will meet their job specifications, or being able to retain former trainees or apprentices once they have completed their training.
  • By being able to identify those occupations that are in shortage there is scope to target training in those occupations. In many cases this means Apprenticeships. The list of skill shortage occupations identified in this study are concentrated in skilled trades occupations where an Apprenticeship provides a typical means of entry.
  • Some employers were risk-averse when considering investing more in training people via programmes such as Apprenticeships. They were worried about retaining staff they had trained. This may point to the need to reduce the amount of risk encountered by employers when considering making training investments in programmes such as Apprenticeships.
  • The low level of shortages may reflect the fact that many employers have product market strategies that are not dependent upon having a highly skilled workforce. If the product market ambitions of employers are raised, the demand for skills will rise accordingly. 

The full report can be downloaded here.

Working Futures UK Labour Market Projections 2014-2024: Annexes

Following the recent publication of the latest round of Working Futures labour market projections for 2014-2024 (as reported in IER's April Newsletter), the associated Annexes are now available here.

Subjects covered by the annexes include:

- Sources and methods
- Comparisons with previous projections
- Developing projections at the most detailed occupational level
- Trends in employment and output by nation of the UK and region of England, including visualisations of key data.

IER's Rob Wilson, David Owen, Anne Green and Nick Sofroniou contributed to the Annexes in partnership with colleagues at Cambridge Econometrics.

Research on impact of new pay arrangements upon teachers' pay

Gaby Atfield, Sally-Anne Barnes, Clare Lyonette and David Owen have undertaken research sponsored by the National Union of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) into the equality impact of new pay determination systems for England introduced by the Department for Education from autumn 2013. Three reports were published in time for the NASUWT Easter conference and can be downloaded from:

Teachers' Pay and Equality: Literature Review

Teachers' Pay and Equality: Analysis of official survey and School Workforce Census data

Teachers' Pay and Equality: Online Survey and Qualitative Study

The NASUWT has also produced a Teachers' Pay and Equality: Research in Brief which summarises the key findings of the research.
For information on any of IER's publications, research or other activities, please get in touch.
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