Skip to main content Skip to navigation

IER newsletter - November/December 2016

IER Newsletter - November/December 2016

In this month's issue...

Forthcoming events - Putting the security back into social security
- Applications open for ESRC PhD studentships at IER

Congratulations to Peter Millar

In an age when it is claimed that people switch jobs as quickly as they switch TV channels, IER is again celebrating staff long service. Peter Millar has been with IER for 30 years. As one of IER’s Scientific Computing Officers, Peter has been responsible for developing the computer programmes that underpin much of IER’s skills research and is a stalwart behind the Working Futures projects.

Forthcoming events

Putting the security back into social security

IER's Michael Orton will be hosting a series of free workshops in December 2016 on social security, supported by the UK Social Policy Association. The issue of social security is fundamental to social policy. The recasting of social security as problematic, and now toxic, 'welfare' - which fails to prevent hunger, never mind ensure security - is well documented. A recent report (Secure & Free: 5+ solutions to socio-economic insecurity) published by Compass found that on issues such as housing and Early Childhood Education and Care, there are many ideas available within civil society and much consensus. However, on the core issue of social security in relation to income the same is not the case and there is a dearth of relevant thinking at academic, policy and political levels. Register your interest for the workshops here.

Applications open for ESRC PhD Studentships at IER

Applications are now open for ESRC-funded PhD Studentships offered through the new Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership. Outstanding Home/EU applicants to the PhD in Employment Research starting October 2017 are encouraged to apply. Closing date 24 January 2017.


Working Futures 2014-2024 available to download

Working Futures 2014-2024 is the sixth in a series of quantitative assessments of employment prospects in the UK labour market over a 10 year horizon, created for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills by IER and Cambridge Econometrics. The projections were prepared in late 2015 and early 2016 and are based on a view of the likely medium-term evolution of the economy at that time. With the support of UKCES and the Department for Education, IER created a web page from which all the reports and outputs from these projections can be downloaded.

Nurturing the talent pipeline in Northern Ireland

The way in which teenagers think about their future in education and employment has a significant impact on what becomes of them as adults. Good-quality careers education and young people's exposure to the world of work can make a real difference to academic, social and economic outcomes, according to IER's Deirdre Hughes, Chair of the Senior Advisory Group for Skills Northern Ireland. Deirdre, chaired a breakfast meeting with NI business and education leaders. Organised by Prospects Events, sponsored by NIE Networks and supported by Ulster University, the Skills Northern Ireland event in November offered young people and parents the opportunity to meet employers, discover careers and learn more about Northern Ireland's major skills shortages.

IER helping develop job quality research in Australia

In October, Director of IER, Chris Warhurst, was Visiting Professor at the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University in Sydney. The main purpose of the visit was to help the Centre develop a research agenda for studying job quality in Australia. There is currently much policy interest in job quality in Australia, with staff from the Reserve Bank of Australia attending one of the sessions.

The Third Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum

The recent Third Midlands Youth Forum provided an update on preliminary findings from the ESRC-funded project Precarious Pathways into employment for young people led by IER in collaboration with Aston University, the University of Leicester and the Open University. The project is investigating young people’s employment transitions from education to employment in the areas of Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester.

The forum included presentations by the team on the evolution and changing context of the Midlands youth labour market, the experiences of school and college leavers, and recent graduates and employers’ perspectives. Presentations were followed by comments by invited expert stakeholders: Jonathon Dawson, Head of Talent Match at The Prince’s Trust; Sheila Bates, Coventry City Council’s Children’s Champion; Martin Perfect, Employer Relationships Manager at the University of Leicester’s Careers Centre; and John Mortimer, Group CEO, Angela Mortimer Plc. The full programme, the presentations and a summary of key discussion points are available for download from the Paths2Work project website.

The Future of Work

As the European Commission decides its new research funding priorities, Director of IER, Chris Warhurst was invited to the Commission by the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN) to talk about the future of work. The address to staff from DG GROW and DG EMPL outlined the various digital disruptions facing the EU and the key issues that should guide the Commission’s funding priorities.

New IER research contributes to the review of graduate destinations and outcomes data

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) published a consultation in May this year on measuring graduate outcomes and destinations, as part of a wider review on how this information should be collected and compiled. As part of the review, a team from IER was commissioned to collect the views of students and graduates on what they want from Higher Education (HE), what they gain in terms of career and personal development, and what sources of information and support are available and considered most useful when applying to university, throughout HE and upon graduation. Participants were also asked to consider what sources of information would become more important to students in the future. A series of face-to-face and online focus groups were conducted with students and graduates. The final report has been published on the HESA website.
Lyonette, C., Atfield, G. and Barnes, S-A. (2016) Richer information on student views: supporting the HESA review of destinations and outcomes data. Higher Education Statistics Authority.

Disseminating IER research

Supporting European Public Employment Services

As members of the EmployID project team, IER's Jenny Bimrose and Deirdre Hughes presented an overview of its intermediate results to a meeting of all European public employment services (PES) representatives organised by DG Employment. Jenny Bimrose gave a brief overview of the history of the project, and Deirdre Hughes spoke about the EmployID MOOC. EmployID is a European funded research project aimed at supporting PES and their employees in adapting to the changes to their world of work by facilitating the development of their professional identities.

Talking about student work experience

Kate Purcell presented on student work experience, at the University Market Insight Conference 2016, run by the Knowledge partnership at Aston University in November. University senior strategic marketing staff see the provision of opportunities for their students to gain career-related work experience while studying as one of the key challenges that face them in the current market-led higher education sector and were keen to learn from the findings of the Futuretrack and Paths2Work research on student and graduate experiences and career outcomes.

How to measure the employability of graduates

IER's Heike Behle was invited by the British Council to speak at the Higher Education - Industry Dialogue in Sri Lanka. In the presentation entitled The role of higher education to produce employable graduates, Heike demonstrated different ways of measuring the employability of graduates based on her work for the LEGACY project.

Careers labour market information applications in practice

IER's Jenny Bimrose was invited to present at two different forums for careers and employment professionals in Norway on using labour market information effectively in careers and employment practice. At Vox: National Agency for Lifelong Learning Jenny gave a talk entitled Labour market information (LMI) and careers/employment counselling, drawing on the two research projects EmployID and LMI for All. The presentation was attended by practitioners, managers, researchers and representatives of different Ministries and was well received.Jenny then travelled to Oslo to give an invitational keynote to the Second e-guidance and e-governance seminar for the Nordic countries. With the focus of the seminar being on e-guidance and e-governance, a good deal of interest was shown in the pioneering work of the EmployID and LMI for All projects in piloting and implementing LMI applications into practice with career and employment counselling professionals.


The apprenticeship levy: How will employers respond?

From April 2017, large employers in the UK will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy based on their total pay bill. A new report on the possible effects of the apprenticeship levy has been published by the Department for Education. Research undertaken by IER and IFF Research examines how the levy could effect apprenticeship take-up, existing employer-provided training schemes and the range of occupations that could be trained using an apprenticeship. The reports provides a better understanding of employers’ likely behaviours in response to this mandatory contribution towards apprenticeship training.
Gambin, L., Hogarth, T., Winterbotham, M., Huntley-Hewitt, J., Eastwood, L. and Vivian, D. (2016). The apprenticeship levy: How will employers respond? (Research report, DFE-RR612). London: Department for Education.

Job quality and Uberisation

As a UK employment tribunal determines that two Uber drivers ought to be classified as employees, Sally Wright and Chris Warhurst of IER, along with Lund University colleague Chris Mathieu, have completed a chapter on job quality and Uberisation for a new book to be published in the new year.
Warhurst, C., Mathieu, C. and Wright, S (forthcoming) ‘Workplace Innovation and the Quality of Working Life in the Age of Uberisation’ in P. Oeij, Rus, D. and Pot, F. (eds) Workplace Innovation: Theory, Research and Practice, Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being series, Springer Publishing Company.

Prompting reflection and learning in career construction counseling

Adopting the overall framework provided for an international inquiry into career counseling interventions, this article reports on a qualitative study into the efficacy of a relatively new approach to practice in England.Reid, H., Bimrose, J. and Brown, A. (2016). Prompting reflection and learning in career construction counseling. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 97: 51-59. (DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2016.07.013)

Guides to anticipating and matching skills

Two guides, authored by IER’s Rob Wilson, which are part of the ETF, ILO and Cedefop series of guides on skills anticipation and matching have been published.

Volume 2 covers the development of skills foresights, scenarios and skills forecasts, and aims to support setting up skills forecasting systems at national level by means of quantitative and/or qualitative approaches. The guide is intended specifically for countries which are starting to develop systems of skill needs anticipation.
Bakule, M., Czesaná, V., and Havlícková, V. (Part A), Kriechel, B., Rašovec, B. and Wilson, R. (Part B) (2016) Developing Skills Foresights, Scenarios and Forecasts - Guide to Anticipating and Matching Skills and Jobs (Vol. 2). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, (ISBN: 978-92-9157-655-5)Volume 3 examines sectors as the key points where changes in skills demand occurs, the term sector being used to define specific areas of economic activity. It provides an overview of the role of sectoral bodies and what they do in anticipating changing skills needs. The country case studies show how skills are analysed at the sector level in different contexts and conditions.
Wilson, R., Tarjáni, H. and Rihova, H. (2016) Working at Sectoral Level - Guide to Anticipating and Matching Skills and Jobs (Vol. 3). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, (ISBN: 978-92-9157-657-9)
For information on any of IER's publications, research or other activities, please get in touch.
Copyright © 2016 Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, All rights reserved.
Subscribe to our newsletter at