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IER newsletter - April 2017


Map of innovation, job quality and employment outcomes in Europe

Based on new statistical analysis from its Horizon 2020 project ‘QuInnE’, the team have just published an online map that calculates and compares innovation, job quality and employment outcomes for the EU and its Members states.

It shows that the UK is 'medium-high' on job quality, with high wages but also high part-time working, including short part-time hours. The UK is 'medium-high' on innovation: output indicators at the firm level are high but levels of innovation enablers at the national and employee levels are lower. The UK is 'high-high' on employment performance, with a high level of employment for the prime-age population (25 to 54 years) and relatively high levels of employment for vulnerable groups. Further details of QuInnE, please contact

Webinar on accessing labour market information

Reliable and up-to-date labour market information (LMI) is essential for successful individual career transitions for individuals making their way into, and through, the labour market. The LMI for All service developed by IER, with funding from DfE, provides this information. Interest in the service is significant and growing. LMI for All provides a reliable and up-to-date source of national data and careers labour market information. By using the LMI for All API (application programming interface), there is the potential to provide access to data relevant to all individuals at various stages of their learning and career journey for making career decisions. Find out more about the LMI for All service, who is using it and how to access at the next free webinar on 3 May. To register go to the project website.

UK employment policy in a changing Europe

As part of Warwick’s faculty of social sciences’ CREW network, IER, the School of Law and the Industrial Relations Research Unit have an award from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to produce a series of Brexit Briefings on Employment.

The four thematic briefings will focus on job loss and job creation; training for the unemployed; employment rights and regulation; migration and skills. Each will present key research evidence and make recommendations for the development of new policy as the UK exits the EU. Each will also have a public launch over May-July this year. For further information, contact Professor Chris Warhurst, Dr Ania Zbyszewska or Professor Guglielmo Meardi.


IER welcomes Peter Dickinson

Peter Dickinson has recently joined Warwick IER as a Senior Research Fellow. Peter has over 30 years' experience as a researcher in local government and commercial organisations and now returns to academia. His research interests include all aspects of post-16 learning and skills from Foundation to Degree level; subregional employment and skills agendas; labour market and skills access for hard to reach groups; local labour market understanding and analysis. He is a mixed methods practitioner having managed numerous projects including process, impact and economic evaluations. He is currently leading a study for IER assessing the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy.

IER welcomes Wil Hunt

Wil Hunt has recently joined IER as a Research Fellow, having completed his PhD at Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth. His PhD research examines the role internships play in the UK graduate labour market and considers how the practice fits in with theories of labour market change and transitions from education to employment.

Prior to starting his PhD Wil worked for an independent research company examining a number of education and work related topics, including: higher education, the graduate labour market, career patterns of PhD and creative graduates, student finances and support arrangements, student choices and graduate flows, health and safety in the workplace, and employers’ use of migrant labour. Wil’s current research interests relate to the labour market and the intersection between education and the world of work.

Technology, austerity and employability in urban labour markets

Professor Anne Green has had an article published in the journal Urban Studies. The article discusses two key changes affecting employability, labour market operation and policy delivery are austerity and the expansion of the use of information and communication technologies.

Increasingly, given pressures for cost savings and developments in ICT, employers’ recruitment and selection strategies are at least partly web-based, careers guidance and public employment services are moving towards ‘digital by default’ delivery and job seekers are expected to manage their job search activity and benefit claims electronically. It asks the question: what are the implications of austerity and technological change for employability?Green, A.E. (2017). Implications of technological change and austerity for employability in urban labour markets, Urban Studies, 54(7) pp. 1638–1654. DOI: 10.1177/0042098016631906 *|END:IF|*

Human Resource Management and innovation

Alan Brown was one of the editors of a recent Special Issue of the Human Resource Management Journal (HRMJ) on HRM and Innovation. The issue was edited by Helen Shipton, Pawan Budhwar, Paul Sparrow and Alan Brown, and based on an ESRC seminar series on the same topic.

Alan was also a co-author in two articles:
Shipton, H., Sparrow, P., Budhwar, P. and Brown, A. (2017). HRM and innovation: looking across levels, Human Resource Management Journal, 27(2), pp. 246–263. DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12102.

Shipton, H., Budhwar, P., Sparrow, P. and Brown, A. (2017). Editorial overview: HRM and innovation — a multi-level perspective, Human Resource Management Journal, 27(2), pp. 203–208. DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.12138.

Involuntary non-standard employment in Europe

An article by Anne Green and Ilias Livanos in the latest issue of European Urban and Regional Studies outlines how in some countries in Europe the economic crisis starting in 2008 was marked not only by a rise in unemployment, but also by increases in individuals in part-time and temporary working.

Therefore, emphasising the need to examine employment composition as well as non-employment. The promotion of non-standard forms of employment – such as part-time and temporary working – has been part of Europe’s employment agenda, but directives have also focused on raising the quality of such work. Using European Union Labour Force Survey data, Anne and Ilias construct an indicator of involuntary non-standard (part-time and temporary) employment (INE) , depicting a negative working condition. Descriptive analyses show important differences between countries in the incidence of INE, which is highest in Spain, Portugal and Poland, and also in the composition of INE. By contrast, INE tends to be lower in countries with Anglo-Saxon and Nordic welfare state models. Econometric analyses reveal that young workers, older workers, women, non-nationals, those with low education and those who were unemployed a year ago are at greatest risk of INE.

Green, A. and Livanos, I. (2017). Involuntary non-standard employment in Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies, 24(2), pp. 175–192. DOI: 10.1177/0969776415622.

Harnessing growth sectors for poverty reduction

Two further reports have been published by Anne Green, Paul Sissons (Coventry University) and Neil Lee (LSE) from an ESRC-funded project on 'Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction'.

The first report on employment entry finds that there is potential for using a well-targeted, sector-focused approach to increase employment entry and help reduce poverty. Social care and the hospitality industry offer opportunities for sector-specific training programmes for people who find it difficult to access employment. But because these sectors are characterised by low pay policies need to promote career progression as well as job entry. The construction sector is also well placed to provide employment and training opportunities for local residents, and the government could encourage this through procurement and planning policies. There is also growing interest in the potential role of social enterprises in providing local jobs – especially with regard to repairs and maintenance of social housing. Sector-focused work experience is an important way of getting young people and unemployed adults skilled up for work.

The second report examines aspects of job quality. It finds that while job quality should be a critical issue for policymakers there is a lack of empirical evidence from approaches seeking to enhance job quality. Pay and job security are important elements of job quality, as are flexible employment practices that enable people to balance work and caring responsibilities. Trade unions can play an important role in improving job quality outcomes. Where there is evidence from sector-focused approaches to job quality these have sought to link changes in employment conditions with service improvements for employers; utilised procurement as an opportunity to shape job quality; or sought to encourage changes in business models as a precursor to improving job quality. There is a need to pilot and trial different approaches to improving job quality in different sectors and for different types of employment.

Green A., Sissons P. and Lee N. (2017) Employment Entry in Growth Sectors: A Review of the International Evidence. Cardiff: PPIW.
Sissons P., Green A. and Lee N. (2017) Improving Job Quality in Growth Sectors: A Review of the International Evidence. Cardiff: PPIW.

Copyright © 2017 Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick