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IER Newsletter - October 2020

IER Newsletter - October 2020
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First results from study examining the impact of COVID-19 on working-class women in the UK published

Working class women have borne the brunt of the cuts to working hours as employers struggle to ride out the pandemic, according to new findings published today by social inequality researchers from the University of Nottingham and Warwick's Institute for Employment Research. Working class women were the worst affected by spring’s UK-wide lockdown, with 40% reporting psychological distress in April.

The first briefing paper entitled 'Carrying the work burden of the COVID-19 pandemic: working class women in the UK: Employment and Mental Health' focuses on patterns of employment and mental health in the first three months of lockdown, as revealed by data from the monthly Understanding Society COVID-19 UK survey, and explores to what extent the experience of working class women differs from middle class women and from men.

Professor Clare Lyonette from IER said: "Many working class areas in the north are included in the higher tier groups of the government's new 3-tier system of local restrictions in England. The effects of any future lockdowns, either local or national, could be far-reaching and extremely damaging for working class women who provide vital work, both paid and unpaid."

Sally-Anne Barnes presented on 'The distance travelled approach' at ESF+ Data Network meeting

Organised by FGB, Applica and Ockham IPS, Sally-Anne Barnes gave a keynote address on 'The “distance travelled” approach: Measuring results towards employability' at the ESF+Data Network meeting, 21 October. The meeting brought together representatives from EU member states and the European Commission to explore data collection methods for quality monitoring. Sally-Anne's presentation included evidence from recent work with Sally Wright on distance travelled models. It provided some context for the event, which also included presentations from Paul Geraghty (ESF-funded Social Inclusion and Community activation Programme, Ireland) and Łukasz Mikulec (Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, Poland).

The impact of postgraduate qualifications on employment prospects in the UK

Erika Kispeter gave a talk at the Westminster Higher Education Policy Conference online event entitled ‘The graduate labour market post COVID-19” on 20 October 2020. The conference focused on how university careers services, employers and governments should prepare students for employment in the UK in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Erika’s talk, “The impact of postgraduate qualifications on employment prospects” drew on the results of the recently completed research project “Degrees of Advantage? A longer-term investigation of the careers of UK graduates,” the latest stage of Futuretrack, IER’s longitudinal study of graduate careers. The study follows a cohort of UK graduates who started their university education in 2006.

Covid-19 blog series: Will the Job Support Scheme Work?

The Job Support Scheme announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 24th September is a form of short-time working subsidy found in countries such as Germany and France. If an employee’s working hours are reduced and thereby their pay, the state will make up a third of the lost earnings and the employer a further third. In summary, the scheme is designed to distribute available work over a larger group of workers than would be the case otherwise thereby helping to offset any increase in unemployment resulting from the pandemic.

In this blog, Terence Hogarth argues that the scheme requires employers to increase their hourly labour costs. The scheme may thus be finely poised between success and failure. Read more here.

Covid-19 blog series: We’re all in this together: Strategies for achieving employee retention during COVID-19

During these turbulent economic times, employers have to make many difficult decisions. They are considering the sustainability of present staffing levels while also thinking ahead to when the economy starts to pick up again. Against a backdrop of significant economic uncertainty and immense pressure from stakeholders, it is important that any important decisions made about whether to invest in or let go of staff are informed by the best available evidence.
This blog by Philip Taylor, Professor of Human Resource Management at Federation University Australia and Honorary Professor at the IER, explores five aspects for employers to consider with regard to the employment of older workers. It closes with a call to action for employers. Read more here.

Other publications

Warhurst, C and Nickson, D. (2020) Lookism: beauty still trumps brains in too many workplaces. The Conversation.


New projects

Literature review: employer decision-making around skill/employee shortages and migration (with City-REDI), Home Office
Productivity institute (led by the University of Manchester and Warwick Business School), ESRC

Find more information on IER's current projects.

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