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IER Newsletter - March 2021

IER Newsletter - March 2021
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The quality of working life revisited

Along with colleagues David Guest from King’s College London and Angie Knox from Sydney University, IER’s Chris Warhurst has published a journal virtual special issue that re-evaluates classic articles on the quality of working life published in Human Relations over the past 50 years. Read more about the articles and the introduction to the special issue on the journal's website.

Directors of Skills COVID-19 workshop

The Institute for Employment Research with the Edge Foundation facilitated the latest in a regular series of workshops with the Directors of Skills of Mayoral Combined Authorities on 10th March. The workshops provided an opportunity for the Directors of Skills to discuss issues which are most relevant to them and share experience and practice.
This is especially important given the role that the Mayoral Combined Authorities will play in supporting their local economies to emerge from the impact of COVID-19. The workshop also included a presentation on Good Work by Gail Irvine of the Carnegie UK Trust and Chris Warhurst Director of IER. Both Gail and Chris were involved in the Taylor Review of modern working practices, and have both been involved in the post-review working group on developing the recommendations.

Women bearing the brunt of lockdown

ITV covered research conducted by IER's Clare Lyonette, and Tracey Warren and Luis Torres (University of Nottingham) on how COVID-19 has affected the lives of working class women in the UK. The ESRC-funded study has found that women on low pay have borne the brunt of the pandemic both financially and psychologically.
Working class women were more likely to be furloughed than women in managerial and professional jobs.
  • Working class women were much more likely than managerial, professional or intermediate women workers to be either key workers or furloughed in 2020.
  • Working class women were much more likely than women in managerial, professional or intermediate jobs to have hours of paid work reduced to zero and that continued through 2020.
  • People working in distribution, hotels and restaurants were most impacted by redundancies in 2020, with women more affected than men in that sector.
  • The gender pay gap remained between 31% and 35% during 2020, but the gap is wider for working class women than for women in supervisory or managerial roles.
  • All working women were far more likely than men to have low weekly earnings in 2020.
  • Working class women were almost twice as likely as managerial and professional women workers to report experiencing financial hardship.
Photo: A demonstrator at a rally in Sheffield calling for a pay rise for nurses. Photo: Tim Dennell via a CC-BY-NC 2.0 licence.

Skills in R&D

In March, IER Director Chris Warhurst was invited to participate in an expert roundtable on Skills in R&D hosted by the UK Government’s Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). His contribution focused on skills for innovation. The contributions complement research led by Professor Terence Hogarth for BEIS on the talent pipeline for UK R&D.

Good jobs and the green economy

On March 12th, Director of IER, Chris Warhurst, gave evidence to the Building Back Better Inquiry of the Liverpool City Region All Party Parliamentary Group. He presented evidence focused on the opportunities to create good jobs within the green economy and outlined the framework of a plan to do so.

Better employee wellbeing

Along with Rand Europe colleague Christian von Stolk, IER Director Chris Warhurst gave a talk at this year’s Cambridge Festival on 29th March. Promoting the drive to improve the 'healthiness' of jobs, their talk – ‘Why work needs to shape up: redesigning jobs for better employee wellbeing’ – is part of their joint advocacy of improving the physical and mental healthiness of jobs.
Image credit: Rand Europe

Good work and the future of work in the UK

The Director of IER, Chris Warhurst, was invited to give a talk to the ACAS Digital Spring Conference on 24th March on the role of good work in the future of work in the UK. The focus was on the role of good work in the post-Covid economic recovery and renewal.
Image credit: Carnegie UK Trust
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