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IER Newsletter - September 2021

IER Newsletter - September 2021
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Job vacancies at IER

The University of Warwick is inviting applications for the following posts at the IER: Professor or Associate Professor and Research Fellow.
Full details can be found at the University of Warwick website: for the Professorial post here and the Research Fellow post here.
Closing date for both posts is 20th October 2021.
We look forward to welcoming successful applicants to join our highly skilled and experienced team.

Apprenticeship reforms and employer behaviour

A new report from IER, entitled The Benefits of Hindsight: Assessing the impact of apprenticeship reforms on employer behaviour, provides an explanation for the decline in the number of apprenticeships starts following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017.
The research, funded by the Edge Foundation and Gatsby Foundation, was based on reviewing statistical evidence, and conducting interviews with a range of employers to find out how their apprenticeship recruitment had changed following the Levy’s introduction. The report’s authors – Peter Dickinson and Terence Hogarth – explain the fall in the number of apprenticeship starts with reference to an increasing preference for employers to place people on relatively high level and more costly apprenticeships, and a fall in the number of apprentices being taken on in smaller, non-Levy paying enterprises. There are some transitional effects as well which are likely to be smoothed out with the passage of time. The executive summary of the report is available along with the main report. An article summarising the key findings was published in the HR Director.

Dickinson, P. and Hogarth, T. (2021) The Benefits of Hindsight: Assessing the impact of apprenticeship reforms on employer behaviour. Final report prepared for Edge Foundation and Gatsby Foundation. Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, Coventry.

The impact of COVID-19 on the workforce

A rapid evidence review by Gaby Atfield, Beate Baldauf and Erika Kispeter examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education, childcare and social work and related social care workforce. The review also examines how negative effects can be mitigated. DfE funded this work following a recommendation from SAGE.
The review found that there was significant evidence of direct and indirect impacts on mental health and wellbeing of teachers, childcarers and social workers. These were exacerbated by fears about physical safety, increased workloads and concerns about being able to provide adequate support, particularly for the most vulnerable children. Financial stress and fears about job loss were also seen amongst nursery and other child care workers.
Mitigations to improve mental health and wellbeing included both organisational interventions and individual coping strategies, while provision of adequate PPE and clear and consistent guidance for its use was also important. The review identified a lack of evidence on the wider implications of declines in mental health and wellbeing and few studies that took a whole system approach that treats workers as part of a holistic system also including children and parents and carers. It identified a need for studies that track the longer-term impact of the pandemic on workers and greater learning from previous pandemics and other crises that have impacted on children's education. The final report is available on the IER website.

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

Atfield, G., Baldauf, B. & Kispeter, E. (2021)
Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 Rapid evidence review – Education, childcare and social work and related social care workforce. Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, Coventry.

Classifying vacancy data

A frequent claim from labour market information users, such as educational and training providers, is the lack of disaggregated data to identify the current requirements of the labour demand. This project, funded by the Gatsby Foundation and led by Jeisson Cardenas-Rubio, assessed whether information from job portals can be classified according to the relatively new 6-digit SOC classification developed by the ONS.
The project explored new research avenues in assessing the possibility of organising and coding vacancy data and understanding the dynamics of the labour market at a more disaggregated level. The project report is available on the IER website. (Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash)

Cardenas-Rubio, J. (2021) Classifying vacancy data at 6-digit level SOC 2020: A feasibility study. Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, Coventry.

Creative freelancers in the UK

Based on research with 85 creative freelancers in Coventry, Northumberland and Waltham Forest, the report 'Mind the Understanding Gap: The Value of Creative Freelancers' provides detail on the contribution of creative freelancers to the economic, societal and place-based impacts of the creative industries.
Furthermore, as the research, led by Coventry University, was undertaken in 2020 throughout the lockdowns, the report also identifies the impact of the pandemic on one of the most vulnerable groups of workers and sectors affected by COVID-19. The report discusses the range of value generation for the economy and for society of creative freelancing; a typology of creative freelancers based on their generation of different types of value; and policy directions to support the full and sustainable contribution to economy, society and places of creative freelancing.

Henry N., Barker V., Sissons P., Dickinson P., Broughton K., Lazell J., & Angus T. (2021) 'Mind the Understanding Gap: The Value of Creative Freelancers'. Creative United, London.

The many futures of work

Chris Warhurst and Sally Wright have co-authored a chapter in an edited volume, entitled The many futures of work: Rethinking expectations and breaking moulds, that is forthcoming this autumn.
The authors and editors of the book seek to reframe typical projections about the 'future of work' and present varied insights into global trends, examining progressive strategies to improve the experience of work.

Warhurst, C., Mathieu, C. & Wright, S. (2021) 'Vorsprung durch Technik: The Futures of Work, Digital Technology, and the Platform Economy', in Creticos, P. A., Bennett, L., Owen, L., Spirou, C. & Morphis-Riesbeck, M. (eds) The many futures of work: Rethinking expectations and breaking moulds. Temple University Press, Philadelphia.