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IER Newsletter - Summer 2021

IER Newsletter - Summer 2021
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ReWAGE launched

ReWAGE – Renewing Work Advisory Group of Experts – has launched. Hosted by IER with the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University, it is an expert advisory group to support the government’s strategic response to the recovery and renewal of work and employment in the UK post-Covid. It will sit into 2022.
It will produce evidence papers, policy briefings and reports for government on specialist topics important for maintaining existing jobs, creating new and better jobs and ensuring a return to a well-functioning labour market. Contact ReWAGE for more information

The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on mid-career graduates

The Futuretrack study is the most extensive investigation of the relationship between higher education and employment ever undertaken in the UK. The graduates followed by the study had faced a difficult start to their careers thanks to the 2008 recession - their experience has implications for graduates now leaving higher education, and for policymakers and employers.
Three reports based on Stages 5 and 6 of the study, led by Professors Peter Elias and Kate Purcell and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, have just been published. The reports reveal the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on mid-career graduates, the persistence of the gender pay gap, and potential longer-term implications for the nature of the graduate labour market. The reports also highlight challenges and considerations for employers as they adapt working conditions and practices to the post-pandemic landscape.

Professor Kate Purcell said: “We found that almost all of our participants experienced dramatic change in their working lives, whether they were furloughed, worked from home, or continued in frontline roles. Many participants working on-site reported ‘frontline fatigue’ while those working remotely often reported exhaustion caused by the breakdown of boundaries between work and non-work time and space, and the difficulties of managing these boundaries.

“Employers played a vital role in managing negative impacts: our participants reported that good communication and support led to increased commitment while the lack of communication and support led to a loss of trust in employers and trade unions.”

Commenting on the gender pay gap findings, Professor Peter Elias said: “We were surprised to discover that the gender pay gap for these mid-career graduates remains almost the same as the gap measured for similar national sample of mid-career graduates in 2002. We are urging employers to tackle the gender pay gap and take care to ensure that increased reliance on remote working doesn’t discriminate against certain categories of employees.”

For full details of the research see:

Towards a new model of employment relations in Northern Ireland

In late June Dr Sally Wright and Professor Chris Warhurst presented their recommendations for the development of a new model of employment relations for Northern Ireland to the NI Employment Relations Roundtable. The Roundtable comprises employer and trade union organisations and is chaired by the Chair of the Labour Relations Agency. Further information about the project can be found at the IER project webpage.

The pandemic and the digitalisation of work in Europe

In a recent webinar, hosted by the Productivity and the Futures of Work GRP at the University of Warwick, facilitated by IER’s Professor Chris Warhurst, Dr Enrique Fernández-Macías of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission examined how Covid-19 had changed the profile of the teleworker and what it meant for the future of work. The recording of the webinar is accessible via the replay link.

Congratulations to Dr Rebecca Wilde and Dr Tannis Goddard

We would like to congratulate two of our students who have been awarded their doctorates, Dr Rebecca Wilde and Dr Tannis Goddard.

Dr Wilde's research, entitled 'An Empirical Study of the Nursing Labour Supply Decision in England', was a mixed methods study focusing on the behaviour of individual actors in the labour market for nursing. It also explored the decision-making behaviour of these actors at different phases of career progression. The research found that a tendency towards adopting a ‘one size fits all’ policy approach, where different nursing staff are treated more or less the same, is unsustainable. It argues for a more differentiated approach that is underpinned by a stronger research base.

Dr Goddard's research, entitled 'Online Career Learning: Integrating ICT for Service Transformation', was a qualitative study. It explored how clients and practitioners engaged in a purpose-built online career intervention utilising multiple modes of communication and engagement. A key finding of the study is the inextricable link between design and practice. It suggests that transitioning to online career practice requires far more than endeavouring to replicate existing practices through technology. *|END:IF|*

IER contributions to the special issue of the European Journal of Workplace Innovation

Dr Sally Wright will guest edit, with Prof. Steven Dhondt, a special issue of the European Journal of Workplace Innovation (EJWI) on the impact of workplace innovation on organisational performance and the quality of work. The deadline for submission of proposals is 15th October 2021 with full papers to be submitted by February 2022. See full details of the call on the IER website.

Other publications

Hogarth, T. & Cardenas Rubio, J. (2021) The R&D Pipeline. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BEIS Research Paper Number: 2021/22
The report is available on the BEIS website.

New projects

Labour market and skills demand horizon scanning and qualitative scenarios, Department for Education

Evaluation of careers education and world of work programme, Founders 4 Schools

Development of an App to estimate the costs, payback and returns to employers from investing in apprenticeships, Gatsby Foundation

Find more information on IER's current projects.