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IER News & blogs

Michael Orton co-authored one of the most read articles in JPSJ in 2018

Journal coverDr Michael Orton co-authored a journal article titled An agenda for fixing the social security/welfare benefits system that has been among the ten most read articles in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice (JPSJ) in 2018. For free access until 28 February 2019 click here.

Batty, S. and Orton, M. (2018) ‘An agenda for fixing the social security/welfare benefits system’ Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 26 (2), 291-295.

Mon 18 February 2019, 10:45 | Tags: welfare

New ESRC-funded PhD studentships from the Midlands Graduate School DTP

doctoral hat

IER has been awarded two new ESRC-funded PhD studentships from the Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

(1) The Collaborative Studentship with the Living Wage Foundation on ‘Understanding employer delivery of good work in the UK’ will be supervised by Professor Chris Warhurst and Sally Wright. For full details about the scholarship click here and for information on how to apply here. The application deadline is Monday, 11th March at 5pm.

(2) The Joint Studentship 'Social inequalities entering civvy street: researching the importance of class and gender in determining labour market outcomes of military veterans,' will be supervised by Professor Clare Lyonette (IER) and Professor Tracey Warren (University of Nottingham). Further details are available here. The application deadline is Friday, 15th March at 5pm.

Thu 07 February 2019, 17:08 | Tags: Faculty of Social Sciences doctoral programme

Workshop: An international perspective on child development

Mother and childAs part of IER’s ESRC-funded Impact Accelerator NGO data fund, Puja Marwaha, CEO of Child’s Rights and You (CRY), India, will be talking about ‘Malnutrition: the Grave Reality in India that Can be Changed’ at a workshop on 7th March, 11am to 3pm. The event will be held in room B0.41 Social Sciences building, University of Warwick. A sandwich lunch will be provided.

The workshop aims to bring together people from academia and outside of academia working in the development sector towards improving the lives of children. It will engage in discussions focusing on issues such as malnutrition among children in India, childhood poverty, child labour, child marriage, education, and children’s rights.

For further details please contact Sudipa Sarkar ( and for registration Lynne Marston ( by 4th of March.

Thu 07 February 2019, 17:03 | Tags: poverty, child labour

Professor Clare Lyonette chaired a symposium for the Public Policy Exchange on closing the gender pay gap

Gender pay gap event
Clare Lyonette
chaired a stimulating debate on February 6th in London, hosted by Public Policy Exchange, on 'Closing the Gender Pay Gap, Supporting Women and Promoting Equality in the Workplace'.

Morning speakers focused upon tackling gender inequalities and reviewing latest policies and included Alasdair MacDonald, Director of Programmes at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive of Young Women's Trust, and Julie Jaye Charles, CEO of Equalities National Council.

The afternoon speakers focused on embedding gender equality and supporting women in your workplace: Jenny Pollock and Emma Shute from Women to Work, and Chloe Chambraud, Gender Equality Director from Business in the Community. Delegates included academics, union representatives, government representatives, local and district councillors and HR directors from a variety of public and private sector organisations.

Thu 07 February 2019, 10:18 | Tags: gender, pay

The adult skills gap - Blog by Dr Daria Luchinskaya

A new IER report, The adult skills gap: Is falling investment in UK adults stalling social mobility?, produced for the Social Mobility Commission and written by Daria Luchinskaya and Peter Dickinson, discusses the landscape of adult skills and participation in training in the UK. It finds evidence of ‘vicious’ and ‘virtuous’ circles of training, whereby those with low or no qualifications are much less likely to access education and training after leaving school compared to those with high qualifications. Furthermore, the report highlights that UK investment in training is low by international standards.


These findings are not new – there has been ongoing concern about Britain’s ‘low-skill low-quality’ equilibrium – where the UK economy includes a substantial proportion of low-quality jobs that may have less incentives for facilitating staff training and learning – since Finegold and Soskice published their seminal paper in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, it seems that these problems are still ongoing, as the IER has discussed in its previous research (e.g. Green, 2016; Wilson & Hogarth, 2003).

That adults in lower-quality jobs and with lower qualifications, who have more to gain from training or learning, tend to miss out on training relative to their more advantaged peers in better jobs has also been widely discussed, as highlighted in the Adult Skills Gap report. These findings chime in with recent commentary by Erzsebet Bukodi that questions some of the assumptions behind the argument that education and training alone can improve social mobility without changes in the underlying job structure – the number of managerial and professional jobs available. Policy focus on education and training without addressing the wider underlying issues also leads to problems, particularly regarding the limitations of supply-side skills policies without corresponding increases in the demand for skilled labour (e.g. Crouch et al., 2001).

This raises big questions about how the government, employers, and society more broadly can ensure better prospects for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Some of the answers could be found in collecting better official data about training, not only spend, but also quality, type and duration. But perhaps more long-term, more challenging answers lie in addressing some of the fundamental issues discussed above – the low demand for and low utilisation of skills.

IER’s recent work on job quality, led by Chris Warhurst and Sally Wright, that contributed to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and to the establishment of a Working Group on Measuring Good Work, can help understand some of the reasons behind disparity in the quality of jobs in the UK and what can be done to improve it. Research on skill utilisation, can help investigate why and how some employers are able to use and develop their employees’ skills more than others. A holistic, focused approach to the UK’s problem is needed to help ensure that access to training and learning is available to those who need it.

Wed 30 January 2019, 19:26 | Tags: social mobility, skills

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