Your chance to inform UK Government research and innovation policies and funding decisions
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched the first government survey of the UK-wide research and innovation workforce.
We ask anyone in the diverse occupations that are vital to innovation and research in the UK to complete it to offer better data for policy decisions that impact this whole workforce.
Find out more about the short survey and complete it online here.
Creating Decent Work in Scotland
In-work poverty is a major socio-economic problem. In 2013, 52% of working age adults and 59% of children in Scotland were living in households where at least someone was in work. Almost a fifth of the workforce was paid below the living wage; of which 64% were women. Underemployment and job security are also issues: in 2014 around 180,000 workers in Scotland were underemployed and 120,000 on zero-hour contracts. In 2015, the Scottish Parliament launched an Inquiry into Work, Wellbeing and Wages.
This project was a response to these problems. It involved applying IER’s existing expertise in job quality to the creation of a set of measures of Decent Work for Oxfam, one of the world’s leading charities. The aim of the project was to inform public debate and political party thinking ahead of the Scottish elections in May 2016 by proposing a decent work agenda for Scotland. Thereafter, the project hoped to encourage the explicit adoption of the decent work agenda by the Scottish Government post May 2016. Led by Oxfam, the project was co-branded with IER and the University of the West of Scotland. Chris Warhurst and Sally Wright were involved from IER. Their participation was enabled by funding from Warwick’s ESRC Impact Accelerator Account.
The project wanted to provide low wage workers with a voice about what mattered to them and so used mixed participatory research methods to ask people about their priorities, concerns and ambitions about what they needed to live well. Data was gathered from across Scotland through focus groups, semi-structured interviews, street stalls and a YouGov online opinion poll. From this data Sally Wright developed a set of weighted rankings for decent work. Even before publication of its findings, the project attracted interest and support from the Scottish Parliament. The Inquiry into Work, Wages and Wellbeing reported in early 2016; after hearing evidence from the project, it wanted the Scottish Government-established Fair Work Commission to ‘consider carefully the findings of Oxfam‘s work’ in its deliberations. Evidence was submitted to this Commission as well as the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.
The report from the project – What makes for decent work? A study with low paid workers in Scotland – was published later in 2016 and was co-authored by Sally Wright. It was launched in the Scottish Parliament with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary in attendance. Throughout 2016 the project gained considerable social media, newspaper and radio attention in Scotland and was cited by the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, during committee debate about the work, wages and wellbeing report as well as by John Finnie MSP during a debate in the main parliamentary chamber about the living wage and Scottish football clubs. Its impact is on-going and is monitored by Oxfam.
Job quality research for the CIPD
In 2017, as part of its programme of work promoting better working lives, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) commissioned IER to produce two reports on job quality. The first report focused on Understanding and Measuring Job Quality; the second on Indicators of Job Quality. The IER team was led by Professor Chris Warhurst and comprised Sally Wright, Dr Clare Lyonette and, for the second report, Dr Sudipa Sarkar. Both reports were published by the CIPD. The research was used by the CIPD in its consultation submission to the 2017 UK Government’s Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. The research also helped inform the development of a new UK Working Lives survey for the CIPD. Subsequent to the completion of the research, Dr Sarkar was seconded to the CIPD to assist with the development of the new survey, which was administered by YouGov over winter 2017-18.
UK employment policy in a changing EU
As part of the Warwick's faculty of social sciences CREW network, IER, the Law School and the Industrial Relations Research Unit have an award from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to produce a series of Brexit Briefings on Employment. The four thematic briefings will focus on job loss and job creation; training for the unemployed; employment rights and regulation; migration and skills. Each will present key research evidence and make recommendations for the development of new policy as the UK exits the EU. Each will also have a public launch over May-July this year.
For further information, contact Professor Chris Warhurst, Dr Ania Zbyszewska or Professor Guglielmo Meardi at ier at warwick dot ac dot uk
Report on Improving career prospects for the low-educated
The narrative study led by Professor Jenny Bimrose with colleagues from IER and partners in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and Poland has been published by Cedefop who commissioned the research.
The report draws both on literature review and an original collection of stories from biographical interviews of individuals from seven European countries. The narrative accounts describe the wide variety of experiences with initial and further education. The analysis focuses on motivations for learning (or not) and the findings confirm that early negative experiences with schooling have a scarring effect inhibiting workers’ willingness to re-engage in education later in life. Nevertheless, many low-educated adults were found to command a variety of skills, which they have developed in the work context.