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IER Newsletter - Current Issue


IER Newsletter - April-May 2022
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WBS and IER ranked fifth in the UK after strong REF performance

As part of the Business & Management Unit of Assessment, Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER) has been ranked 5th in the country for its research by the Times Higher Education after it analysed the UK’s Research Excellence Framework results.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the country’s system of assessing the quality of research undertaken by universities, with 128 higher education institutions having been assessed. Warwick’s Business & Management Unit of Assessment, which includes the prestigious Warwick University Business School (WBS), was judged to have a strong performance across the board, proving once again that it is among the country’s top universities for cutting edge research that has real-world impact. The Times Higher Education also ranked the Unit 4th for research environment, while 93% of the school’s research outputs were rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The submission comprised of 365 research outputs such as papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, nine impact cases demonstrating the ‘real-world’ influence of the research and a 15,000-word statement on the research environment. Discover more hereLink opens in a new window.


ReWAGE recently published its policy briefing: ‘Beyond the National Living Wage – further proposals for addressing low pay’Link opens in a new window, which argues that improving conditions for those who are low paid should be at the heart of a socially just labour market policy.
ReWAGE welcomed the government’s decision to increase the living wage, adjust the Universal Credit taper and its commitment to reduce the qualifying age for the National Living Wage – but stressed that more needs to be done. The paper puts forward six recommendations for changes in public policy to help the low-paid.
During Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May) ReWAGE published its policy briefing: ‘Recovering Better – improving mental health in the workplace’Link opens in a new window, which tackles the urgent need to reduce rising levels of mental ill-health in the workplace and to help organisations retain and integrate employees with mental conditions. The paper proposes how this can be led by government policy, including setting a requirement for employers to report on work-related risk factors for mental health in their annual company reports.

In an exciting step forward in our efforts to quantify what makes a ‘good job’, Professor Peter Elias presented to BEIS officials on ReWAGE’s work to derive information from national data sources that can be used as proxy indicators for job quality. Government colleagues were impressed with what had been achieved so far, and keen for the work to continue.

As mentioned in the last IER newsletter, ReWAGE was liaising with the CIPD’s Flexible Working Task Force to see how it might give some support. This resulted in ReWAGE contributing suggestions on scope to the Task Force’s Call for Evidence on informal flexible working and the reactivating of the ReWAGE sub-group on flexibility to develop an evidence paper and policy brief.

And finally, ReWAGE was featured in the 10th edition of the Edge Foundation’s Skills Shortages BulletinLink opens in a new window in a piece explaining why ReWAGE was set up and how it is ‘setting the scene for jobs and training recovery after Covid’.

Report on future labour market and skills demand

The final reportLink opens in a new window for a study commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) on future labour market and skills demand has been published. Dr Sally WrightLink opens in a new window and Prof. Terence HogarthLink opens in a new window from IER, in collaboration with RAND Europe, undertook the studyLink opens in a new window.
The research involved scanning the horizon of the labour market over the next 15 to 20 years to identify drivers and emerging trends to see what the labour market could possibly look like in the future.

Apprenticeships and the Pandemic

Warwick IER's Peter DickinsonLink opens in a new window and Terence HogarthLink opens in a new window gave a presentation at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships meeting on 17th May 2022. The presentation was based on four apprenticeship research projects IER had undertaken since 2019 which sought employer views on the current apprenticeship programme.
There are three main trends which are currently being worked through: the longer term impact of apprenticeship reforms in the 2000's, which led to a shift to older apprentices and higher level apprenticeships; impact of the apprenticeship levy introduced in 2017, which has exacerbated these trends but also led to an increase in take-up by larger firms (levy payers) and a reduction by smaller employers (non levy payers); and the short- and medium term impact of COVID-19.
The briefing note that accompanies the presentation to the APPG can be downloaded from the IER's websiteLink opens in a new window.

Digital skills and work

Erika KispeterLink opens in a new window was invited to present research on workforce digital skills to the All- Party Parliamentary Group on Digital SkillsLink opens in a new window on 26th April. The virtual meeting focused on the topic of ‘Digital skills and work: The role of national government’.
Drawing from the evidence reviewLink opens in a new window on current and future digital skills needs of the UK economy she had conducted with Sally-Anne BarnesLink opens in a new window, as well as from other relevant projects, in particular, Beyond 4.0Link opens in a new window and One by OneLink opens in a new window, Erika spoke to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Skills on Tuesday about the challenges to public policy on skills and the need for a design framework when planning public policy for digital skills provision. Erika presented alongside Paul Geddes, Chief Executive of QA and Dr Kira Allmann, Public Engagement Researcher, Ada Lovelace Institute .
The purpose of the All-Party Parliamentary Group is to provide a forum for parliamentarians, educators and employers to promote the importance of digital skills and to encourage a greater understanding of digital skills for personal, educational and career development. The video recording of the meeting is available on YouTubeLink opens in a new window.

IER welcomes new Research Fellows

IER is delighted to introduce its two new Research Fellows – Dr Emily Erickson and Dr Katharina Sarter. Both joined IER in May.

Dr Emily Erickson

Prior to joining IER, Emily EricksonLink opens in a new window was an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Alabama A&M University, where she taught in the graduate and undergraduate planning programmes. While in Alabama, Emily carried out a survey of workplace experiences, job quality, and racial equity in manufacturing facilities located in the American South.
Emily earned a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she worked on several projects examining job quality and workplace equity among immigrant and low-wage workers. Her doctoral thesis examined civic engagement among undocumented Americans and her masters thesis analysed local laws seeking to regulate informal immigrant labour.

Dr Katharina Sarter

Dr Eva Katharina SarterLink opens in a new window is a political scientist with expertise in public policies relating to employment, regulation of labour, public services, and comparative research. Katharina’s recent and current research focuses on the use of public procurement as a tool for the regulation of labour domestically as well as on international supply chains and as a lever to promote social policy goals.
Katharina is currently part of the ESRC funded project ‘”Buying Social Justice” through procurement: An examination of the use of public procurement for advancing employment equality in UK construction’. Before joining IER, Katharina worked in Germany, Scotland, and Wales.

Humanizing work in the digital age

This new article uses lessons from past workplace experiments to integrate machines and people to identify six principles for ensuring the successful introduction of new digital technology in workplaces. The article is available on the journal's websiteLink opens in a new window.
Guest, D., Knox, A. and Warhurst, C. (2022) Humanizing work in the digital age: Lessons from socio-technical systems and quality of working life initiatives. Human Relations.
Take a look at our new homepageLink opens in a new window and research pagesLink opens in a new window.

Find more information on IER's research projectsLink opens in a new window.