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IER Newsletter - November-December 2022
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The future’s bright(er)

This past year has been good for IER, and not just because the lockdowns are disappearing in the rear-view mirror. With the pandemic receding and the economy opening up, Warwick loosened recruitment constraints and IER appointed a clutch of excellent new researchers: Professor Joe SakshaugLink opens in a new window, Dr Eva Katharina SarterLink opens in a new window and Dr Emily EricksonLink opens in a new window. These appointments will boost IER’s research capacity in Big Data, migration and public services.

It has been a very busy year for IER in terms of its volume of research. Recent highlights include a new publication from the Working Futures team forecasting UK employment to 2035Link opens in a new window and a landmark report for Skills Development Scotland in which IER, with other colleagues, has developed a green standard occupational classification (GreenSOC)Link opens in a new window for identifying and measuring green jobs, which has been adopted by the Scottish Government.

ReWAGELink opens in a new window, the expert advisory group supporting government to build back better employment post-Covid has continued strongly. With our expert collaborators from other universities, ReWAGE published a raft of evidence papers and policy briefs on topics ranging from the cost-of-living crisis to labour supply challenges to improving data to evaluate Good Work, and it was name-checked in parliamentary debate. Reflecting the demand for its work, the ESRC recently extended its support for ReWAGE.

Despite the ongoing thorny discussions between the UK Government and European Commission about UK involvement in European research programmes, IER secured a clutch of EU-funded projects. Two are Horizon Europe projects: one focuses on skills for a green and digital future; the other examines skill mismatches across EU labour markets. A third project, funded by the EU CHANSE programme analyses occupational health and safety in platform work. It consolidates our work this year redesigning the European Commission’s COLLEEM survey. For a list of IER’s projects in 2022, see the IER research project websiteLink opens in a new window.

Relatedly IER’s research on the future of work also continues to flourish, and often for devolved government around the UK. For example, over the year we’ve been researching the management of new technology, which will inform the West Midlands Combined Authority’s support for management training in the region. IER was also heavily involved in the development this year of the Midlands Employment Charter, which has now gone live at the IER websiteLink opens in a new window. Our work also continues for the London-based Commission on Social Security, which advocates the introduction of a Guaranteed Decent Income, and we now have a number of projects, including in Wales, examining social justice, better employment and public procurement.

The high quality and volume of IER’s research formed a significant part of Warwick University’s submission along with Warwick Business School to the 2021 REF. The result was made public during 2022 and was very successful, pushing Warwick back into the Top 10 UK universities for business and management. It provides further external validation of the value of our research.

Speaking of being valued, we did lose some colleagues this year. Towards the end of the year, Dr Sally-Anne Barnes left us to join Leicester University. Sally-Anne was with IER and Warwick for nearly 25 years. Besides being an excellent researcher, she was an exemplary departmental citizen in IER. Mid-year, Dr Erika Kispeter also left us to join the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She too was a good organisational citizenship and provided a real boost to our research capacity in digital skills and gender and work during her seven years with us. Both have our very best wishes in their new posts and will, no doubt, continue to collaborate on our research in future years.

Notwithstanding these losses, 2022 has been good year overall. We have superb new researchers, a continuing hefty flow of new projects and external validation of the quality of our research. New challenges with work and the labour market post-Covid in the context of Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis mean that IER’s expertise will remain in demand in 2023. To meet this demand we anticipate further new appointments next year.

The future might not be so bright yet that we gotta wear shades but things are a lot brighter now than they have been over the past two years. We hope that the metaphorical sunshine continues into 2023. In the meantime, we wish all of our research collaborators and funders a very happy new year.

Professor Chris Warhurst Director

ReWAGE news

ReWAGE’s experts have been spreading the word about its projects recently and have taken up invitations to publish blogs about their work on partner sites.

In this blog for the OECD Cogito siteLink opens in a new window, IER's Peter DickinsonLink opens in a new window talks about his report for ReWAGE on the work England’s Mayoral Combined Authorities are doing with local employers to promote job quality through the publication of good/fair work Charters.

And Professor Chris Forde has recently published blogsLink opens in a new window on both the Work Foundation websiteLink opens in a new window and Digit BlogLink opens in a new window outlining the findings of a report he produced for ReWAGE in partnership with the Migration Observatory at Oxford, which looks at the reasons for labour shortages in the UK.

Praise for new IER report on measuring green jobs in Scotland

A report from IER on defining and measuring green jobs for Skills Development Scotland has won praise. At the recent launch of the report, the Scottish Government was congratulated for adopting the ideas proposed by the IER team, which was led by Dr Jeisson Cardenas RubioLink opens in a new window and included colleagues from Strathclyde University.

Dave Reay, Chair of the Implementation Steering Group behind Scotland's Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan said: “This definition is vital for Scotland and means all of us with a stake in the skills system can use the data to better meet demands and address inequalities.” The report can be found at the Skills Development ScotlandLink opens in a new window website.

Terence Hogarth, IER’s skills expert, presents at international events

Terence Hogarth made presentations on the role of employers skills surveys to the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) training course on 2nd December and on ‘Delivering VET – The Way Forward’ at Cedefop’s Future of VET conference on 6th December.

New projects


Production of the new 2022 Skills Forecast OF1Link opens in a new window.
https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/researchthemesoverview/researchprojects/cedefop2022skillsforecastof1/

Nurse and interviewer effects on biological survey measurements. Link opens in a new window
https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/researchthemesoverview/researchprojects/understandingsocietydatafellowship/
 

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