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Employment Practices


Employment practices are important for employers seeking to attract and maintain a workforce that helps the organisation to thrive in a highly competitive environment and for employees in terms of their job satisfaction and overall labour market participation. Work practices are constantly changing – for example, there are some indications that hybrid and agile working are becoming more prevalent.

Our research aims to better understand the labour markets in which employers and employees operate and the development of employment practices. It aims to provide evidence for decision making in policy and practice.

The IER undertook the UK’s first work-life balance survey of employers and employees in 2000. Recent work has, for example, reviewed the outcomes of family friendly working policies and practices for organisations, explored recruitment and retention issues in different sub-sectors, and investigated self-employment in different areas of the economy.


  • Work-life balance
  • Working time
  • Flexible working practices
  • Working from home
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Wellbeing and mental health at work
  • Pay
  • Self-employment


Understanding work, wages and employment in key sectors post Covid – ReWAGE subgroup; abrdn Financncial Fairness Trust; (2021 - 2022)

To further our understanding of how employers set pay for apprentices; The Low Pay Commission (2020).

The impact of changes to teachers pay on equality in schools in England, National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) (2014 -2015).

Recruitment and retention

Educational psychology services: workforce insights and school perspectives on impact; Department for Education (2023)

Research into the educational psychology workforce in England; Department for Education (2018).

High-level analysis of the dynamics of the community optical workforce; Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) (2015-2016).

Work-life balance, working time, flexible working practices, working from home

What motivates employers to offer family-friendly policies?; Government Equalities Office (2018 - 2019).

Work-life balance in the digital age, Prolonging working life through ICT: the role of crowdsourcing; EPSRC (2015-2016).

Other areas

The Midlands Engine Mental Health Productivity Pilot; Nottingham City Council (2019 – 2022).

Rapid evidence review on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce; Department for Education (2021).

Self-Employment and the Armed Forces Community; Forces in Mind Trust (2016-2018).

Managing mental health at work; Acas (2017).