Work and employment and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the labour market and work. Even as the health crisis becomes more manageable, the jobs crisis is intensifying. Unemployment is increasing and new forms of working are also predicted. Transitioning back to a healthy labour market and maximising new opportunities for reorganising work are important.
Responsibility for the entrepreneurship, innovation, education and training that supports the creation of new jobs, helps maintain existing jobs and provides bridges from sunset to sunrise jobs is spread across three UK Government departments: Work & Pensions (DWP); Education (DfE); Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) alongside the HM Treasury and Cabinet Office. Some responsibility is also devolved to the governments and administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the English regions. This fragmentation of responsibility poses a challenge to government aspirations to ‘build back better’, ‘level up’ and ensure ‘just transitions’ across the UK. A strategic and coordinated approach supported by expert advice from a specialist group is essential.
What is ReWAGE?
ReWAGE is an advisory group independent of government but is intended to work closely with it that provides a single and collected point of expertise to support the strategic response to the recovery and renewal of work, employment and labour markets in the UK post-Covid. It is jointly hosted by the Institute for Employment Research (IER) at the University of Warwick and the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation & Change (CERIC) at the University of Leeds. It is co-chaired by Professors Chris Warhurst and Irena Grugulis of Warwick and Leeds respectively and comprises over 30 senior experts from universities and research organisations from a range of relevant disciplines from across the UK. It also has an advisory group drawn from business, trade union and civil society organisations.
Who contributes to ReWAGE?
ReWAGE operates a core group and specialist sub-groups of experts. The latter provide topic-focused policy evidence papers, policy briefs and reports with evidence-based recommendations for government. These publications are lodged publicly on the ReWAGE website and are supplemented by oral communications with government and the media.
ReWAGE is managed by a Secretariat and guided by a Steering Group. Initial funding for the group was provided by the Universities of Warwick and Leeds. Core funding is provided by the Economic and Social Research Council. The ESRC is the major public funder of economic and social research in the UK. REWAGE is part of a broader strategy and set of resources supported by ESRC, which are aimed at connecting the supply of high quality research evidence to demand amongst policymakers to better understand how they can most effectively help shape recovery from the pandemic.