IER Newsletter - May 2020
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Access to Working Futures 7 projections

The Working Futures 2017-2027 projections, produced by the IER in collaboration with Cambridge Econometrics were published by the Department for Education in February 2020. The IER has created a new web portal from which all the reports plus all the Excel workbooks containing the projections for UK nations and regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships within England can be downloaded.
Please note that these projections are based on employment estimates derived from published labour market data. They are not precise predictions of future employment levels, but represent the most likely trajectory of labour market change, given long-term trends in the economy and explicit assumptions about likely future economic change. The forecasts were created when it was expected there would be a negotiated Brexit and before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in considerable disruption to the UK and world economic system.

Report on better using skills in the workplace

A report examining skill utilisation has been co-authored by Chris Warhurst with the OECD. It also has inputs from Peter Dickinson, also of IER. Focusing on the Leeds City Region in the UK, it reviews the different definitions and measures of skills use in workplaces. It shows why skill use matters for local development policies and outlines a set of measures for Leeds and other regions wanting to support better skill use. The report can be found on the OECD website.

OECD (2020), "Better using skills in the workplace in the Leeds City Region, United Kingdom", OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Papers, No. 2020/01, OECD Publishing, Paris, (Principle authors: Barr, J, Meghnagi, M. Warhurst, C., Keep, E. and Anderson. P.)

Image credit: OECD

IER supporting international careers community

Throughout May, Sally-Anne Barnes, Jenny Bimrose and Alan Brown have been delivering a number of webinars for the careers community in the UK and internationally. Webinars have covered their recent research on the role of parents in providing careers guidance and how they can be better supported, and lifelong guidance policy and practice in the EU. Training webinars are also planned on the use of labour market information as part of the new learning modules available on the LMI for All website.
So far, webinars have been run for the Career Development Institute (CDI) in the UK, as well as the New Zealand Career Development Association (CDANZ) and the Careers and Transition Education Association (CATE) with many more planned over the next few months, including for Australia. Click here to listen to the CDANZ seminar.

Welcome to Professor Terence Hogarth

IER welcomes a new member of staff this month – Professor Terence Hogarth. Terence comes to IER from Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB), which is an Italian not-for-profit foundation that undertakes policy-related research. Amongst Terence’s areas of expertise are skills, apprenticeships and vocational education and training. Before joining FGB, he led IER’s programme of research on the extent, causes and implications of skill mismatches. Chris Warhurst, Director of IER, says: 'His return to IER is some good news – both for IER and the policymaking community in the UK – during a difficult time'.

COVID-19 blog series: Supporting and engaging parents and carers with careers advice to young people in their care

A recent report from the Resolution Foundation suggests that youth unemployment could rise by 640,000 this year and the Association of Colleges is predicting around 100,000 leavers will find it difficult to gain work and work-based learning. Dr Sally-Anne Barnes and Professor Jenny Bimrose argue that with these record unemployment levels amongst young people predicted, an important question that is likely to emerge strongly for the careers profession from the COVID-19 pandemic is exactly how educational institutions can maximise the impact of their work with parents and carers to support the young people with their career education and progression. This, of course, also has the potential to help young people continue to learn and develop whilst away from their schools for any reason, including any future periods of social isolation that might be necessary as a result of recurrent waves of infection. Read this blog post to find out more about some of the key findings of an international literature review and a practice report undertaken by IER.

Barnes, S-A., Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Gough, J. and Wright, S. (2020). The role of parents and carers in providing careers guidance and how they can be better supported: Practice report. Coventry: University of Warwick.

COVID-19 blog series: What are the implications of COVID-19 for Coventry and Warwickshire?

The UK, like most other countries, introduced “lockdown” measures in late March in order to reduce contact between people thereby reducing infections and “taking pressure off” the National Health Service. This involved preventing most businesses involving social contact to stop operating and for staff to work from home wherever possible. The implication was a huge cut in economic activity. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research made estimates of considerable economic recession. The Bank of England’s view (on May 7th) of the probable impact of the lockdown is that the UK economy will shrink by 14% in 2020 but rebound quickly, with growth of 15% in 2021. This blog post by Dr David Owen presents tentative estimates of the possible impact of the lockdown on employment and enterprises within the Coventry and Warwickshire local enterprise partnership (LEP) area and for small areas within Coventry and Warwickshire.

COVID-19 blog series: What is the future of youth skill-building in developing countries in the post-pandemic era?

Unemployment and scarcity of jobs have long been important concerns for policymakers in developing countries (World Bank, 2012). These issues are crucial for India as the country is home to the world’s largest population of young people ready to participate in the labour force (UNFPA report, 2019). The current situation caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent countrywide lockdown is certain to affect employment levels in the country, especially as India has a large informal economy, which is currently bearing the major brunt of the lockdown. In this context, targeted Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs), which have been historically used to cushion the economic shock of such global crises in developing countries, can play an important role.
Read the blog post by Dr Sudipa Sarkar and Bhaskar Chakravorty about an ongoing skill-building programme in India (DDU-GKY) and how COVID-19 affects the training and may affect the future of programme participants in Bihar and Jharkhand, two of the poorest states in India, using data from an ongoing IER study.


COVID-19 blog series: Profiling of job seekers to help target support

While we may be in unprecedented times, a picture is already starting to emerge about the colossal impact that COVID-19 is having on labour markets, jobs and people. In the UK, where the government put in place a job protection scheme, some 6.3 million workers were temporarily furloughed in the two week period to 23 April. This equates to nearly one quarter of the UK workforce. In addition, around 1.8 million people lodged benefit claims in the last two weeks of April alone, seeing the volume of claims increase ten-fold in one particular week in April. While current policy thinking is to encourage the development of career management skills and greater self-reliance among job seekers, targeting more intensive guidance support at those unemployed people who are least able to help themselves is one way to prioritise the allocation of already scarce public funds. This is where profiling, or segmentation, of job seekers can be useful, argues Dr Sally Wright in her recent blog post.


Other Publications

Hunt, W. (2020) Paid, unpaid and 'hidden' internships at six months after graduation: Are some graduates excluded? Coventry, University of Warwick. Available online on the IER website

New projects

Research to inform the development of an employment relations model in Northern Ireland - Labour Relations Agency for Northern Ireland

Evaluation of the Founders4Schools careers programme for teachers - Founders4Schools

Find more information on IER's current projects.
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