X Close

IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


How unions secure better work-life balance for employees

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 12 October 2017

Alex Bryson and John Forth. 
New research we have conducted for the TUC finds Britain’s trade unions play a vital role in securing a work-life balance for employees.
According to the most authoritative workplace survey in Britain, three-quarters of workplace managers agree or strongly agree that “it is up to individual employees to balance work and family responsibilities” (Bryson and Forth, 2017a). The percentage agreeing has risen since the early 2000s (Van Wanrooy et al., 2013), even though more regulations aimed at improving work-life balance – such as a right to request flexible working – have come into force. So it is, perhaps, no wonder that British workers look on in envy at the rights to extended paid leave and other statutory supports to work-life (more…)

Do biomarkers explain why some people are happier than others?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 September 2017

Alex Bryson and Petri Böckerman
What makes us happy? It sounds a simple enough question. Intuitively, we know what we like – being with friends, going to the movies. In the moment, we know what’s likely to make us happy. Evidence from app-devices that ding people at random moments mostly confirm the rank order of events that make us happy: sex and intimacy comes top, being sick in bed comes bottom.
Work comes second bottom. This might come as a surprise to most, though not to economists who have long thought that work is a disutility (it fails to satisfy human wants) and, in the moment, we’d rather be doing other things. The evidence also confirms we’d usually rather be outdoors in green spaces, and doing things with friends. We also know a lot about the things that go to make a fulfilling worthwhile life such as having a family. Paid work scores highly on (more…)

Are Public Servants Due A Pay Rise?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 5 July 2017

Alex Bryson and John Forth. 
Should we be paying public servants more? Some have expressed disquiet over the long-term sustainability of the 1% cap on pay settlements first introduced in 2010 and due to continue until 2019/20. Independent experts who advise government on setting pay for the 2.5 million public servants covered by Pay Review Bodies (PRBs) have cited pay restraint as a reason for the difficulties recruiting and retaining high quality staff to deliver health services, education and other public services.
This week the Office of Manpower Economics, the body supporting PRBs, published a report commissioned from us, into trends in public sector pay. The report tracks average real earnings within each of 394 occupations over the period 2005-2015, (more…)

Will Brexit increase British wages?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 June 2016

Alex Bryson and Michael White
Has the employment of non-UK workers – particularly those from the European Union – reduced wages in Britain, and if so, by how much? Could restrictions on the employment of EU workers benefit British employees by driving their wages up?
Our research shows that  …
– The reduction in wages when using European Economic Area (EEA) workers (most of whom are from the EU) is quite small.
–  Any wage rise from a restriction on EU workers could be cancelled out by using the same numbers of temporary or agency workers. These have virtually the same small effect  in (more…)