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How long must women wait for equal pay?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 February 2021

Bożena Wielgoszewska, Alex Bryson, Francesca Foliano, Heather Joshi, and David Wilkinson.

You might expect slow and steady progress in narrowing the gap between men’s and women’s earnings – but history has less straightforward lessons.

Findings from our gender wage gap project show that the differences between men’s and women’s earnings have decreased, but the progress has slowed in recent years. Dramatic change only took place with major events, such as war or a big policy initiative. Later cohorts face better conditions, but the gap is still large and, at our estimated rate of convergence, it will not close for another 40 years.

The covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted labour market inequalities and raised questions about the future progression towards gender equality. Some expect that more widespread flexible working and normalisation of working from home will lead to greater equality. But others argue that progress will be reversed for women, jeopardised by taking a bigger share of housework and childcare during lockdown.

Our analysis focused on two British birth cohorts, one born in 1958 (tracked up to age 55), and one born in 1970 (more…)

Britain’s endless skills problems: why academics and policy wonks need to communicate

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 November 2017

Francis Green. 
The OECD and the Institute for Public Policy Research came together this week to launch complementary reports on Britain’s long-term skills problem and what should be done about it. The event unfurled in august surroundings, at the offices of JP Morgan, in the old hall of what used to be the City of London School. Both reports were looking at an uphill task. Britain’s productivity has stagnated for the last decade, while wages have been coming down in real terms. Britain’s skills problems have been around for much longer. The government’s policy for addressing this is embodied in its Industrial Strategy, of which skills policy is one of ten ‘pillars’. This is where schools, FE colleges and universities come in.
The IPPR report identifies three problematic aspects of Britain’s skills system:

  • skills produced are insufficiently valued and utilised in the workplace;
  • the lack of high-quality vocational training and education provision; and
  • a failure to tackle regional and social inequalities.

It is not hard to substantiate these claims. For example, Britain has one of the most (more…)

We need to have a big conversation about the nature and purposes of a university or college education

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 August 2017

Francis Green. 
Especially since the surge in university and college enrolments around 1990, Britain’s workforce has become very much more educated. The proportion with tertiary (post-school) qualifications has been rising very fast – at roughly one percentage point per year (see diagram).
And we can say confidently that the stock of highly-educated workers is going to go on rising for many years. In 2015 the tertiary education gap between the cohort of 30-34 year-old “millennials” and the cohort of 50-64 year-olds was 21 percentage points. As the older group starts to retire, the overall education level of the workforce is sure to increase.
The question is, if the level goes on rising will our college and university leavers continue (more…)

Why job insecurity is bad for our health

Blog Editor, IOE Digital21 November 2016

Francis Green
We live in uncertain times. Eight years on from the Great Recession of 2008, and still one in ten workers across Europe is unemployed – that’s 21 million people. Global growth is faltering and in Europe the “Brexit” decision threatens a prolonged period of adjustment at minimum. It is likely that there will be low growth in Britain for a while, if not a renewed recession, and repercussions elsewhere. What does this uncertainty mean for our well-being and for the demands placed on health systems? Can we do anything to alleviate the potential health fall-out?
For some time now we have known that health can be impaired through unemployment. It can lead to a loss of identity, because many see their job as part of what they are – even if they may sometimes curse it on a Monday morning when facing a long week’s hard work ahead. And of course unemployment also means a loss of livelihood.
But the problem of uncertainty goes well beyond just those people unlucky enough to lose (more…)

Will Brexit increase British wages?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 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…)

Why employing autistic people makes good business sense

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 April 2015

Anna Remington, UCL Institute of Education Microsoft has announced its intention to hire more autistic people – not as a charitable enterprise but because, as corporate vice-president Mary Ellen Smith said: “People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft.” Employing autistic people makes good business sense. Microsoft is not the only firm to reach this conclusion. More and more companies are beginning to seek employees from the pool of autistic talent. Specialisterne is a consultancy that recruits only autistic individuals. Originally based in Denmark it now operates in 12 countries worldwide and is currently working with Microsoft. In recent years Vodafone and German software giant SAP have also launched recruitment drives to find more autistic employees, and to provide better support for them in the workplace. Both companies state that this is due to the competitive edge it gives, with SAP executives reporting increased productivity. This is testament to the excellent work that many autistic people and their supporters have done to raise awareness of the (more…)