Blog & Articles

Careers and carers: would some stay-at-home mums prefer to work?

Date: 24. January 2014
Vidhya Alakeson

Camilla is 31. She has two children under five. She currently works five hours a week but she would prefer to work 16 hours. Like her, Rachel also has two children under five. She's a stay at home mum but she would prefer to work full time. But for both Camilla and Rachel, childcare is too expensive for them to work as many hours as they would like.

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Mind the jobs gap

Date: 14. August 2013
Alex Hurrell

The latest labour market data obscures the fact that job creation is failing to keep up with population growth, and that whole regions are being left out of any economic recovery

Many UK politicians and commentators have highlighted that the UK labour market has performed remarkably well despite the weakness of the economic recovery following the 2008 crash. They point to the fact that overall levels of employment have now surpassed their pre-recession peak, with the latest official labour market statistics released yesterday revealing that there are 29.8 million people working in the UK, over 200,000 more than in early 2008, and up 69,000 on the previous quarter.

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Keeping it private

Date: 6. March 2013
Matthew Whittaker

Despite the sluggish economic recovery, employment figures continue to surprise on the upside. With the public sector rapidly being cut back, all of this employment growth is of course coming from the private sector. But what does the picture look like across the different parts of the UK?

The green bars in the chart below show the proportional change in public sector employment in each Government Office Region in the period from Q4 2008 to Q3 2012. Unsurprisingly, it shows falling employment across the country, with Scotland, the North East, South West and North West being particularly hard hit. In direct contrast, the pink bars show that private sector employment has increased over the same period in all regions other than the South East.

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Looking under the lid of employment figures

Date: 12. September 2012
Giselle Cory

Employment has gone up and unemployment has gone down. This is good news. But it should not be taken at face value. A closer look at today’s data shows an increase in the number of people involuntarily working in part-time or temporary jobs. As the chart below shows, there has been a sustained rise in the number of people who are in temporary work because they could not find a permanent job. Around 650,000 people are in this position, up from around 400,000 in the mid-2000s.

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The Changing Shape of the UK Job Market

Date: 2. March 2012
Craig Holmes

This post appeared on the OECD Insights blog

It’s becoming more and more common to hear both researchers and policymakers talking about the UK developing an hourglass labour market. This is the idea that, because of technical progress, many middle-skill, middle-wage jobs (such as assembly line operators and clerical workers) have been replaced by machinery, hollowing out the labour market. This leads to a polarisation of employment into either high skill jobs – managers, professional and technician - or low wage work, particular in personal or retail services.

While we readily see this change in the types of jobs people are doing, it is less clear what effect this had had on the distribution of earnings. If everything else in the labour market had stayed the same, this hollowing-out would certainly be the cause of rising wage inequality. However, over the past thirty years, polarisation is just one of a number of changes which have impacted what people are paid. So the question is: what impact has it really had on earnings?

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