WorkerTech newsletter: February 2023

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


You’ve probably seen a headline or two mention economic inactivity over the past week, with various takes on who is affected and how to solve the problem. Someone who is economically inactive is a person of working age who is not in work, not looking for work, and is not in education. In this newsletter I’m sharing Resolution Foundation’s expert analysis on the issue, and how WorkerTech might have a part to play in increasing activity.

On another note, you can catch us talking about impact measurement with Bethnal Green Ventures on 10th March. We’re joining them for a virtual AMA for anyone working in the impact sector. Registration is open now.

As always, if you have a WorkerTech idea or just want to know more about what we’re doing, please get in touch.

Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

WorkerTech and economic inactivity

The issue of workforce participation has come to a head following a sharp rise in economic inactivity over the course of the pandemic – up by 830,000 between 2019 and 2022, with three quarters of the rise concentrated among those aged 50 and over.

Our research found that rising economic activity is caused by older workers retiring early, and an increase of people leaving work due to long-term sickness. Historically, policies designed to get these groups back into the labour market after leaving have had little success. Keeping people in work is more likely to be effective, particularly for older workers, women with children and those affected by ill-health and disability.

Policy change is important here, for example to address high childcare costs or to review the benefits system to support people with disabilities to stay in work. But there are some interesting technological innovations that support older workers, women with children and people with ill-health or a disability to stay in work too:

✔️ Flexa careers – a platform that accredits truly flexible workplaces according to their criteria, and supports them to recruit workers who need flexibility due to personal circumstances, for example health issues.

🐣 Grandnanny – a childcare platform matching older workers to local families in need of informal childcare offering a solution to both older workers and working parents.

💻 Clu – an inclusive recruitment platform for underrepresented talent, for example people with neurodivergence, disabilities or long term health issues. All employers are vetted to ensure they are fit to onboard and retain diverse talent.

🤝 Roleshare – matching job candidates who want to work part-time and finding them jobshares with flexible employers.

Do you have an idea to add to the list? If so, please get in touch!

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

Concerning rise in NEETs (not in employment, education or training) driven by uptick in youth unemployment – ONS figures show a rise in NEETs but the overall number is still relatively low. There are some areas of concern – namely the recent rise in young men and women who are NEET and unemployed, and the fact that the proportion of young men who are NEET and economically inactive is close to a record high.

Minding the (productivity and income) gaps – an analysis of what drives household disposable incomes in different countries, finding that its not all about productivity but also government policy and personal and cultural preferences.

Jeremy Hunt’s smooth(ing) budget – a look ahead to the Spring budget which will need to focus on the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, in particular how to smooth energy bills for low-income households.

WorkerTech stories

  • Our portfolio founder, Claudine Adeyemi CEO of Earlybird, was named as a top 100 African business leader in the UK by African Business Chamber. You can hear more about how she build Earlybird on her recently released podcast episode of How I Crushed It.
  • Institute for the Future of Work released the 2023 version of their Good Work Monitor. This tool tracks trends in access to good work across England, Scotland and Wales. It’s designed to help policymakers and innovators identify the most effective ways to improve work and health outcomes in specific areas.
  • The results of the four day week pilot were published this month with with 92% of companies that participated choosing to continue. Employees reported feeling less stressed and feeling more able to manage work and home life. Alongside this, businesses didn’t report loss to revenue or reduction in the quality of services offered to customers.
  • Learning and Work Institute and Ufi VocTech Trust are collaborating to examine how technology can support every adult in the UK to get the skills they need to succeed in the labour market. This blog explores the key areas where tech can be put to work, including simplifying the skills landscape, making training more accessible and providing flexible learning opportunities.

Get involved

Apply for direct investment from Resolution Ventures. We accept applications from WorkerTech ventures on a rolling basis. Or you can book a slot in our office hours for an initial conversation.

The Unfound Accelerator 2023 is a free programme supporting teams to set-up a platform business as a co-op through weekly expert-led workshops and tailored one-to-one sessions. The programme ends with an opportunity to pitch for £10,000. Apply by 5th March.

Register for Bethnal Green Ventures virtual AMA on impact measurement at 10am on 10th March. Tech for good investors and founders will share insights as to how they embed robust impact practices at the core of what they do to ensure material positive outcomes for people and planet.

Apply for the new 100x Impact Accelerator, hosted by the LSE. They are looking for social ventures with at least an MVP to join their programme and offering £150k of capital per venture. Apply by 10th March.

If you’re as US-based WorkerTech founder, you can apply for the Worker’s Lab Innovation Fund 2022/23. Innovators will receive a monthly stipend and support to develop their worker-focused ideas. Applications are now open and will close in March 2023.