Firm foundations

Understanding why employers use flexible contracts

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At the end of 2023, more than one-in-eight (13 per cent) employees in UK were working on some form of flexible contract that can be viewed as ‘precarious’, accounting for 3.8 million workers nationwide. From variable-hours and zero-hours contracts to temporary work such as casual, seasonal or short-term employment, flexible contracts often entail considerable uncertainty … Continued

A U-shaped legacy

Taking stock of trends in economic inactivity in 2024

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In an election year, jobs and benefits are often centre stage. Alongside the UK’s stagnant wage growth, there is one big issue that will face the next government: the rises in economic inactivity and health-related benefit claims. Real pay growth, unemployment and vacancies have all returned roughly to 2019 rates. But there is one aspect … Continued

We’ve only just begun

Action to improve young people’s mental health, education and employment

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The transition to adulthood is a tumultuous time: leaving education, entering the labour market, living independent of family and managing one’s finances all come with their stresses and strains. But this crucial part of the life course can be especially challenging for young people with mental health problems who are more likely to struggle in … Continued

Labour Market Outlook Q4 2023

What’s happening to pay growth?

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Over the course of 2023, the labour market has been gradually cooling on most measures. Even ignoring data from the Labour Force Survey that has recently been called into question, vacancies have been falling for 16 consecutive months and growth in payrolled employment has slowed. But nominal wage growth has remained resilient – even, since … Continued

An intergenerational audit for the UK

2023

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Five years ago, our Intergenerational Commission set out the numerous threats to the UK’s promise of intergenerational progress. More recently, the spotlight has once again fallen on this issue, but this time in the US, where the latest data has started to suggest that living standards for the millennials are catching up with, and on … Continued

Giving with one hand …

Exploring the impact of minimum wage uprating in 2024 on living standards

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At this year’s Conservative Party Conference, the Chancellor announced that the minimum wage would rise to at least £11 next year, up from its current rate of £10.42. But he may have under-promised. Using the standard uprating methodology, we estimate that the new adult-rate minimum wage could be as high as £11.46 in April 2024 … Continued

Left behind

Exploring the prevalence of youth worklessness due to ill health in different parts of the UK

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This briefing note is part of the Health Foundation’s Young people’s future health inquiry, in which we focus on the prevalence of youth worklessness due to ill health in different parts of the UK. We find that young people in small towns or villages are more likely than young people in big cities to be out of work due to ill health.

Enforce for good

Effectively enforcing labour market rights in the 2020s and beyond

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This report concludes a four-year work programme at the Resolution Foundation supported by Unbound Philanthropy exploring the what, why and how of labour market enforcement. We bring together data and qualitative analysis with five cross-country studies to show how we could do better in the UK when it comes to enforcing labour market rights.

Low Pay Britain 2023

Improving low-paid work through higher minimum standards

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After a decade and a half of relative economic decline, Britain needs a new economic strategy. And good work must be at its heart – an explicit goal, not a hoped-for by-product of growth. This is a necessary precondition for a strategy that offers a credible promise of shared prosperity in the years ahead, strengthening … Continued

Wages are flatlining

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This Thursday, the Bank of England (BoE)’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets. Discussion of whether the central bank has one final rate rise in it before pausing have focused on whether the Bank’s hand will be stayed by the instability we are seeing playing out in the banking sector from Silicon Valley to Switzerland (in … Continued

Post-pandemic participation

Exploring labour force participation in the UK, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the decade ahead

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Labour market inactivity has increased. Many of the newly inactive won’t come back. Boosting labour market participation means focusing on older workers, women with children, and those affected by rising ill-health and disability – groups where progress has been made and scope for more remains.

Who cares?

The experience of social care workers, and the enforcement of employment rights in the sector

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The social care sector, as well as playing a vital role for many people and for our society, is an important employer, with 1.7 million social care jobs across the UK in 2022. Jobs in social care have many positive aspects of working in the sector, including the ability to form deep personal connections with … Continued

New Year’s Outlook 2023

They think it’s all over… it isn’t now

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2022 was a truly horrendous year, dominated by the arrival of double-digit inflation that drove a 3.3 per cent (or £800 per household) hit to real disposable incomes, the biggest annual fall in a century. This has left three-quarters of lower-income working families cutting back this Christmas. Against that difficult backdrop, this note considers what … Continued

Constrained choices

Understanding the prevalence of part-time work among low-paid workers in the UK

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This is the fifth output from the Resolution Foundation which contributes to the Young person’s future health inquiry. It discusses the concentration of part-time work among low-paid workers (including young people), and explores the reasons why low-paid workers work part-time, and the extent to which low-paid workers experience agency over their working hours. It draws … Continued

Policing prejudice

Enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace

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This briefing note is part of a three-year programme of research exploring labour market enforcement generously funded by Unbound Philanthropy. In it, we investigate the scale and nature of workplace discrimination, and consider how anti-discrimination rules can be enforced to greater effect.

Not working

Exploring changing trends in youth worklessness in the UK, from the 1990s to the Covid-19 pandemic

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This report is part of the Health Foundation’s Young people’s future health inquiry, in which we focus on the labour market experience of young people, including its implications for health. This report provides a long-term view of what’s been happening to youth worklessness since the 1990s, looking beneath the headline figures.

Labour Market Outlook Q1 2022

How should we interpret strong nominal earnings growth?

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In the first months of 2022, the labour market continued to tighten, with no sign of weakening in the aftermath of the JRS. Unemployment has fallen further, and stood at an almost-record low of 3.9 per cent in the three months to January 2022 – and although the Bank of England is concerned about unemployment … Continued

Labour Market Outlook Q4 2021

Wages and the cost of living in 2022

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The final three months of 2021 have been a mixed bag for the pandemic and the labour market. At the end of September, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) came to an end after 18 months – and the feared rise in unemployment does not seem to have come to pass. But the emergence of … Continued

Covid-19
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Labour market

The new wave

The economic policy response to Omicron

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A new wave of this pandemic is underway, even if we can’t see much sign of it yet in the UK-wide data. The Prime Minister rightly tells us to expect “a tidal wave of Omicron coming” and in London it’s already arrived. This is not the Christmas present any of us wanted. In terms of … Continued

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