Tuesday, 27 July 2010

European Social Fund Evaluation of Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities

DWP research report 667

This report from the Department for Work and Pensions covers the European Social Fund (ESF) Evaluation of Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities. The ESF Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities Mainstreaming Plan for England and Gibraltar 2007– 2013 outlined the vision for mainstreaming Gender Equality (GE) and Equal Opportunities (EO) across all levels of the ESF programme. The National Centre for Social Research was commissioned to evaluate the mainstreaming of GE and EO within ESF, in light of the Mainstreaming Plan.

The report assesses progress towards implementing the GE and EO Mainstreaming Plan at different levels of ESF operation. It examines GE and EO policies and processes at different levels of ESF, and identifies and makes recommendations on good practice to encourage GE and EO among ESF providers. These considerations are made within the context of understanding barriers to accessibility experienced by different groups.

Key findings from the research were:

  • GE and EO legislation and EO policies are perceived by Contract Managers and provider staff to be valuable tools in the promotion of equalities and placing equalities high on the agenda of publicly funded bodies.
  • There was variation in the extent to which promotion of GE and EO at all levels within ESF operated in practice.
  • Procurement and monitoring processes are viewed as highly developed and successful processes of mainstreaming are in operation.
  • Contract Managers perceive their roles and responsibilities regarding GE and EO differently between different ESF Co-Financing Organisations (CFOs) and different individuals.
  • Provider staff and participants consider the proactive and sustained promotion of GE and EO as integral to ESF service provision and delivery. There were concerns from niche providers however that the flexibility inherent in the dual approach may be being threatened by an increase in prime contracting.
  • Key ways in which ESF funded providers worked to promote access and diversity included active outreach to participant groups, building links with community/voluntary sector organisations within local networks, flexibility in terms of response to individual participant needs, active employer engagement, challenging negative employer perceptions of different participant groups, and providing guidance and support around necessary adjustments.
  • Equality targets are being achieved in relation to disability in Priority 1 and 4, and gender and ethnic minority targets are being achieved in Priority 5. Targets are close to being met for engaging those aged over 50 in Priority 1 and 2. However rates for engaging women are low in Priority 1 in comparison to the targets set (35% against a target of 51%).
  • Provider staff reported that the gender target may be unrealistic; this was especially true given the current economic situation, with traditional male industries being particularly affected and providers reporting an upturn in men accessing their support.
  • Progress implementing the Mainstreaming Plan is well advanced. The promotion of GE and EO is embedded in the structure of the organisations involved in ESF. The procurement process and ways of working providers adopt supported the dual approach successfully.

The authors are: Carol McNaughton Nicholls, Martin Mitchell, Ashley Brown, Nilufer Rahim, Emma Drever and Cheryl Lloyd of the National Centre for Social Research.

The report (PDF 220pp) is at http://tinyurl.com/34js5cb

OECD International Migration Outlook 2010

Country note for the United Kingdom

This country note describes recent developments in migration movements and policies. Key statistics are presented in a standardised table.

PDF 2pp

Monday, 26 July 2010

Youth on the Move: ...

more support for young people's education and mobility will improve access to the job market
via Education & training

In September, the [European] Commission will adopt “Youth on the Move”, an initiative that aims to promote the mobility of students and trainees and to improve the employment situation of young people.

“Youth on the Move” will encourage EU countries to work together to give young people in Europe better opportunities to make the best of their skills. This can be achieved by improving the performance and international attractiveness of Europe’s universities and by raising the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU. The Commission’s upcoming proposal is a contribution to Europe 2020, the EU’s reform strategy for the coming decade. The Europe 2020 goal is to develop, over the next ten years, an economy that is based on knowledge and innovation. Young people have an important role to play in this but they need more support in order to unleash their full potential. “Youth on the Move” provides this support by contributing to better education, training and access to labour market.

Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will hold a press conference dedicated to “Youth on the Move” on September 15. She is also keen to have an open dialogue about these important matters with the main people concerned. Their interest, opinions, experiences and participation is, of course, key to the success of the initiative and to achieving the Europe 2020 goals. She will therefore host a webstreamed debate with European youth on September 17. During this debate, the Commissioner will answer questions from a live audience, as well as from remote participants who choose to send in questions, either beforehand or in real time. More details about this event will soon be available on Commissioner Vassiliou's website.

Perceiving Discrimination on the Job: ...

Legal Consciousness, Workplace Context, and the Construction of Race Discrimination

an article by Elizabeth Hirsh (Cornell University) and Christopher J Lyons (University of New Mexico)

Despite the continued importance of discrimination for racial labour market inequality, little research explores the process by which workers name potentially negative experiences as race discrimination. Drawing on the legal consciousness literature and organisational approaches to employment discrimination, we assess the effect of social status, job characteristics, and workplace context on the likelihood that workers perceive race discrimination at work. Analysing data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality, we find that ascriptive status is associated with perceptions of discrimination, with African Americans, Hispanics, and women more likely to perceive racial discrimination, net of job and organisational controls. Results also suggest that workers with a greater sense of entitlement (as indicated by job authority, promotion experience, and union membership) and knowledge of legal entitlements (as indicated by education level and age) are more likely to perceive workplace racial discrimination. Other workplace conditions can signal fairness and decrease perceptions of racial bias, such as formalised screening practices and having non-white supervisors, whereas working among predominantly non-white co-workers increases the likelihood of perceiving discrimination. These findings suggest that personal attributions of discrimination vary across social groups and their environments, and demonstrate the importance of workplace context for understanding how individuals apply legal concepts, such as discrimination, to their experiences.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Defining the Alpha Female: A Female Leadership Measure

an article by Rose Marie Ward and Halle C Popson (Miami University) and Donald G DiPaolo (University of Detroit Mercy) published in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies Volume 17 Number 3 (August 2010)

The change in women’s social roles has led to the development of the concept of the alpha female, but currently there is no way to measure the construct. The present study discusses the development of a 14-item measure of an alpha female personality that is consistent with current definitions and examines the measure with respect to similar constructs (e.g., self-esteem, emotional intelligence, leadership, and sex-role). The three scales of the Alpha Female Inventory (leadership, strength, and low introversion) were positively related to self-esteem, emotional intelligence, the Student Leadership Profile Inventory, and masculine traits as measured by Bem’s Sex-Role Inventory. The Alpha Female Inventory can be used to identify women who embody alpha leadership qualities and to aid in our overall understanding of women as leaders.

Living and working in Europe 2009

Eurofound’s first yearbook distils the key findings it published in 2009. Large-scale restructuring resulting in substantial job loss, growing industrial conflict and difficulties faced by ordinary citizens in making ends meet, all underline the impact that the recession has wrought.

Read in full (PDF 60pp)

Don't you just HATE this?

Picked up a post about the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 2010 REPORT
via UN Pulse Alerts to Just Released UN Online Information - a DHLink Service and "page not found"

Tried a search for the title – found a link to the report. Great. NO, not so great, it’s the same link!!

Skills for the future

FE News catches up with Chris Humphries, chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, about how to ensure more people obtain economically valuable skills. He also talks about empowering the frontline in the face of constrained funding.

Watch the six-minute video here: http://www.fenews.co.uk/general/ukces-chris-humphries-chats-about-economically-valuable-skills

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Estimates of internal migration flows for the UK, 2000–2007

an article by Adam Dennett and Phil Rees (University of Leeds) published in Population Trends Volume 40 Issue 1 (Summer 2010)

Statistics on migration flows year by year within the UK are produced by the Office for National Statistics, the General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics Research Agency for migration within England and Wales, within Scotland and within Northern Ireland respectively. However, these flow statistics are not integrated across the UK. As there was a need for such integrated flow statistics at a sub-national scale known as NUTS2 for an EU sponsored project, the authors developed a synthetic estimate of migration flows for the calendar years 2000 to 2007 and the mid-year to mid-year intervals 1999–2000 to 2006–07. The estimates were controlled by the migration flows published at NUTS1 scale from the UK-wide NHS Central Register to which country-specific flows between NUTS2 regions from the various patient registers were fitted. The gaps, flows between regions in different devolved territories, were filled by adjusting comprehensive flow data from the 2001 Census to the published NHSCR flows. Age detail was added only to the total out-migration and in-migration flows from each region using a fixed national profile of migration rates by age from the 2001 Census. The resulting time series of flow data provide, therefore, the three matrix faces of an origin-destination-age array for each time period. The paper describes the details of the estimation process and reports on some of the trends that the time series show.

The PDF of the full article is available only to subscribers (individual or institutional) to the journal and does not seem to be available on the statistics.gov.uk website.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Has social mobility in Britain decreased? ...

Reconciling divergent findings on income and class mobility

an article by Robert Erikson Swedish Institute for Social Research, University of Stockholm and John H. Goldthorpe (Nuffield College, University of Oxford) published in The British Journal of Sociology Volume 61 Issue 2 (2010)


Social mobility has become a topic of central political concern. In political and also media circles it is widely believed that in Britain today mobility is in decline. However, this belief appears to be based on a single piece of research by economists that is in fact concerned with intergenerational income mobility: specifically, with the relation between family income and children’s later earnings. Research by sociologists using the same data sources – the British birth cohort studies of 1958 and 1970 – but focusing on intergenerational class mobility does not reveal a decline either in total mobility rates or in underlying relative rates. The paper investigates these divergent findings. The authors show that they do not result from the use of different subsets of the data or of different analytical techniques. Instead, given the more stable and generally less fluid class mobility régime, it is the high level of income mobility of the 1958 cohort, rather than the lower level of the 1970 cohort, that is chiefly in need of explanation. Further analyses – including ones of the relative influence of parental class and of family income on children’s educational attainment – suggest that the economists’ finding of declining mobility between the two cohorts may stem, in part at least, from the fact that the family income variable for the 1958 cohort provides a less adequate measure of “permanent income” than does that for the 1970 cohort. But, in any event, it would appear that the class mobility régime more fully captures the continuity in economic advantage and disadvantage that persists across generations.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dropping the Books and Working Off the Books

an article by Rita Cappariello and Roberta Zizza (Bank of Italy, Economics, Research and International Relations Area)

This paper empirically tests the relationship between underground labour and schooling achievement for Italy, a country ranking badly in both respects when compared with other high-income economies, with a marked duality between North and South. In order to identify underground workers, we exploit the information on individuals’ social security positions available from the Bank of Italy’s Survey on Household Income and Wealth. After controlling for a wide range of sociodemographic and economic variables and addressing potential endogeneity and selection issues, we show that a low level of education sizeably and significantly increases the probability of working underground. Switching from completing compulsory school to graduating at college more than halves this probability for both men and women. The gain is slightly higher for individuals completing the compulsory track with respect to those having no formal education at all. The different probabilities found for self-employed and dependent workers support the view of a dual informal sector, in which necessity and desirability coexist.

Hazel’s comment:
It has been obvious to career and employment advisers for some years now (feels like for ever to me) that the lower the level of educational achievement the less likely someone is to be in “proper” employment. It is, however, good to have a research report which provides the evidence for this.

Careers in libraries and information

The Info Professional website has to be one of the nicest sites I've looked at in a while and a worthwhile addition to any careers information list.

Yeah, I know the word “nice” is almost banned from most thinking people's vocabularies but I couldn’t think of a better word. Clearly set out, good balance of colours without being garish, easy to follow navigation etc.

And, while I am no expert and haven’t read each page in detail, the content seemed fair and unbiased.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Role of Career Choice in Understanding Job Mobility

an article by Ronni Pavan (Department of Economics, University of Rochester, USA) published in Labour Volume 24 Issue 2 (2010)

This paper presents a simple model that explains how the likelihood of job changes and their complexity changes over a worker’s career, and the empirical work presented here uses the life cycle patterns of mobility and their complexity to infer the relative importance of firm-specific versus career-specific concerns as determinants of mobility decisions. The estimates of the model indicate that the contemporaneous presence of two quality matches, one career-specific and one firm-specific, is necessary to understand the patterns of the data. The model also predicts that the welfare losses implied by a disappearance of a career can be on average twice as large as the losses implied by a plant closure.

Hazel’s comment:
I’ve marked this reading the whole article when the hard copy gets onto the shelf in the British Library as it appears to present a somewhat different view of mobility from that being put forward by governments at the present time. The government view seems to be that geographic mobility is important in order to find work rather than the flexibility to move from one type of work to another or from one firm to another whether or not the geographic position has changed.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Do role models help to widen participation? ...

an investigation into the effect of social background on choice of role model

an article by Matt Cochrane (Edge Hill University) published in Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning Volume 12 Number 1 (April 2010)

This paper compare current research into role models with research into the choices of role model used by children when considering future careers; specifically how cultural and social influences play a part for children at Year 9, aged 13-14. In line with much current research, there is evidence that people from the wider family network are used as role models in preference to teachers. This has implications in the widening participation context, since the role models available to the children generally have the same social and cultural background, and this may serve as one of the mechanisms which tends to perpetuate the shortfall in HE participation from disadvantaged backgrounds. An analysis of the data seems to show that young people are acutely aware of the function of role models in helping them move forward, but that they lack access to the sort of role modelling that would be of the most use to them. It is likely that role models from the family network have been influencing these young people from an early age, and supports the idea now gaining ground that careers advice needs to start much earlier than has been the case recently.

Hazel’s comment:
The link to the full article appears to be available only to Staffordshire University staff.