Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Predicting likelihood of long-term unemployment: the development of a UK jobseekers' classification instrument

Working paper no 116 by Simon Matty (Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)) published March 2103

This paper describes work undertaken by the Department for Work and Pensions to explore the feasibility of developing a profiling tool to predict, at the point of first claim, the likelihood of a new Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimant reaching long-term unemployment, defined as twelve months or more with a continuous claim.

The work was undertaken in response to the Department’s interest in the application of segmentation models to improve and refine service allocation and the emergence of such tools in other countries. Additionally, the 2007 review of the Government’s welfare to work strategy conducted by David Freud and the 2008 review on conditionality and support for those claiming benefits carried out by Professor Paul Gregg both recommended investigating the development of an accurate early identification model for all jobseekers based on the approach used in Australia.

A predictive model was built using logistic regression and based on data collected from a 2010 telephone survey of 5,600 new claimants combined with administrative data held by the Department.

The paper presents the variables that the modelling suggests are the most efficient predictors of future long-term unemployment. The paper then discusses model accuracy along with the implications for implementation in an operational context.

The results from this work have increased the Department for Work and Pensions’ understanding of predictive models and claimant segmentation and how they might function in practice. The Department is undertaking further work in this area to determine a high-level approach to claimant segmentation and to generate the necessary material to inform strategic decision-making about the use of segmentation approaches within this context.

Full text (PDF 63pp)

‘Good when they want to be’: migrant workers in the supermarket supply chain

an article by Paul Thompson, Kirsty Newsome and Joanna Commander (Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde, UK) published in Human Resource Management Journal Volume 23 Issue 2 (April 2013)


Despite the increased attention paid to the role and effects of migrant labour in the contemporary economy, there has been insufficient attention to the role of employers and the employment relationship.

Recent studies have highlighted distinctive labour power characteristics of new labour migrants from Central and Eastern Europe that make them ‘good workers’ in the eyes of employers.

Drawing on multiple case studies across the supermarket supply chain, this article explores what kind of human resource migrant labour is perceived to be, particularly by employers, and what happens in practice as the dynamic tensions of the employment relationship unfolds in particular sector contexts.

It argues that utilisation is conditioned more by the requirements of temporal flexibility – framed by the dynamics of employment within the supply chain – than any essential features of migrant labour power.

The ill-treatment of employees with disabilities in British workplaces

an article by Ralph Fevre, Amanda Robinson and Trevor Jones (Cardiff University, UK) and Duncan Lewis (Plymouth University, UK) published in Work Employment & Society Volume 27 Number 2 (April 2013)


There are few quantitative studies that show the workplace is experienced in a different way by employees with disabilities.

This article fills this gap using data from the British Workplace Behaviour Survey, which found that employees with disabilities and long-term illnesses were more likely to suffer ill-treatment in the workplace and experienced a broader range of ill-treatment. Different types of disability were associated with different types of ill-treatment.

The survey also showed who employees with disabilities blamed for their ill-treatment and why they believed the ill-treatment had occurred.

Drawing on the existing literature, four possible explanations for ill-treatment are considered:
  • negative affect raises perceptions of ill-treatment;
  • ill-treatment leads to health effects;
  • ill-treatment results from stigma or discrimination;
  • ill-treatment is a consequence of workplace social relations.
Although some of these explanations are stronger than others, the discussion shows that more research is required in order to decide between them.

The role of short-time work schemes during the global financial crisis and early recovery: a cross-country analysis

an article by Alexander Hijzen (OECD and IZA, Paris, France ) and Sebastien Martin (OECD, Paris, France) published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy Volume 2 Number 5 (2013)


There has been a strong interest in short-time work (STW) schemes during the global financial crisis. Using data for 23 OECD countries for the period 2004 Q1 to 2010 Q4, this paper analyses the quantitative effects of STW programmes on labour market outcomes. Special attention is given to the dynamic aspects of the relationship between output shocks and labour market outcomes.

The results indicate the STW raises hours flexibility by increasing the output elasticity of working time and helps to preserve jobs in the context of a recession by making employment and unemployment less elastic with respect to output.

A key finding is that the timing of STW is crucial.

While STW helped preserving a significant number of jobs during the crisis, its continued use during the recovery may have slowed the job-content of the recovery. By the end of 2010, the net effect of STW on employment was negligible or may even have become negative.

However, the gross impact of STW on the number of jobs saved per quarter remains large and positive in the majority of countries.

JEL classification: J23, J65, J68

Full text (PDF 32pp)

Self-concept of students in higher education: are there differences by faculty and gender?

an article by C.M. Rubie-Davies and K. Lee (The University of Auckland, New Zealand) published in Educational Studies Volume 39 Issue 1 (April 2013)


Many studies examine student self-concept during compulsory schooling but few have explored the self-concept of students in higher educational settings.

The current study examined self-concept by faculty and gender among higher education students in New Zealand. Participants were 929 undergraduate students from a large New Zealand university.

The results showed some differences in verbal and maths self-concept by faculty. Generally, students in faculties teaching subjects more reliant on maths skills had higher maths self-concept than those in faculties where facility in verbal skills was important. The opposite results were found for verbal self-concept.

No overall gender differences were found for general, academic, verbal and maths self-concept although a statistically significant difference was found for problem-solving self-concept.

This finding suggests students’ choice of faculty may be based on perceptions of their skills and capabilities in the various fields, irrespective of gender.

Satisfaction with therapist-delivered vs. self-administered online cognitive behavioural treatments for depression symptoms in college students

an article by Derek Richards and Ladislav Timulak (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) published in British Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 41 Number 2 (April 2013)


Participants with symptoms of depression received either eight sessions of therapist-delivered email cognitive behaviour therapy (eCBT; n=37), or eight sessions of computerised CBT self-administered treatment (cCBT; n=43).

At post-treatment participants completed a questionnaire to determine what they found satisfying about their online treatment. Quantitative and qualitative analysis was employed to report outcomes.

A sample of 25 participants(eCBT n=10; cCBT n=15) completed the satisfaction questionnaire.

Both groups were satisfied with accessing and using an online treatment and that they had self-control over their treatment. Perceived anonymity was important for the eCBT group. For the cCBT group they found the treatment user-friendly, engaging and also a source of learning.

Both groups disliked that the online treatment could at times be complicated and impersonal.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Career Decision-Making Characteristics of Primary Education Students in Greece

an article by Despina Sidiropoulou Dimakakou, Kostas Mylonas, Katerina Argyropoulou and Nikos Drosos (Department of Psychology, National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Greece) published in International Education Studies Volume 6 Number 5 (2013)


The present study aims at investigating career decision-making process of 6th grade students with the use of the Childhood Career Decision-Making Questionnaire (CCDMQ). CCDMQ offers scores for the following three decision-making dimensions:
  1. Concerns/ fears regarding career future,
  2. Investment on decision-making process, and
  3. Knowledge of the World of Work.
The study reports the psychometric properties and the results of an exploratory factor analysis of the CCDMQ in a sample of 531 6th grade students in the region of Attica, Greece. The implications for future research and for career guidance are discussed.

Full text (PDF 11pp)

Differentiation and social segregation of UK higher education, 1996–2010

an article by Linda Croxford and David Raffe (University of Edinburgh, UK) published in Oxford Review of Education Volume 39 Issue 2 (April 2013)


Policies to expand higher education (HE) in the UK have emphasised the importance of widening participation by under-represented groups. However, the attention has shifted from who participates in HE (and who does not) to the different institutions attended by students from different backgrounds. Researchers have typically investigated this issue by comparing rates of entry to different types of university.

This paper proposes an alternative approach; it uses concepts of social segregation, hitherto applied mainly to secondary schools, to analyse UCAS data on the social and demographic characteristics of entrants to HE. It estimates indices of segregation between HE institutions, and between subject areas within institutions, for selected cohorts of entrants to full-time undergraduate courses between 1996 and 2010.

Levels of segregation during this period have been relatively high in relation to ethnicity and independent schooling, lower in relation to age and lowest in relation to gender, disability and social class. Most indices show stability over time, with a decline in the segregation of non-white ethnic groups and a small increase in segregation of independent school students.

Levels of segregation differ across the four UK home countries, and tend to be highest in England.

The disability system and programs to promote employment for people with disabilities

an article by David Wittenburg and David R Mann (Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, NJ, USA) and Allison Thompkins (Mathematica Policy Research, Cambridge, MA, USA) published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy volume 2 Number 4 (2013)


This paper examines employment-focused interventions within the US disability system.

Our review illustrates the challenges of developing and implementing these types of initiatives, despite substantial policy interest.

Our findings indicate that none of the demonstrations we reviewed have the potential to lead to substantial caseload reductions that could reverse program growth.

However, they can inform future designs, particularly the importance of customising supports to very well-defined target populations.

JEL classification: D04

Full text (PDF 28pp)

Hazel’s comment:
A timely reminder that disabled people is not a label for a homogenous group!

The effects of classroom teaching on students' self-efficacy for personal development

an article by Derek Cheung and Edith Lai (,The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin) published in British Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 41 Number 2 (April 2013)


The personal development of students is an essential component of school guidance and counselling programmes, but no published research on guidance and counselling has investigated the effects of regular classroom teaching on students’ self-efficacy for personal development.

In this study, questionnaire items were constructed to measure classroom teaching, student self-efficacy for personal development and student use of deep learning strategies. Data were collected from 16,208 secondary school students in Hong Kong. Using structural equation modelling, regular classroom teaching was found to have a direct effect on personal development self-efficacy as well as an indirect effect through student use of deep learning strategies.

Implications of these findings for implementing a whole-school approach to guidance and counselling are discussed.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Scaling the youth employment challenge

a report from the UKCES (March 2013)

Executive summary

In summer 2012 the UK Commission for Employment and Skills published The youth employment challenge. This set out the structural changes in the labour market that have made it increasingly difficult for young people to get into work and progress on a career path.

It highlighted the importance of employer practice in tackling this challenge and called for UK employers to adopt a “youth policy”: to do something, no matter how small, to help young people get into work. This includes activities like opening up recruitment practices and offering work experience or apprenticeships.

In this report we examine the extent to which UK employers are engaging in these types of activities and some of the barriers to making them more widespread. There are many excellent examples, but there is scope to do much more.

The way in which employers fill their vacancies is key. Word of mouth recruitment disadvantages young people without the right networks and contacts. But this is on the rise and is now the number one method of recruiting. Unless recruitment becomes less about who you know and more about what you know and what you can do, employers risk missing out on a rich and diverse talent pool. Use of Jobcentre Plus for recruitment has fallen in the last two years, however the recent launch of the Government backed online vacancy matching service Universal Jobmatch offers an accessible and free means for businesses to advertise their jobs widely.

The majority of employers who take on young people straight from education find them well or very well prepared for work, but they attach vital importance to experience when they recruit. And lack of experience is the number one reason why recruiting employers turn young job applicants away. It’s also the main reason they find them poorly prepared for work.

Despite the importance employers place on work experience, only one in four offer work experience placements to young people in education. Combined with decreasing opportunities to work while learning, this means that young people continue to face a ‘Catch 22’ situation. To tackle this, work experience needs to become much more widespread and seen by employers as an integral part of their recruitment strategies. Employers who provide work experience say they gain considerable benefits, so there is a strong case for others to get involved. And there is untapped demand: 20% of employers who don’t offer work experience have never been approached to offer it and many employers recruit young people without offering work experience. Our goal should be to raise the overall number participating from a quarter to a half of all UK employers.

Although the recession has caused a fall off in recruitment generally, employment in high skill managerial and professional roles has grown by over 900,000 and this growth is set to continue. Employers who specialise in these roles are the least likely to recruit young people and where they do, they tend to rely on university graduates. Creating more non-graduate routes into professional and managerial jobs would offer ladders of opportunity to young people, and feed the talent pipeline for employers. Apprenticeships offer just such a gateway into a great career for young people and bring well documented returns to employers. Yet currently, just 15% of employers have or offer apprenticeships. Twice that number say they plan to offer apprenticeships in the future, so again, we should be aiming to double participation.

In 2011 the UK Commission, supported by Government, launched a new vision for how we invest in our current and future workforce – Employer Ownership of Skills. Realising this vision through a series of significant steps would play a big part in tackling the youth employment challenge. We believe that by empowering employers and giving them far greater sway over public spending on skills, we will see innovative ideas and increased investment in return. We are encouraged by the bids from employers in the first round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) fund in England. In Round 2 we are looking for more ambitious proposals.

We know that there is significant variation in youth policy type activity by industry sector, which suggests there are sectoral solutions to youth employment. In Round 2 of the Employer Ownership Pilot, we want to encourage the establishment of employer owned and run partnerships that bring together employees, unions and training providers around common issues like recruitment, work experience and apprenticeships. These ‘Industrial Partnerships’ will take end to end responsibility for workforce development – setting standards, designing qualifications and creating career pathways in key sectors of the economy.

There is huge potential for expansion of apprenticeships, but barriers to achieving this include perceptions of lack of need, suitability and cost, and a widespread lack of awareness of the Government subsidy for training. Giving employers far greater purchasing power for apprenticeship training by funding them directly instead of channelling funding through training providers could help raise awareness of the public subsidy, and encourage more employers to get involved.

We know that the best outcomes are achieved when employers and colleges/providers collaborate, especially in opening up jobs and training opportunities and tapping into the potential for work experience in small businesses. There are great examples of such collaboration in the first round of the Employer Ownership Pilots. The UK Commission will continue to promote and evaluate this approach in the second round.

Finally, the skills system has tended to measure success by fairly narrow outputs, like qualification achievements. Shifting accountability and success measures toward labour market outcomes - earnings and employment chances for learners, for example - would further encourage employer and college/provider collaboration. This could be achieved by emphasising these outcomes in quality assurance regimes, and by tying funding to them.

Nothing less than a radical shift in approach will be sufficient to redress the UK’s youth employment problems. But as we have seen, there is huge scope to raise our game. By taking a few significant steps we can make a start towards embedding a culture where recruiting and developing young people are part of standard business practice in the UK.

Full text (PDF 22pp)

Widening participation to doctoral education and research degrees: a research agenda for an emerging policy issue

an article by Alistair McCulloch (University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia) and Liz Thomas (Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK) published in Higher Education Research & Development Volume 32 Issue 2 (April 2013)


Widening participation is on the political agenda but, to date, policy, practice and research has focused on undergraduate education.

This article identifies an emerging widening participation focus on doctoral education.

Using England as a case study, the article examines this development within the context of the long-standing concern with equity in education, before reviewing the relatively small literature addressing who participates (and why) in doctoral and more general postgraduate education.

An analysis of Widening Participation Strategic Assessments produced in 2009 by 129 English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) reveals an emergent institutional awareness of this new development.

Finally, a research agenda for widening participation to research degrees, focusing on research students, HEIs and policy-makers, is outlined. The conclusion calls for this agenda to be pursued at institutional, national and cross-national levels so that future policy can be made and implemented on the basis of a robust evidence base.

Flexibility and security? `Flexicurity' and its implications for lifelong guidance

an article by Ronald G. Sultana (University of Malta, Msida) published in British Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 41 Number 2 (April 2013)


This article sets out to trigger research and policy attention among the career guidance community to the increasingly important notion of `flexicurity'.

It first explores the different meanings of the term, particularly as these have evolved in discussions across the European Union. It then goes on to consider why `flexicurity' has attracted so much policy interest, particularly in its promise to both support labour market competitiveness and increase economic efficiency on the one hand, while protecting the interests of workers on the other.

Next, the article documents some of the key debates around the notion of flexicurity, highlighting the fact that any consideration of `flexicure' arrangements needs to be empirically grounded in time and space, and carefully contextualised.

The article concludes by making a series of critical reflections on the need to `insert' career guidance in the European discourse on `flexicurity'.

Managing Public Finances Is Vital to Economic Prosperity

As posted on IMF Survey Online

Across the world many countries are now grappling with restoring sound and sustainable public finances: the way governments manage their budgets today will have profound economic effects in the years ahead. A new book by the IMF looks at reforms introduced by governments over the past two decades to improve management of public finances. These innovative ideas and reforms are changing the landscape of public finances and eventually aim to fundamentally change the way governments manage the public’s money.

Continue reading

Priced at $38 print and $19 PDF Public Financial Management and Its Emerging Architecture is available from the IMF Bookshop

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Getting onto the Path to Work

via ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC by Richard Exell

Getting onto the Path to Work (PDF 12pp) is a new TUC report by Christopher Schwartz. In it he looks at the international experience of job creation programmes, focusing on job guarantees. He concentrates on programmes in Denmark, Flanders and Wales, with briefer reviews of schemes in France and Finland.

One of his lessons is that countries that are accepted as having successfully used 'activation' strategies to tackle unemployment haven't relied on punitive measures, but instead have used a "cocktail of measures to facilitate access to employment."

The analysis and the recommendations are worth reading in full

Proportion of underemployed part-time workers up to 21.4% in the EU27 in 2012

eurostat news release 63/2013

Among the 43 million part-time workers in the EU27 in 2012, 9.2 million wished to work more hours, were available to do so and can therefore be considered to be underemployed. Since the start of the economic crisis the proportion of part-time workers wishing to work more hours and available to do so has grown steadily, from 18.5% in 2008 to 20.5% in 2011 and 21.4% in 2012.

Full text (PDF 4pp)

Apparently, better to have a degree than no qualification

via HECSU Blog by Charlie Ball

We are not, despite appearances, dead –  merely a bit tied up with data. You may be able to appreciate what my visual sense made of that statement! Charlie tied up with data.

While we sift through Futuretrack stats to bring you pearls of wisdom, the 2012 Skills and Employment Survey has started releasing results.

The survey is the sixth in a series of surveys of individuals in employment - 3,200 this time around - aged 20-60 (this year's also sampled up to 65), and the series began in 1986. It's run by the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES) based at the Institute of Education.

Continue reading

Does ‘the gap’ matter to children eligible for free school meals?

via CMPO Viewpoint (A Blog from The Centre for Market and Public Organisation) by Rebecca Allen (first published on the IOE blog)

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Schools, has been making a series of speeches over the past month about "closing the gap" in the attainment between pupils from deprived and more affluent backgrounds. Yesterday, he warned that schools should not be judged as outstanding by Ofsted if they failed to close the gap, a goal that sounds fair and even laudable in principle, but I believe is rather unfair in practice.

The "gap" is the difference in GCSE achievement between the average for pupils who are eligible for free school meals and the average for those who are not. Pupils eligible for free school meals have similar characteristics across schools since they all come from families claiming some sort of benefit. The problem is that the background of pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM) will vary considerably across schools, since the group includes both those with bankers and with cleaners as parents.

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Security, respect and culture in British teenagers' discourses of knife-carrying

an article by Marek Palasinski (Based at Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK) published in Safer Communities Volume 12 Issue 2 (2013)


The aim of the paper is to provide an overview of English adolescents' views on knife-carrying and offer a potential framework for challenging their implicit tolerance of the phenomenon.

A sample of 25 adolescents from three large English cities (London, Birmingham and Manchester) was interviewed about knife-carrying at seven youth community centers and their narratives were analyzed by drawing on the classical discourse analysis and the concept of narrative repertoires.

The adolescents constructed the social and legal consequences of knife-carrying as normal, trivial and inevitable.

Research limitations/implications
Talking to a stranger with a voice recorder about the sensitive subject of knife-carrying appeared to be problematic, which probably had an inhibitory effect despite the conversational warm-up and assured anonymity.

Practical implications
Cautioning against creating common sense associations between knife-carrying and irresponsibility or deviance, the paper emphasizes the need for the focus on the low controllability and unpredictability of the knife.

The paper presents scholars and outreach workers with an intimate glimpse of how personal responsibility for knife-carrying and its potential consequences could be diminished by removing the agency from the carrier and rhetorically placing it in society.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gendered divisions on classed routes to vocational education

an article by Sirpa Lappalainen, Reetta Mietola and Elina Lahelma (University of Helsinki, Finland) published in Gender and Education Volume 25 Issue 2 (2013)


In this article our focus is on the persistent gendered divisions in educational routes of young people who choose a vocational path after compulsory education in Finland.

We analyse how gendered subjectivities are constructed within the practices of educational and vocational guidance and within student cultures in the comprehensive school, as well as the way in which young people process understandings of themselves and their expectations during and after vocational education. In addition, we explore young people’s ways to negotiate with disciplinary practices of the educational system.

The paper draws on three ethnographic studies, and on feminist post-structural and materialist theories, intertwined with contextualised ethnographic perspectives. Our analysis reveals some patterns that might work as obstacles in the process towards reducing gender segregation in education and the labour market. We suggest that whilst gendered choices are sometimes taken for granted, gender dichotomy is often emphasised even if young people choose ‘differently’.

Benefits Cap: a lack of jobs undermines the benefits of welfare reform

via JRF – Combined Feed by Helen Barnard

The benefits cap means some people may be motivated to find work – but finding a job in the first place is the problem, says Helen Barnard.

The benefits cap comes into force today [15 April]. It is a media-friendly, simple-sounding policy, which translates into a rather complicated set of rules and exemptions. The essence, explained in the House of Commons note on the cap, is that most working-age people will have the amount they can claim in benefits limited to £500 per week for couples or lone parents (regardless of the number of children) and £350 for single people; average earnings after tax and National Insurance.

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Low Wage Workers

a paper in the Skills in Focus series by Dr Paul Sissons (The Work Foundation) published by Skills Development Scotland (January 2013)

The paper addresses the following issues:
  1. The extent of the problem – how do we define low wages and where are they most prevalent?
  2. Low wages in Scotland – what are the specific issues here?
  3. Those most at risk – who are they and why are they stuck in the low wage trap?
  4. Change in the labour market – how will this affect the extent of low paid work?
  5. Tackling the problem – what has worked previously and what can we learn from this?
Full text (PDF 20pp)

Extending working lives: age management in SMEs

an article by Vanesa Fuertes, Valerie Egdell and Ronald McQuaid (Employment Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University, UK) published in Employee Relations Volume 35 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to present a study of age management in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

Qualitative data collection and exploratory research with six SMEs comprising of: initial interviews with representatives from the SMEs; action research activities designed to raise awareness of age management issues and age discrimination legislation; and follow-up interviews to ascertain if awareness raising activities resulted in any changes, or planned changes, in policy, practice and attitudes towards older workers.

Good practice in age management can be found in SMEs, but was not found to be part of a systematic strategy. Negative practices and attitudes towards older workers are observed, with positive and negative age stereotypes coexisting. Negative stereotypes displayed can undermine the perceived economic value of older workers. There may be a gap between policy and practice, but awareness raising campaigns that reach employers can influence existing ways of working by showing the benefits of an age diverse workforce and helping reduce prejudices against older workers.

Research limitations/implications
The sample size is small and context specific. However, the study usefully illustrates different approaches to age management policies and practices in SMEs, and the potential benefits of age management awareness in influencing attitudes and practices towards older workers in SMEs.

The experience of age management in SMEs is under researched and examples of good practice in age management are often drawn from large organisations. The paper highlights that SMEs often lack the resources to seek advice regarding age management; therefore, those responsible for age management awareness raising activities may need to approach businesses directly.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Support for financial institutions increases government deficits in 2012

Issue number 10/2013 via Eurostat Statistics in focus

Upward impact of 0.4pp GDP in the EU and 0.6pp in the euro area.

In 2012 public interventions to support financial institutions, notably in the form of bank recapitalisations, increased government deficits in a majority of Member States that reported such interventions. The increase was particularly large in Greece (4.0 percentage points of GDP) and Spain (3.6pp GDP).

Full text (PDF 6pp)

Industrial relations in the EU at a glance

Do you need to understand how industrial relations work in each of the EU Member States? Who are the main actors, how does social partnership operate in practice and what are the main issues on the collective bargaining agenda?

Since 1996, Eurofound’s European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) has provided a unique depth and breadth of information on industrial relations developments across Europe. EIRO’s set of industrial relations country profiles provide detailed information on the nuts and bolts of industrial relations in 34 European countries.

Recently updated, the profiles include an overview of the main features, actors, processes and outcomes in each country.

Speaking in Brussels on 11 April at the launch of the European Commission’s report on Industrial relations in Europe in 2012, Employment Commissioner László Andor said that there was ‘a clear need to revitalise industrial relations across Europe’ in light of the recent crisis. Eurofound contributed to the report with its research findings on industrial relations, as well as drafting the chapter on ‘Greening the social dialogue’.

The IR country profiles are available for download

The `Blueprint' framework for career management skills: a critical exploration

an article by Tristram Hooley, A.G. Watts, and Siobhan Neary (International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, UK) and Ronald G. Sultana (Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta) published in British Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 41 Number 2 (April 2013)


This article examines the Blueprint framework for career management skills as it has been revealed across sequential implementations in the USA, Canada and Australia.

It is argued that despite its lack of an empirical basis, the framework forms a useful and innovative means through which career theory, practice and policy can be connected. The framework comprises both core elements (learning areas, learning model and levels) and contextual elements (resources, community of practice, service delivery approach and policy connection).

Each of these elements is explored.

Monday, 22 April 2013

What Fitch got right – the case for slower adjustment

via ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC by Duncan Weldon

On Friday Fitch joined Moody’s in downgrading the UK from AAA to AA. My thoughts on this are much the same as I thought at the last downgrade – this is of no economic importance even if it is politically embarrassing for the Chancellor. The wider point is that retaining the AAA should never have been a target for fiscal policy makers.

Whilst my views of the calibre of rating agencies analysis throughout the crisis has been pretty much in line with that of Jonathan Portes, I thought one nugget of information in Fitch’s statement was worth highlighting.

Continue reading

for those who are not sure about the AAA etc here’s a link that explains (a bit). http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/aaa.asp

Valuing the social? The nature and controversies of measuring social return on investment (SROI)

an article by Malin Arvidson, Fergus Lyon, Stephen McKay and Domenico Moro (affiliation(s) not provided) published in Voluntary Sector Review Volume 4 Number 1 (March 2013)


The concept of “social return on investment” (SROI) has come to play an important role in debates about how social enterprises and charities conceptualise, measure and communicate their achievements.

In this paper we analyse the nature and role of SROI as used in the United Kingdom for impact assessment of such organisations.

The paper offers insight into methodological and procedural aspects of the framework.

Key issues explored include the quantification of benefits, the valuing of volunteering and the ways in which judgement and discretion are exercised. There is a particular tension between the participatory element in the design of each SROI exercise and its use for the purpose of competition.

The paper concludes by proposing a research agenda that includes an examination of the context in which discretion and judgement are applied and the use and usefulness of SROI in the new policy and funding environment in which third sector organisations currently find themselves.

Career Development Strategies as Moderators Between Career Compromise and Career Outcomes in Emerging Adults

an article by Peter A. Creed and Trinette Hughes (Griffith University, Australia) published in Journal of Career Development volume 40 Number 2 (April 2013)


The authors surveyed 130 first-year university students (80% female; mean age 20.5) and assessed:
  1. the level of career compromise they reported between their ideal and enrolled university programs,
  2. their career-related strategies,
  3. their perceptions of employability, and
  4. their career-related distress.
The authors tested a model that proposed that career compromise would predict perceptions of employability and career distress and that the effects of compromise would be moderated by the career-related strategies.

Two strategies, seeking career guidance and self-presentation, moderated the relationship between compromise and career distress.

There was no moderated effect for perceptions of employability, although compromise was directly associated with these perceptions.

Thus, while compromise may be a normal aspect of career development, it was associated with more career distress when career development strategies were low and associated directly with more negative employment perceptions.

Practitioners might assist with career compromise by enhancing career development strategies.

Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin (2013 Q1)

With apologies for the lateness. I seem to have been a bit lax in the “fetching” department (i.e. those publications that do not have a reliable feed have to retrieved according to my sources list which I have been ignoring lately).

Executive summary

Recent economic and financial developments (pages 5–18)

Markets and operations. This article reviews developments in financial markets and the Bank’s official operations in the period between the previous Bulletin and 22 February 2013. Market sentiment improved significantly, reflecting a continued positive response to central bank policy measures adopted by both the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve during the 2012 Q4 review period. Confidence was buoyed further in the New Year as policymakers in the United States reached an agreement to avert the approaching ‘fiscal cliff’. In response to these developments, there was an increase in investors’ willingness to bear risk, providing support to a broad range of assets and prompting some significant adjustments in exchange rates. The article also describes a prospective new tool for reducing counterparty credit risk exposures.

Research and analysis (pages 19–77)

Changes to the Bank of England (by Emma Murphy and Stephen Senior).
In April 2013, a new regulatory framework for the UK financial sector will come into force, which will result in the Bank of England gaining significant new responsibilities. This article gives an overview of the changes that are happening to the Bank, including the creation of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), and new responsibilities in relation to financial market infrastructures. The PRA, as part of the Bank, will be responsible for the microprudential regulation of deposit-takers, insurers and major investment firms. It will promote the safety and soundness of these firms, focusing on the adverse effects that they can have on the stability of the financial system; and contribute to ensuring that insurance policyholders are appropriately protected. The FPC, which has operated in interim form since 2011, will be formally charged with identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce risks to the resilience of the financial system as a whole. The Bank will also become responsible for regulation of certain post-trade market infrastructures, including central counterparties and securities settlement systems. The article also looks at the important revised governance processes that are being put in place to ensure that the Bank carries out its new responsibilities effectively and transparently and is fully accountable to Parliament and the public.

The profile of cash transfers between the Asset Purchase Facility and Her Majesty’s Treasury (by Nick McLaren and Tom Smith).
The Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited (APF) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of England, used to make purchases of public and private sector assets for monetary policy purposes. It is fully indemnified by Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT). Initially, it was envisaged that payments due under the indemnity would be settled when the asset purchase scheme ended. But on 9 November 2012 it was agreed to alter this arrangement and establish a process for ongoing quarterly transfers between the APF and HMT. This article explains how the possible size of the transfers varies depending on a number of uncertain factors, including the future path of Bank Rate, and the price at which the assets held by the APF are ultimately sold. While the initial transfers are from the APF to HMT, it is likely that they will be offset by payments in the opposite direction in the future. But the ultimate net amount that will be transferred is uncertain, and a wide range of outcomes is possible.

Private equity and financial stability (by David Gregory).
In the mid-2000s, there was a dramatic increase in acquisitions of UK companies by private equity funds. The leverage on these buyouts, especially the larger ones, was high. The increased indebtedness of such companies could make the corporate sector more susceptible to default, posing a risk to the stability of the financial system in the United Kingdom. Moreover, this risk is compounded by the need for companies to refinance debt maturing over the next few years in an environment of much tighter credit conditions. Since the crisis began, there has been some evidence of loans to private equity sponsored firms performing poorly but a complete picture will not become clear until more investments have been exited by private equity funds. From a macroprudential policy perspective it will be important to monitor the use of debt in acquisitions in the future. But there is also potentially a role for private equity to play in promoting recovery in a downswing, in particular at the current juncture, by restructuring companies in difficulty.

Commercial property and financial stability (by James Benford and Oliver Burrows).
The commercial property market played a key role in the recent financial crisis in the United Kingdom. A rapid build-up of debt tied to commercial property investments pre-crisis supported a boom in prices. The consequent bust led to a sharp rise in non-performing loans. This article documents some of the main developments in the commercial property market and explores the behaviour of its key players: occupiers of property, investors and lenders. It finds that the structure of the market evolved significantly during the boom period and that an increase in the use of leverage and maturity mismatch contributed to both the rise in prices and the subsequent fall. Going forward, it will be important to consider these factors when assessing the risks that the commercial property market can pose to the stability of the financial system. The new Financial Policy Committee will be alert to these risks and deploy tools to counteract them, where necessary, in order to protect financial stability.

The Agents’ company visit scores (by Jon Relleen, David Copple, Matthew Corder and Nicholas Fawcett).
The Bank’s Agents collect economic intelligence from the business community around the United Kingdom. Since 2007, the Bank’s Agents have been assigning company visit scores (CVS) based on the 5,500 bilateral meetings that they have with individual UK firms every year. The CVS have three attributes that make them useful for analysis. First, they are very timely. Second, firm-level data allow a consideration of the differences in business conditions across companies and sectors. And third, the scores cover some variables where official data are unavailable. This article introduces the CVS data set. It explains how they are assigned before going on to show some initial examples of how they have been used for internal analysis at the Bank, including analysis of trends in employment and capacity utilisation. The Bank places great importance on the confidential nature of discussions between Agents and company contacts — the analysis using the CVS presented in this article is based on aggregated and anonymised data.

The Bank of England Bank Liabilities Survey (by Venetia Bell, Nick Butt and James Talbot). The Bank of England began conducting a survey of banks’ liabilities in 2012. Developments in banks’ liabilities — retail and wholesale funding and capital — can have a substantial impact on credit conditions. The Bank already uses data and intelligence from discussions with market participants to inform its analysis of such developments. But there are benefits from a regular survey, which provides consistent, comparable data; information on the factors affecting developments in liabilities; as well as the reporting of institutions’ expectations of future developments. This new survey will also supplement the data collected on the asset side of bank balance sheets by the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions Survey, which was launched in 2007. The first results of the Bank Liabilities Survey will be published on 26 March 2013. This article explores the reasons for launching this new survey and describes its design and coverage, including details of the questions asked.

Report (pages 79–82)

Monetary Policy Roundtable
This edition also contains a summary of the main points made by participants at the most recent Monetary Policy Roundtable hosted by the Bank of England and the Centre for Economic Policy Research, on 11 December 2012.

Research work published by the Bank is intended to contribute to debate, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bank, MPC or FPC members.

Full text (PDF 96pp)

Unemployment benefits and immigration: evidence from the EU

an article by Corrado Giulietti, Martin Guzi and Klaus F. Zimmermann (IZA – Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany) and Martin Kahanec (Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, IZA – Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany and CELSI – Central European Labour Studies Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia) published in International Journal of Manpower Volume 34 Issue 1 (2013)


Economic theory predicts that unemployment benefits may increase expected income and reduce its volatility, thereby attracting immigrants to countries which implement such programs. This article aims to explore whether and how changes in countries’ unemployment benefit spending (UBS) affect immigration.

Data are collected for 19 European countries over the period 1993-2008. The relationship between immigration flows and UBS is first tested using the OLS technique. Instrumental variable (IV) and generalised method of moments (GMM) are then used to address reverse causality.

While the OLS estimates suggest the existence of a moderate within-country welfare magnet effect for the inflows of non-EU immigrants, the IV approach reveals that the impact is substantially smaller and statistically insignificant when GMM techniques are implemented.

Research limitations/implications
Since information on the immigrants’ country of origin is not available, it is not possible to exclude that for immigrants coming from certain areas, unemployment benefits constitute a strong incentive to immigrate. This hypothesis awaits further research, once detailed data is available.

This paper complements previous literature on immigration and welfare by exploring the endogenous nature of welfare spending. The empirical results provide insights into the interaction between immigration and welfare policies.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Relational Implications of Gay and Lesbian Workplace Romances: Understanding Trust, Deception, and Credibility

an article by Sean M. Horan (DePaul University, Chicago, USA) and Rebecca M. Chory (West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA) published in Journal of Business Communication Volume 50 Number 2 (April 2013)


This study examines the relational implications of same-sex workplace romances (WRs) and compares results with findings for heterosexual WRs.

Working adults (N = 147; M age = 30.87 years old) read a scenario describing a same-sex WR and completed measures of deception, trust, and credibility. Results indicate that employees trust gay and lesbian peers dating superiors less, are more likely to deceive them, and view them as less credible than gay and lesbian peers dating other peers.

Employees also perceive gay co-workers as more caring and of higher character than they perceive lesbian coworkers. Comparisons with prior research indicate that peers report less deception with gay and lesbian co-workers and higher perceptions of gay and lesbian co-workers’ caring and character compared with heterosexual co-workers.

Sex of the peer affected perceptions of gay and lesbian, but not heterosexual peers. There were no differences in the effect sizes for dating a superior versus a peer between gay and lesbian and heterosexual WRs.

Nothing in common: The career aspirations of young Britons mapped against projected labour market demand (2010-2020)

Occasional Taskforce Research Paper: No. 2 by Dr Anthony Mann, David Massey, Peter Glover, Elnaz T. Kashefpadkel and James Dawkins published by UKCES, b-live, and Education and Employers (March 2013)


This paper asks a simple question: is there any alignment between the career aspirations of young people, aged between 13 and 18, and the best estimates of actual demand within the current and future British labour market?

The question is relevant to young people, employers and the UK’s future prosperity. The question is pertinent to young people who make important decisions about their future at ages 14, 16 and 18. Such decisions, about subject options chosen or dropped and experience sought, gained or missed are essential to the ultimate prospects of young people in the jobs market. This paper asks, therefore, whether teenagers, as they make these decisions, do so with career aspirations in mind which reflect realistic opportunities in the world of work.

To employers, the importance of the question relates to flow of a new generation of workers with interests, skills and qualifications relevant to available jobs. The productivity of enterprises is closely linked to the quality of staff they are able to recruit and retain. This paper addresses the question, therefore, of whether young people are aware of the range of opportunities open to them. Is the youth labour market working effectively in signalling to young people the breadth of opportunities which are available and what they need to do – the decisions they needed to take at 14, 16 and 18 – to allow them to compete successfully in recruitment competitions.

Full text (PDF 25pp)

MOOCs of Hazard: Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well...

an article by Andrew Delbanco published in New Republic (29 April issue)

In the spring of 2011, Sebastian Thrun was having doubts about whether the classroom was really the right place to teach his course on artificial intelligence. Thrun, a computer-science professor at Stanford, had been inspired by Salman Khan, the founder of the online Khan Academy, whose videos and discussion groups have been used by millions to learn about everything from arithmetic to history.

And so that summer, Thrun announced he would offer his fall course on Stanford’s website for free.

He reorganised it into short segments rather than hour-long lectures, included problem sets and quizzes, and added a virtual office hour via Google Hangout. Enrolment jumped from 200 Stanford undergraduates to 160,000 students around the world (only 30 remained in the classroom).

A few months later, he founded an online for-profit company called Udacity; his course, along with many others, is now available to anyone with a fast Internet connection.

Continue reading

Super Output Area Population Estimates - Mid-2011 (Census Based)

via ONS Media Centre

This bulletin presents the 2011 mid-year population estimates for lower layer and middle layer Super Output Areas (LSOA and MSOA respectively), which are small areas within England and Wales. It also describes recent changes, the impact of these changes on local areas within England and Wales and population age distributions within these areas.

Key points
  • In mid-2011 there were 34,753 lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England and Wales with a mean population of 1,620 and 7,102 middle layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) with a mean population of 7,800.
  • The LSOAs with the highest population densities are all in Inner London, with the most densely populated area being Kensington and Chelsea 021C.
  • The least densely populated LSOA in England and Wales is Northumberland 019C in Northumberland National Park.
  • Mid-2011 Super Output Area (SOA) population estimates are based on the results of the 2011 Census. Previous estimates based on the 2001 Census and updated annually over the ten year period were within 5% of the 2011 Census based estimate in approximately 65% of LSOAs.
  • SOA population estimates are particularly important for use in many areas of research as they provide key demographic information on small geographic areas that were designed specifically for the purpose of enabling statistical analysis.
Full text (PDF 19pp)

The “New Urban Europe”: Global Challenges and Local Responses in the Urban Century

an article by Peter Nijkamp and Karima Kourtit (VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) published in European Planning Studies Volume 21 Issue 3 (2013)


Modern cities in the open European space-economy are powerhouses of creative ideas, smart technologies, sustainable developments and socio-economic wealth. They play a pivotal role in the future of an urbanised Europe, but they are also confronted with grand challenges, notably far-reaching demographic transformations, environmental decay and climatological change, unequal social participation and ever-rising mobility trends.

The challenges for urban environments may be turned into new opportunities, in particular, in such domains as advanced infrastructure and logistic systems, environmental and climate-neutral facilities, creative and knowledge-intensive strategies for socio-economic prosperity and well-being.

Cities – and in particular metropolitan areas – may thus act as spearheads of sustainable economic growth for European countries. These observations call for appropriate long-range policy strategies for metropolitan areas – and networks of cities – in the highly diversified European space-economy. Such policy actions would need to be supported by solid, multidisciplinary and evidence-based research on the challenges and opportunities of urban environments in Europe.

The main contribution of this paper lies in the systematic strategic approach to transform urban megatrends and challenges into research and policy concerns for Europe. The analytical framework employed to highlight and better understand such research and policy response in Europe from a typological perspective is built around four interconnected pillars (cornerstones) that form the focal points for identifying strategic future images that may be instrumental in mapping out the research and policy challenges for the “New Urban Europe”.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Trainers in continuing VET: emerging competence profile

a publication in Cedefop’s information series (number 4126)

Cedefop has long tracked the changing roles and professional development of teachers and trainers in vocational education and training. In this publication, it analyses nineteen Member State initiatives which aim to set out competence requirements for trainers in adult learning and continuing training. The analysis, which also covers validation of non-formal and informal learning, forms the basis of a proposed emerging competence profile for trainers.

The publication contributes to the work of the thematic working group on the professional development of trainers in vocational education and training, which the European Commission set up in 2012 and jointly coordinates with Cedefop.

Full text (PDF 114pp)

Labour Market Statistics and Regional Labour Market Statistics, April 2013

via ONS Media Centre

Labour Market Statistics, April 2013

For December 2012 to February 2013:
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.4%, virtually unchanged from September to November 2012 but up 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier. There were 29.70 million people in employment aged 16 and over, down 2,000 from September to November 2012 but up 488,000 from a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 7.9% of the economically active population, up 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 but down 0.3 from a year earlier. There were 2.56 million unemployed people, up 70,000 from September to November 2012 but down 71,000 from a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.2% (the lowest since 1991), down 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 and down 0.7 from a year earlier. There were 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 57,000 from September to November 2012 and down 285,000 from a year earlier.
  • Total pay rose by 0.8% compared with December 2011 to February 2012, the lowest growth rate since September to November 2009. Regular pay rose by 1.0 per cent over the same period, the lowest growth rate since records began in 2001.
Full text (PDF 70pp)

Regional Labour Market Statistics, April 2013

Key points
  • Employment rate highest in the South East and East of England (74.8%) and lowest in the North East (67.1%).
  • Unemployment rate highest in the North East (10.1%) and lowest in the South West (6.2%).
  • Inactivity rate highest in the North East (25.3%) and lowest in the East of England (19.5%).
  • Claimant Count rate highest in the North East (7.4%) and lowest in the South East (2.8%).
Full text (PDF 14pp)

How do job characteristics contribute to burnout? Exploring the distinct mediating roles of perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness

an article by Claude Fernet, Stéphanie Austin, Sarah-Geneviève Trépanier and Marc Dussault (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada) published in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Volume 22 Issue 2 (2013)


This study aimed to better understand the psychological mechanisms, referred to in the job demands–resources model as the energetic and motivational processes, that can explain relationships between job demands (role overload and ambiguity), job resources (job control and social support), and burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment).

Drawing on self-determination theory, we examined whether psychological resources (perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness) act as specific mediators between particular job demands and burnout as well as between job resources and burnout.

Participants were 356 school board employees.

Results of the structural equation analyses provide support for our hypothesised model, which proposes that certain job demands and resources are involved in both the energetic and motivational processes – given their relationships with psychological resources – and that they distinctively predict burnout components.

Implications for burnout research and management practices are discussed.

Understanding Occupational Regulation

an Evidence Report (Number 67) by Penny Tamkin, Linda Miller and Joy Williams (Institute for Employment Studies) and Paul Casey (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) published by UKCES (March 2013)

Occupational regulation is a policy mechanism which can raise skill levels via the introduction of minimum prescribed skills standards into an occupation or an aspect of it. Previous research published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests that occupational regulation, in certain forms, is one means by which workforce skills in the UK can be improved. It can do this by providing incentives for individuals or firms to invest in human capital, specific to the occupation they operate in, thereby raising skill levels. Whilst there is evidence of the positive effects of introducing occupational regulation (which increase in likelihood the stricter the form of regulation applied) there is little information on schema design or the motivations for their introduction or amendment. This report addresses some of these gaps.

The Institute for Employment Studies explores this through a series of ten case studies of occupational regulation schemes. Covering mandatory and voluntary occupational regulation the case studies reflect a variety of different rationales for establishing regulation, covering a varied geographical and sectoral focus, as well as different kinds of jobs and different skill levels. Via a mainly qualitative approach, the report explores the rationale, characteristics, and impact of occupational regulation. It also provides useful schematic pointers to those seeking to design and implement forms of occupational regulation.

Full text (PDF 140pp)

Workplace bullying as a gendered phenomenon

an article by Denise Salin (Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland) and Helge Hoel (Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to argue that bullying is a gendered, rather than gender-neutral, phenomenon.

The paper reviews empirical findings on gender and bullying and identifies and discusses theoretical frameworks that can provide explanations for identified gender differences.

The paper shows that there are gender differences not only in reported prevalence rates and forms of bullying, but that gender also matters for the way targets and third parties make sense of and respond to bullying. It is shown that gendered conceptions of power, gender role socialisation theory and social identity theory are all relevant for explaining reported gender differences.

Research limitations/implications
The theoretical frameworks that have been selected should not be seen as exhaustive, but rather as useful examples. The authors encourage researchers in the field of bullying to pursue cross-disciplinary research and actively apply existing theoretical frameworks to integrate their findings more firmly in existing research on related themes.

Practical implications
The finding that bullying is gendered rather than gender-neutral has implications above all for the way managers, organisational representatives and policy-makers should address and prevent workplace bullying.

The paper questions the prevailing notion that bullying is gender-neutral and demonstrates the importance of gender in the experience of workplace bullying. It further identifies gaps in research and puts forward an agenda for future research in this area.

The Economic Performance of European Cities and City Regions: Myths and Realities

an article by Lewis Dijkstra (European Commission, Brussels, Belgium), Enrique Garcilazo (OECD, Paris, France) and Philip McCann (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) published in European Planning Studies Volume 21 Issue 3 (March 2013)


The ever-increasing concentration of people and economic growth in the largest cities relative to the rest of the country has slowed down or even reversed in many of the developed European countries over the last decade.

This trend contradicts what the global cities, urban economics and new economic geography literature would predict.

This trend can be interpreted from two points of view:
  1. the trend is due to large obstacles to further large city urbanization and thus is inefficient or
  2. this trend highlights alternative pathways to growth than the mega-city approach and may be as, if not more, efficient.
This trend may be linked to Europe’s uniquely polycentric urban structure with high number of small- and medium-sized cities. In addition, improvements in the access to services, including broadband, outside large cities may have facilitated the higher growth rates of smaller centres and rural regions and increased their appeal for residents and firms.

Last but not least, negative externalities in the large cities, such as congestion costs, pollution, labour crowding and high cost of living, may increase the appeal of smaller centres and rural regions.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The role of a student support system and the clinical consultant

an article by Gil G. Noam (McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School) and Beth Bernstein-Yamashiro (Directs a program to introduce urban Los Angeles high school students to local and national parks) published in New Directions for Youth Development Volume 2013 Issue 137 (Spring 2013)


This article addresses the fact that student–teacher relationships uncover many clinical issues, such as trauma.

It looks at statistics of how prevalent mental health disorders and problems are and then shows that no teacher can handle all of the kinds of problems that will emerge in open relationships with the students. They need to do this work in the context of a productive student support team and system.

The article provides a framework using the public health pyramid that can help organize schools. It ends by discussing the role of a consultant to teachers and the school to help with relationship binds, boundary transgressions, and dilemmas.

Hazel’s comment:
The abstract for this is a bit sparse and I cannot confirm the value of the article itself since the British Library does not hold this journal. However, I still thought it might be useful to know what is being done in the USA on the clinical side of student support.

The public understanding of error in educational assessment

an article by John Gardner (University of Stirling, UK) published in Oxford Review of Education Volume 39 Issue 1 (2013)


Evidence from recent research suggests that in the UK the public perception of errors in national examinations is that they are simply mistakes; events that are preventable.

This perception predominates over the more sophisticated technical view that errors arise from many sources and create an inevitable variability in assessment outcomes. The public perception also seems to invest assessment grades and marks with the precision and accuracy of scientific measurements; a perception that does not sit easily with the academic and professional understanding that grades and marks are assigned rather than measured.

However, growing numbers of successful challenges by students to their examination results present an interesting challenge for examination bodies. Such evidence could point to a number of possible causes.

For example, there might be an increasing awareness among students of the uncertainty surrounding the grades assigned to their work; or their confidence in the capacity of such assessments to reflect the true quality of their performance may be decreasing. As the numbers of challenges increase year on year, there is growing consensus among assessment experts that public confidence needs to be strengthened.

Clearly this may be achieved in a number of ways, e.g. by reducing the incidence of human errors and system breakdowns or by improving the public understanding of the assessment process. The latter tactic prompts calls for greater openness and transparency in all aspects of assessment design and process.

However, such calls rarely touch on one of the most enduring dimensions of the problem: the public’s perception of precision and accuracy in educational assessments.

This paper argues that this problem partly arises from a misuse of the term ‘measurement’ in educational assessment and that in addition to openness and transparency, any public understanding strategy should seek to reduce the misconceptions it causes.

Political skill and the job performance of bullies

an article by Darren C. Treadway and Maiyuwai Reeves (State University of New York at Buffalo, New York, USA), Brooke A. Shaughnessy, (Technical University of Munich, Germany), Jacob W. Breland (Youngstown State University, Ohio, USA) and Jun Yang (Renmin University of China, Beijing) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 3 (2013)


Recent studies suggest that 84 percent of employees are affected in some manner by workplace bullies. The current study aims to integrate theory from social information processing and political skill to explain how bullies can successfully navigate the social and political organisational environment and achieve higher ratings of performance.

A questionnaire, archival performance data, and social networks methodology were employed in a health services organisation in order to capture the individual differences and social perception of bullies in the workplace.

While victims are usually targeted due to their social incompetence, on some occasions bullies can possess high levels of social ability. Due to their social competence, they are able to strategically abuse coworkers and yet be evaluated positively by their supervisor.

Research limitations/implications
This study is the first attempt to measure the high performance of bullies who thrive in the workplace. Future research could investigate the ways in which bullies select their targets and the role of an abusive organisational climate in their subsequent effectiveness.

Practical implications
Companies and researchers should consider how organisational interventions could serve to balance bullying behavior in a manner that limits deviant behavior while rewarding high performers.

The current paper applies a social effectiveness framework (social information processing (SIP)) as a lens through which to explain bullies who maintain high levels of performance ratings. The application of this theory to bullying leads to a functional perspective of workplace deviance.

Rising Inequality in an Era of Austerity: The Case of the US

an article by Mark D. Partridge and Amanda L. Weinstein (AED Economics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA) published in European Planning Studies Volume 21 Issue 3 (March 2013)


US inequality has rapidly increased since the early 1970s.

For advanced economies, inequality is linked to stronger incentives that enhance growth, education, innovation and entrepreneurship.

However, the rise in US inequality is concentrated in the top 1%. Hence it is increasingly possible that economic rewards may be too uncertain to promote effort, suggesting the US has crossed a tipping point in which inequality reduces growth.

Other costs include more social and political instability, making inequality the next potential “crisis” facing America.

This study first examines trends in inequality and then reviews arguments that suggest that it is both good and bad for growth in America’s cities. We then provide evidence that there has been a reversal in the effects of inequality after 2000 with it now being associated with less income and job growth in US metropolitan areas.

We conclude by arguing that no general solution is possible without significant political reforms that equalise political influence.

Immigrant welfare receipt across Europe

an article by Alan Barrett (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) and Bertrand Maître (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland) published in International Journal of Manpower Volume 34 Issue 1 (2013)


In this paper, the authors aim to assess whether immigrants are more likely to receive welfare payments relative to natives across a range of European countries. They also seek to examine relative rates of poverty across immigrants and natives.

The authors use data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions for 2007. They present descriptive statistics and results from probit regressions.

The authors find very little evidence that immigrants are more likely to receive welfare payments when all payments are considered together. This is true whether they use descriptive analysis or regression analysis in which they control for relevant characteristics such as age, gender and education. They do find evidence of higher rates of poverty among immigrants.

Research limitations/implications
As the data used do not give an indication of the length of time an immigrant has been in a destination country, the authors are unable to assess whether their observed patterns change with length of stay.

Social implications
The results run counter to what seems to be a popular perception, namely, that immigrants are intensive users of welfare. Hence, attitudes may be altered.

While other papers may have considered this issue, to the authors’ knowledge, none have linked the poverty and welfare analyses. The findings raise the possibility that welfare systems are failing to keep immigrants out of poverty and this is important in the context of the inclusion agenda.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Employers’ use of older workers in the recession

an article by Vanessa Beck, (University of Leicester, UK) published in Employee Relations Volume 35 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the degree to which there have been changes during the recession in the behaviour of employers with regards to their employment of older workers. The paper aims to show that there has been substantial change since the last recession and that there are, potentially, significant developments still occurring.

A small group of employers from a range of sectors were interviewed twice, once at the outset of the (first) recession and once towards its end.

The situation for older workers in employment is better than in previous recessions, mainly because employers are less likely to resort to redundancies for workers of all ages. Instead, a range of flexible working options are being utilised, including flexible retirement and adjustments to work processes. In the main the flexibility was instituted and controlled by the organisations. Employers are looking for alternative strategies to deal with a shift in control over the retirement process as a result of the abolishment of the default retirement age.

Research limitations/implications
The research was undertaken with a small sample, which has implications for the generalizability of the results. Although it would be difficult to further investigate the developments of employer behaviour during the recession, the long-term implications and the effects of the recession, in particular on older workers, are yet to emerge.

The paper shows a new development in dealing with older workers during a recession.

“Is this bullying?” Understanding target and witness reactions

an article by Al-Karim Samnani, (York University, Toronto, Canada) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 3 (2013)


This paper seeks to theorize the interpretations and reactions of targets and witnesses to subtle forms of bullying.

A theoretical approach was used to understand target and witness interpretations and reactions. Learned helplessness theory and social influence theory are drawn upon.

This paper revealed that subtle forms of bullying behaviors will be more likely to induce confusion from both targets and witnesses. Targets will tend to be more confused in response to subtle bullying and attribute environmental factors for the behaviors. This will decrease their likelihood to react against the bullying. Witnesses will also experience greater confusion and will tend to side with the perpetrator, particularly when the perpetrator is an important organizational member (e.g. supervisor). Witnesses may internalize the behaviors, leading to greater permeability of the bullying through the organization.

This paper sheds light on two important and under-researched aspects of workplace bullying, i.e. subtle bullying behaviors and witnesses of bullying. This paper counter-intuitively suggests that subtle bullying behaviors may in fact be more harmful to targets than explicit bullying behaviors. Also, witnesses may represent a “dark side” of bullying in which they enable the bullying to be increasingly difficult to defend against. This contributes to our understanding of the intensification of bullying.

Trade unions and the pension crisis: defending member interests in a neoliberal world

an article by Jo Grady (University of Leicester, UK) published in Employee Relations Volume 35 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to draw upon empirical research in order to demonstrate the ways in which trade unions have responded to the so-called current UK pension crisis.

The paper uses both theoretical approaches to neoliberalism, and empirical research in the form of interviews, to examine the contradictions between the rhetoric and reality of government policy towards, and trade union responses to, pension reform in the UK.

That trade unions have been constrained by: the fact that the labour party, which they support, has been in government but has increasingly become receptive to neoliberal economic policies; and by the broader discourse of pension reform, advanced by elites that are committed to neoliberal reforms to the British welfare state.

Research limitations/implications
The scope of the paper is large and thus certain issues regarding the pension crisis and ideology are not covered in as much detail as would be preferred.

Practical implications
The paper offers forward a unique critique regarding the current favoured pension policies and solutions.

This paper draws upon front-line theoretical contributions and combines them with the author's interviews with leading trade union general secretaries. As such, it is a unique insight into not only the current so-called “pensions crisis” but also the responses of trade unions, and the labour movement more broadly, to this constructed dilemma.

From Growing Interest to Interest Grown: Is the youth sector ready for social investment?

a discussion paper by Gemma Rocyn Jones published by The Young Foundation (March 2013)


Local authority expenditure on services for young people fell by £307.5 million between 2010–1 and 2011–12. During this period, social sector organisations saw their funding reduced by 14 per cent.1 Over the same time, the social finance market has grown rapidly to over £600 million offering funding to generate both a social and financial return. The potential of this emerging breed of social investors to support youth sector organisations to innovate and scale, was the subject of a 2011 report by The Young Foundation, Growing Interest.2

We found evidence to suggest that social finance could offer both financial breathing space and the freedom to innovate to a sector that had suffered significant funding cuts. Moreover, this opinion was shared by one in five youth sector organisations surveyed for the report, who expected social investment to have become an integral source of funding by 2014.

However, this number fell to just one in 10 when asked whether they were immediately ‘ready’ for investment. Our interviews with youth sector leaders, and The Young Foundation’s wider experience of the social investment market, enabled us to identify three key areas that organisations needed to strengthen to access social investment: their capability to understand the requirements of social finance and how to articulate their impact; their capacity to develop new skills and adopt new business practices; and their confidence in their future sources and volume of income – in other words, the financial sustainability of their operating model.

These findings formed the basis of an investment readiness programme targeting voluntary youth sector organisations, which The Young Foundation ran between October 2011 and March 2013 on behalf of Catalyst.

The programme was designed to build the sector’s awareness of social investment and address the three challenges identified by our earlier work. We did this through a series of seminars, masterclasses and one-to-one advice. This report outlines the lessons from 18 months of working with over 350 youth sector organisations. Was our assessment of investment readiness needs correct? Is social investment living up to its potential in the youth sector? And if not, what lessons have we learned?

Our observations are based on qualitative feedback from group sessions and one-to-one discussions and quantitative data from a survey on sources and need for financing. The report aims to further understand what the appropriate role for social investment might be within the youth sector as well as recognise the support needed to realise this potential.

1 http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001114/index.shtml
2 Growing Interest: Mapping the market for social finance in the youth sector, The Young Foundation, July 2011

Full text (PDF 22pp)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Recent Statutory Instruments

via Inner Temple Library Current Awareness Service

The Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013

Source: www.legislation.gov.uk

Workplace bullying after whistleblowing: future research and implications

an article by Brita Bjørkelo, (Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, Norway and University of Bergen, Norway) published in Journal of Managerial Psychology Volume 28 Issue 3 (2013)


This paper aims to present directions for future research by linking the academic fields of workplace bullying and whistle-blowing together. This article also suggests implications as to how to deal with the health consequences that can develop after such workplace experiences.

The paper describes empirical research on the link between whistle-blowing and workplace bullying, and suggests how to deal with the health consequences that develop in relation to workplace bullying after whistle-blowing.

Empirical research has documented the link between whistle-blowing and workplace bullying and the devastating effects on health that may follow (e.g. depression and symptoms analogous to post traumatic stress). Implications for practice are as follows: first, to provide clear examples of unwanted workplace behaviour; and second, to help clinicians to gain a balance between the client's need to re-tell and the need for psychological treatment.

Research limitations/implications
Future studies on workplace bullying are encouraged to be aware of the link to potential previous whistle-blowing, and to study therapeutic interventions for employees exposed to bullying, and who also have reported wrongdoing at work.

Practical implications
The practical implications are to provide clear examples of unwanted workplace behaviour, and to balance the need for re-telling against the need for treatment for possible depression and trauma.

This paper provides valuable information for researchers, practitioners and clinicians in the field of workplace behaviour in general and in the field of managerial psychology in particular.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Temporary Work Revolution: The Shift from Jobs that Solve Poverty to Jobs that Make Poverty

an article by David G. Van Arsdale (no affiliation(s) provided) published in WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor & Society Volume 16 Issue 1 (March 2013)


The creation of new jobs will not fix the problem of growing poverty in this era, now at record highs according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Today, nearly half of all jobs created are the source of poverty, the consequence of a shift to temporary employment standards, a trend beginning in the early 1970s and growing exponentially since the 2008 recession. In the immediate years following the recession, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over 90 percent of all work created was temporary, increasing the scope, revenue, and capital investments in the U.S. staffing industry.

Numerous studies have shown the jobs of this industry to be insecure by design and primarily low-wage (Dietz ; Theodore and Peck ; Van Arsdale ). This article explains just how significant the shift to temporary work has been and why temporary staffing, a form of outsourcing labour by the staffing industry, is producing poverty for millions and stagnating wages for everyone, especially in this post-recession reconstruction.

The temporary work revolution marks a radical shift away from the post-World War II logic that dedication to a job can and should solve poverty.

Today, unfortunately, for most workers in the U.S., dedication to one’s job cannot resolve one’s economic woes. Most new jobs are simply too temporary, part-time, and low paying.

Hazel’s comment:
OK, this is all about the USA but …

Eight Prime Ministers and the Economy

via ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC by Richard Exell

For obvious reasons there’s been a lot of interest recently in the performance of different Prime Ministers, so I thought I’d have a look at how they compared on some key economic indicators.

In the past fifty years eight people have become Prime Minister: Harold Wilson, Ted Heath, Harold Wilson again, Jim Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Continue reading And once again the TUC has come up with some interesting comparisons. I wish, however, that the charts has taken into consideration the period of time that each of those people was in office.

The Daily Mail wrong on religion and belief at work

via ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC by Ben Moxham

Last Sunday the Daily Mail reported that: “Druids, vegans and green activists should be given special treatment at work, according to ‘lunatic’ advice from the equalities watchdog.”

The lunatic advice was some fairly straight forward guidance published by Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on 18 February 2013 – 49 days earlier – on how employers should approach a request from employees based on their religion or belief.

The Mail’s main gripe seems to be that the beliefs of “fringe and non-religious groups” and are “put on a par” with Christians when it comes to the workplace. But how do you decide what a fringe group is?

The Mail thinks it’s vegetarians, who make up at least 3% of people in the UK. But that’s a lot more than the 0.5% of people who follow Judaism which I’m sure the Mail doesn’t mean to exclude. Of course such numbers should have absolutely nothing to do with whether a religion or belief should be protected.

Continue reading and discover that this is an excellent piece of reporting and not simply a hit at the right-wing press!

Harmonised Unemployment Rates (HURs), OECD - Updated: April 2013

via OECD.org - Statistics Directorate

The OECD unemployment rate decreased to 8.0% in February 2013, compared with 8.1% in the previous month.

The unemployment rate in the euro area was stable (at 12.0%) in February, but still 1.1 percentage point higher than its mid-90’s peak.

Read the full press release (PDF 5pp)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mothers and work–life balance: exploring the contradictions and complexities involved in work–family negotiation

an article by Louise Wattis (Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK), Kay Standing (Liverpool John Moores University, UK) and Mara A. Yerkes (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) published in Community, Work & Family Volume 16 Issue 1 (February 2013)


This article presents data from a project exploring women’s experiences of work and care.

It focuses primarily on work-life balance as a problematic concept.

Social and economic transformations across advanced post-industrial economies have resulted in concerns about how individuals manage their lives across the two spheres of work and family and achieve a work-life balance. Governments across the European Union have introduced various measures to address how families effectively combine care with paid work.

Research within this area has tended to focus on work-life balance as an objective concept, which implies a static and fixed state fulfilled by particular criteria and measured quantitatively. Qualitative research on women’s experiences reveals work-life balance as a fluctuating and intangible process.

This article highlights the subjective and variable nature of work-life balance and questions taken-for-granted assumptions, exploring problems of definition and the differential coping strategies which women employ when negotiating the boundaries between work and family.

Do psychosocial traits help explain gender segregation in young people's occupations?

an article by Heather Antecol (Claremont McKenna College, USA and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany) and Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany and University of Melbourne, Australia) published in Labour Economics Volume 21 (April 2013)


This paper investigates the role of psychosocial traits in the occupational segregation of young workers entering the U.S. labour market.

We find entry into male-dominated fields of study and male-dominated occupations are both related to the extent to which individuals have “masculine” traits and believe they are intelligent, while entry into male-dominated occupations is also related to the willingness to work hard, impulsivity, and the tendency to avoid problems.

The nature of these relationships differs for men and women, however.

Psychosocial traits (self-assessed intelligence and impulsivity) also influence movement into higher-paid occupations, but in ways that are similar for men and women. On balance, psychosocial traits provide an important, though incomplete, explanation for segregation in the fields that young men and women study as well as in the occupations in which they are employed.


► We study the effect of psychosocial traits on occupational segregation among labour market entrants.
► These traits affect entry into male-dominated fields of study (occupations) differentially by gender.
► Psychosocial traits also affect entry into higher-paid occupations in similar ways for men and women.

JEL classification: J24, J16, J31

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Absent but present: a critical analysis of the representation of sexuality in recent youth policy in the UK

an article by Allison Moore and Phil Prescott (Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK) published in Journal of Youth Studies Volume 16 Issue 2 (March 2013)


Current youth policy in England and Wales utilises ‘transition’ as the major framework for understanding young people’s movement from ‘youth’ to ‘adulthood’.

Underpinning this are developmental assumptions about who young people are and who they ‘should’ become, especially with regard to sexuality. ‘Childhood’ and ‘youth’ are conceptualised as asexual or pre-sexual categories and those young people who are deemed to have sexual knowledge are problematised.

Transitions to adulthood are inescapably heteronormative: the movement to adulthood is not simply about becoming an adult, but about becoming a man or a woman conforming to compulsory heterosexuality. Current youth policy says little about young people’s sexuality and when it does it frequently conflates sexual behaviour with sexual health.

Drawing on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and, in particular, his concepts of field, habitus and symbolic violence, it will be argued that despite the rhetoric of participation, engagement and inclusion in current youth policy it continues to perpetuate and naturalise the symbolic order between ‘adults’ and young people and continues to position youth sexuality as potentially dangerous.

Becoming ‘culturpreneur’: How the ‘neoliberal regime of truth’ affects and redefines artistic subject positions

an article by Bernadette Loacker (Lund University, Sweden) published in Culture and Organization Volume 19 Issue 2 (March 2013)


In relating to the politico-economic concept of ‘creative industries’, the paper explores in what way the art field and its actors are discursively repositioned within ‘flexible cultural capitalism’.

Through empirical material from the independent Austrian theatre scene, the paper, moreover, illustrates how the ‘culturpreneurial’ transformation of the field affects the specific artistic practices, forms of organising and conduct.

In this regard, it will be shown that the artists’ modes of conduct are, at least to some extent, precarious: due to their ascetic and disciplined self-concept, artists seem to contribute, in parts, to their own marginalisation as well as to the strengthening of certain ‘neoliberal orders’ and ‘culturpreneurial subject ideals’ of flexible capitalism – even though they are actually keen to resist current governmental technologies like the promotion of competition and market-determined assessment.