Wage and employment dynamics

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Business and Law


The project links data from ONS surveys, education systems, and the tax and benefit systems to provide insights into the dynamics of earnings and employment, integrating data across individuals, years, jobs, income sources and employers. The research produced from this will be of direct interest to policy makers across government. Equally importantly, the project aims to creates the basis for a sustainable, documented 'wage and employment spine' with the potential to fundamentally transform research and policy analysis across a vast range of topics. Public benefit will be maximised by high-quality metadata and training for users.

This initial funding bid covers the work relating to ONS data sources. Future bids will be submitted for data from other government departments when these become available.

Planned Impact

1. Beneficiaries

For government we anticipate:
- The immediate benefit of the project will be felt across DWP, HMT, BEIS, LPC, OME, GEO and MHCLG, each of whom have specific interests in wage progression and employment.
- The project is of immediate policy relevance for Universal Credit (UC), which is specifically designed to encourage employment, stabilise income and avoid perverse incentives. With roll-out completed, evaluating this becomes increasingly important, particularly with respect to regional differences. DWP has been exploring how people in lower paid work can be promoted to consider and move towards in-work progression for several years.
- The project provides useful insight on how education influences wages and employment whilst also answering the research questions raised by DfE (as mentioned above)
- The project will inform the government's equality strategy by providing the most comprehensive view on wages I relation to nationality, socio-economic background and education
- The development of the Wage and Employment Dynamics datasets will provide a ready source of data for further linkage and exploration of, for example, specific interventions or trials

For the public and business:
- The created datasets should be a key source for policy analysts in a wider set of government departments: Transport (commuting), Defence (ex-military careers), Home Office (migrant workers), Justice (re-offending and employment), and so on
- Analysis into wage and employment could provide substantial information to businesses related to what factors impact the employees' decision to stay in or go to work into a particular workplace

2. Achieving impact

The research team is experienced in ensuring that relevant research areas are identified, that research findings are communicated to policymakers in a useful manner, and that policy analysts are empowered to carry out their own analysis.

The following pathways to impact have been identified:
1) Engagement of government departments in the Government Stakeholders Group to identify research goals, particularly the prioritisation of Areas of Research Interest
2) Engagement of academics in the Academic Stakeholders Group to identify research goals, particularly areas which have not been or cannot be analysed given the current non-integrated datasets available in the UK
3) Engagement of government departments and academics in the Advisory Board to review progress, advise on communications and propose user networks that could usefully be developed
4) Engagement of DWP as a research partner
5) Training of government as well as academic researchers to exploit the data effectively
6) Widespread publication of the metadata and other documentation, through ONS, UKDA and other relevant repositories (such as GitHub for code)
7) Publication of non-technical summaries alongside academic research articles
8) Publication of policy briefs linking research to Areas of Research Interest
9) Conferences and workshops organised by the project team with academic and non-academic participation
10) Presentation by the research team at non-academic conferences, such as the ONS Earnings User Group and Government Economic Service, Government Statistical Service and Government Social Research conferences
11) Publication of articles in ONS' Economic Review which receives high circulation amongst government and has a high profile with the press.


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