Wage and employment dynamics

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

Abstract

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.
 
Description Improved understanding of the characteristics and limitations of the ONS survey data
Exploitation Route The enhanced datasets are designed to be made available for other researchers once ONS has approved distribution
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/
 
Description Raising concerns about the evidence base used for the Low Pay Commission/BEIS analysis of the labour market, and consequent impact on the minimum wage
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Other
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Concerns raised over longitudinal policy analysis
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description POLICY PAPER NUMBER 1 Using ASHE to examine trends in low pay: initial exploration of the data
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/LPC-Briefing-15-October-2020-updated-1-1.pdf
 
Title Associated documentation of generated code 
Description Documentation has been added to the WED catalogue to accompany the code created to generate new datasets 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This is will continue to sit as material open for all to promote the use of research-ready data, ensuring life beyond the project of the WED outputs. 
 
Title Code for the creation and analysis of the student marker in the ASHE dataset 
Description This code is expected to identify students in the ASHE for further research scope. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The plan for sharing the code, including its importance and training on its use, has been agreed upon. It is expected that the code will be shared for future use by researchers. 
 
Title Code to generate an enhanced research-ready dataset 
Description Code to take ONS datasets and enhance them with new or improved variables and metadata, and documentation describing the process and quality assurance activities. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Work is still ongoing and we expected the impacts to be seen next year. 
 
Description ASHE training series 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The WED team hosted a series of online training sessions for persons interested in the ASHE with varying degrees of knowledge on the dataset.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2021
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/training-information-events/ashe-training-series/
 
Description Academic Stakeholder Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first ASG meeting of the WED project successfully took place on 5th February at London Business School. The meetings were held bi-annually face-to-face and online. The ASG also met with the GSG for a joint meeting. All conversations from the meetings resulted in useful recommendations for research streams, network engagement and the discovery of related information and data useful to the project, and dissemination and promotion of WED training.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
 
Description Data for Policy Conference (DfP) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The WED team hosted a special session at the conference where all team members co-presented a session. Professor Felix Ritchie co-presented with the ONS to introduce the WED project. All the sessions included:
Felix Ritchie (UWE), Rachel Mullis (ONS) and James Tierney (ONS): Introducing to the WED Project
John Forth (City) and Van Phan (UWE): Applying linking theory to practice in an institutional setting
Alex Bryson (UCL) and Lucy Stokes (NEISR): Securing the benefits via co-production of the research question
Arusha McKenzie (UWE) and Damian Whittard (UWE): Exploiting different ways of looking at data
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/confandpres-page/
 
Description Government Stakeholder Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The first Government Stakeholder Meeting took place on 6th May online. The meetings were held bi-annually face-to-face and online. The GSG also met with the ASG for a joint meeting. All conversations from the meetings resulted in useful recommendations for research streams, network engagement and the discovery of related information and data useful to the project, dissemination and promotion of WED training.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
 
Description Improving and expanding ASHE (LPC Research Workshop) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professor Felix Ritchie presented to the LPC how to improve the ASHE for research purposes. The presentation was well received with offers to help identify QA issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description LPC presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to the Low Pay Commission 8th Annual Symposium
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description WED Public Engagement Strategy Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The WED team worked closely alongside ADR-UK to formalise a public engagement group to sit alongside academic and government stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/wed-public-engagement-strategic-group-pesg/
 
Description WED Webinar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The WED team used a series of four webinars to introduce the project, its significance and the ASHE dataset to a wider audience via an interactive webinar series. The series was also used to respond to general and technical queries by all audience members. Feedback given supported plans for further training on using the ASHE dataset for research purposes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/webinars/
 
Description Wage Dynamics Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Wage Dynamics blog was established to provide further reach to the general public and all stakeholders. It has been used to raise awareness of research findings, spark discussion and increase engagement. The blog analytics has shown that the articles have received international interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL http://www.wagedynamics.com/wed-project-home/blog/