Access to a decent job, with fair pay, security and the ability to make provision for old age is the backbone of a productive and fair economy.
The world of work has changed significantly in recent years, and it will go on changing. There has been a rapid increase in self-employment, in zero hours contracts, and in new forms of work. This has lead both to an increase in both flexibility and insecurity in the labour market.
The UK has experienced a strong jobs recovery following the crash, and employment levels are at a historic high. Yet too many people – particularly parents of young children, people with disabilities and mental health conditions, and those with low-levels of skills – still face barriers when looking for jobs. Changing this so everyone who can work has the opportunity to, is essential. It would benefit both the individual and the wider-economy, improving people’s health, well-being and security, as well as increasing tax revenues and reducing social security spending.
While there has been a strong jobs recovery, the UK’s performance on productivity and pay has been poorer. Productivity has barely grown in the last decade, and median pay remains lower in real terms than it was in 2008. In-work poverty is a growing challenge – most households in poverty now have someone in work.
IPPR in partnership with the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, are undertaking a major programme of research – New Skills at Work, which aims to understand these changing needs of employers and the workforce and to develop a skills infrastructure that supports both.