Drawing on research undertaken for Regional Development Agencies, the UK Migration Advisory Committee and a sectoral body, this chapter outlines the opportunities and shortcomings for researching migrant workers in low-skilled sectors using quantitative methods. Particular focus is placed on use of the UK Labour Force Survey data at regional level to measure ‘migrant density’ in particular sectors. The advantage of this data source is that it places migrant workers in the context of other workers. However, there are concerns about the coverage of household surveys for sub-groups who are relatively young, geographically mobile and who are more likely than average to live in communal establishments. It highlights how complementing such data with bespoke survey evidence and qualitative insights from migrant workers, employers, other job seekers and local stakeholders can provide a more complete picture of migrants’ working lives and the factors shaping them.
Extant research suggests that investment in skills is likely to have a positive effects on productivity levels and growth rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the education system and to workplace training. On the basis of experience of previous recessions, the most immediate impacts of the lockdown of the education system and the reduction in output in sectors such as hospitality, are likely to be felt by young people. In turn they are at risk of longer-term ‘scarring’ if subject to prolonged unemployment. This chapter explores key questions relating to skills development with implications for productivity, including: (1) How well equipped is the skills and learning system is to respond to the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic? (2) Does the crisis provide an opportunity to enact change in the skills system, and if so, what form might this take? (3) (How) does the crisis impact on the capacity of employers to take on young people on work experience, as apprentices, etc.? (4) (How) does the crisis impact on the change in skills and attributes employers require and what does this mean for workers and for lifelong learning?
Anne Green, Maria de Hoyos, Sally-Anne Barnes, Beate Baldauf and Heike Behle
In the context of developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs) there is growing interest in opportunities for internet-enabled entrepreneurship. As the internet and ICTs have extended their reach in the economic and social spheres, so they have opened new possibilities and practices in the organisation, content and conduct of work and skills development, how work is contracted and where and how it is undertaken. The internet can alter the contours of labour markets and potentially change how individuals interact with them by broadening access to opportunities and enabling remote and mobile working. This chapter explores conceptually what ICT and internet-enabled work means for the location of work at local, national and international levels, drawing on a review of the literature and on findings from case study research with users of selected internet-enabled platforms. It focuses particularly on ‘crowdsourcing’ – defined broadly as an online-mediated exchange that allows users (organisations or individuals) to access other users via the internet to solve specific problems, to undertake specific tasks or to achieve specific aims. It outlines the diversity and key features of internet-enabled working and implications for the location of work and for entrepreneurship. It addresses two important questions: 1) how and whether internet-enabled working enables workers and businesses to operate in global marketplaces, so superseding the confines of neighbourhoods and local labour markets; and 2) how and whether such forms of work can foster local embeddedness by offering opportunities for entrepreneurship from a home location. It is concluded that crowdsourcing has contradictory relationships with space, since it can provide access to global opportunities, while at the same time enabling local work, as well as issues of flexibility and autonomy.