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Ian Brinkley

Ian Brinkley

Economic Advisor


Ian is an Economic Advisor to The Work Foundation. He was formerly Director of our Knowledge Economy Programme and Director of Socio-Economic Programmes.

Ian's previous appointments include with the Trades Union Congress (1980–2006), where he was Head of the Economic and Social Affairs Department (2004–2006) and its Chief Economist (1996–2006). Prior to 1980, he worked as a researcher at the University of Kent and the Centre for Environmental Studies. He was a member of the Low Pay Commission, the body that sets the UK’s national minimum wage (NMW), from 2004–2006.

Ian has worked in a wide range of economic and industrial policy and research areas, including: economic policy; public spending and public service reform; labour markets; energy and the environment; and manufacturing policy. He has produced numerous submissions to government and analytical papers.

He regularly provides economic and labour market commentary, interviews and articles for The Work Foundation.

Ian's recent publications as sole author for The Work Foundation include: Defining the Knowledge Economy (2006); Trading in Ideas and Knowledge (2007); Enterprise and the Knowledge Economy (2008); Manufacturing and the Knowledge Economy (2009); Recession and the Knowledge Economy (2009); How Knowledge is Reshaping the Economic Life of Nations (2009); Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (2010); and Knowledge Economy Strategy 2020 (2010).

Back to Our People

Related Reports

In search of the Gig Economy
The first in a series of reports looking at what constitutes the Gig Economy and its impact on the labour market.

Ian Brinkley
02 August 2016

Unemployed and overqualified? Graduates in the UK labour market
This report looks at whether the UK is producing too many graduates for the jobs available that need graduate skills.

16 December 2015

Autumn Statement 2014: A submission from The Work Foundation
The Work Foundation’s submission to the 2014 Autumn Statement provides an overview of the key challenges facing the economy and suggests how the Government could impact on the youth unemployment crisis.

Ian Brinkley
22 October 2014

The Low Pay Challenge: A provocation paper
This provocation paper is part of the 2015 agenda for Work series and looks at how the UK needs a low pay strategy which moves beyond the National Minimum and Living Wages to one which looks at productivity and improving progression for low paid workers.

Ian Brinkley
17 July 2014

Zero Hour Contracts: response to the BIS consultation
This submission sets out The Work Foundation’s response to the consultation exercise announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in December 2013.

Ian Brinkley
14 March 2014

Autumn Statement 2013: A submission from The Work Foundation
In its submission to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement, The Work Foundation presented its four-point plan on how to address the UK’s youth unemployment crisis by looking at apprenticeships, careers advice, transport barriers and developing innovative local approaches.

Ian Brinkley and Lizzie Crowley
29 November 2013

The Gender Jobs Split: How young men and women experience the labour market
This Touchstone Extra considers how the pathways into work for young people vary by gender.

Ian Brinkley, Katy Jones and Neil Lee
01 November 2013

Flexibility or insecurity? Exploring the rise in zero hours contracts
Whatever the hard numbers tell us, zero hours contracts (ZHCs) have come to symbolise a wider concern that the labour market is moving towards more contingent, less secure, and more exploitative forms of employment at a time when in many areas jobs are scarce and people have little choice over taking whatever work is available.

Ian Brinkley
28 August 2013

Budget 2013: An assessment from The Work Foundation
A reaction from our experts on different aspects of the 2013 Budget.

Ian Brinkley, Paul Sissons, Hiba Sameen, Neil Lee, Charles Levy, Prateek Sureka and Stephen Bevan
22 March 2013

Autumn Statement Submission
In its submission to the 2012 Autumn Statement, The Work Foundation calls on the Chancellor to make Britain a world leader in new technologies and innovation.

Ian Brinkley, Charles Levy, Hiba Sameen
27 November 2012

Public Loss, Private Gain?
The report looks at the labour market impact and implications of the cuts already planned and implemented in the public service workforce. However, despite the unprecedented scale, pace, and focus of the cuts, a lack of overall workforce planning means the longer term implications for the labour market, women’s employment, regional balance, and the skills of the public sector workforce are almost impossible to predict. In that sense the government is flying blind.

Ian Brinkley
19 October 2012

Making the UK a Global Innovation Hub: How business, finance and an enterprising state can transform the UK
The government must act now to avoid a ‘lost decade of stagnation’. They must adopt a strategy of collaborative, entrepreneurial investment in those areas likely to bring the greatest dividends in growth and jobs.

Prof Birgitte Andersen, Ian Brinkley, Will Hutton
08 September 2011

Related Blogs

Latest labour market figures June 2016
The labour market saw some modest improvement with a slight fall in the unemployment rate comparing the three months to April 2016 with the previous six months. There was also a welcome fall in the unemployment rate among young people.

Ian Brinkley
15 June 2016

The robots are really NOT coming for your jobs
It seems that growing numbers of people think that robots, AI and other forms of automation will replace humans on such a scale at best will see large scale unemployment or at worst that work will be confined to a minority, requiring radical solutions to avoid social and political disaster. Even the old idea of a universal “basic income” has been dusted off as a solution to the social disruption of the coming machine age.

Ian Brinkley
02 June 2016

The latest labour market analysis
Growth has resumed in the labour market with an increase of 44,000 comparing Jan-Mar 2016 with the previous three months, but it is much more subdued than in 2015. And for the first time in many quarters, there was no rise in permanent jobs. All of the increase was for the self-employed and temporary employee workers. With weak hiring it is the young, as usual, who loose out. Overall unemployment remained unchanged at 5.1 per cent, but unemployment among 18 to 24 year olds went up from 12 per cent to 12.2 per cent.

Ian Brinkley
18 May 2016

The future of work is a degree
The latest projections of labour market change from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) sets out expected changes by sector and occupation over the ten years between 2014 and 2024.

Ian Brinkley
14 April 2016

What might restore Sports Direct's reputation
The troubled firm Sports Direct seems to be able to do nothing right. Held up as giving capitalism a bad name by, of all people, the Institute of Directors, and widely criticised for alleged poor employment practices the firm is now engaged in a public row with the House of Commons on giving evidence on how the firm treats its workers. Sales and share price have suffered as a result. This is a timely reminder that good employment practice is not a nice to have.

Ian Brinkley
23 March 2016

Underemployment in the UK -the latest figures
Policy makers often monitor progress in the labour market by the unemployment rate. It is a key indicator for the Bank of England as the lower the rate of unemployment goes the greater the chance that inflationary pressures will start to build up. For much the same reason it is also watched closely by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as it may influence what the OBR thinks will happen to inflation and productivity and that in turn will impact on their judgement on whether the Government’s spending plans are credible.

Ian Brinkley
22 March 2016

The budget and the labour market
Employment – still growing but we are at the peak The OBR forecast tells us that employment growth will continue, but a reduced rate compared with the previous five years. The economy is expected to create about 900,000 jobs between 2015 and 2020, with most of the growth coming from employee employment. This is rather less than the 2 million jobs that were being suggested might be achievable before the last Election. Average earnings growth also picks up slowly, from around 2.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent over the same period.

Ian Brinkley
16 March 2016

The rise of zero hours contracts?
The new figures on zero hours contracts show yet another increase, up from just under 700,000 in 2014Q4 to just over 800,000 in 2015Q4 or from 2.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent of total employment. One of the big problems in interpreting the rise in zero hours contracts has been how much is due to increased awareness among people in work leading to higher reporting and how much is due to a genuine increase in the use of such contracts. Between 2000 and 2012 the number on zero hours showed no clear upward trend, varying between 0.4 and 0.8 per cent of total employment. But in 2013 the numbers more than doubled and have continued to rise ever since. As there was no obvious trigger and it is very unlikely organisations spontaneously switched to zero hours overnight on a big scale, it is more plausible to say that the estimates prior to 2013 seriously understated the level of zero hours working. Increased awareness must have played a big part in the rise in reported zero hours work from 2013

Ian Brinkley
10 March 2016

Retail jobs, the living wage and technology
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has recently published the startling prediction that nearly 1 million employee jobs will go from retailing over the next ten years, representing about 30 per cent of employee employment. This would be an unprecedented change for a major service industry, either in the UK or across the OECD and will be seen by some as a stark warning about the future of work. In this blog I look in more detail at how credible such a dramatic prediction might be.

Ian Brinkley
29 February 2016

New Labour Market Statistics - February
These figure cover the last quarter of 2015, so will not reflect recent concerns over the state of the world economy and the financial sector. Wage increases remain modest, but with inflation still very low real wages will continue to recover for many. But it would not take much of an increase in prices for us to return to the days of zero or close to zero real wage increases.

Ian Brinkley
17 February 2016

Night tubes and seven day working in the NHS - part of the 24 hour society?
Is there a trend towards the 24/7 society where we want and need access to an increasing range of services at anytime, day or night? There is good reason to think that unsocial hour working is on the rise enabled by demand and new technologies that means people never quite leave their desks - but is this really the case?

Ian Brinkley
02 February 2016

New Labour Market Statistics
Overall, these are another very positive set of labour market statistics. There has been a big increase in employment, with resumed strong growth in self-employment. There has also been a significant rise in employee jobs, mostly full time and all of them permanent.

Ian Brinkley
20 January 2016

Under-employment in the UK today
The labour market figures released this morning (December 16th) show a labour market in rude health. Unemployment is down again, employment is up, real wages are growing – albeit more slowly than in the past.

Ian Brinkley
16 December 2015

Zero hours – can’t get no satisfaction?
If there is one subject in the labour market bound to generate strong reactions, it is zero hours contracts. The most recent CIPD report1, which found that people on zero hours contracts were just as satisfied with their jobs as those on permanent contracts, has ben criticised by some, including the TUC. The CIPD has responded to this criticism by suggesting that this is shooting the messenger.

Ian Brinkley
09 December 2015

The Spending Review took place against a benign labour market background, with increasing employment, falling unemployment, strong real wage growth - but no sign of wage inflation. This is broadly speaking how the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) sees things carrying on over the next five years. But what is the story behind this assumption?

Ian Brinkley
01 December 2015

The strange world of low pay policy today
An unprecedented rise in the National Minimum Wage means that many low income households in work are worse off. A major public focus on the forthcoming Autumn Statement will be whether the Chancellor will find some way to moderate the impact of the planned cuts in tax credits.

Ian Brinkley
18 November 2015

Commenting on today's Labour Market Statistics
The welcome growth in employment of 42,000 comparing the three months to July with the previous three months is much weaker than it looks – almost all the increase is accounted for by part time self-employment which is often low skill and low income.

Ian Brinkley
16 September 2015

Zero Hours – The new figures and what they (might) mean
The new figures from the Labour Force Survey on zero hours contracts have once again provoked strong reactions in some quarters because they appear to show a huge leap in the number of such contracts.

Ian Brinkley
10 September 2015

Why the labour market has stopped growing
We have got used to living with the productivity puzzle but the labour market figures released today now add a labour market conundrum. The total number of people in work fell by nearly 70,000 comparing the three months to May 2015 with the previous three months – the first significant dip in the figures since 2010. But why? We would normally associate sharp falls like this with the onset of recession, and there is absolutely no sign of that.

Ian Brinkley
15 July 2015

The OECD Employment Outlook 2015 – Minimum wages and the Budget
Ian Brinkley discusses the implications from Chancellor George Osborne's announcements in the summer Budget 2015 and the conclusions of the OECD's Employment Outlook report launched at The Work Foundation on the 9th July 2015.

Ian Brinkley
10 July 2015

Productivity and the workplace
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has released an important statement on the role of workplaces in helping address the productivity challenge facing the UK. The UK has for many years had much lower productivity levels than most other G7 OECD economies and this gap has worsened considerably since 2008.

Ian Brinkley
24 June 2015

Labour Market Normality Restored?
The labour market shows no sign of running out of steam. We saw a significant increase in employment comparing the three months to April with the previous three months – up by 114,000 – and almost all of the increase was for permanent full time employee jobs. As a result, the unemployment rate fell from 5.7 to 5.5 per cent, not far above where it was before the recession hit. The employment rate – the share of the working age population in a job - edged up slightly. Overall, it has been an impressive labour market performance since 2010 which not many other OECD economies have been able to match.

Ian Brinkley
17 June 2015

Why don't British Employers invest in their workforces?
The debate about the causes and consequences of low labour productivity in the UK continue to rumble on. But one underlying cause may be under-investment in skills and a recent academic article shows that employer provided training volumes have declined by between 26 and 44 per cent since the 1990s depending on the survey used.

Ian Brinkley
16 June 2015

The party political manifestos and work
As the clock ticks down to May 7, the political parties have unveiled their Manifestos. In this blog I focus on what the measures might mean for the world of work drawing on the published manifestos from the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat (Lib-Dems) political parties.

Ian Brinkley
16 April 2015

Zero hours contracts and the Labour Party - Part 2
The announcement last Wednesday by the Labour Party that it will restrict the use of zero hour contracts can be portrayed as an anti business attack on the UK’s flexible labour market and thereby endangering jobs or as an overdue intervention to protect those without bargaining power from exploitative employers that while help improve job security and productivity. As I suggested in my blog of April 2014 when the idea was first floated, the hype on both sides is overdone.

Ian Brinkley
07 April 2015

Budget 2015: The employment record - too good to be true?
The Chancellor was able to announce a lot of positive news about the economy and the labour market, supported by the latest labour market statistics released this morning. With the employment rate up and the unemployment rate down comparing the three months to January 2015 with the same three months a year ago, the overall picture does indeed look encouraging.

Ian Brinkley
18 March 2015

Is pay coming out of the deep freeze?
The labour market statistics published earlier this month were heavily scrutinised for any signs that growth in pay was strengthening before the General Election...

Ian Brinkley
04 March 2015

New figures on Zero Hours Contracts produce more heat than light
Another set of statistics from the Office for National Statistics on the number of zero hours contracts has prompted the usual public debate as zero hours contracts continue in their role as symbol of everything that has gone wrong in the UK labour market.

Ian Brinkley
26 February 2015

Do we have an hourglass labour market?
A recent paper published by Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) at Oxford University suggests that the UK has had an hour-glass labour market, with growth at the top and bottom of the labour market...

Ian Brinkley
21 January 2015

So how much has employment really grown since 2010?
In an article in the Independent published on today (Monday 12 Jan 2015), Professor Danny Blanchflower takes the Conservative Party to task for publishing what Professor Blanchflower believes to be inaccurate claims about job creation under the Coalition government. As with all these things, it depends a bit on where you start and what measure you select...

Ian Brinkley
12 January 2015

Inequality and growth
The most recent OECD report in inequality and growth makes for rather depressing reading. Inequality has increased in most, if not all OECD economies, and in most but not all OECD economies it has reduced the economic growth rate.

Ian Brinkley
09 December 2014

New OECD data reveals public social spending levels remain high in 2014
The most recent OECD estimates of public social spending in 2014 – defined as cash benefits to pensioners and the working age population and expenditure on the health and social services – accounted for about 21.7 of UK GDP, just above the OECD average of 21.6 per cent. Moreover, the OECD estimate that public social spending has since 2007 risen by much less in the UK than across the rest of the industrialised world – up 1.6 percentage points in the UK compared with 2.7 percentage points across the OECD.

Ian Brinkley
24 November 2014

Pay, Progression and Productivity: A change of business for a Better Off Britain
The recent CBI report 'A Better off Britain' has grabbed the headlines with calls for tax cuts for the low paid and more free child care and for ways to be found to increase pay on a sustainable basis. That would be news in itself - employer organisations are not known for embracing policies more associated with centre - left political parties and trade unions. But the report itself is a remarkable piece of work both in terms of language and the recommendations.

Ian Brinkley
10 November 2014

What is wrong with the average earnings index?
The TUC recently organised a seminar looking at why there seemed to be a big discrepancy between settlements data which has been showing median increases of about 2 per cent, and the average weekly earnings (AWE) index which on the latest figures was showing regular pay going up at just 0.7 per cent.

Ian Brinkley
31 October 2014

Women and the Autumn Statement
The Treasury has published a briefing note showing the growth in women’s employment since 2010 as background to a series of visits the Chancellor is making to making to gain insights into how the government can do more to support women in work as part of the preparation for the Autumn Statement.

Ian Brinkley
23 October 2014

The Rise of the National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage has just been increased to £6.50, a 3 per cent increase. But it is where it will go next that is becoming the focus of attention as the Election draws closer

Ian Brinkley
02 October 2014

Piecing together the self-employment puzzle
The ONS statistics on self-employment released yesterday tell us a number of important things about the labour market recovery.

Ian Brinkley
21 August 2014

Dismal pay figures leave many scratching their heads
The pay figures published today show a dismal picture for many of those in work. Average weekly earnings fell by 0.2 per cent comparing the three months to June with the same three months a year ago.

Ian Brinkley
13 August 2014

Rebalancing the creative economy
The creative economy in the UK is booming – at least that is what the latest job figures from DCMS seem to be telling us. Between 2011 and 2013 total employment went up by nearly 9 per cent against a national average for all jobs of 2.5 per cent. For those who fear the robots are coming for our jobs there may be some comfort that creativity is still a big source of new employment opportunities.

Ian Brinkley
30 June 2014

The latest quarterly data from the Bell-Blanchflower underemployment index
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation , comments on the latest Bell - Blanchflower underemployment index which are published quarterly on The Work Foundation website.

Ian Brinkley
27 June 2014

Zero hours- where to now?
The Coalition is currently translating its commitment to ban 'exclusivity' on zero hours contracts into law. Employers who are not prepared to make a commitment to their employees on hours of work will no longer be able to insist they only work for that employer. This seems a sensible measure, though I would expect the number of cases to be small.

Ian Brinkley
25 June 2014

Tough Love? Young people and training allowances
The Labour Party yesterday endorsed a proposal from the IPPR to introduce a training allowance for some young people with less than level 3 qualifications (roughly the equivalent of A-levels). It has been widely reported as an example of “tough love” – yet the proposal deserves more serious consideration

Ian Brinkley
20 June 2014

The recovery and North - South divides
Ian Brinkley looks at the latest labour market statistics in a regional context which highlights a growing divide opening up between a job rich recovery in the South and the rest of the country.

Ian Brinkley
12 June 2014

Home working - more old wine in new bottles?
Ian Brinkley analyses the recent publication of statistics which appear to show that home working is on the rise in the UK.

Ian Brinkley
05 June 2014

Comment on the Queen's Speech
The Queen’s Speech announces a number of measures to be wrapped up in a “Small business, Enterprise and Employment” Bill. These are a restatement of general objectives that government policies were pursuing anyway such as improving access to finance and to public procurement contracts for SMEs and regularly reviewing “red tape” so that it can be cut or made effective.

Ian Brinkley
04 June 2014

Minimum Wages and the Low Pay Commission
The Labour party has today published a report by Alan Buckle on the future of the Low Pay Commission, the Living Wage, and the National Minimum Wage. The report is part of the Labour Party’s Policy Review. The broad thrust has been endorsed by Mr Milliband, but it is still a little unclear whether all or some of the recommendations will find their way into Labour’s Election manifesto.

Ian Brinkley
19 May 2014

Older women in the labour market
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation, blogs on the topic of the employment rate of over-50s in the labour market and whether the Government's measures, particularly for the long-term unemployed are having the desired effect.

Ian Brinkley
08 May 2014

Labour Day 2014
On international labour day 2014, Ian Brinkley reflects on how labour and the labour market is fairing and some of the key themes emerging over the next year.

Ian Brinkley
01 May 2014

The Labour Party and zero hours contracts
Press reports say that the Labour Party is proposing to limit the use of zero hours contracts by giving zero hours workers the right to ask for a regular contract with fixed hours after six months with the same employer and an automatic offer of a zero hours contracts after 12 months. However, individuals can opt out of the automatic offer and continue to work zero hours if they wish to.

Ian Brinkley
25 April 2014

Wage growth may be stronger then we think - for some.
The most recent labour market and inflation statistics have taken on a huge symbolic importance because, it is said, real wage growth has resumed for the first time since 2010.

Ian Brinkley
17 April 2014

Self-Employment – Entrepreneurial Dawn Or The End Of Secure Jobs?
Ian Brinkley, a chief economist at The Work Foundation, writes in response to reports highlighting the rise of self-employment and ahead of the latest labour market statistics due out tomorrow.

Ian Brinkley
15 April 2014

What does a "Full Employment" unemployment rate look like?
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation, responds to the Chancellor's new commitment to move to a rate of full employment.

Ian Brinkley
02 April 2014

The Chancellor's full employment challenge
The Chancellor made an important announcement today committing the government to “Full Employment to Britain”. He said that there was no reason why the UK could not have the highest employment rate of the world’s leading economies and to have more people working than the G7 economies. This is a very welcome ambition.

Ian Brinkley
31 March 2014

Building a resilient economy
Ian Brinkley, The Work Foundation's chief economist, writes about how the 2014 Budget will impact upon the 'makers, doers and savers'.

Ian Brinkley
19 March 2014

Zero hours contracts - new figures and a new approach
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation, blogs on the latest figures on zero hours contracts and on his submission to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Ian Brinkley
14 March 2014

The Future of the Minimum Wage
Ian Brinkley, chief economist of The Work Foundation, writes about the future of the minimum wage against the context of the Low Pay Commission's recommendation of a 3% rise.

Ian Brinkley
28 February 2014

Young people face a daunting array of career options
Young people today face a daunting array of options and possibilities where not only do they have to find something they want to do and have some aptitude for, but also think about the costs and whether it will lead to the career they want. Making sure they get the best possible advice in making a fully informed choice – and ensuring good quality non-academic options are also on the table – is essential.

Ian Brinkley
19 February 2014

It's productivity that matters for future living standards
The impressive job figures released on Wednesday had some of their gloss taken off by the measure favoured by the ONS, average weekly earnings. They revealed that regular pay only increased by 0.9%, when comparing the three months running up to November 2013 with the same three months a year ago. With inflation - measured by the Consumer Price Index - increasing by 2% on an annual basis, it was clear that many people in work were experiencing real wage declines.

Ian Brinkley
24 January 2014

Zero hours contracts consultation - a missed opportunity
Just before Christmas, BIS launched the long awaited formal consultation on zero hours contracts. Progress is always welcome, but this is a minimalist response to calls for a more systematic and in depth inquiry advocated by The Work Foundation.

Ian Brinkley
09 January 2014

Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality
Ian Brinkley responds to the CIPD's latest report, Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality.

Ian Brinkley
26 November 2013

Don't mess with the minimum wage
The new rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) take effect tomorrow morning (1 October) against calls for much bigger rises in order to offset the fall in real wages, as prices rise faster than earnings.

Ian Brinkley
30 September 2013

Can unemployment fall for the wrong reasons? The exceptional experience of the US
Ian Brinkley, director of The Work Foundation, responds to the latest unemployment figures in the US and asks whether the US might be usefully informed by lessons from the more successful European economies.

Ian Brinkley
19 September 2013

Has the economy turned a corner?
Ian Brinkley comments on the latest labour market statistics released today which should be cause for optimism but against the context of falling real wages and the rise of zero hours contracts, the story is a little more nuanced.

Ian Brinkley
11 September 2013

Is the future of work going to be contingent?
Ian Brinkley's latest blog responds to findings a report 'It’s (almost) all about me' which makes the assertion that many more people will work in non-traditional forms of employment by 2030.

Ian Brinkley
31 July 2013

Employers can do more to help the unemployed – but don’t blame migrants
Ian Brinkley writes on the Skills Minister's suggestion that firms to hire from their local community rather than take on migrants from overseas.

Ian Brinkley
30 July 2013

Underemployment and the productivity paradox
Ian Brinkley comments on the latest unemployment figures and explains how there is more spare capacity in the economy.

Ian Brinkley
26 July 2013

How many on zero hours contracts? Nobody knows
We held a well-attended and lively event on zero hours contracts at The Work Foundation recently with an excellent panel spanning a wide range of views. Yet a remarkable consensus emerged that we badly needed to find out much more about the use of zero hours contracts in practice before policymakers and organisations could take an informed view of whether more regulation was required and what form it should take.

Ian Brinkley
09 July 2013

Why wait to invest?
The government’s infrastructure statement issued this morning sets out some impressive numbers and ambitions for investing in Britain’s infrastructure. As ever, the experts will need days, weeks, and possibly months to work out exactly what is new and what is a re-announcement of existing plans.

Ian Brinkley
27 June 2013

A return of the bonus culture?
View Ian's blog on the latest labour market stats and how the massive rise in bonus payments have distorted the pay statistics.

Ian Brinkley
13 June 2013

Zero hours contracts – nasty, brutish and unfair?
Zero hours contracts have become the most high profile example of what some see as ushering in a new era of even greater job insecurity for some. Though somewhat challenging, we think it is important to find out what is really going on around zero hours contracts and the reasons behind the trends

Ian Brinkley
13 June 2013

Fear at work – why is it worse than it was in the 1980s recession?
The latest findings from the 2012 Skills and Employment Survey on fear at work make sobering reading. In 2012, roughly one in four employees where afraid they might lose their job and become unemployed.

Ian Brinkley
21 May 2013

Underemployment among part-timers – how the UK compares internationally
Ian Brinkley writes on underemployment among part-timers in the UK economy.

Ian Brinkley
15 May 2013

Robots and humans
The Work Foundation 2013 Annual Debate takes a look at the future – are we in danger of being replaced by robots and will artificial enhancement of people’s cognitive abilities and performance start to have a real impact on the workplace?

Ian Brinkley
15 May 2013

Labour Day 2013
A reflection on the current state of the labour market given it's Labour Day today (1 May)

Ian Brinkley
01 May 2013

Why are wages so low?
An analysis of the various factors as to why wages are so low.

Ian Brinkley
18 April 2013

Budget 2013: Wasteful and ineffectual?
the Chancellor missed an important opportunity in his speech to place these initiatives for innovation and industrial strategies at the heart of his growth strategy. Instead, we got another cut in corporation tax.

Ian Brinkley
21 March 2013

Most workplaces weather the economic storm
As the first findings of WERS 2011 are published, we find that most of Britain’s workplaces seem to have weathered the greatest economic shock of the post war period reasonably well.

Ian Brinkley
28 January 2013

No stone unturned
As the Chancellor prepares for the Autumn Statement, he will be trying to respond to the Heseltine Growth Review, No Stone Unturned.

Ian Brinkley
13 November 2012

The UK’s productivity challenge
The new productivity statistics that came out this morning show the UK falling behind some other major economies. Between 2007 and 2011 there was no growth in productivity (measured by GDP per hour worked) in the UK. In contrast, productivity went up by 7 per cent in Japan, 6 per cent in the US, and 3 per cent in Canada.

Ian Brinkley
19 September 2012

TUC can aim for higher pay or to keep as many jobs as possible, but not both
The TUC was yesterday (11 Sept) reported to be moving towards backing co-ordinated industrial action to increase public sector pay. This is of course a perfectly legitimate goal for trade unions to pursue. Trade unions have also committed the TUC to campaign for maximising the number of jobs in the public sector in order to sustain quality public services. These are also legitimate goals. However, these objectives are not, under current circumstances, compatible. Unions can either campaign for higher pay for their members or keep as many of them as possible in jobs in order to preserve services, but not both.

Ian Brinkley
12 September 2012

Jobs growth has been largely based on insecure work and under-employment
Government ministers have reportedly taken the BBC to task for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the employment figures – a charge hard to fathom given current levels of uncertainty about labour market prospects. At the risk of being officially denounced, it is perfectly legitimate to look beneath the totals – good as they are - and suggest things are not quite as robust as the official view suggests.

Ian Brinkley
21 August 2012

Zero hours contracts and the flexible labour market
Recent media interest in zero hours contracts has shed some light into a largely forgotten corner of the UK’s flexible labour market. The zero hour contract, in effect, requires the individual to be available for work, but his or her employer are under no obligation to provide work. Some employers see zero hours contracts as a way of ensuring flexibility and remaining competitive in situations where work fluctuates unexpectedly from day to day or week to week. However, some of those on zero hours contracts see them as exploitative, where they bear all the risk and where the balance of interest lies almost entirely with the employer.

Ian Brinkley
17 August 2012

1980s-style deregulation of the labour market will not help growth or jobs
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech includes some welcome labour market measures, such as support for more family friendly employment.

Ian Brinkley
09 May 2012

Top Ten at Ten: Celebrating The Work Foundation’s first decade
Since its launch in 2002, The Work Foundation has been instrumental in influencing change in all areas of work. With so much happening over the past decade, we wanted to highlight ten of our most impactful programmes of the last ten years:

Ian Brinkley
18 April 2012

Why are women faring worse in today's labour market?
A major focus for comments on the latest labour market figures was the much bigger rise in unemployment for women compared with men. Of the 28,000 increase in unemployed by the ILO measure, 22,000 were accounted for by women, with the female unemployment rate rising to 7.7 per cent.

Ian Brinkley
16 March 2012

How many people are really available for work?
Yesterday’s unemployment figures made grim reading with 2.7 million unemployed on the international standardised measure used by the International Labour Office (ILO). This includes all those who said they had looked for work in the past 4 weeks and were able to start a job in 2 weeks time.

Ian Brinkley
16 February 2012

Whatever happened to the Knowledge Economy in Europe?
The current focus on the financial crisis across the EU and the various austerity programmes has distracted from the equally important question – where is the growth and jobs to come from over the next decade? There is no long term solution to the private and public debt problems without a credible growth strategy.

Ian Brinkley
10 August 2011

A Two Nation Recovery
The labour marker recovery still defies dire warnings of an imminent double dip recession...

Ian Brinkley
13 July 2011

What an odd jobs recovery
The jobs recovery has been far stronger than expected. Over the past year, total employment has gone up by just over 400,000. Yet for the past six months the official statistics show underlying economic growth was close to zero.

Ian Brinkley
20 June 2011

Heading for a two nation recovery?
The latest labour market statistics show public sector employment falling, but more than offset by private sector job growth....

Ian Brinkley
23 March 2011

OBR Forecasts More Credible – But may still be too optimistic
The new Office for Budget Responsibility economic forecasts published at lunchtime yesterday ( 29 November) show that public sector job cuts will be less severe than first feared. Between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2016 general government

Ian Brinkley
29 November 2010

Welfare Revolution or Evolution?
The recent White Paper setting out the Coalition’s proposals for a Universal Credit has been described as a fundamental reform of the British welfare system. The proposals certainly have some attractions such as simplification and improvementd in work benefits for some people.

Ian Brinkley
24 November 2010

Christmas surge followed by Spring slump?
The CIPD’s latest recruitment survey finds private sector employers reporting a pre-Christmas surge in job creation, while public sector organisations are starting to shed jobs in increasing numbers....

Ian Brinkley
16 November 2010

Will workfare work?
The government’s latest proposals to encourage the unemployed back to work have proved controversial, attracting criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury and others. What seems to be proposed is that some long term unemployed will be required to perform “voluntary” work if they want to keep their benefits.

Ian Brinkley
09 November 2010

Too many managers, not enough innovators?
Over the next ten years job growth in both the US and UK economies will be driven by an expansion in knowledge intensive services and care related jobs. But there is a striking rise in the predicted number of managerial jobs that will be created in the UK. Given that productivity in the US is 22% higher than the UK , this begs the question - what are all these managers doing?

Ian Brinkley
23 July 2010

A tale of two anglo-saxon economies
Once described as two countries divided by a common language, the US and the UK are typically seen as exemplars of ‘hire and fire’ labour market flexibility in contrast to the ‘sclerotic’ over-regulated labour markets of the rest of Europe.

Ian Brinkley
12 July 2010

Public sector job cuts – the lessons from Canada
The experience of Canada in the 1990s is often cited as an example of how governments can cut large deficits without endangering economic recovery.

Ian Brinkley
25 June 2010

Cutting the public sector
In the run-up to the Budget on 22 June the government has opened up the cuts debate to the general public.

Ian Brinkley
08 June 2010

Related Media Coverage

Surprising weakness in jobs numbers could be warning of harder times ahead
Ian Brinkley, Senior Economic Advisor, Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation, said: “The weakness in the employment numbers is very surprising given the recent strong performance of the labour market. The fall is driven by fewer people in self-employment and in part time work for employees. “The impact on unemployment has been small, partly because the numbers of those outside’ the labour market - and therefore not counted as unemployed by the official definition - who would like a job but can’t get one have gone up. “The recovery in wages also seems to have stalled, with regular pay growth over the three months to May little changed from the previous estimate covering the three months to April. “We should not read too much into one month’s figures, which could prove to be a short-term blip. “But it is still a warning that the optimism about economic and labour market prospects in the Chancellor’s Budget speech cannot be taken for granted. “If the exceptionally strong j

Ian Brinkley
15 July 2015

The Sunday Times quotes The Work Foundation on the subject of self-employment
record 4.5m Britons are now self-employed. Is the army of workers going it alone evidence of a flexible and resurgent economy or of a hidden weakness?

Ian Brinkley
20 April 2014

Related News

Surprising weakness in jobs numbers could be warning of harder times ahead
Ian Brinkley, Senior Economic Advisor, Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation, comment on the ONS Labour Market Statistics

Ian Brinkley
15 July 2015

Introduction of a National Living Wage is a bold intervention
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at Lancaster University’s Work Foundation, comments on today's budget announcements.

Ian Brinkley
08 July 2015

Latest positive labour market figures mask underlying structural problems for unemployed
Latest positive labour market figures mask underlying structural problems for unemployed Commenting on today's labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, chief economist at Lancaster University’s Work Foundation.

Ian Brinkley
13 May 2015

Comment on the Queen’s Speech 2014
Ian Brinkley, chief economist, comments on today's Queen's speech.

Ian Brinkley
04 June 2014

Jobs rich and productivity poor recovery may not be sustainable
Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation comments on today's GDP figures.

Ian Brinkley
28 January 2014

Recovery in labour market yet to translate to wage rises and improved productivity
''Although the labour market recovery is welcome news, we urgently need to see this translate into rising wages and productivity.” Ian Brinkley, chief economist at The Work Foundation comments on today's labour market statistics.

Ian Brinkley
22 January 2014

New report dispels myth that the UK is overinvesting in high level skills
Commenting on the first OECD Survey of Adult Skills, Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said: “This is a ground-breaking study that policymakers throughout the UK must take very seriously..."

Ian Brinkley
08 October 2013

Jobs growth but youth unemployment still high
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said:

Ian Brinkley
14 August 2013

Spending Review 2013

Ian Brinkley
28 June 2013

Economic reality catches up with labour market as unemployment rises and wage growth stalls
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, director of The Work Foundation, said: “As we predicted, economic reality has caught up with the labour market. The jobs recovery of 2012 appears to have stalled.

Ian Brinkley
17 April 2013

Budget measures do nothing for UK’s economic prospects
“The Budget measures will have no measurable impact on economic prospects. The priority should have been significant new investment in science, technology and innovation and in measures to address youth unemployment, rather than corporation tax cuts. “The new employment allowance for new hires is likely to be less wasteful than some past schemes, but will only have a limited impact on the labour market.”

Ian Brinkley
20 March 2013

More in work but unemployment remains stubbornly high
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said that more people are in work, but there are clear warning signs that the run of exceptionally good news from the labour market may be coming to an end.

Ian Brinkley
20 March 2013

Divergence of GDP and labour market cannot continue
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said: “These figures are very good indeed – and almost impossible to explain. The economy has been contracting for at least six months according to the official statistics. Yet the private sector is still hiring people in large numbers. Moreover, many of the new jobs are full-time and permanent. If we were just looking at the labour market, we would say the UK is on track for recovery rather than being in the double dip recession shown by the GDP figures.

Ian Brinkley
15 August 2012

Deepening economic slump threatens job market recovery
Commenting on today’s GDP figures, Ian Brinkley, director of The Work Foundation said: “These figures suggest the recent good news on jobs will be short-lived and we can expect unemployment to start to rise again. The government needs a credible plan to give the private sector the confidence to invest and innovate."

Ian Brinkley
25 July 2012

Surprisingly positive numbers as labour market recovery gathers pace
These are welcome but baffling figures. The economy is in recession, public sector jobs are still being shed, and yet some private sector employers are clearly hiring in large numbers.

Ian Brinkley
18 July 2012

Job figures show return of business confidence but underemployment continues to rise
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley said 'These are surprising but very welcome figures. Claims that further deregulation of the labour market is needed to stimulate job generation look to be unjustified.'

Ian Brinkley
16 May 2012

Budget of wasted opportunity
This was the Budget that could have done much more to set out a growth strategy.

Ian Brinkley
21 March 2012

Overview of The Work Foundation research centres
An overview of The Work Foundation research centres by Ian Brinkley, director of The Work Foundation.

Ian Brinkley
06 January 2012

Unemployment set to rise as jobs recovery comes to a halt
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, centre director at The Work Foundation, said: “The labour market recovery has come to a shuddering halt. The few new jobs created were largely temporary, and with so few new full-time jobs on offer, there was a big jump in the number of people forced to take part-time work. Even more worryingly, the rise in unemployment measured by the ILO definition was concentrated among some younger age groups. With few signs that the recovery will significantly gather pace over the next six months, the prospects must be for higher unemployment by the end of the year.”

Ian Brinkley
17 August 2011

Two nation labour market recovery continues – but with underlying signs of weakness
Two nation labour market recovery continues – but with underlying signs of weakness.

Ian Brinkley
13 July 2011

Private sector jobs growth strong but still little impact on underlying unemployment
Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, centre director at The Work Foundation, said:

Ian Brinkley
15 June 2011

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics
Government intervention essential to curb jobs crisis for young people.

Ian Brinkley
16 February 2011

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics
Jobs recovery halts as public sector cuts bite

Ian Brinkley
19 January 2011

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics
Weak full-time jobs recovery cause for caution despite growth in part-time work.

Ian Brinkley
17 November 2010

Government acceptance of key recommendation from the Browne Review will boost the knowledge economy
Increasing the cap on tuition fees offers the only viable option for the future funding of higher education...

Ian Brinkley
03 November 2010

Spending review sets some of the right priorities for growth
The Coalition should be commended for protecting the science budget, supporting the low carbon economy and restoring some of the cut-backs in infrastructure investment....

Ian Brinkley
20 October 2010

Browne Review recommendations a step in the right direction for the knowledge economy
The Work Foundation welcomes today’s publication of the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance....

Ian Brinkley
Charles Levy
12 October 2010

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics
Rising employment masks weak public sector and growing gender employment gap.

Ian Brinkley
15 September 2010

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics
'Jobs figures point to calm before storm' Ian Brinkley, associate director of The Work Foundation said in his comments on today's ONS labour market stats.

Ian Brinkley
16 June 2010