Qualifications and Labour Market Participation in England and Wales

2011Census-logoFewer than half of those with no qualifications were in employment

source: ONS, 2014

Focusing on usual residents aged 25 to 64, in 2011:

  • Fewer than half (48.5%) of those aged 25 to 64 with no qualifications were in employment compared with 8 in 10 (80.7%) of those with at least one qualification.
  • While there was only a small difference in employment rates between the two highest levels of qualification, 2+ A Levels or equivalent (83.5%) and degree level or above (85.3%), those aged 25 to 64 with a degree level or above qualification were more likely to work in occupations with higher earnings.
  • The unemployment rate for both men (12.9%) and women (10.8%) aged 25 to 64 with no qualifications was more than double the rate for those with at least one qualification (5.2% for men, 4.3% for women).
  • The range of employment rates across local authorities was widest for those aged 25 to 64 with no qualifications (37.2 percentage points) and narrowed as the qualification level increased, with the narrowest range for those with a degree level or above (11.3 percentage points).
  • All five local authorities with the highest employment rates for those aged 25 to 64 with no qualifications were rural areas, with the highest rate in Eden at 67.2%, whereas all five with the lowest employment rates for those with no qualifications were urban areas, with four of these being in Inner London and the lowest being Tower Hamlets at 30.0%.

For local Census analysis please click here.

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How place influences employment outcomes for ethnic minorities

JRF-logoThis research looks at the influence of location on employment for ethnic minorities, asking why ethnic minority people fare disproportionately worse in the labour market in areas of high deprivation.

It examines the roles of culture, racism and class, and of familial, community and state support in affecting employment outcomes. It found that: Racism in education and employment varies by locality, contributing to differences in outcome by location.

Key points

  • Racism in education and employment varies by locality, contributing to differences in outcome by place.
  • Knowledge of education and labour market systems, and how to negotiate them, affects employment outcomes. Social segregation and migration tend to reduce knowledge and negotiating ability, leading to differing employment outcomes by place.
  • Whilst social segregation may provide support, it can also reduce employment performance, limiting social networks and inhibiting labour market knowledge. For some ethnic groups, segregation reinforces cultural norms of women’s role as nurturer rather than breadwinner. Self-employment appeared to exacerbate social segregation, especially where labour was limited to family.
  • There was some evidence that the relative size of ethnic minority groups in a locality might affect employment outcomes, with local policies likely to serve the largest ethnic minority group. This would contribute to differences in employment outcomes by place and should be explored further.
  • The extent to which education policies support all groups to benefit equally from education and careers support varies with place and differences in outcomes by ethnicity and migrant history result.
  • Providers of educational, careers and employment services need to reduce variations in access to services. Appropriate approaches may or may not be targeted at or tailored towards specific groups by ethnicity. However, it will be important to monitor by ethnicity how well key groups are served, particularly if the approach is not targeted.

To open the full report please click here.

Ten of the most important questions to ask about UK poverty

JRF-logoPoverty research must provide useful answers for policy and practice, says Chris Goulden.

To deal with entrenched problems of poverty in the UK, serious improvements need to be made to knowledge about the causes of poverty and the effectiveness of potential solutions.

As reported in the recent UBD full report (p.41):

One in four children in the District lives below the poverty line (households with less than 60% of average income) equating to 36,080 0-18 year olds. Bradford’s rate is more than the national average or West Yorkshire rate. A further third of the District’s children live in households that have low income plus material deprivation.

A two-day exercise led by a partnership between JRF and the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge identified the most important unanswered and researchable questions about poverty.

Ten of the most important questions were:

  • What values, frames and narratives are associated with greater support for tackling poverty, and why?
  • How do images of people in poverty influence policy debates in different countries?
  • What are the most effective methods of increasing involvement and support for the education of children among their parents or guardians?
  • What explains variation in wages as a share of GDP internationally?
  • What is the nature and extent of poverty among those who do not or cannot access the safety net when they need it?
  • How could targeting and incentivising payment of the Living Wage make it more effective at reducing household poverty?
  • What are the positive and negative impacts of digital technologies on poverty?
  • How do environmental and social regulations or obligations affect prices for those in poverty?
  • Who benefits from poverty, and how?
  • What evidence is there that economic growth reduces poverty overall, and under what circumstances?

The full paper 100 Questions: identifying research priorities for poverty prevention and reduction published in Journal of Poverty & Social Justice as an Open Access paper can be accessed here.

Focusing on extreme cases won’t help us bridge the rich/poor education attainment gap

JRF-logoSensationalist stories of neglectful parents make for good headlines but they have little to do with the reality of closing the education attainment gap, warns Helen Barnard.

By age 16 only 35% of children receiving free school meals gain 5 A*-C grades at GCSE, compared to  62% of children not on free school meals. This attainment gap appears long before school age. It has narrowed slightly in recent years but remains stubbornly large.

In 2010 the JRF published a major study showing that by the age of three there are already big  differences in cognitive, social and emotional development between children from richer and poorer  backgrounds. By five years old children in poverty are around eight months behind their peers.

Key points

  • The aspirations, attitudes and behaviour of parents and children potentially play an important part in  explaining why poor children typically do worse at school.
  • Children from poorer backgrounds are much less likely to experience a rich home learning environment  than children from better-off backgrounds. At age three, reading to the child and the wider home learning environment are very important for children’s educational development.
  • The gap between children from richer and poorer backgrounds widens especially quickly during primary  school. Some of the factors that appear to explain this are:
    – parental aspirations for higher education;
    – how far parents and children believe their own actions can affect their lives; and
    – children’s behavioural problems.
  • It becomes harder to reverse patterns of under-achievement by the teenage years, but disadvantage and  poor school results continue to be linked, including through:
    – teenagers’ and parents’ expectations for higher education;
    – material resources such as access to a computer and the internet at home;
    – engagement in anti-social behaviour; and
    – young people’s belief in their own ability at school.
  • The research found that cognitive skills are passed from parents to children across the generations.  This also helps explain why children from poorer backgrounds underperform in school.

Links to read :-

Full Blog post by the JRF and their 2010 report.

Understanding Bradford District

A new report published today provides Bradford Council and its partners, citizens and businesses with accurate and up-to-date information about the district. The report offers a descriptive analysis of the district and highlights issues and trends that need to be addressed to make Bradford a better place to live and work..  A shorter summary and ‘in your pocket’ guide are also available.

Key findings

  • With a population of 524,600, Bradford is the fourth largest district in England, after Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield.
  • Bradford’s economy is £8.3 billion, constituting a fifth of West Yorkshire’s economic output and businesses. Between 2008 and 2011, Bradford’s growth was more than twice the regional average and also higher than UK growth.
  • Educational attainment is improving year on year with the rate of improvement for achieving five or more good GCSEs at grades A*-C including Maths and English accelerating faster than the national average.
  • Qualification levels are still lower than the regional and national averages.
  • Social work interventions regarding children in need of care and protection has fallen, with 345 referrals per 10,000 population compared to the English average of 533 referrals per 10,000 population.
  • We have a low proportion of social housing compared to regionally and nationally, but 99.9% of the stock meets the Decent Homes standard.
  • We have maintained consistent levels of resident satisfaction; the Office of the Crime Commissioner found that over the last three years the percentage of people who said they were satisfied with their local area has been between 70% and 71%.
  • Regular volunteering and civic participation are above the national averages demonstrating high levels of active citizenship.
  • Overall crime levels continue to reduce, particularly burglaries and violent crime.

Links to download :-

Summary with chapter highlights; full report including links to supporting notes; and an ‘In your pocket’ guide with key statistics from the analysis.