Commentary, blogs and other activity

Institute members regularly write commentary items and opinion pieces for popular blogs. The Institute also produces a biannual newsletter.

Linking employment charters to procurement.
Research by Institute members including Ceri Hughes, Mat Johnson, Aristea Koukiadaki, Stephen Mustchin and Jill Rubery has been referenced in a TUC briefing.
TUC briefing 20 September 2022

Identity regulation.
How can organisations help employees manage their online presence more effectively.
Imran Saqib, Alliance Manchester Business School Magazine, September 2022

Calling it out.
Bystanders are the key in helping create an anti-bullying workplace culture.
Kara Ng, Alliance Manchester Business School Magazine, September 2022

Gender equality and the productivity agenda.
The implications for gender equality are rarely discussed in the new productivity and levelling up agenda.
Jill Rubery, Policy at Manchester blog, 24 August 2022

How workplace bullying went remote.
Kara Ng was mentioned in a BBC article article about workplace bullying in the remote-work era.
BBC Hello Hybrid blog, 22 August 2022

The case for a guaranteed basic income pilot in Greater Manchester.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and current cost of living crisis has exacerbated social inequalities and economic insecurity, it has also opened a window of opportunity to explore new forms of policy innovation to build back a fairer and more economically secure society.
Anthony Rafferty and Alex Macdougall, Policy at Manchester blog, 27 July 2022

Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Why did COVID hit the informal workforce so hard?
Damian Grimshaw, Spotlight on impact, 18 July 2022

The lasting impact of student loan reforms.
Could reforms to student loan repayments make women rethink their investments in higher education?
Jill Rubery, Original Thinkers blog, 15 July 2022

Rail strikes: words used to describe unions misrepresent the truth about how they work.
As the UK faces a summer of strikes, inaccurate language used by the media affects public understanding of how unions work.
Holly Smith, The Conversation, 23 June 2022

Chatter about working parents: Creating family friendly workplaces.
Jill Rubery, Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter podcast, 20 June 2022

Bullying: why most people do nothing when they witness it - and how to take action.
Imagine that you are at work and witness a colleague bullying another colleague. While many of us like to think we would try to stop it, up to 60% of employees in some places report doing nothing.
Kara Ng and Karen Niven, The Conversation, 27 April 2022

The future of work.
The time has come for health and wellbeing to be treated as a key strategic issue in organisations.
Sir Cary Cooper, Original thinkers blog, 7 April 2022

COVID-19 and the safety of public transport.
Public transport was identified as potentially high risk for both workers and travellers at the beginning of the pandemic, but little was known about the risk of transmission and the effectiveness of measures in reducing infection on various types of transport such as face masks, social distancing and enhanced cleaning.
Anna Coleman, Nicola Gartland, Sheena Johnson, Original thinkers blog, 6 April 2022

Tackling labour market friction after Covid-19: a time for transformational thinking
This feature on tackling friction in the labour market after COVID-19 was published by HR Magazine.
Damian Grimshaw and Mat Johnson, HR Magazine, 30 March 2022

What will be the impact of the ‘Future Skills Unit’?
Around the launch of the ‘Levelling Up’ whitepaper, the UK government announced the intention to establish a new Future Skills Unit. Although full details currently remain unclear, like many policies linked to this agenda, one objective will be to collate and examine evidence on skills gaps across industries.
Anthony Rafferty, HR Magazine, 14 March 2022

How organisations can help women navigate the social media jungle
Social media has provided a democratic platform to individuals to express their voice and identity, but at the same time such interactions can unwittingly shape the perceived identity of users.
Aparna Gonibeed, Syed Imran Saqib, Original Thinkers blog, 10 March 2022

The battle to been seen and heard: essential workers during and after Covid-19
In the midst of the global shutdown of the economy and society over the last 18 months, some essential workers went about their jobs quietly and effectively but largely unnoticed by the general public, the media or politicians.
Mathew Johnson, Ian Allinson, Lorena Poblete, Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, Rose Batt and Eva Herman, Decent work and the city blog, 13 January 2022

Homeworking experiences during lockdown
Like millions of others, call centre workers were required to work from home at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog examines the experiences of call centre staff and provides recommendations for improvement in the future.
Debra Howcroft and Phil Taylor, Policy@Manchester, 13 December 2021

Older workers and Covid-19: challenges for extending working life
Adjusting to the impact of Covid-19 is raising major issues about the employment prospects of older workers. The Government has re-branded Fuller Workers Lives as 50 Plus: Choices and Rishi Sunak is promoting schemes for the over-50s that will 'offer guidance on later life planning'. However, the impact of the pandemic has raised the stakes in trying to extend working life
Sajia Ferdous, Chris Phillipson, Mariska van der Horst, Shaw Business School, 24 November 2021

The power of the creative economy.
The COP conference in Glasgow highlighted the challenges of striking effective deals between the West and those developing nations which are most in the front line of climate change impacts. Can unity, music and business help address climate change impacts?
Anita Greenhill, Original Thinkers blog, 12 November 2021

What do shifting global trade dynamics mean for ethical trade?
Since the early 2000s, food producers and other suppliers based in the global South have increasingly exported to buyers based in the same region while shifting trade away from previously established trading routes with supermarkets in the global North.
Matt Alford, Original Thinkers blog , 01 November 2021

Autumn Budget commentary 2021
JIll Rubery, Mat Johnson, Eva Herman, 27 October 2021

Fixing the HGV driver shortage
Sheena Johnson and Lynn Holdsworth, Original Thinkers blog, 11 October 2021

Terms and conditions
Abbie Winton, Fabian Review, 01 October 2021

Hybrid working: can employers futureproof the home office?
The pandemic has dramatically shifted our working lives. While the relocation of white collar workers to the home environment was initially viewed as a temporary stopgap, this is now looking more like a watershed moment for the future of working practices, particularly with a growing roster of large firms making the switch permanent. It’s unlikely there will be a one size fits all for employers in the wake of the pandemic.
Debra Howcroft, Phil Taylor and Dora Scholarios, Original Thinkers blog, 29 September 2021

The rise of work-related violence and aggression
Kara Ng, Sheena Johnson, Original Thinkers blog, 7 September 2021

Keeping the UK building safely: a scoping study
Sharon Clarke, Angelique Hartwig, Sheena Johnson et al, September 2021

The shift to online could exacerbate grocery sector employment inequalities
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the development and uptake of tech within food retailing, both on and off the shop floor. This has seen a significant shift in demand for resourcing across the industry, sparking a landmark reconfiguration of work in food retail.
Abbie Winton, The Grocer, 17 August 2021

Accelerated automation and digital advances in the world of food retail
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted consumers to buy food online, which meant that food retailers had to adapt quickly. In this blog, Abbie Winton explores the changes that food retailers had to make during the pandemic and how these changes may have long-lasting consequences for the sector.
Abbie Winton, Policy@Manchester blog, 17 August 2021

The remote-working challenge: 'There are huge issues'
Hyperbole about remote working has given way to an understanding that making it work for everyone brings challenges and opportunities. Tony Dundon was interviewed for this article in The Irish Times.
Tony Dundon, The Irish Times, 10 July 2021

Will pay transparency close the gender pay gap? The EU thinks so
The gender pay gap has remained stubbornly high in Europe for decades, and is currently at 14.1%. Will the EU's new binding transparency measures help close it?
Mark Smith, Annick Masselot, Jill Rubery, Petra Foubert, The Conversation, 05 July 2021
Also available in French

When trade shifts South: New upgrading prospects for horticulture suppliers in the Global South
Trade in South-South global value chains has increased significantly, driven by trade agreements among developing countries and the growth of Southern lead firms. This column uses data on Kenyan horticulture suppliers to explore whether suppliers from the Global South are benefitting from increased opportunities for economic upgrading as trade in these value chains grow.
Giovanni Pasquali, Aarti Krishnan, Matthew Alford, VoxEU, 01 July 2021

Rebuilding the foundations - decent work after Covid-19
The pandemic has reminded us that the health and wellbeing of citizens is a collective endeavour, as is the distribution of the daily essentials that all households (no matter how rich or poor) cannot feasibly provide for themselves. This foundational economy needs to be central to Covid-19 recovery plans.
Eva Herman and Mat Johnson, Original Thinkers blog, 17 June 2021

Work-related violence and aggression: Don't accept it. Report it. Prevent it
In this article Helen Beers from the Health and Safety Executive and Sheena Johnson from the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester discuss work-related violence and aggression – the importance of staff reporting incidents to their employers, and of employers understanding the problem and taking action to prevent it.
Sheena Johnson and Helen Beers (HSE), Safety and Health Practitioner, 16 June 2021

How COVID-19 has impacted our working lives
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. For over a year many aspects of our lives have changed because of the uncertainty brought about by the virus. In this article Kara Ng and David Holman argue that the pandemic represents an opportunity to make positive changes in the workplace.
David Holman and Kara Ng, Original Thinkers blog, 14 June 2021

Gender and food retailing
Gender segregation is embedded in food retail roles. What is the food retail sector likely to look like post-pandemic, and  who is likely to remain working in it.
Abbie Winton, Original Thinking blog, 26 May 2021

On Digital Equalities
Policy@Manchester collated a number of members' blogs into a digital collection
Accelerated automation and digital advances in the world of food retail
Homeworking experiences during lockdown
Rewriting the creative sector's digital transformation

How many of us will be going back to the office and what does it mean for the future of the way we work?
For more than a year, many of us have been forced to swap the office for home. Our towns and cities were turned into ghost towns overnight due to lockdown.  But when restrictions are lifted, just how many will return to the office? A new study by the University of Manchester suggests the majority of workers would favour a switch to "hybrid working", meaning the old five-day week model of office work being replaced with more flexible arrangements, such as three days at home and two in the office.
Debra Howcroft, ITV News, 26 April 2021

Work and Equalities Institute Newsletter: April 2021
Work and Equalities Institute

Now is the time for Ireland to consider a fair-work agenda
While the pandemic has brought some long overdue appreciation for both frontline and essential workers, it is uncertain how much will really change post-Covid. Now is the time for Ireland to consider a fair-work agenda.
Tony Dundon, Caroline Murphy, The Irish Times, 21 March 2021

Why parents need the right to stay home without risk to their income or jobs when schools are closed.
Under the UK government’s furlough scheme, parents can be placed on furlough if they have caring responsibilities for a child who is at home as a result of school closures. However, a parent’s request for furlough depends upon the agreement of their employer, which is not always forthcoming. In this blog, Dr Isabel Tavora and Professor Jill Rubery, from the Work and Equalities Institute, examine the flaws in the current scheme, and provide best practice recommendations based on their research into the COVID-19 special parental leave schemes of other European countries.
Isabel Tavora and Jill Rubery, Policy@Manchester, 21 January 2021

Job value and job status during the COVID-19 pandemic: Recognising migrants as ‘critical’ but neglected workers.
During the current pandemic, governments have devoted much debate and effort to the maintenance of critical sectors of the economy – namely those that need to remain active to guarantee basic economic and social functioning, at least in the short to medium term. Many of these sectors are heavily dependent on workers typically seen as ‘unskilled’ who perform ‘low-value’ jobs. Stefania Marino, Miguel Martinez-Lucio and Anthony Rafferty discuss whether the value of these jobs should be re-evaluated in light of COVID-19.
Stefania Marino, Miguel Martinez-Lucio and Anthony Rafferty, Policy@Manchester, 06 January 2021

The Pandemic Presents A Once In A Generation Opportunity To Reshape The Future Of Work In Our Cities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has reinvigorated debates about the challenges of living and working in cities. The pandemic has also revived the argument that urban areas could be transformed as a result of the economic and social upheaval. Patterns of rapid contagion and the difficulties of social distancing in densely populated areas raise questions about the safety and resilience of highly interconnected global cities.
Mat Johnson, Forbes, 22 December 2020

Age discrimination law outside the employment field
Elaine Dewhurst, report for the European Commission, 23 November 2020

What's wrong with manels and what can we do about it?
Jenny Rodriguez, The Conversation, 14 October 2020

Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact.
The huge changes sweeping the UK labour market in the wake of the pandemic came under scrutiny at the parliamentary Women and Equalities Select Committee. The committee looked at a range of topics related to the current crisis and the effectiveness of various government support schemes that have been introduced, especially in terms of female workers.
In particular it discussed the design and implementation of the furlough scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). One problem with the schemes was that those who had to look after children in the lockdown did not have the right to take parental leave.
Jill Rubery, Women and Equalities Committee, 14 October 2020

Improving conditions for key workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many inequalities across our society, in our city, across the nation and around the world. Key workers have been hailed as the heroes of the COVID-19 crisis, but many of these workers - cleaners, delivery drivers, and providers of other essential services - have long suffered from uncertain working conditions.
What are the benefits of improving conditions for key workers post-COVID-19.
This flash lecture is part of the University of Manchester COVID Catalysts. All the videos are on the COVID microsite and there is an accompanying summary publication.
Miguel Martinez Lucio, University of Manchester COVID Catalysts: Global Inequalities, 30 September 2020

Policy@Manchester collated a number of the blogs below into a 'Lessons from Lockdown' collection, The Value of Human Labour. Featured blogs include
What COVID-19 tells us about the value of human labour
#Here to deliver: Valuing food delivery workers in the future
Recognising the role of key workers now and in the future employment landscape
Bogus self-employment and COVID-19: an added layer of insecurity
Transport and logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic
Sharing the load: How work sharing can reduce unemployment, improve gender equality, and benefit mental health
Recognising the role of key workers now and in the future employment landscape

Recognising the role of key workers now and in the future employment landscape
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has become more aware and appreciative of the workers now called ‘key workers’. However, organisational change and deregulation over recent years has led to high levels of job degradation in key work sectors. Can we convert this appreciation into jobs that are safe, well remunerated and attractive as careers.
Gail Hebson and Miguel Martinez Lucio, Policy@Manchester, 18 August 2020

Sharing the load: How work sharing can reduce unemployment, improve gender equality, and benefit mental health
The need to build back better has received widespread endorsement, not only because the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for change but also because it has revealed the high price paid by those facing inequality in the labour market, including inequality by gender. How can we build gender equality into recovery plans from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jill Rubery, Policy@Manchester, 03 August 2020

Bogus self-employment and COVID-19: an added layer of insecurity
The outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis has raised concerns about its impact on precarious and vulnerable workers when most of them have been at the front line during the crisis and their work has been revealed as essential.
Marti Lopez-Andreu. Policy@Manchester, 20 July 2020

How to start decolonising your business
Ricardo Twumasi, Charlotte Horne and Jenny Rodriguez, The Conversation, 17 July 2020

Technology and remote working post COVID-19
The rush to homeworking using digital technologies may have kept business (and a lot of society) functioning since the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the long-term sustainability of such arrangements is high risk and fraught with tension.
Tony Dundon, Lee Stringer and Stephen Mustchin, Futures of Work, 13 July 2020

Beyond name changes and pulling down statues - how to decolonise business schools
Bobby Banerjee, Jenny Rodriguez, Sadhvi Dar, The Conversation, 13 July 2020

Work and Equalities Institute Newsletter: June 2020
Work and Equalities Institute

#Here to deliver: Valuing food delivery workers in the future
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore a new cadre of valued workers. And it’s not the corporate CEO or senior business leader but the delivery workers that are helping cafes and restaurants stay open (in some form) during lockdown.
Cristina Inversi, Aude Cefaliello and Tony Dundon, Policy@Manchester, 25 June 2020

The downsides of homeworking
The initial response to homeworking in the wake of COVID-19 has been impressive and, for the most part, better than expected. However, the long-term sustainability of such arrangements is high risk and fraught with tension.
Lee Stringer, Stephen Mustchin and Tony Dundon, Original Thinkers blog, 15 June 2020

Recognising the value and significance of cleaning work in a context of crisis
Miguel Martinez Lucio and Jo McBride discuss the question of how we have failed to value the work and importance of those in the area of cleaning and hygiene-related employment more generally. The need now is to consider how such workers are engaged with and supported through a greater framework, with respect and dignity being paramount. This is essential if we are to overcome the challenges of ongoing crises such as that of the current pandemic.
Miguel Martinez Lucio and Jo McBride, Policy@Manchester, 10 June 2020

Support schemes under microscope
There has been much talk of how generous the UK government’s furloughing and self-employment support schemes are, regarded as amongst the most generous in Europe. But can these claims be justified? In the wake of the crisis, is UK government support for workers as generous as it sounds?
Jill Rubery, Original Thinkers blog, 14 May 2020

Transport and logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic
While the majority of the population is urged to stay at home, the country is relying on the transport and logistics sector to maintain the delivery of goods, most importantly food and medical supplies. In this blog, Dr Sheena Johnson and Dr Lynn Holdsworth discuss the changes to the working environment in the sector, and the support necessary for drivers.
Sheena Johnson and Lynn Holdsworth, Policy@Manchester, 28 April 2020

What COVID-19 tells us about the value of human labour
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a radical reassessment of what is considered ‘key work’ has taken place. Abbie Winton and Professor Debra Howcroft discuss the disproportionate risk/reward equation key workers – particularly women – face, how the COVID-19 crisis will impact their future, and what policymakers can do to address inequalities at work.
Abbie Winton and Debra Howcroft, Policy@Manchester, 7 April 2020

Government measures for self-employed generous by international standards
Many countries have taken exceptional measures to support the self-employed during the coronavirus crisis but it is hard to identify any providing as much support as the UK. Jill Rubery looks at the UK government's support for self-employed worked.
Jill Rubery, Original Thinkers blog, 31 March 2020

Why women's voices are missing from the future of work debate.
Abbie Winton and Debra Howcroft, The Conversation, 25 March 2020

Striving for gender balance in the IT industry
Debra Howcroft, Policy@Manchester, 30 January 2020

The gender pay gap in Greater Manchester: What it tells us and what it doesn’t tell us about gender equality
Jill Rubery, Policy@Manchester, 23 January 2020

Does fathers' involvement in childcare influence mothers' employment post-childbirth?
Helen Norman, Policy@Manchester, 12 November 2019

The darker politics of wellbeing: the managerial abuse of 'positive' interventions at work
Miguel Martinez Lucio, Policy@Manchester, 24 October 2019

Health and wellbeing of older professional drivers
Sheena Johnson, Centre for Ageing Better, 16 August 2019

On Gender
Policy@Manchester digital collection, Francesca Gains, Debra Howcroft, Ruth Lupton, Helen Norman, Debora Price, Jill Rubery, July 2019

Women’s football may be growing in popularity but the game is still fighting for survival
Aristea Koukiadaki and Geoff Pearson, The Conversation, 5 July 2019

Four ways your name can affect your job prospects
Ricardo Twumasi, The Conversation, 30 May 2019

Automation and the future of work
Tony Dundon, spoken evidence to the Business, Employment and Industrial Strategy Committee, 30 April 2019

Is the national living wage a solution to the UK's productivity puzzle?
Mat Johnson and Jill Rubery, Policy@Manchester, 9 April 2019

Ten rules of email that will reduce your stress levels
Ricardo Twumasi, Cary Cooper and Lina Siegl, The Conversation, 28 March 2019

Does Brexit threaten women's employment rights?
Jill Rubery. Financial Times, 19 March 2019

Can Greater Manchester blaze the trail with an inclusive local industrial strategy?
Ruth Lupton, Policy@Manchester, 4 March 2019

The return of industrial democracy: preparing the ground for dealing with wayward capitalism
Miguel Martinez Lucio, Policy@Manchester, 2 January 2019

Humanity in the spotlight: the investor's responsibility
Lara Bianchi, Policy@Manchester, 8 November 2018

Why talent management became a business obsession
Tony Dundon and Paul Ryan, Brainstorm, 4 October 2018

Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management
Tony Dundon and Anthony Rafferty, LSE Business Review, 2 October 2018

New generation of working parents demand a better deal on shared parental leave 
Emma Banister, The Conversation, 12 September 2018

Wage Councils could address endemic pay inequality in the UK economy
Tony Dundon, The Conversation, 5 September 2018

Five stereotypes about older workers debunked
Sheena Johnson and Ricardo Twumasi, The Conversation, 24 July 2018

Automation has the potential to improve gender equality at work
Debra Howcroft and Jill Rubery, The Conversation, 11 June 2018

How shared parental leave gives adoptive parents real time to build a new family unit
Emma Banister and Ben Kerrane, The Conversation, 30 April 2018

New styles of strikes and protest are emerging in the UK
Tony Dundon, The Conversation, 9 April 2018

Exploring the causes and solutions to Scotland’s gender pay gap
Wendy Olsen, David Bayliss and Min Zhang, Close the Gap, 21 March 2018

Why part-time work is not good for women's pay
Jill Rubery, HR Magazine, 20 February 2018

Concerted campaign helps women in Kenya’s flower industry get a better deal
Lara Bianchi, The Conversation, 13 February 2018

Shared parental leave: Opportunities and barriers and the #sharethejoy campaign
Emma Banister, Policy@Manchester, 12 February 2018

Why closing the gender pay gap requires a new debate on fair pay
Jill Rubery, Policy@Manchester, 6 February 2018

Gender inequalities and sexual harassment in global value chains
Lara Bianchi, Policy@Manchester, 5 February 2018

Are some fathers being ignored in family friendly policy initiatives?
Emma Banister and Helen Norman, Policy@Manchester, 17 January 2018

Automation, robots and the ‘end of work’ myth
Debra Howcroft and Tony Dundon, The Conversation, 16 January 2018