The world of work is changing. Technology, globalisation and the development of new business models are creating new jobs, types of work and contracting arrangements. Zero hours and temporary work are becoming standard practice in some industries. The workplace itself has transformed and is in some cases virtual rather than physical: remote working and off-shoring are common in sectors such as IT. The UK’s exit from the EU is likely to bring further changes as employers seek new ways to meet their labour needs.

Many jobs and working lives have become unstable and precarious. There are changes in the distribution of work between social groups and across the life cycle. The proliferation of low skilled, low paid and part-time work is affecting the distribution of income, resulting in widening inequality and social exclusion. Low and worsening levels of social mobility cement inequality further, impacting on health, educational achievement and crime.

The Institute has a strong reputation for research on labour market and social change and, in particular, immigration. Our current research programme is focused on understanding the impact of migration and other changes on the labour market, through quantitative and qualitative methods. We also have a strong programme of research on education and training, including interventions in schools designed to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children. 

Staff: Heather Rolfe with Jonathan BuzzeoJohnny Runge, Nathan Hudson-SharpCinzia Rienzo, and Lucy Stokes

Are UK households and businesses well served by its financial services industry? The UK is a world leader in international finance. Yet our families must rely on variable rate and often opaque mortgages that add to housing market and economic volatility. Almost 90 years ago the Macmillan Committee identified a gap between our financial and industrial worlds. Doubts remain about the availability of finance for small and medium size enterprises and that a lack of venture capital holds back our economy. NIESR is regularly commissioned to provide impartial and original evidence on the supply of finance and financial stability.

Staff: Angus Armstrong, Phil Davis, & Jagjit Chadha

How will the economic forces of globalisation affect our future prosperity? Our greatest economic challenge is to understand the forces of globalisation. Modelling important economic and financial interactions in the global economy is the best way to make sense of the processes shaping our future. NIESR is the leading macroeconomics research institute in the UK. We are home of one of the most successful large-scale structural macroeconomic models in the world. Subscribers to the National Institute Global Econometric Model (NiGEM) include 30 of the largest central banks and finance ministries and an increasing number of private organisations. The integrity of our model has primacy ahead of commercial concerns.

Staff: Angus Armstrong with Simon Kirby (Head of Macroeconomic Modelling and Forecasting), Oriol Carreras, Monique Ebell, Ian Hurst, Iana Liadze, Rebecca Piggott, Matteo Ramina, and James Warren.

see details about our model here 

Why is the UK less productive than similarly advanced nations and what can be done about it? How are the gains from economic growth distributed and why does this matter? What drives firms’ investment patterns and what is the role of institutions, firms and financial intermediation in explaining trends and cycles in productivity? These questions have gained far greater significance since the global financial crisis as productivity growth has disappeared and income gains stagnated for many. Understanding these challenges are key to policy making and our future prosperity.

NIESR has a long record of leading productivity and labour markets research. Our research focuses on improving the measurement of productivity, understanding the influence of education, training & skills on economic performance, the drivers of firm behaviour and innovative capacity, the changing nature and role of labour markets, competitiveness and the efficacy of regulation. 

Staff: Rebecca Riley, with Francesa FolianoAna Rincon-Aznar, and Lucy Stokes

What are the key considerations when deciding how much economic power to devolve to cities, local authorities, national governments and the EU? The UK's constitution is changing fast. These are not only highly charged political issues, but also of profound importance to the future economic prosperity. NIESR has particular expertise in analysing the implications of different constitutional arrangements for fiscal and financial coherence and the possible macroeconomic consequences. In addition, NIESR has unrivalled expertise on the economic and social impact of migration, in particular free movement within the EU on labour markets, the welfare system and the economy more widely.

Our work on the EU Referendum can be viewed here.

A number of NIESR staff are working on this topic, including: Jagjit Chadha, Director​, Angus Armstrong, ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change, Monique Ebell and Heather Rolfe