Centre for Employment Studies Research (CESR)

CESR Review: January 2013

Articles by CESR members

It’s a Boy’s Thing Really Isn’t It? The factors affecting career choices amongst male and female engineers Written by Dr Susan Durbin

Entry into science, engineering and technology (SET) professions, where women’s representation has remained stubbornly low, tends to follow several years of post-compulsory education and on-the-job and professional workplace training. While the low numbers of women in SET occupations have been well-documented and discussed, less has been written on the education and family circumstances of those who choose a career in engineering. Engineering has an image of a ‘masculine’ profession that is unsuitable for women, as it is perceived as being ‘tough, heavy and dirty’. Various strategies to try to increase the numbers of women entering engineering education and employment have enjoyed limited success. This begs the question, why do some women choose a career in a profession that has both a negative image and is one of the most male-dominated professions in the UK?

Ten years of statutory recognition – a changed landscape for UK industrial relations? Written by Professor Sian Moore

In 2000 a new statutory trade union recognition procedure came into force, enabling unions that could demonstrate majority support for collective bargaining to be recognised in the workplace. In their forthcoming book Sian Moore (University of the West of England), Sonia McKay (London Metropolitan University) with Sarah Veale (TUC) evaluate the impact of the procedure over the ten years of its operation and its implications for the so-called UK ‘voluntarist’ approach to regulating industrial relations. In this it moves beyond a purely legal interpretation, to place the law within the wider and changing context of work. The book is largely based upon Central Arbitration Committee (the CAC – the body administering the procedure) reports on each application for recognition under the procedure and published on their web-site (www.cac.gov.uk). These provide a rich source of data, not only on the operation of the procedure, but also on workplace industrial relations in the early 21st Century – documenting a legal process, but also reflecting the wider forces shaping employment relationships. The book traces the operation and outcomes of the CAC procedure over more than ten years. This short article summarises some of its key themes.

Managing ageing workforces: Empirical evidence from Germany Written by Dr Hilary Drew 

Demographic change (ageing populations and falling birth rates) affects all industrialised nations, including Germany. Traditionally, the problems associated with managing numbers of older workers were mitigated by the Altersteilzeitgesetz in Germany. Under this law, firms were offered financial support by the government to offer early retirement. As these provisions came to an end in 2010, the need to find alternative solutions to displacing older workers, as well as ensuring their better integration into the organisation, should have become a more pressing challenge for German companies. Additionally, studies suggest that the long-term use of early retirement, as a displacement tool, has led to the creation of an early exit culture, whereby older employees expect to be offered early retirement and will be resistant to working after sixty years of age. Having said all this, studies focusing on demographic change in Germany posit that, despite the fact that German managers are aware of the problem of demographic change, they do not perceive it to be a matter of urgency. Indeed, researchers suggest that firms are not doing enough, or even anything, to prepare themselves for the changes in labour market demographics.

An Introduction to Social Enterprise and Public Sector Restructuring, followed by an interview with Penny Brown, Chief Executive, North Somerset Community Partnership Written by Professor Stephanie Tailby

Penny Brown joined the NHS in 1989, starting in HR in Mental Health before moving into general management in an Acute Trust and into Community Services in 2007. The Labour government’s Transforming Community Services agenda in 2010 obliged Primary Care Trusts to separate their provider and purchasing arms and providers to find another organisational form. Penny explained the options that were available and why the decision was made to enter a Right to Request to become a Social Enterprise and launch North Somerset Community Partnership.

In conversation with the Very Reverend Dean Vivienne Faull, First Woman Dean of York Minster Written by Dr John Neugebauer

Ordained deaconess in 1982 and priest in 1994 Dean Vivienne served first at St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill and then as Chaplain at Clare College, Cambridge. From 1990-2000, she was on the staff at Gloucester Cathedral. Her appointment as Provost of Leicester Cathedral in May 2000 marked the first and only female cathedral provost installation in Church of England history. Since 2002, when her job title changed, she has been the Dean of Leicester – with that change of title, she became the first female Dean in the Church of England. In addition to responsibility for the cathedral, which has developed its buildings and outreach considerably over the last decade, Dean Vivienne acted as deputy for the Bishop of Leicester and was trustee of Leicester College, a large GFE College, and Leicester Theatre Trust, which runs Curve, Leicester’s new theatre. For the last four years she has chaired the Association of English Cathedrals, the cathedrals’ representative body. In December 2012, Dean Vivienne Faull was appointed as the first woman Dean to York Minster.


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