University of Cambridge, UK, since 2014 Simon Fraser University, Canada
Research Title: ‘It’s hard everywhere, but this place is different’: Regional Difference in Non-Standard Work in the UK
“The Regional Studies Association Early Career grant scheme provides opportunities both to gain experience of being a principal investigator, and to explore emerging themes — in my case regional differences in non-standard work in the UK — as part of the establishment of a longer term research agenda. Both are invaluable for developing a career in research.”
This project is conceived as a pilot that will use a mixed-methods approach to investigate conditions from the perspective of workers in different parts of the UK. It will utilise existing data sources, in particular the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in conjunction with a commissioned nationally representative survey of workers in the UK regions and interviews, to explore the following key questions:
- What is the extent of non-standard work in different UK regions, and how to do workers in different places experience non-standard work?
- What is the prevalence of temporary agency work in different regions, and what is the variability in the extent to agency workers are categorised as self-employed?
- What is the relationship between categories of social difference — gender, ethnicity, age, and migration status — and contingent work?
- Do workers employed in the ‘mainstream’ of the labour market experience any of the conditions associated with forced and unfree labour, and who are those workers?
- In terms of the perceptions of workers, policy-makers, third sector groups and employee representatives, is ‘bad’ work related to specific spaces and places
The proposed methods include:
- The review and analysis of existing large-scale data sets, in particular the LFS, to explore longitudinal patterns of regional labour market change, with particular attention to the intersectionality of gender, ethnicity, age and migration status.
- Commissioning, and analysis of the results of, a nationally representative survey of workers to examine patterns, perceptions and experiences of non-standard.
- Interviewing representatives (10-15) of organisations on the frontline of labour market change to explore perceptions of trends in the expansion of non-standard work and the role of space and place.
 The LFS makes use of Government Office Regions (GORs) and combined GORS (a mapping variable); the commissioned survey will either replicate the use of GORs or use the following standard regional classification: North, Midlands, East, London, South, Wales, and Scotland. Given that temporary agency workers make up only 1-2 percent of all workers, aggregate regions may be necessary to obtain a satisfactory size of N for this group of workers.