Labour Mobility in Northern Ireland

Report
Lunchtime Seminar No60:
Labour Mobility in Northern Ireland
Thursday 4th September 2014
Adelaide House
Research into labour
mobility in Northern
Ireland
4 September 2014
Introduction
DEL commissioned Oxford Economics to undertake a
comprehensive review of labour mobility in Northern Ireland
The objectives of the study were to:
4

Review the factors that determine mobility

Present evidence on the degree of mobility in Northern Ireland

Identify barriers to mobility that may inhibit the efficient functioning
of the labour market
The study explores two types of labour mobility within Northern
Ireland
Labour market status mobility
Geographic mobility
Employment
Nonemployment
Economically
inactive
Frequency
Full-time
employee
Commuting
Time of day
Transport availability
Part-time
employee
Unemployed
Selfemployed
Primary focus (moves between non-employment and
employment)
Secondary focus (moves within employment status)
Within NI
Migration
Beyond NI
(outside scope)
Geographical mobility is important, but too much may be
inefficient and be associated with a lack of cohesion and a
weakening of social capital
Labour mobility benefits individuals and firms, and is a crucial
component of Northern Ireland’s long-term economic competitiveness
6

Mobility enables individuals to improve their personal circumstances
by moving into work

Mobility enables firms to draw from a larger pool of potential workers
 Vacancies can be filled more quickly
 Better match between jobs and workers

For Northern Ireland, greater mobility means:
 Reduced poverty and social exclusion
 Making the best possible use of the workforce
 Ability to quickly react to emerging technologies and commercial
opportunities
 Greater long-term economic competitiveness
Despite significant progress over the last two decades, the NI labour
market continues to face structural challenges
The claimant count unemployment rate fell steadily until
2008, but increased steeply during the recession
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
12%
10%
8%
6%
4%
2%
0%
91
93
95 97 99
01
03
Northern Ireland
05
07 09
11
13
UK
The proportion of the working age population claiming
Disability Living Allowance is twice that in England and
Wales
12%
10%
8%
6%
4%
2%
0%
2003
2005
2007
Northern Ireland
7
There has been a clear process of de-industrialisation
over the last two decades
2009
2011
England and Wales
2013
91 93 95 97 99 01 03 05 07 09 11 13
Agriculture and Mining
Industry
Services
Northern Ireland has the greatest reliance on public
sector jobs amongst UK regions
0%
Northern Ireland
Wales
North East
Scotland
South West
Yorkshire & Humber
North West
West Midlands
Uk
East Midlands
South East
Eastern
London
10%
20%
30%
40%
The study used a range of sources and techniques
A literature review by Dr Ian Shuttleworth of Queen’s University Belfast and Professor
Anne Green of Warwick University
Telephone survey with 1,100 non-employed individuals
Focus groups with small groups of Job Club participants in Ballymena, West Belfast,
Derry~Londonderry, Strabane
Statistical analysis and modelling, including detailed analysis of the LFS
Stakeholder interviews:
 JBO / JC Advisers in Ballymena, West Belfast, Derry~Londonderry and Strabane
 Employers (Ikea, a Belfast City Centre hotel, a Derry~Londonderry technology
company)
 Disability Action, Gingerbread NI, Institute for Conflict Research, NI Community
Relations Council, Supported Employment Solutions, Youth Council NI)
Most of the work was completed between October 2013 and April 2014
8
Geographic mobility
The drivers of geographical mobility in Northern Ireland are
similar to those identified by wider academic research
House moves
Less mobile
More mobile
Aged 40+
Aged under 40
Lower skilled
Daily commute
With dependent children
Previous experience of
working/studying away from
home
No dependent children
Aged 45+
Aged 25-44
Females
Males
Lower skilled
Higher skilled
Part-time employees
Full-time employees
Previous experience of
commuting
The Northern Ireland labour market is characterised by a
clear East-West divide
Employee jobs, workplace-based, 2011
Source: Northern Ireland Census of Employment 2011
Proportion of the population aged 16-74 that is nonemployed, 2011
Source: 2011 Census
House moves are not an effective labour market adjustment
mechanism in Northern Ireland
Proportion of the of population aged 16+ who have moved
house during the last three years, 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
Proportion of the population aged 16+ who have moved
house during the last three years, 2004 to 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
People generally move within their local area and many are
unwilling to relocate to take up work
Average distance moved within Northern Ireland, 2001-2006
Average distance of move, miles
Move to
Rural area Urban area
Rural area
2.3
16.4
Move from
Urban area
15.1
2.9
Percentage of moves
Move to
Rural area Urban area
Rural area
23%
4%
Move from
Urban area
6%
67%
Source: Registrar General Northern Ireland Annual Report 2006
Would you be prepared to move to another part of Northern Ireland to obtain employment?
Not sure
7%
Yes
29%
No
64%
Source: PIMR telephone survey
Commuting times in Northern Ireland are similar to other
parts of the UK outside London
Average travel to work time, all UK regions, 2012
Average travel to work time in Northern Ireland, 2006 to
2012
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
Northern Ireland is very car-dependent and few people
travel to work by public transport
Mode of transport to work, 2011
Proportion of workers commuting by public transport,
2011
Source: Census 2011
Source: Census 2011
Transport is a significant barrier to mobility
 Cost of travel means it is often not economically viable for those at the lower end of the labour market to
travel to work
 “No car, no job; no job, no car”
Car ownership by economic activity status
Source: Census 2011
Transport is a significant barrier to mobility in Northern Ireland
 Job Seeker’s Agreement states an individual must be willing to travel 90 minutes to a job
 Even in Belfast, Ikea find it difficult to recruit from many parts of the city because bus links are focused on
travel to/from city centre
Source: Focus group statements, Oxford Economics
The ‘chill factor’ remains an issue for some sections of the
community in Belfast and, to a lesser extent, Derry
Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2012 findings
Focus groups
 Only in Belfast did participants highlight areas of the City they would feel unsafe working in
JBO staff
 Belfast: chill type reasons one of the more common reasons given for not taking a job, but don’t hear it on a day-to-day basis. Some employers seen
as ‘safe’, regardless of location (e.g. Bombardier, Civil Service). Some parents may forbid adult children from taking a job in an area perceived as
unsafe
 Derry~Londonderry: chill type reasons sometimes used for not taking a job, but more of an excuse. However, river is a significant divide. Not
necessarily seen as unsafe to cross, but other side is viewed as more remote than distance implies.
 Ballymena: no chill by area, but some employers dominated by one community and people may refuse to work for them for that reason
Other stakeholders
 Young men from working class background often reluctant to work outside comfort zone.
 Has become worse over last year, might be because allocation of investment and jobs seen as unfair by a particular side
 Youth Council say people declining work placements based on location
 Gingerbread noted that those with a strong willingness to obtain education or work don’t let chill factors prevent them from taking an opportunity
The telephone survey confirmed that most people do not have concerns
about working anywhere within a reasonable distance of their home
Are there any areas within a reasonable distance of your home,
but where you are not willing to take up employment? (Workforce
Development Areas)
100%
Please identify why you would not be willing to
take up employment in these areas
Prior
experience,
2%
90%
80%
70%
Other,
10%
60%
Don't feel
comfortable /
safe, 19%
50%
40%
Religious/
Political, 55%
30%
Too far to
travel / travel
issue, 26%
20%
10%
20%
12%
11%
0%
Belfast
Northern
9%
South West North West
Yes
Source: PIMR telephone survey
7%
5%
Southern
South East
No
Source: PIMR telephone survey
Labour market status mobility
It is relatively difficult in Northern Ireland to quickly re-enter
employment after becoming unemployed
Proportion of unemployed claimants by duration, average
of August to October 2013
Source: Nomis, Oxford Economics
Proportion of population aged 16+ who were actively
seeking work last year who are economically inactive
this year, 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
In Northern Ireland there is a greater reliance on the state to move
people off benefits
Claimant off-flows by reason, Northern Ireland and UK, August to October 2013
Source: Nomis, Oxford Economics
Evidence of the impact of having children on mobility is mixed
Childcare availability and cost, and caring
responsibilities can be a barrier to taking up work
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
But children may create an incentive to avoid longterm unemployment
50%
60%
70%
Lack of job opportunities
Access to and cost of childcare
Carer/ looking after family
Lack of qualifications
Lack of relevant experience
Acess to and cost of transport
Proportion of unemployed
Illness/ disability
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
Age
10%
Length of time unemployed
0%
Level of pay in comparison to benefits…
Other
Source: PIMR telephone survey
Under 1 year
Over 1 year
Duration of unemployment
Household with Dependent Child(ren)
Household without Dependent Child(ren)
The proportion of unemployed people using JBOs and Job Centres as their
main method of seeking work is much higher than elsewhere in the UK
Proportion of unemployed persons who use Job Centres as main method of seeking work, 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey, Oxford Economics
Information was not identified as a barrier overall, although certain sub-groups
may benefit from specialist support

Generally few problems obtaining information on jobs, and a wide range of websites are used:








Job websites
Employer websites, e.g. B&Q, McDonalds, etc.
Recruitment agencies
Local and Northern Ireland wide newspapers
Twitter
Facebook
Word of mouth
Positive feedback on JBOs from focus group participants:
“The job centre does mock interviews and gives you good feedback on how you performed” (Coleraine)
“Well, the likes of the Job Club here have been very helpful… If you are filling in an application form that you are not
sure about, they will give you help. This Job Club has been good with this sort of thing” (Coleraine)
“When you go down to sign on they see what it is that you are looking for. A lot of the times they go through it and
are really helpful” (Derry~Londonderry)

NEETs may need specialist help and may not be confident engaging with JBO staff

The disabled have seen a reduction in support following the removal of specialist Disabled Employment
Advisors
The study found strong evidence of the ‘benefits trap’, whereby the
unemployed prefer to receive benefits than enter employment
 Attitudes and expectations of the unemployed
 Most are seeking a permanent, full-time position to make it financially attractive to come off
benefits
 Derry JBO staff noted that many of those registering specify they would not work for less than
£30,000 per year, even though they may be signing on to receive £75 per week
 Reluctance to build experience and increase employment chances through temporary or part-time
work (even though inexperience identified as a strong barrier to employment)
 Unwillingness to work in evenings and at weekends
 Zero hours contracts identified as problematic – rare in Strabane but represent a large proportion of
new jobs in Ballymena
The study found strong evidence of the ‘benefits trap’, whereby the
unemployed prefer to receive benefits than enter employment
What is the minimum wage level required to make it
worthwhile to come off benefits?
Median gross weekly pay, full-time workers,
workplace based, 2013
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than £100 up £140 up £180 up £220 up £260 up £300 or Not Sure
£100 to £139 to £179 to £219 to £259 to £299 more
Source: PIMR telephone survey
Source: Nomis, Oxford Economics
The research also found strong evidence of a labour market
queue







Older
The sick and disabled
Less qualified
Male
Poor ‘soft’ skills
Inexperienced
History of worklessness in
the household
At the time of the research, JBO
and JC staff reported that
graduates were taking jobs that
previously would have been
taken by unskilled or low-skilled
workers




Younger
Female
Healthy
More qualified
The unemployed highlighted a lack of experience and training as
barriers to employment, but employers emphasised ‘softer’ attributes
Difficult to get experience without a job and a lack of positive references can be a barrier.
JBOs helpful in signposting suitable training courses, but JBO staff suggested they
have limited discretion to tailor support to those who would benefit most
Passion, enthusiasm, interest in furnishings, people skills and basic IT
Derry technology company
Belfast City Centre hotel
Attitude, enthusiasm and reliability
Passion and enthusiasm for the industry will open more doors
Final thoughts
Where will jobs be available?
Difference between employment growth and working age population growth, 2008-2024
The literature review highlighted that policies to take jobs to workers
are rarely effective
Origin of workers at
the Halifax call centre1
Only 30% of newlycreated jobs at a
number of expanding
sites went to those
not previously in work
(1) McInstry and Shuttleworth (2002)
32
Tackling barriers to mobility will require a concerted effort across policy areas,
but is essential to reducing social exclusion and enhancing competitiveness
i.
How could the government bring workers and jobs closer together,
without harming the overall competitiveness of Northern Ireland?
ii.
What scope is there to influence the mindset of those who prefer being
on benefits to working?
iii. How can Northern Ireland generate enough jobs to ensure that even
those at the ‘back of the queue’ stand a good chance of finding work?
iv. How can the government help the unemployed and inactive develop the
soft skills that employers value?
v. What steps could be taken to further reduce the ‘chill factor’ that can still
affect certain inner-city areas?
vi. Is there more that can be done on childcare to increase the mobility of
those with caring responsibilities?
Discussion

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