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Centre for Research on Employment and Work (University of Greenwich) webinar

How labour markets have changed under Covid and Brexit

Date: 20th Jan 2022

Time 14:00 – 17:00

Location: Online – Eventbrite LINK  for registering (closes 24hrs before the event).

What is this webinar about?

Contrary to forecasts made in 2020, unemployment has not risen to seven million. Instead, unemployment has fallen and we have record levels of vacancies, over one million. A significantly large number of people have left the labour market and the UK now has a net reduction in its population. Many European workers have returned to their home countries. During the period of Covid, many workers have reviewed their work/jobs/careers and have sought new employment, seeking better pay, a better work-life balance or better benefits. Some have taken early retirement and may not return to work. One consequence is the emergence of widespread labour shortages; in road transport, hotels, restaurants, agriculture, construction, butchery etc. Employers have experimented with flexible working patterns during the pandemic and are now reviewing work-life balance to retain their skilled workers. Several are exploring the possibilities offered by a 4-day week. Atom Bank has moved to a 4-day week on full pay. Unilever is trialling the idea in New Zealand. The Spanish government is supporting companies that experiment with working time changes.

The speakers at this seminar will investigate how the labour market has changed, looking at some of the unpredicted developments and the way large numbers of people choosing to move jobs is leading to recruitment and retention problems for employers.


Tony Wilson,  Institute for Employment Studies:  ‘Recovering from Covid-19: The impacts of the pandemic on the labour market and where we go from here’. Tony will present analysis of the impacts of the crisis and the response so far, and set out what this may mean for future public policy and employer practice

David Freeman, Office of National Statistics: ‘Labour Market Statistics through the Covid-19 Pandemic’ – David will discuss what the ONS labour market statistics tell us about the impact of the pandemic on the UK labour market.

Anna Coote – New Economics Foundation: ‘The Case for a Four Day Week: Can part-time become the new full-time in the post-Covid era?’

About the Speakers:

Tony Wilson, Institute Director IES : Tony has worked in employment policy and research for most of the last twenty years, in a range of roles spanning central government and independent institutes.  He has particular expertise in labour market policy and analysis;  the design, delivery and evaluation of employment and skills programmes; supporting organisations to understand and apply evidence of ‘what works’; devolution and local delivery; and leading complex programmes.

David Freeman, Office of National Statistics: David is head of the Labour Market and Households team at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and his team is responsible for the production of the monthly labour market data. He has worked for the Civil Service since 1992, joining ONS in 1998. David has worked on a range of economic statistics, including producer prices and product statistics, and has been working in labour market statistics for the last ten years.

Anna Coote, New Economics Foundation. Anna is Principal Fellow at NEF. A leading analyst, writer and advocate in the field of social policy, she has written widely on social justice, sustainable development, working time, public health policy, public involvement and democratic dialogue, gender and equality. Her recent publications include The Case for a Four Day Week (2020 Polity Press).


If you have queries email  Dr Ruth Ballardie at


11th January 2022