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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Employment Relations in the Shadow of Recession

Findings from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study

ISBN 9781137275769
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Paperback Ebook Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave

How have employment relations evolved over the last decade? And how did workplaces and employees fare in the face of the longest recession in living memory?

Employment Relations in the Shadow of Recession examines the state of British employment relations in 2011, how this has changed since 2004, and the role the recession played in shaping employees' experiences of work. It draws on findings from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study, comparing these with the results of the previous study conducted in 2004. These surveys – each collecting responses from around 2,500 workplace managers, 1,000 employee representatives and over 20,000 employees –provide the most comprehensive portrait available of workplace employment relations in Britain.

The book provides an in-depth analysis of the changes made to employment practices through the recession and of the impact that the economic downturn had on the shape and character of the employment relationship.

Brigid van Wanrooy is a Principal Research at Acas, UK.

Helen Bewley is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, UK. 
Alex Bryson is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, UK.
John Forth is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, UK.
Stephanie Freeth is a Senior Research Officer at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, UK.
Lucy Stokes is a Senior Research Officer at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, UK.
Stephen Wood is Professor of Management, University of Leicester, UK.

In the Shadow of Recession
Employment and Flexible Working
The Involvement of Employees in Workplace Change
Pay and Rewards
The Quality of Jobs and Employment
Employee Wellbeing
The Quality of Employment Relations
The Impact of Recession


The series of WIRS/WERS surveys in Britain have long been regarded internationally as the gold standard for the empirical study of work and employment. This fine book extends this tradition by presenting an authoritative analysis of the impact of the Great Recession on workplaces across the private and public sectors.' - Bill Roche, Professor of Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University College Dublin, Ireland
'With Britain in the grip of a prolonged recession, the findings of the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Survey have been keenly awaited. This authoritative overview and analysis is replete with insights into the variegated effects on employment relations, the responses of employers to the challenges arising and the underlying trajectory of workplace relations. It is a 'must read' for the academic and professional employment relations community.' - Paul Marginson, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Warwick, UK
'This book maintains the high standards of its illustrious predecessors while adding major new insights, notably on the effects of recessions on workplace employment relations. It marries meticulous description of trends and patterns with thoughtful analysis of key themes.' - Paul Edwards, Professor of Employment Relations, University of Birmingham, UK
'WERS is the definitive source of data on employment relations and it is difficult now to imagine how our understanding might have developed without it. This book provides us with an update to 2011 as well as insights – some surprising – on how the recession has shaped employment relations. It will be required reading for all HR professionals, employee representatives, policy makers, commentators and researchers with an interest in the world of work.' - Mark Beatson, Chief Economist, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
'WERS 2011 is an agenda-setting analysis of contemporary labour market, industrial relations and employment trends. It sets out in empirical detail the impact of the post-crash recession on UK workplaces that should give all those with an interest in policy making and industrial relations food for thought. From stagnant wages to zero hours contracts, WERS 2011 will certainly help shape the trade union movement's bargaining and campaign work in the years ahead.' - Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary
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