In July 2016 the Public Policy Institute for Wales brought together policy makers and practitioners for a workshop to explore new directions in employment policy. Professor Anne Green from Warwick University presented the interim findings of her study of the role of growth sectors in helping to reduce poverty. The key messages from the research were that:
- There are significant differences between sectors in terms of the kinds of employment opportunities which they provide.
- Low pay is not therefore attributable solely to an individual’s skill levels and qualifications. It is also related to which sector they work in.
- Some growth sectors are characterised by low pay and may not offer a route of out in work poverty.
- Current policies focus on supporting people to access employment. More could be done to help those who are in work to achieve career progression.
The workshop participants discussed the implications of these findings on policy and practice. Our report summaries their conclusions. The key messages were that:
- Wales needs an economic strategy which identifies sectors which have the greatest potential to provide sustainable employment.
- Training and education policy should be designed to provide the skills that are needed by these sectors.
- Sector based policies need to be tailored to local economies and take account of variations in employment opportunities in different parts of Wales.
- Policies designed to develop sustainable employment need to consider the needs of Small to Medium Size Enterprises which may be different to those of larger firms.
- Wales needs an effective all age careers service that equips people to achieve career progression and employs advisers who understand the needs of sectors which have the greatest potential to provide sustainable employment.