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New evidence for policy change on work/life balance, low pay and adult mental health

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Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, led by a team of experts at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, has published its sixth annual Insights report, providing new findings for researchers and policy makers on the changes and stability in the lives of people in the UK. The study has been collected data from individuals in 40,000 households since 2009.

The new report showcasing latest research using Understanding Society data covers three key policy areas; low pay and work, adult mental health and work/life balance.

The report includes featured commentary from Kate Bell from the Trade Union Congress, Peter Cheese from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Paul Farmer from Mind.

David Walker, Chair of the ESRC’s Governing Board for Understanding Society said, “Understanding Society has become an extraordinary resource during an unsettled decade. Launched just as the financial crisis unfolded Understanding Society has dealt with the impact on households of recession, austerity and other consequences of the crash.”

Professor Susan Harkness, Director of Understanding Society’s Policy Unit said, “Many policy problems are better understood with longitudinal data such as Understanding Society. It is used to help understand income and poverty dynamics; family stability; and work and pay progression. Specifically, the type of questions that were addressed in this edition of Insights help us understand more about the implications of changes in the labour market for future job prospects, inequalities in mental health and challenges and successes in balancing the demands of work and home lives.”

Chapter by chapter

  • Theme one highlights new insights into people’s work histories and experiences. The chapter builds a picture of the progression and change in people’s working lives.
  • Theme two investigates the wellbeing of adults in the UK by looking at the mental health of ethnic minority people, adults with likely intellectual disabilities, people with socio-economic disadvantage and the LGB community.
  • Theme three studies people’s working lives, their home lives and how the two interact. Flexible working arrangements and caregiving are also explored.

Read Insights 2017

Image credit: Anthony Cullen