CORDIS - EU research results

The changing nature of employment in Europe in the context of challenges, threats and opportunities for employees and employers

Periodic Report Summary 1 - CHANGINGEMPLOYMENT (The changing nature of employment in Europe in the context of challenges, threats and opportunities for employees and employers)

“The Changing Nature of Employment in Europe in the Context of Challenges, Threats & Opportunities for Employees and Employers”
Changing Employment is an EU FP7 Marie Curie-funded Initial Training Network coordinated by Professor Paul Stewart and Programme Administrator Claire Scott, University of Strathclyde UK. The ChangingEmployment ITN brings together 9 European full partner institutions and 8 European associated partner institutions. The network is training 12 doctoral students and 3 post-doctoral fellows who have embarked into research work on theme above under the guidance of senior academics from the different full partner universities. The aim of the ChangingEmployment programme is to train a cross-European and interdisciplinary network of policy-focused social scientists comprehensively skilled in understanding, analyzing, and responding to social and institutional employment changes in the context of a range of major challenges facing Europe today. The objectives of the programme are as follows:
1. Explore societal differences and national variations in employees’ experiences of working life.
2. Examine historic and changing relations between management and employees.
3. Develop a comparative understanding of the changing quality of work, organisation and employment in the context of the (above) changes.
4. Consider patterns and consequences of workplace inclusion-exclusion in relation to migration, employment and unemployment, shifting inequalities in terms of gender and ethnicity and the implications for older employees of new patterns of work and retirement.
5. Assess impact of the current economic retrenchment on these forms of employment in Europe.
These scientific questions are explored around three themes: (1) Management and Employee relations (ME); (2) Inclusion and Exclusion at work, including examination of the character of democratic engagement (IE); (3) Impact of the quality of work itself and change on Employee Well-being and Work-Life Quality (EW&WLQ). The Training objectives of the programme provide researchers with a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral understanding of these changing employment conditions within Europe. The programme has developed well and according to our objectives as outlined in our Annex 1 (1/12/2012). The following describes the ChangingEmployment itinerary and activities in pursuance of Annex 1.

1 December 2012 and 30 November 2014.
The initial consortium meeting took place in month 1 at the University of Strathclyde on 11 December 2012 and confirmed details of our prospectus as described in Annex I. At this initial consortium meeting the time lines for completing the Consortium agreement were confirmed, together with agreement on interview schedules for the ESRs and ER1. The consortium agreement was signed by all partners within our agreed time frame. The advertisements for the ESRs and ER posts were placed on Euraxess and relevant local (country) and other websites. The network team was pleased by both the response and the quality of the interviewees. These were confirmed at interviews at host settings in time for the start of the ESR and ER employment at the partner institutions, month 4 (agreed with PO to move start month from 3 to month 4). Subsequent to the initial consortium meeting we appointed our ChangingEmployment Administrator, Claire Scott, an expert in the field of European Commission funded research projects. In conjunction with FP4 Université d’Evry, host to ER1 (Post Doc) the construction of the programme’s website commenced in month 2 (see This is now the hub for regular access including deposits by our ESRs, ER, consortium seniors and our Associate partners who contribute in myriad ways to its advancement.

In Month 6: Year 1 (WP 4.1) a Network School, Disciplines in Work Sciences, took place at the University of Goteborg. This was successfully conducted under the organizational auspices of FP2 (Goteborg), the Programme Administrator and the Programme Co-ordinator as outlined in the Annex. This also was the context for attendance of our Full Partners and Associate Partners for the purposes of delivering WPs 10.2 and 10.3 (Supervisory Board and Theme sub groups). Between the Network School and Month 12 the ESRs bedded into their respective institutions preparing the ground work for their specific doctoral work at their host university (FPs) while meeting in their designated Thematic groups (1 - ME); (2 - IE) and (3 - EW&WLQ). ER 1 (Post Doc) also began the scoping work for the development of Theme 1, the responsibility for this post under the mentoring guidance of FP 4 (Université d’Evry). This was an important period which saw the embedding of the ESRs and the network as a whole and the website has proved to be a vital part of the communicative competence of all ESRs, ERs, seniors and APs both internally and beyond the network.

Month 12 delivered the Annual Colloquium and Network School (WPs 4.2 and 5.1) Comparative Labour Sociology at the Université d’Evry. In attendance were all FPs and a range of APs. Progress Reports for Themes 1, 2 and 3 whose sub groups (WP 10.4) met reported on and developed their thematic, collective, outputs. At the Colloquium, ESRs provided the initial findings of their individual research progress and activities at an open day (WP 9.1) during the course of the international conference on Central and Eastern Europe organised by Professor Vassily Kirov from Hungary. The ESRs’ first podcast video was completed and can be accessed via the programme website: the Facebook site and the YouTube Channel (WP 9.2).
Month 13: Year 1 ESR/ER e-newsletter (WP 9.3) was launched in December 2013, led and edited by ESRs supported by ER1 (Evry) The Newsletter is edited by a different FP host quarterly and is available on the ChangingEmployment web-site. The network circulates the newsletter widely through each own University, a variety of organisations and networks. Our webpage update is ongoing and years 1&2 review, theme progress, and research outputs are included. The on-going blog contains regular entries from ESRs where both ER1 and 2 mentor and prompt the ESRs. This is one of the ERs own developmental activities as delineated in Annex 1 deliverables. (See “Changing Employment in Europe” (WP11.4.

Month 18 saw the Network School, Labour markets, flexicurity & social dialogue (WP 4.3). This was an exceptionally pleasing event which in addition to our own ESRs witnesses the participation of 22 external PhD students. One of the events was chaired by local media and the dialogue and discussion was subsequently disseminated by her. A short documentary film was produced The school engaged in dialogue during the roundtable session with key figures from the European business and trade union policy communities, leading academics from the field of employment relations from Belgium, Germany, Holland and the UK.

Month 24 (November 2014): Year 2, Theme Progress reports (theme and individual), and updated PDPs were received in time for review at the Supervisory Board and Training meeting (WP10.7) held in Wroclaw. This was the occasion for Year 2 Network School: Comparative European social models (our WP 4.4). This coincided with our Year 2 Annual Colloquium (WP 6.1) Year 2 Subgroup meetings (WP 6.1) and Year 2 ITN Project Open Day (WP 9.4). An ESR poster session during the project open day was well received at the Social Boundaries of Work conference.

Very encouraging indeed is the fact that the majority of ESRs are now preparing some of their initial findings for wider dissemination in the designated areas of employee & employer regulation, migration, and work-life quality. The ESRs, about to enter their third year of doctoral work, are for the most part reaching the end of their own PhD specific field work and a number have already submitted their work to international and world class journals. Arguably, directly due to their engagement in forms of representation and participation beyond their own doctoral concerns due to their broad spectrum of knowledge accumulated in their Theme groups, several ESRs are engaged in significant work with either our APs or a range of social partners on the European stage (commercial companies and labour organisations. The network also now has its own in- house research paper series. This in part has been achieved due to nurturing supervision but is also an artefact of the synergies associated with our Thematic platforms. This is highly positive to the ESRs’ individual and collective development, and arguably earlier than would normally be anticipated for doctoral students. Indeed, three of the ESRs are already preparing for, and in a number of instances (ISA, ILPC and IIRA) have already spoken at, international social science colloquia. We are also very pleased by the engagement of our Associated Partners from the private and social sectors, taking it as their own, in fact. This is a proving to be a very pleasing outcome process for the Consortia. Two exemplars of this are to be found in the network set up by Theme 2 students, Sights and Sounds of Migration. This has attracted participation from a range of communities (social, political and scholarly) involving actors from social partners and third sector bodies. The spin-off from this led to research involving actors outside the network and supported by a government agency in Northern Ireland. This also engaged an AP from the third sector (leading, as a consequence, to work with another third sector company) such that the synergies prompted by the ESRs and ER have been quite significant reaching out beyond our immediate network into a host of other actor concerns. The second exemplar can be witnessed in added-value links with another Marie Curie network, INTEGRIM (CEU, Budapest). This is leading to an activity in the field of visual sociology and anthropology and will continue beyond the completion of the network.

Coordinator office contacts:
Professor Paul Stewart (Coordinator)
Claire Scott (Administrator)
Dept of Human Resource Management
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow, G1 1QE
Tel: +44 (0) 141 548 3113

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