Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Skills and Employment Survey

Start Date: September 2011

End Date: July 2013

Research Team

Alan Felstead, Cardiff University
Rhys Davies, WISERD Cardiff


WISERD is funding a boost to the Skills and Employment Survey to be carried out across Britain in 2012.  The overarching aim of the survey is to collect data on skills and employment experiences of those working in Britain in 2012, making it a key and distinctive resource for research on contemporary working life.

The Skills and Employment Survey (SES) will also provide continuity with and build on previous surveys funded by the ESRC, set a benchmark for future research in the field and allow some contemporaneous international comparisons to be made.

Stemming from this overarching aim, there are four further objectives to be addressed, using the survey data:

  1. Describe and analyse the level and distribution of skills requirements of jobs in British workplaces in 2012 and compare these patterns with earlier data points.

  2. Similarly, describe and analyse the level and distribution of key aspects of workers’ experiences of their jobs in 2012, and compare with earlier data points.

  3. Use the data to develop three distinctive original and substantive contributions to scholarship surrounding job quality and job skill.

  4. Make the data available and provide the necessary data support and infrastructure for further analyses by academic or policy-based researchers in the field of skills and job quality.


The research team has analysed the Welsh data from the survey and produced a number of reports based on this, along with other substantive contributions to scholarship surrounding job quality and skills.

Some key findings from the study include:

  • Jobs are less skilled in Wales than in the Rest of Britain or London and the South East, with part-time jobs in Wales among the lowest skilled of all.
  • The mismatch between the supply of, and the demand for, qualifications is proportionately larger in Wales than in other parts of Britain. However, the overqualified in Wales are better able to use their skills once in work; this reverses a pattern found in 2006.
  • The intensity of training is lower in Wales and it fell faster between 2006 and 2012 than anywhere elsewhere. Both the requirement to learn at work and the capacity to learn from other colleagues also fell.
  • Working hours are shorter, and job-related stress and work strain are lower in Wales than in the Rest of Britain or London and the South East.
  • Workers in Wales attach greater importance to employment and exhibit higher levels of organisational commitment compared to other parts of Britain.
  • Perceived levels of job security are higher in Wales than elsewhere in Britain. However, the costs associated with job loss are greater in Wales reflecting the relative lack of comparable employment alternatives.

The main report and two mini reports produced as a result of this project are available to download from the project website.

Report Data

It was not feasible to publish the data used to create the charts within the main report. Therefore, an accompanying Excel workbook containg data used to create the figures and tables in the report has also been released. Each worksheet refers to a different table or figure, and the first worksheet contains a table of contents, linking to the other sheets. This workbook is also available from the project website.

Data generated from the survey will be available for download from the UK Data Archive from January 2014.

Launch Event

A launch event for the study, entitled Work, Skills and Well-being in Wales: First Findings from the Skills and Employment Survey 2012, took place at Cardiff Universty on the 8th July 2013. The event was chaired by Professor Gareth Rees and included presentations from Scott Waddington, a Commissioner from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), Fiona Armstrong, Deputy Director for Policy, Resources and Communications, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and from the authors of the report. The presentation is available for download below.

Launch Presentation



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