An Unequal Wales Seminar delivered by Dr Robin Mann and Dr Stephen Drinkwater, WISERD

Previous research has indicated that there may be a labour market advantage for speakers of minority languages.

Evidence in support of this has been found for Welsh speakers in Wales by Drinkwater and O’Leary (1997) in terms of employment and Henley and Jones (2005) for earnings. Various explanations have been suggested including educational policies and higher attainment, increased cognitive ability, bilingual policies in the workplace, employment shifts following economic restructuring and better networks and information flows (Day, 2002; Williams and Morris, 1999).

This paper examined the labour market differences between Welsh and non-Welsh speakers by extending and updating the existing literature in two main ways.

Firstly, we used a mixed-methods approach by combining quantitative analysis of the Annual Population Survey (APS) with qualitative analysis of WISERD stakeholder data. Secondly, we distinguished between labour market differences within the public and private sectors. This was initially done by comparing the earnings and occupational achievements of Welsh speakers relative to non-Welsh speakers in both sectors using APS data, whilst also controlling for differences in personal and socio-economic characteristics.

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