The Work Foundation

The Work Foundation is the leading think tank for improving work in the UK. We have been an authoritative, independent source of ideas and analysis on the labour market and the wider economy for over a hundred years.

The Work Foundation builds upon the legacy of the Industrial Society, out of which we were born in 2002. Since our establishment by Sir Robert Hyde on 3 April 1918, we have worked to break down the barriers individuals and communities face in accessing good work.

We believe everyone should have access to secure, rewarding and high-quality work. By engaging directly with workers, employers, policymakers and leading academics, we deliver rigorous applied research to tackle structural inequalities in the labour market and improve working lives across the UK.

Although based in London, we are part of Lancaster University Management School, and work with a range of academics across our research programmes. This enables us to harness the research produced within the School and provide new and impactful insights for practitioners and policymakers. We also work with a range of external partners and organisations across our various research and engagement activities.


Latest reports

Time off: redesigning leave policies to support longer, healthier working lives

This report from UK think tank The Work Foundation investigates whether current time-off policies are sufficient to support an older and sicker workforce stay-in work. Work Foundation analysis shows time off in the UK has become widespread, but access to it unequal. We found that 1.15 million workers are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay...

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Shifting priorities? Employer responsibility in the third year of the cost of living crisis

This report from UK think tank The Work Foundation looks at how employers are supporting their workers with rising costs. Work Foundation analysis shows that low paid workers are vulnerable to the continued cost of living crisis as only 30% of British firms plan above inflation pay rises this year. Our new report with the...

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Double jeopardy: insecurity at work and at home

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at the UK's private rented sector. This report from UK think tanks The Work Foundation looks at the UK's private rented sector. Our analysis shows that 1.4 million UK workers face the ‘double jeopardy’ of insecurity at work and at home as private rents hit...

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Zero choices: Swapping zero-hour contracts for secure, flexible working

This report from UK think tank The Work Foundation investigates the contemporary use of zero-hour contracts in the UK. Analysis by the work foundation has found that a record 1.1 million working age people primarily work under zero-hour contracts, the poster child for insecure work. Our new briefing investigates the contemporary use of zero-hour contracts...

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The UK Insecure Work Index 2024

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation suggests that work has become less secure in the UK in the last year. New in-depth research suggests that work has become less secure in the UK in the last year as workers have faced the worst cost of living crisis for 41 years. Three in...

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Employer briefing:Supporting workers in insecure jobs

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation provides guidance for senior leaders and managers to support workers in insecure jobs. In the UK, 6.2 million workers are in severely insecure jobs, potentially leading to job loss, poor health, and limited employment rights. The Work Foundation and CMI's analysis indicates that effective management practices...

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City region employment profiles

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation takes a deep dive into insecure work and employment. New analysis that builds on research presented in our recent ‘Delivering Levelling Up? How secure work can reduce regional inequality’ report and takes a deep dive into insecure work and employment in nine Mayoral Combined Authorities, Greater...

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Managing insecurity: the role of good management

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at the critical role that good management practices can play in mitigating job insecurity. Insecure workers who feel they are treated well at work are 7.5 times more likely to be satisfied with their job. This research, employing a mix-method approach, examines the critical role...

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Delivering Levelling Up? How secure work can reduce regional inequality

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at how secure work can reduce regional inequality. This new report reveals the regions with the highest and lowest levels of ‘severely insecure’ work (employment that is involuntarily temporary or part-time, or when multiple forms of insecurity come together, such as casual or zero-hours contracts,...

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Limiting choices: Why people risk insecure work

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at the constraints and choices people face when they decide to engage in insecure work. New research explores the constraints and choices people face when they decide to engage in insecure work. Many of those in insecure work find themselves having to trade security for...

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The disability gap: Insecure work in the UK

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation presents new analysis of labour market data showing disabled workers more likely to be in severely insecure work. New analysis of UK labour market data reveals disabled workers are 1.5 times more likely than non-disabled workers to be in severely insecure work. Some groups are particularly...

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Employer briefing: Financial wellbeing during the cost of living crisis

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at how the cost of living crisis is shaping the way employers approach financial wellbeing at work. This employer briefing draws on Work Foundation research exploring how the cost of living crisis is shaping the way employer approach financial wellbeing at work. Illustrating current practice...

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Shifting sands

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at employer responsibility during the cost of living crisis. We are living through an unparalleled and enduring crisis in living standards. This briefing examines how the cost of living crisis is shaping the way employers approach financial wellbeing at work, analysing support available for workers...

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A year of uncertainty?

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at the Retained EU Law Bill 2022 and UK workers’ rights. New analysis from the Work Foundation at Lancaster University reveals that Government plans to rush the ‘sunsetting’ of EU laws by the end of 2023 will put the rights and protections of more than...

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The gender gap

This report from UK think tank the Work Foundation looks at the gender insecurity gap. New analysis of UK labour market data has identified a gender insecurity gap, with working women nearly twice as likely as working men to be in severely insecure work – and the situation worsens for mothers, disabled women and women...

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