Nigel Meager

BA, MPhil, FAcSS, FRSA

staff photo

Institute Director

nigel.meager@employment-studies.co.uk

Nigel is a labour economist by training, and an established international expert on labour market and employment policy issues. He has worked at IES since 1984, following posts at the Universities of Bath and Glasgow. He has been Director of the Institute since 2004. In 1990-91 he was a senior research fellow at the Social Science Research Centre (WZB) in Berlin.

He has a long and varied research track record covering the functioning of national, regional and local labour markets, unemployment, skill shortages, labour market flexibility, changing patterns of work and equal opportunity policies and practices. He has, since the late 1980s, had a particular interest in the role of self-employment and small businesses in the labour market, and has published widely on this topic.

A major strand of his work has focused on the evaluation of public training and employment programmes and active labour market measures, with a particular focus on the participation of disabled people and other disadvantaged groups in the labour market. He recently led the official evaluation of the UK government's Work Programme, for the Department of Work and Pensions. Much of his work has an international emphasis and he is especially interested in the comparison of labour market policies between European countries, and in the identification and transfer of good practice in policy development.

He has been (1996-99 and 2003-04) the UK expert on the European Commission's 'Employment Observatory' and a Thematic Expert for the Observatory (2011-13). In partnership with ÖSB Consulting in Vienna he jointly led (2003-08) the Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, and the Peer Review and Assessment in Social Inclusion (2006-2016), both on behalf of the European Commission.

He has been a specialist adviser to various select committees of the British House of Commons: the Education and Employment committee (in 1996-97, and 1998-99), the Trade and Industry committee (2004-05) and the Work and Pensions committee (2008-09). He has been the UK representative on the European Commission's Expert Group on the Employment of Disabled People and a member of the Employment and Training Committee of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. He has been a member of the Advisory Group on the Impact of Employment Regulation of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the expert advisory panel of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). He was also a Visiting Fellow of the UKCES (2011-12). From 2008-2012 he was chair of the Executive Committee of the UK Association of Research Centres in the Social Sciences (ARCISS). He is a Trustee of the Social Research Association and in October 2016 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of his contribution to social science.

Education

1979 Nuffield College, Oxford MPhil, Economics
1977 Wadham College, Oxford BA, Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Career

2004‑ Director, Institute for Employment Studies
2001‑2004 Deputy Director, Institute for Employment Studies
1993‑2001 Associate Director, Institute for Employment Studies
1992‑1993 Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Employment Studies
1990‑1991 Senior Guest Fellow, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Berlin
1984‑1990 Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Manpower Studies
1981‑1984 Research Fellow, Department for Social and Economic Research, University of Glasgow
1979‑1981 Research Officer, Centre for European Industrial Studies, University of Bath
1973‑1974 Research Assistant, Royal Institute of British Architects

Research publications

Articles and chapters

Conference appearances

  • The changing world of work: How do we make sure modern employment practices benefit all involved?, Meager N, Progress Labour Party Conference 2017 fringe event with IPSE and CRSE, Progress, Brighton, September 2017
  • Discussant, Meager N, Youth Transitions and Policy Innovation in Europe: Promising Trends and Tough Challenges, 24th International Conference of Europeanists, Glasgow, July 2017
  • Self-employment: independent ‘enterprise’, or precarious low-skilled work? The case of the UK, Meager N, Self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity, Utrecht University School of Economics, Utrecht, July 2016
  • Chair FEAD Network launch conference, Meager N, European Commission, Brussels, June 2016
  • Self-employment: independent ‘enterprise’, or precarious low-skilled work? The case of the UK, Meager N, International Conference on Microfinance, University of Bordeaux, France, October 2015
  • Welfare to Work: Commissioning for Innovation, Meager N, Labour Party Conference Fringe, Social Market Foundation, Brighton, September 2015
  • The UK Labour Market after Recession, Meager N, University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA): Summer Event, UCEA, London, July 2015
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Harnessing ICT for social action, a digital volunteering programme, at EU Peer Review in Social Protection and Social Inclusion, European Commission, Santiago do Compostela, March 2014
  • Moderator, Meager N, European Seminar: Evaluating and monitoring apprenticeship and traineeship schemes, European Commission, Brussels, February 2014
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, Peer review: The right to retirement pension information, EU Peer Review in Social Protection and Social Inclusion, Madrid, November 2013
  • Conference Moderator, Meager N, Advice on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes with ESF support, European Commission, Brussels, June 2013
  • What’s going on in the UK labour market? Myths and evidence, Meager N, National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (NICEC), London, May 2013
  • Self-employment: independent 'enterprise', or precarious low-skilled work? The case of the UK, Meager N, Ecole Thématique: Emploi Travail et Organisation, CNRS, Annecy, June 2012
  • Evaluation of the Work Programme, Meager N, Welfare to Work Convention, Inclusion, Birmingham, June 2012
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer review: Effects of life courses on women's pensions, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, Berlin, November 2011
  • Skills for self employment, Meager N, Skills Research Advisory Group, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, London, September 2011
  • The UK labour Market: what's going on?, Meager N, Jobs without growth?, TUC, London, July 2011
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review: A good place to grow older, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, London, January 2011
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, Peer Review: Using Reference Budgets for drawing up the requirements of a minimum income scheme and assessing adequacy, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, Namur, Belgium, November 2010
  • The Work Programme and Skills, Meager N, The 2010 Review Work Programme Symposium, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, London, October 2010
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer review: The Programme for developing local plans for social inclusion in Catalonia, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, Barcelona, October 2010
  • Welfare Reform: Can we crack it this time, Meager N, Seminar, Social Market Foundation, Birmingham, October 2010
  • Expert panellist, Meager N, Managing Uncertainty: A new deal? International challenges and the changing face of work. Work, Employment & Society Conference 2010, British Sociological Association, Brighton, September 2010
  • Keynote presentation: The recession and labour market policy responses in the EU, Meager N, 4th EU-India Joint Seminar on Employment and Social Policy, European Commission, Brussels, July 2010
  • Setting the scene for labour market research in EU2020, Meager N, European Employment Research Dialogue, European Commission, Brussels, May 2010
  • Active labour market policies in the UK: their evolution and evaluation, Meager N, Annual Flemish Labour Market Congress 2009, Steunpunt Werk en Sociale Economie (WSE), Mechelen, December 2009
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer review: Measuring the impact of active inclusion and other policies to combat poverty and social exclusion, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, Paris, France, December 2009
  • Panellist, Meager N, Fair Treatment at Work, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, London, October 2009
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review: The City Strategy for tackling unemployment and child poverty, EU Peer Review in Social Inclusion and Social Protection, London, June 2009
  • The Impact of the Recession on the Labour Market, Meager N, Office of National Statistics seminar, London, May 2009
  • The Employment Act 2008: Creating Fairer Workplaces, Meager N, Inside Government conference, London, May 2009
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Combining Choice, Quality and Equity in Social Services. EU Peer Review and Assessment in Social Inclusion, Copenhagen, April 2009
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on The New System to Follow-up the Unemployed. Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, December 2008
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Return of Women to the Labour Market. EU Peer Review and Assessment in Social Inclusion, Nuremberg, November 2008
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Higher Apprenticeships. Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Turin, October 2008
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Vocational Training for People at the Margin of the Labour Market, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Dublin, May 2008
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Increasing the Employment Rate of Older Workers through Lifelong Learning, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Reykjavik, December 2007
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Active Ageing Strategies to Strengthen Social Inclusion, EU Peer Review and Assessment in Social Inclusion, Helsinki, November 2007
  • Policies to integrate disadvantaged groups in the labour market, Meager N, Arbeidsparticipatie van iedereen… lukt dat?, Leiden, November 2007
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Matching Supply and Demand for Skills - the Welsh Approach, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Cardiff, October 2007
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Multi-Regional Operational Programme to Combat Discrimination, EU Peer Review and Assessment in Social Inclusion, Cordoba Spain, October 2007
  • Employment of Disabled People in Europe: some key issues (keynote speaker), Meager N, Optimising strategies for integrating people with disabilities into work, European Commission, Brussels, October 2007
  • Facilitator and joint chair, Meager N, Thematic Review Seminar on Measuring, Improving and Promoting the Effects of Lifelong Learning, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, September 2007
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on the New Work and Social Assistance Act in the Netherlands, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, The Hague, June 2007
  • expert contribution, Meager N, House of Lords EU Select Committee Enquiry into the EU's Green Paper on Labour Law, London, March 2007
  • Panel Speaker, roundtable discussion on happiness, Meager N, DTI Annual Labour Market Conference, DTI, London, December 2006
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Severance Pay Reform in Austria, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Vienna, November 2006
  • ICT strategy, disabled people and employment policy in the UK, Meager N, ICT, Disability and Employment in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK, Oslo, November 2006
  • Chair, EU Peer Review Programme on Social Inclusion, Meager N, Peer review on the Dutch model for amnesty of debts, EU, Rotterdam, November 2006
  • Co-ordinator and chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Service Voucher Scheme in Belgium, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, October 2006
  • Chair, EU Thematic Review Seminar, Meager N, Flexicurity in a context of restructuring, EU, Brussels, September 2006
  • facilitator and joint chair, Meager N, Thematic Review Seminar on 'Flexicurity' in a Context of Restructuring, Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, September 2006
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, Forecasting Labour Market and Skill Needs, Peer Review, EU Mutual Leaning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Helsinki, June 2006
  • Chair, Meager N, Conference of the Association of Research Centres in Social Sciences (ARCISS): Research Ethics in the Social Sciences, Association of Research Centres in Social Sciences (ARCISS), Manchester, June 2006
  • UK Policies for the Labour Market Participation of Disabled People, Meager N, Disability and Employment: Enabling and Disabling Factors, University of Westminster, London, May 2006
  • Chair, Meager N, Filling Delivery Gaps through Better Governance, Thematic Review Seminar, EU Mutual Leaning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, April 2006
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, The Employer Training Pilots. Peer Review, EU Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Sheffield, December 2005
  • Chair, Meager N, Sharing costs and responsibilities for lifelong learning, Thematic Review Seminar, EU Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, September 2005
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, Peer Review on Economic Migration in Ireland, EU Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Dublin, Eire, June 2005
  • Self-employment dynamics and transitional labour market: some more UK evidence, Meager N, Managing Social Risks through Transitional Labour Markets, Academy of Social Sciences, Budapest, May 2005
  • Co-ordinator and Chair, Meager N, Peer Review on the Dutch Youth Unemployment Task Force, EU Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, The Hague, The Netherlands, April 2005
  • Joint facilitator, Meager N, Comprehensive Strategies for Active Ageing, Thematic Review Seminar, EU Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, April 2005
  • Chair, Meager N, Increasing adaptability of workers and enterprises: Thematic Review Seminar of the European Employment Strategy, European Commission: DG Employment & Social Affairs, Brussels, September 2004
  • Labour Market Disadvantage, Meager N, Department of Work and Pensions Summer School, DWP, Trinity College, Cambridge, July 2004
  • Monitoring the Disability Discrimination Act, Hurstfield J, Meager N, Disability Rights Commission, Disability Rights Commission, London, June 2004
  • Co-ordination of European Employment Strategy Peer Review, Meager N, Data Warehouse Monitoring in the Public Employment Service in Austria, Vienna, June 2004
  • Aspects of health and safety and work-life balance in the UK, Meager N, European Employment Observatory Conference on Quality in Work, Dublin, April 2004
  • Co-ordination of European Employment Strategy Peer Review, Meager N, Parental Insurance and Childcare Provision in Sweden, Stockholm, April 2004
  • Disabled People and the Labour Market: has the DDA made a difference?, Meager N, Working Futures: Policy, Practice and Disabled People, Sunderland University, Sunderland, December 2003
  • Co-ordination of European Employment Strategy Peer Review, Meager N, Disability Management in the Netherlands, The Hague, November 2003
  • Co-ordination of European Employment Strategy Peer Review, Meager N, Women Promote Technology: Reducing the Gender Digital Divide in Skills and Employment in Germany, Berlin, October 2003
  • The costs and benefits to service providers of making reasonable adjustments for disabled people, under Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act, Meager N, Dewson S, Disability Rights Commission Seminar, Disability Rights Commission, London, August 2003
  • Peer Review of Equal Pay in Belgium: tackling the gender pay gap, Meager N, Peer Reviews of the European Employment Strategy, Brussels, June 2003
  • Peer Review of the Rapid Response Programme of Jobcentre Plus, Meager N, Peer Reviews of the European Employment Strategy, Newcastle, April 2003
  • Peer Review of the Finnish National Programme for Older Workers, Meager N, Peer Reviews of the European Employment Strategy, Helsinki, January 2003
  • What is a 'Healthy Labour Market' for the South East?, Meager N, Framework for Regional Employment Skills and Action (FRESA) for the SEEDA Region, Seminar for expert practitioners in labour market dynamics, SEEDA, Institute of Directors, London, July 2002
  • Active Labour Market Policies for Disabled People in the UK, Meager N, Williams M, Active Labour Market Policies for People with Disabilities: Facts and figures on use and impact, European Commission, Brussels, July 2002
  • Peer Review of Active Labour Market Policies, Meager N, Enterprise Ireland: Building Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Irish Industry, European Commission workshop, Dublin, October 2001
  • The situation of people with disabilities on the labour market in the EU: Lessons for policies and practice, Meager N, European Commission seminar, European Commission, Brussels, July 2001
  • Arbeitsassistenz - Support for the integration of disabled people into the labour market, Meager N, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment & Social Affairs, Labour Market Policy Peer Review Programme, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment & Social Affairs, Labour Market Policy Peer Review Programme, Vienna, Austria, January 2001
  • National Programme for Ageing Workers, Meager N, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, Labour Market Policy Peer Review Programme, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, Labour Market Policy Peer Review Programme, Helsinki, Finland, October 2000
  • Recruiting the unemployed: what can we learn from the existing research evidence?, Atkinson J, Meager N, Submission to the House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry on the recruitment of unemployment people, London, March 2000
  • The self-employed and lifetime incomes: successful entrepreneurs of a new group of ‘working poor’? Evidence from the UK, Meager N, Self-employment in advanced economies, Mannheim Centre for European Research, Mannheim, July 1999
  • Occupational Pensions and Disabled People, Meager N, Disability Rights Task Force seminar, Disability Rights Task Force, London, July 1999
  • Targeting the long-term unemployed through early identification, Meager N, Joint Employment Observatory Conference of the European Commission, Marseilles, June 1999
  • Gestion de la main d’ouvre juvénile par les entreprise, Meager N, Places des jeunes sur le marché du travail dans 6 pays européens, IRES, Paris, May 1999
  • The British Labour Market: unemployment, flexibility and labour market policy, Meager N, Labour Market in a European Context, VII CEMS Graduate Conference, Budapest University of Economic Sciences, March 1999
  • Monitoring the Disability Discrimination Act, Meager N, National Disability Council seminar, National Disability Council, London, March 1999
  • Evaluation of cases brought under the DDA: some early research findings, Meager N, Disability Law Conference, General Council of the Bar, London, February 1999
  • From salary workers to entrepreneurial workers?, Meager N, Transitional Labour Markets, WZB, Berlin, January 1999
  • Developments in the youth labour market in the UK, Meager N, Les jeunes, les femmes et l’emploi en Europe, Ministère de l’emploi et de la solidarité, Paris, September 1998
  • Active Labour Market Policies in Europe - Recent Trends, Meager N, Global Economic Changes, Skills and International Competitiveness, Employment Policy Institute/International Labour Office, London, November 1997
  • More intensive jobsearch through less generous benefits?, Meager N, European Employment Observatory conference, European Employment Observatory, Stockholm, June 1997
  • Transitional Labour Markets. ‘Bridges’ between dependent and self-employment, Meager N, New Institutional Arrangements in the Labour Market, Euro Academy of Urban Environment, Berlin, April 1997
  • Self-employment and transitional labour markets, Meager N, Social Integration through Transitional Labour Markets, Wissenschaftszentrum, Berlin, January 1997
  • Evaluation of policies against long-term unemployment, Meager N, Evaluation Systems for Employment and Vocational Training, European Social Fund, Portugal, December 1996
  • Evaluating Wage Subsidies for the Long-term Unemployed in the UK, Meager N, Labour Market Policy and Evaluation, Lisbon, November 1996
  • Labour Market Policies Against Long-term Unemployment, Meager N, Unemployment, Policy and Local Strategies, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, October 1996
  • British Labour Market Policies for Long-Term Unemployed, Meager N, Long-Term Unemployment: a European Problem, Landesakademie fur Struktur und Arbeit, Genshagen, Germany, June 1996
  • Employability and Labour Market Disadvantage, Meager N, Employability, Industry Parliament Trust, St Andrews, April 1996
  • Member of a Discussion Panel on Strategic development of TECs - How to Best Fulfil TEC Mission Objectives, Meager N, Strategic TEC Development, AIC Conferences, London, January 1996
  • Arbeitsmarktpolitik fur Existenzgrunder: Internationale Erfahrungen der Existenzgrundngsforderung von Arbeitsolosen, Meager N, Discussion Paper FS1 95-209, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fur Sozialforschung, November 1995
  • Wasted Abilities: the labour market position of disabled people, Meager N, Removing the Barriers: Legal Services & the Legal Profession, Law Society - Research and Policy unit, Law Society, London, June 1995
  • Wasted Abilities: the Labour Market Position of Disabled People, Meager N, Disabled People: Maximising Labour Market Opportunities, Policy Studies Institute, London, April 1995
  • Economic Strategy Kent and East Sussex, Meager N, SERPLAN Workshop, Kent and East Sussex County Councils, Maidstone, March 1995
  • Small Firms and the Rural Labour Market, Meager N, The Countryside Means Business: Small Firms in the Rural Economy, Rural Development Commission, London, March 1995

Advisory roles and affiliations

  • Trustee of the Social Research Association (2016 - present)
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (2016 - present)
  • Adviser to the Austrian Labour Ministry panel on Fiscal Impact of Active Labour Market Policies (FISCATIV) (2016 - 2016)
  • UKCES Visiting Research Fellow (2011 - 2012)
  • Thematic expert for the European Employment Observatory (2011 - 2016)
  • Member of the Advisory Group of the National Nursing Research Unit (2008 - 2014)
  • Member of the expert advisory panel of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2008 - 2011)
  • Specialist Adviser to House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (2008 - 2009)
  • Chair of the executive committee of the Association of Research Centres in the Social Sciences (ARCISS) (2007 - 2010)
  • Member of the Expert Advisory Panel of the Sector Skills Development Agency (2007 - 2008)
  • Member of East Sussex County Council's Excellence Awards Panel (2006 - 2006)
  • Member of the executive committee of the Association of Research Centres in the Social Sciences (ARCISS) (2005 - 2014)
  • Member of the Advisory Forum on the Impact of Employment Policies of BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (2005 - 2010)
  • Special adviser to the DTI select committee of the House of Commons inquiry on the impact of employment regulation (2004 - 2004)
  • Chair of Board of Advisory Council of Skills Insight (2003 - 2005)
  • UK representative on the European Commission Employment Observatory (SYSDEM) (2003 - 2004)
  • UK representative on the European Commission's Expert Group on the Employment of People with Disabilities (2001 - 2002)
  • Expert Adviser to House of Commons Select Committee for Education and Employment (1998 - 1999)
  • Member of the RNIB's Research Panel (1997 - 1998)
  • Research Panel of the Employment Policy Institute (1997 - 1998)
  • UK representative on the European Commission Employment Observatory (SYSDEM) (1996 - 1999)
  • Expert Adviser to House of Commons Select Committee for Education and Employment (1996 - 1997)

Projects