Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS)

This series brings together all documents relating to the Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS).

The Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS) is a national survey of people at work in Britain. It is the flagship survey of employment relations in Britain. It collects data from employers, employee representatives and employees in a representative sample of workplaces. WERS has been undertaken 6 times: 1980, 1984, 1990, 1998, 2004 and 2011. Fieldwork for the 2011 WERS (the sixth study) was completed in June 2012. Further information on the survey series is available from the WERs website.

The 2011 WERS is co-sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Acas, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). NIESR’s involvement is made possible through funding from the Nuffield Foundation.

The book of the 2011 WERS Employment relations in the shadow of recession is available to buy for £24.99.

The main objectives of WERS are to:

  • map workplace employment relations in Britain and changes over time
  • inform policy development and practice, and stimulate debate
  • provide a comprehensive and statistically reliable datataset on British workplace employment relations, which is made publicly available and easily accessible

The information collected in WERS comes from 3 distinct sources:

  • a random probability sample of workplaces in which face-to-face structured interviews are conducted with the most senior manager responsible for employment relations and personnel issues - in each workplace a self-completion questionnaire is distributed before the interview to collate information on the basic characteristics of the workforce, and a second questionnaire is left at the end of the interview to assess the financial performance of the workplace
  • survey interviews are undertaken in the same workplaces, with 1 trade union employee representative and 1 non-trade union representative where present
  • a self-completion survey with a representative group of up to 25 employees, randomly selected from each workplace participating in the survey

Some of the information that has been produced by the survey includes:

  • how workplaces are managed and organised
  • individual and collective representation at work
  • trade union recognition and membership
  • dispute resolution
  • fair treatment at work
  • family-friendly policies
  • employment equality, selection and recruitment
  • how learning and training activities are undertaken
  • adoption of high involvement management practices

Older information on WERS can be found on the National Archives website.

Key publications of the 2011 WERS

Key publications of the 2004 WERS

Published 23 January 2013