Social Sciences

The Institute for Work, Skills and Training conducts comparative interdisciplinary and ­international research with a particular focus on employment, welfare systems and education. A distinguishing feature of its research profile is the combination of basic and applied research. The Institute for Work, Skills and Training is part of many international research networks. The focus of the applied research is on programme evaluations of labour market, welfare and educational policies, as well as regional studies. Some key examples of the institute’s research projects are outlined below.
The IAQ has made several applications for EU funding within the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
At the end of 2012, the three-year project “Work and Life Quality in New and Growing Jobs” (WALQING), on which partners from ten EU countries collaborated, was concluded. At its centre was the question of the quality of employment relationships in different growing sectors (care, catering, waste management), and on determining how these vary within and between countries.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded three major consortium projects in 2011 and 2012 in which the IAQ was involved. One of these projects analysed onerous working conditions among highly qualified employees in the IT sector and investigated possibilities for ­aging- and age-appropriate labour. In another project, the role of vocational training in current operating strategies of organisational and personnel development was researched. Two further current studies deal with the linking of academic and ­vocational training: one looks at the development of dual degrees offering a new intermediate route to qualification, and the other investigates the academicisation of childcare training in terms of the difficult balance between professionalisation and practical relevance. Newly launched in 2012 was the project investigating personnel management that is sensitive to working life stages as innovation drivers in demographic change. The project has two scientific partners and various cooperating enterprises (among others BMW Fahrzeugtechnik, SAP, Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, EADS) and aims to develop and spread new concepts for personnel management sensitive to working life phases.
One particular success in 2011 came when the Institute for Work, Skills and Training was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) as the only social science institute alongside five economics institutes (IAB, IAW, ISG, RWI, ZEW) to evaluate minimum wage employment – the IAQ focused on the laundry and industrial cleaning sector. One of the key findings was that low wage employment could be shown to have negative employment ­effects in none of the eight evaluated sectors. An overview of results for the eight sectors can be found in the special issue of the Journal for Labour Market Research published in late 2012.