Workplace Employment Relations Survey
The Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) spans over two decades of data collection. The survey is jointly sponsored by the ESRC, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the UK Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES).
About the Workplace Employment Relations Survey
The purpose of each survey has been to provide large-scale, statistically reliable evidence about a broad range of employment practices across almost every sector of the economy. To that end WERS collects information from managers with responsibility for employment relations or personnel matters, employee representatives and employees themselves.
The specific objectives of WERS are:
- To map workplace employment relations in Britain and changes over time.
- To inform policy development and stimulate and inform debate and practice.
- To provide a comprehensive and statistically reliable dataset on British workplace employment relations, which is made publicly available and easily accessible.
The sixth Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS6)
The sixth Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS6) is currently underway. Fieldwork is due to be completed in the autumn and a first findings booklet will be published in Spring 2012. A book presenting more detailed findings of the survey will be available in December 2012.
A consultation amongst academic users of WERS data on the content of the next survey took place in 2010. The full report is available to download below:
The aim is to achieve an overall sample of 2,700 workplaces, which will combine 1,800 workplaces that are new to the study and repeat interviews at 900 workplaces which were first surveyed in 2004.
At each workplace, an interview with the most senior manager responsible for employment relations and personnel issues will be conducted. A self-completion survey on financial performance will be also be distributed to all trading sector workplaces. Additionally, an interview will be held with one trade union employee representative and one non-trade union representative where present (approximately 1,000 interviews are anticipated) and a self-completion survey with a representative group of up to 25 employees, randomly selected from each workplace participating in the study (approximately 25,000 completed surveys are expected).
There are five instruments in total, all of which are available to download from the main WERS website:
- Employee Profile Questionnaire (EPQ) – A self-completion questionnaire given to the manager respondent prior to the interview. The EPQ can be completed on paper or online.
- Management Questionnaire (MQ) – Face-to-face interview with the most senior manager responsible for staff and employment relations at the workplace.
- Financial Performance Questionnaire (FPQ) – A self-completion questionnaire distributed after the management interview, The FPQ can be completed on paper or online.
- Worker Representative Questionnaire (WRQ) – Face-to-face or telephone interview with the most senior representative of the largest recognised (or if none present, non-recognised) trade union and most senior non-union representative at the workplace.
- Survey of Employees Questionnaire (SEQ) – A self-completion questionnaire distributed to up to 25 employees in the workplace. The SEQ can be completed on paper or online.
How to access this resource
The WERS datasets are deposited in the ESRC Economic and Social Data Service and past outputs have included first findings booklets and more extensive sourcebooks.
In 2004 ESRC funded the WERS Information and Advice Service to assist researchers in accessing and analysing WERS5 data and maintains a database of publications that utilise the dataset.
For further information please visit the WERS website.
- Dr Brigid van Wanrooy, WERS6 Project Leader
Telephone: 020 7215 5890
- Claire Feary, ESRC Senior Policy Manager (Research Resources)
Telephone: 01793 442862