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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Linking Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to HMRC administrative data to analyse the impact of (vocational) education on jobs performed

Research overview

To examine the work done by people with vocational qualifications, and see whether the expected skills produced by vocational education are being used.

With longitudinal data, the project will also look at changes in occupation over time, looking at how people with vocational qualifications have progressed in terms of skill/the level of tasks undertaken, and which characteristics of qualifications are associated with such progression, or its absence.


This project will examine which jobs vocational education leads to, and which skills are being used in the job market – showing learners, companies, training providers and government which skills vocational education should be developing.

This will help to estimate future skills demand, and thus to plan which skills and qualifications will meet future demand. It will help young people move into the job market, help the Careers Service provide the best advice, and help the Skills Funding Agency to direct its funding.

Government departments

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ONS

More about the research

The Task Approach literature in Labour Economics has sought to explain the changes in the labour market, in terms of wages and employment over time as a function of the tasks involved in particular jobs which in turn influence labour demand. In particular, the extent to which the tasks involved in a job are routine or non‐routine is argued, and has been empirically shown, to determine the rate of replacement of labour by computers and computerised equipment.

This project aims to examine the jobs and career paths taken by those with intermediate and higher‐level vocational education. By linking learner data with labour market data by occupation, it will examine the tasks involved in the jobs carried out by those who have obtained vocational qualifications, broken down by type, level and subject of qualification. This data will allow us to determine the extent to which the skills acquired whilst learning for vocational qualifications are appropriate for the tasks such individuals undertake in their jobs. The extent to which the skills are well suited to the tasks performed may vary, and we will determine which qualifications, in terms of type, level and subject, are best matched in the labour market. It will also aim to determine whether the proportion of good matches varies over time, and across local labour markets.

The results of the analysis will show to which jobs vocational education leads, and so which skills are being used in the labour market. Changes over time and local variation are likely to be highlighted. The results will show parties, including learners, firms, training providers and government, which skills should be developed through vocational education, again with possible local variation, and also potentially which skills are not being provided in sufficient numbers.

Date approved

December 2016

Research team/lead researcher

Prof. Steven McIntosh, Prof. Andy Dickerson, and Dr Damon Morris, University of Sheffield

Page last updated: 24/10/2017