module specification

FE6056 - Issues in Labour Markets (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Issues in Labour Markets
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
105 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   2000 words individual coursework
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module enables students to acquire a systematic knowledge and understanding of economic theory, applications, current issues, policies and empirical evidence in the labour market.

It develops the ability to think independently about labour market issues; apply economic principles and analysis in a variety of contexts in the labour market, business and government and drawing on the models and tools developed.

It examines a wide range of labour market challenges such worker recruitment, retention, pay, reward, wage differentials, income inequality, gender and race pay gaps, unemployment and trade unions,

It instils an appreciation of the economic dimension of wider social, political, national and international human resource issues.

In this module, equality is promoted by treating everyone with equal dignity and worth, while also raising aspirations and supporting achievement for those students with diverse requirements, entitlements and backgrounds

Students are encouraged to reflect and draw on their diverse socio-cultural
backgrounds and educational and work experiences.

A range of transferrable and subject specific skills are developed, in particular: self- assessment and reflection; written and oral communication; subject research; review and evaluation of available literature and evidence; data and quantitative analysis; critical thinking; thinking independently and problem solving.


Personnel economics: examination of different labour market contracts and compensation methods, worker motivation and effort, cooperation and competition, retention, promotion, worker compensation including bonuses, and analysis of recent empirical evidence in the UK and US.

Wage distribution: analysis of wage and income inequality with reference to the impact of human capital, skill-biased technological change, globalisation, trade unions and the government’s welfare and taxation policies.

Labour market discrimination: gender and race discrimination in the UK and EU, pay gaps, occupational segregation, anti-discrimination legislation with reference to the UK and EU.

Unemployment: definition, measurement, theory, evidence, and policy discussion, analysis of recent trend in unemployment in the UK and factors influencing it.

Trade unions: analysis of recent trends in trade union membership, composition and power in the UK and US, impact on labour market outcomes including pay, strike action and economic performance.

LO1, LO2, and LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students’ learning is organised around formal direct contact time with the teaching team, and reflective independent learning. Student formal contact time is normally 3 hours per week consisting of 2 hour lectures and 1 hour seminars. Lectures are interactive and deliver core subject knowledge, theory and analysis in labour market economics. Seminars are student centred and emphasise student learning through discussion, solving economic problems, presentation of journal articles and formative feedback.

Individual presentations of journal articles will enable students to review and discuss labour market issues and problems faced by organisations, government policy interventions, and distributional and ethical issues.

Students are expected to complement the 'formal' learning activity with independent reading, engaging with research published in academic journals, participating in class discussions, solving set problems and preparing for coursework.

Professional and transferable skills are developed in lectures and seminars, and through independent directed learning and assessment. Skills development is enhanced through working cooperatively solving economic problems and discussion of journal articles.

The virtual learning environment platform (WebLearn), supports relevant module learning and teaching materials such as lecture slides, seminar questions, coursework brief, assessment and grading criteria, feedback arrangements, module handbook, journal articles and links to online resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of theories, issues, problems and policies in economics of human resources
  2. Apply economic reasoning in a critical manner to areas such as trade unions, personnel economics, reward systems, wage differentials, income inequality, gender and race pay gaps and unemployment.
  3. Examine, provide evidence and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data to understand and critically evaluate a wide range of labour market issues.

Assessment strategy

Students are encouraged to carry out an individual presentation on a journal article during seminars and receive formative feedback. This presentation may be on the topic of their chosen essay and enables them to reflect on their learning in preparation for their coursework. Students receive formative feedback on their participation in class discussions and solving set problems during seminars.

The summative assessment is an individual 2000 words coursework assessing learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 and is due in week 11.

This coursework will assess: the student’s knowledge and understanding of labour market covering theory, issues, policy and application and ability to use and evaluate qualitative and quantitative evidence.

Skills assessed are: subject research, written communication; data and quantitative analysis; review and evaluation of available literature and evidence; critical thinking and problem solving.

A feed-forward strategy is used to provide early feedback to students to improve their final submission. Use of the feed-forward strategy and class discussion of a detailed grading and assessment criteria create an opportunity for dialogue between students and staff and promote shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made.


Core Textbook:

Borjas, G. (2020). Labour economics, 8th Ed., New York, McGraw-Hill. 
    [Hard copies available at 331 BOR]

Ehrenberg, R.G. and Smith, R.S. (2017). Modern labour economics: theory and
    public policy,13th Ed., Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge.
   [This is an E-book. Hard copies are available at 331 HER]

Additional Textbooks and Reading:

Boeri, Tito and Jan Van Ours (2013). The economics of imperfect labour market, 2nd
    ed., Princeton, Princeton University Press.  [This is an E-book. Hard copies available at
    331.12 BOE]

Lazear, E. P. (2007). Personnel economics for managers, 2nd Edition, Pearson
    Education, Ch.6, 7. [Hard copies are available at 658.3 LAZ]

Layard, R., Nickell, S. and Jackman, R. (2005). Unemployment, macroeconomic
    performance and the labour market, 2nd Ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press.
    [Hard copies are available at 331.137 LAY]

McConnel, C.R., Brue, S.L. and Macpherson, D. (2016). Contemporary labour
    economics, 11th Ed., Dubuque, Iowa, McGraw. Hill Education. [Hard copies are 
   available at 331 MCC]