On 17 December 2020 the RSS Official Statistics Section (OSS) delivered a webinar which was preceded by their 2020 Annual General Meeting. They invited experts from HMRC and ONS to discuss a recent major development in official labour market statistics – the use of HMRC’s real-time Pay As You Earn data to complement traditional data sources such as the Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings. This new data source has provided much-needed insight into the labour market during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar covered the development of the new statistics, their recent use and how it fits into the existing statistical landscape.
The meeting was chaired by the RSS OSS Secretary for 2020 Daria Gromyko. The webinar was split into two segments, the first represented by speakers who were producing the data while the second half moved on to the user perspective and Q&As.
The following is a general overview of the presentations by each speaker. A recording of the webinar is available on the RSS YouTube channel. There is also a more detailed written report about the event.
Cliodhna Taylor - Previously Head of RTI Statistics at HMRC
Cliodhna presented on methodological developments to the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) statistical bulletin over the past year. She covered the challenges of adapting an administrative dataset to National Accounting principles, balancing the needs for an analytical micro-dataset with the needs for robust macro statistics, as well as developing reliable ‘flash’ estimates of payrolled employment and pay to inform our knowledge of the labour market during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she spoke about possible alternative uses of the data by statisticians and analysts. Following were key points of interest:
- What is PAYE RTI?
- How can we use PAYE RTI to make labour market statistics?
- How have the statistics helped us understand the labour market during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What does this make possible for analysts?
Debra Leaker - Head of Labour Market Co-ordination at ONS
Debra Leaker discussed how the RTI statistical bulletin has fit into the ONS statistical response to COVID-19. This included a discussion of where ONS sees the advantages of RTI being, as well as where traditional data sources such as the Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings will continue to play a leading role. Following were key points of interest:
- RTI publication development
- COVID challenges in measuring the Labour Market
- RTI vs ONS Labour Force Survey (LFS)
- RTI vs ONS Average Weekly Earnings (AWE)
The session then moved onto the Q&A and Discussion which can be viewed in the recording of the webinar.
Overall, the webinar was very informative and the contributions from each speaker were well received, especially since this is a very busy period for them and therefore their time was much appreciated.
Watch a recording of the webinar.
Read a written report of the event.
Hira Naveed is the RSS Official Statistics Section (OSS) Secretary.