March 10, 2017
The number of days taken as sick leave in the UK has fallen to the lowest rate since records began, according to the latest release of data from the Office for National Statistics. In 2016, about 137 million working days were lost to illness, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. The latest figures represent the lowest number of days lost since reporting began in 1993. Days lost have been falling since 2003 and particularly since the economic downturn of 2007-8, notes the ONS. This might suggest people are struggling in to work when ill out of fear, but that may be only part of the story as the growth in flexible working will also have had a significant impact. As always, the data throws up some interesting comparisons between demographic groups and sectors although the context is not always as clear or as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
March 9, 2017
As has been the case with recent UK Government Budget announcements, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Budget addressed a number of issues related to the workplace, technology and infrastructure. It was the first Budget delivered in the post Brexit era and this clearly informed many of the announcements made. While most of the headlines over the past 24 hours have related to the changes to the tax status of the self-employed as a way of raising around £2 billion, the announcements also covered a broad range of topics related to the workplace, HR, technology and property sectors and have drawn an immediate response from key figures in the sector. These include nearly half a billion pounds relief on the vexed question of business rates reforms, a new focus on technical qualifications and a greater investment in 5G and other forms of digital infrastructure. We’ll be having our own say about the implications of the Budget in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s a rundown of the key announcements and the reaction of industry experts.
March 6, 2017
Younger workers are less and less loyal to employers, which is driving firms to place greater emphasis on benefits, empowerment and a better working environment, according to a study from ReportLinker. The small scale online study of 500 people found that Millennials are less likely than older generations to say they’re highly committed to their employer, with just 40 percent saying they somewhat agree with this statement compared to 66 percent of older workers say they’re highly committed to their organisation. The report concludes that this is encouraging employers to introduce new ways of winning the loyalty of employees. For example, 87 percent of employees who are more involved in decision-making are also more likely to say they are committed to their employers although, as always, we should be wary of the distinction between correlation and causation.
March 3, 2017
The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has published its annual collection of articles addressing today’s pressing issues for organisations. In acknowledgement of current turbulent times, the team of researchers and consultants have pulled together existing research and their own insights from working with organisations, offering their reflections on how leaders and HR practitioners can successfully navigate the imminent challenges. The collection, Darkening Skies? IES Perspectives on HR 2017, reflects the current sense of uncertainty around what future awaits. The shift towards new and more precarious forms of work, made possible by the growth in digital platforms and solutions, is a recurring topic appearing in many of the articles. They also explore the possible effects and mitigations of known issues such as the ageing workforce and its associated health implications; the growing need to support employee financial wellbeing; and the dangers of ignoring the employee voice.
March 3, 2017
The average amount of overtime workers put in equates to around 68 working days a year and the fact that only one third are paid for this means the majority of people are essentially working for free until the 9th of March each year, claims a new study. The research by TotallyMoney.com with OnePoll, which looked into overtime in the UK in 2017 found that unsurprisingly 60 percent of British workers say they don’t have a good work-life balance. Common reasons given for working overtime were pressures from colleague and excessive workloads; with almost 65 percent of people surveyed not being paid for overtime worked. Only a third of British workers say they typically leave work on time; which ties in with recent TUC analysis which revealed that the number of employees working longer hours grew by 15 percent over the last five years. Working longer hours, warns the union, not only has negative impacts on health, but can actually lead to workers being less productive.
March 1, 2017
Workplace wellbeing strategies are being implemented by employers at an unprecedented rate, with 45 percent of UK companies now having a clearly-defined wellbeing strategy in place, compared to less than a third (30 percent) in 2016, claims a new report. According to ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2017: The evolution of workplace wellbeing in the UK’ from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), in association with Punter Southall Health & Protection, of those that don’t, virtually all plan or wish to implement one – with 46 percent planning on implementing one this year, 24 percent in the next few years and a quarter (25 percent) having it on their ‘wish list’. Over a third (37 percent) launched their wellbeing strategy to improve employee engagement, and just over a quarter (26 percent) to improve organisational culture. Other drivers included improving productivity levels (11 percent), reducing long and short-term sickness absence (6 percent & 5 percent) and retaining talent (5 percent).
February 28, 2017
New and updated guidance s being published today by Acas to help employers and their staff understand the many different types of employment arrangements that exist in the modern workplace and their legal entitlements. The revised guidance is released against the backdrop of Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the Royal Society of the Arts) review which considers the implications of new forms of work driven by digital platforms, for employee rights and responsibilities, employer freedoms and obligations, and the existing regulatory framework surrounding employment. The new Acas guidance reflects these changes to the way in which people work, are expected to work in the future, and follows recent legal cases about employment status; including the Pimlico Plumber and Uber decisions.
February 28, 2017
The rise of the gig economy and social media platforms have pushed creative and design jobs up the salary ranks, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk. In January, average salaries in this sector saw an annual increase of 2.2 percent to £31,828, with its popularity being driven by factors such as the new digital age coupled with the expertise of graduates who step into the jobs market with a fresh outlook on social media channels such as Snapchat and Instagram, which are highly valuable to employees. Across the job market, the employment rate stands at 74.6 percent, the highest since comparable records began in 1971 according to the ONS. This has been helped by a record proportion of women in work, with so-called ‘returnships’ – a type of later-life work experience helping older people, predominantly women back into the workplace – boosting the figures. Immigration may have tailed off in the wake of Brexit, but this also previously helped stimulate the jobs market.
February 28, 2017
A majority of older workers (55+) in the UK are bracing themselves to continue working until they are 70 years old, but three quarters of employees don’t think employers are doing enough to support them, according to new research by the CIPD. In a survey of more than 1,600 UK employees, more than a third (37 percent) believed that they will have to work past the widely accepted retirement age of 65, a figure which jumps to 49 percent among workers over 55 years old. Among those who predict they will work past 65, the average age they expect to actually retire is 70. The most common reasons for employees wanting to work past 65 the belief it will keep them mentally fit (32 percent), followed by a desire to be able to earn enough money to continue to enjoy themselves. However, the research has also found that many employers aren’t doing enough to support older workers in the workplace. Just one in four (25 percent) employees believe that their employer is prepared to meet the needs of workers aged 65 and over, demonstrating how much work organisations need to do in order to prepare for the increased numbers of older workers in the workplace.
February 23, 2017
Implementing new technologies over the next 12 months is of primary importance for senior managers, with nearly two-fifths of finance directors saying digital transformation is one of their greatest priorities. Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, chief financial officers (CFOs) are focusing on increasing profitability (41 percent) and driving overall company growth (39 percent) in the year ahead, according to research from, Robert Half Management Resources which claims that CFOs and finance directors (FDs) will assume more responsibility for balancing traditional financial responsibilities with developing business strategy. The use of temporary and interim professionals also looks set to continue with a third of CFOs and FDs planning to use temporary staff for business transformation projects to either fill vacated positions or support active expansion. In the long-term, 31 percent of finance executives plan to actively add new permanent positions to implement the company’s digitisation and automation efforts over the next 12 months.
February 22, 2017
If the Government will fail to achieve its goal of eliminating the gender pay gap in a generation if it continues to ignore the evidence which it is being given, a cross-party committee of MPs has said. The Women and Equalities Committee is disappointed with the Government’s response to a series of recommendations it put forward last March, which it says shows that the Government is not effectively tackling the structural causes of the gender pay gap. While the Government’s recognises the business case for reducing the gender pay gap and acknowledges structural factors contributing to the pay gap, including women doing jobs for which they are overqualified, concentration in part-time work, and being penalised for taking time out of work to raise children; it rejects most of the Committee’s seventeen evidence-based recommendations for addressing these issues. Instead it highlights gender pay gap reporting, as “key to accelerating progress,” and maintains that current policies on Shared Parental Leave, flexible working, and supporting women back into work are adequate.