April 28, 2017
Employees coming into work when sick are contributing to a rising trend of ‘presenteeism’ across the UK, with more than half (52 percent) of UK workers admitting to going to work when their performance is negatively affected by work-related health issues, a new survey claims. A third (34 percent) of workers have even considered moving jobs due to the negative impact of their work environment on their health – the highest percentage across Europe. The report from Fellowes, published to coincide with World Day for Safety and Health at Work, argues when a worker is present but not able to perform their function properly, it compromises their productivity. With most employees continuing to work at sub-par levels rather than taking days off to recover, this also prolongs the effect of illness. Subsequently, businesses are experiencing a detrimental knock-on impact on the quality and volume of work produced, with a further impact on overall business performance.
April 27, 2017
Employees are divided on whether remote access to the workplace is really a positive or negative development, with almost a third of UK workers (32 percent) feeling that having remote access to the workplace means they can’t switch off in their personal time. According to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report, two-fifths of UK workers (40 percent) admit to actively checking their work mobile or emails at least five times a day outside of working hours. Nearly a fifth (18 percent) feel as though they are under surveillance with remote access to work, and 17 percent say it makes them feel anxious or even impacts their quality of sleep. However, almost a third (30 percent) of employees say they feel empowered by having remote access to the workplace, showing a divide in opinion. Indeed, more than half of employees (53 percent) say it helps them to work flexibly and more than a third (37 percent) say it makes them more productive.
April 27, 2017
More than six in ten workers value happiness at work over salary and even those more motivated by salary agree that a setting that allows friendships to flourish could provide invaluable benefits for businesses, a new survey suggests. The research by Wildgoose found that 57 percent of respondents thought having a best friend in the office made their time at work more enjoyable, almost a third were more productive and over one in five said it boosted their creativity. The survey also highlighted the differences in attitudes across various groups and demographics. Women were far more likely to prioritise happiness, with eight in ten placing it above salary, compared to just 55 percent of males. The job level of an employee also played a significant role. For 85 percent of managers, salary was deemed more important, while 70 percent of entry-level, interns, and executives chose happiness.
April 25, 2017
Four in 10 employees (39 percent) feel they are not well managed at work and are out of their depth in their roles, and 26 percent of employees don’t believe they have the right skills or experience to do their job properly in the first place, a new report claims. The research by recruitment firm, Robert Half UK also found that nearly one in five employees (18 percent) are not clear of what is expected of them at work. The research shows employees want better management and guidance from their bosses, particularly as they progress in their careers. Employees currently feel they have more support and training early on in their careers, with 71 percent of 18-34 year olds, claiming they are well managed. In comparison, just over half (56 percent) of 55+ year olds feel the same. To resolve this, managers need to set out clear expectations, offer regular training and opportunity for assessment, while employees also need to assume responsibility and ask for help.
April 19, 2017
As the country gears up for another general election, the CIPD warns today that the UK lags well behind its competitors in Europe and much of the OECD in literacy and numeracy, learning and development, and digital skills. According to the new analysis, this is largely due to the fact that UK employers train less and invest less in skills than most other EU countries. In its report – From ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’: making the UK’s skills system world class’ – the CIPD warns that the UK is sleepwalking into a low-value, low-skills economy which leaves the nation ill-prepared for its post-Brexit future, particularly if the UK is to face restrictions on accessing talent from outside of the UK. The HR body is urging the Government to make funding available to tackle the problem in the workplace. The analysis, which forms part of the CIPD’s formal response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, highlights multiple failings in the UK.
April 14, 2017
The OECD has published a new report which uses data from firms in eight countries (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom) to assess the link between ‘business dynamics’ and productivity. The study, Business Dynamics and Productivity, claims that a dynamic business environment plays ‘an important role not only as a key driver of job creation but also as an engine of productivity growth. A growing body of research highlights significant differences in business dynamics across countries and over time, in particular over the different phases of the business cycle.’ Although the definition of ‘dynamic’ remains vague, the report suggests that firms who go beyond the average that is expected of them are not only better equipped to capitalise on the good times but also better at dealing with major economic shocks. The report looks in depth at the question of whether business growth and productivity are best served by organic growth through job creation or non-organic growth through mergers and acquisitions.
April 14, 2017
Britain’s new gender pay gap legislation is addressing the wrong issue and so will fail to do what it sets out to do, according to a new report from executive search firm Korn Ferry Hay Group. The firm claims that its analysis of over 570,000 people on its UK database shows that the gender pay gap is “virtually non-existent” when men and women do the same job at the same level in the UK, but that the differences become pronounced in senior and executive arenas. The study backs up data from the Office for National Statistics which recently began publishing details of pay differentials by age and sex and the results are eye opening. The most startling finding was that women in their 20s and early 30s earn slightly more than men of the same age and in the same job. However, as people get older, the pay gap goes into reverse, with men marginally out earning women at the age of 35, with the pay gap then widening rapidly into early middle age. As we reported earlier this week, the major issues arise both at a senior level of organisations and when women start families and begin paying a ‘motherhood penalty’ in terms of their pay and careers.
April 13, 2017
More than half (55 percent) of employers have reported an increase in the level of stress and mental health related illnesses at work, according to the annual Benefits and Trends Survey from Aon. The survey claims that while 72 percent of employers believed they had a key role in influencing employee health in 2015, this decreased to 67 percent in 2016. The survey did find that employers have tactics to support health and wellbeing – branded wellness programmes (21 percent) and flexible working (20 percent) being the most popular – but these may be disconnected to what employees and the business actually need. Not surprisingly then, 58 percent would like a better understanding of the impacts of health risks, while 72 percent now use some form of data to drive health and wellbeing strategy. The most popular sources were absence data (57 percent) and employee engagement surveys (45 percent). In addition, the number of employers that have considered managing a known health risk is on the increase – rising to 48 percent from 25 percent in the last two years (42 percent in 2015).
April 12, 2017
A new piece of academic research provides more evidence that the underlying reason for the gender pay gap is the discrepancy between the way women with children are treated compared to men, and other women without children. According to new research from Université Paris-Saclay, mothers are paid 3 percent less for every child they have compared to their female colleagues who do not have children, while fathers suffer no such penalty at all. The figures were compiled from a 16-year study of data from organisations in the French private sector between 1995 and 2011 by Lionel Wilner, Director of Graduate Studies at engineering and statistics school ENSAE, a founding member of Université Paris-Saclay. He separated the effect of childbirth from other firm-specific wage determinants, and accounted for full-time and part-time work, to find that the difference between mothers and non-mothers is approximated a 3 percent lower hourly wage. The effect was found to be more pronounced after the birth of the first child. more…
April 7, 2017
Sick of hearing about Brexit? Of course you are. Nevertheless, things have only just begin and we’d better get used to it so consultancy XpertHR has launched a new guide for UK employers on how to prepare for Brexit, after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article beginning the ‘divorce proceedings’. The guide, which the authors claim will be updated as negotiations between the UK and EU progress, focuses on how employers can prepare for potential changes to the right of free movement. It outlines the practical steps employers can take and suggests how they could support their European workforce in the UK. The report suggests that, while the Free Movement Directive, which allows European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and their dependants to live, work and study in any country within the EEA, will remain in force for the next two years, free movement is set to be a thing of the past with EEA nationals expected to become subject to an immigration regime under UK law.
April 6, 2017
The latest productivity data from the Office for National Statistics shows that UK productivity is up, although the accompanying briefing admits that the data ‘provides little sign of an end to the UK’s productivity puzzle’. According to the report, output per hour increased in the final quarter of 2016 at its fastest rate for more than a year. Quarterly growth of 0.4 percent lifted output per hour 1.2 percent higher than a year ago. While the productivity puzzle is a feature of most developed economies, it is particularly intransigent in the UK, which has a significant gap compared to other nations such as Germany, the US and France. This is despite the fact that Britons spend more time working than those in any comparable nation, except the US.
April 5, 2017
It is two years since the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), where couples were given the ability to share leave surrounding the arrival of a new addition to their family; and while sharing leave is seen to have a profound beneficial impact for the family, there are still plenty of barriers. According to research from My Family Care, one of the largest is that there is a sense that it involves a big risk with real concerns around the impact on a father’s career if they were to take more than two or three months off. A second report from the charity Working Families found that despite the initial slow take up of new rights, more than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave. However, snapshot figures for the first three months of 2016 showed that 3,000 new parents were taking up the new right. If the maternity leave figure is taken as indicative of the number of couples with new babies at the time the new figures are in line with the bottom of the government’s 2013 estimated take-up range – between two and eight per cent of fathers.