March 28, 2017
Long working hours are embedded into Small and medium sized firm’s (SME) culture, new research by AXA PPP healthcare has claimed, with 47 percent of employees in SMEs across the UK regularly working four or more hours of overtime per week, 27 percent of these putting in seven or more hours and for half (52 percent), the extra hours are unpaid. In addition, 22 percent of employees take fewer than 30 minutes for lunch, 19 percent have cancelled family time and 19 percent have missed a child’s event such as a school play due to working over and above their contracted hours. Over half (54 percent) of employees have continued to work after putting children to bed. With Britain’s small and medium sized firms making up 99.9 percent of the UK’s private sector businesses, employing nearly 3/5 of its workforce and accounting for 48 percent of the turnover this accounts for a lot of workers.
March 24, 2017
A survey was published a couple of years ago to coincide with ‘National Stress Awareness Day’. Conducted by Robertson Cooper, the consultancy co-founded by media friendly academic Cary Cooper, the report made some fairly modest and believable claims about the impacts of stress. Especially if you compare them to the more startling findings of other surveys on the same subject such as those from the HSE and the mental health charity Mind, including the famously headline-grabbing figure which suggested that work related stress costs the UK no less than 10 per cent of its annual gross national product.If we were to be cynical, we might suggest that one of the the findings of the Robertson Cooper report – that nearly half of people had felt significantly stressed in the previous six months with a third of those claiming the stress was work related – simply begs the question why over 80 per cent of people seem to have it so cushy.
March 24, 2017
A review of the state pension age (SPA) led by former Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director general John Cridland has recommended that the State Pension age shouldn’t rise to 68 until between 2037 and 2039 and should not increase more than 1 year in any 10 year period. The report has also advised that all employers should have elder care policies in place which set out a basic care offer and that people should be able to access a mid-life career MOT and review which should be facilitated by employers and by the government using online support and through the National Careers Service. Commenting on the report, which will be considered before any decision is made on changes to the State Pension age timetable after 2028, the Centre for Ageing Better has welcomed its recommendations on wider actions to mitigate the impact of bringing the timetable forward for increases to the State Pension Age.
March 23, 2017
Over a quarter (29 percent) of senior managers within UK enterprises do not see the gender pay gap as an issue for businesses and many believe the gap is partly due to women’s personal career decisions, a new survey claims. Research by NGA Human Resources (NGA HR) found that despite the UK gender pay gap sitting at 13.9 percent, only 17 percent of decision makers surveyed believe that regulations on gender splits will reduce the divide. Nearly half (49 percent) of senior leaders in businesses blame the disparity on the fact that women are more likely to take career breaks or work part-time (42 percent) as the main factors for pay disparities. Other reasons given for the gender pay gap are the lack of representation of women in the overall workforce (20 percent) and fewer women in senior management positions (27 percent).
March 22, 2017
Accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and transport industries will be hardest hit by limits on movement of EU and non-EU workers following Brexit, a new report has claimed. The latest edition of Mercer’s Workforce Monitor has highlighted how reliant certain sectors of the UK economy have become on EU-born and non-EU born workers, as respectively, 33 percent, 23 percent and 20 percent of accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and transport are made up of non-UK-born nationals, meaning companies in those sectors, and those reliant on them, are especially at risk from the changes in the UK’s migration policy. According to Gary Simmons, Partner at Mercer, “Since 2013, the UK-born workforce has been declining as people retire and we can see how reliant certain industries are on overseas workers filling the gaps. The UK is likely to impose more stringent migration controls in the future and this will reduce the number of overseas workers available.”
March 22, 2017
HR leaders must take responsibility for bridging the gap between leadership and employees to help ensure organisations deal with the challenge of an increasingly digitised workplace and create a shared sense of direction, values and collaboration, a new piece of research suggests. According to the report, ‘Leadership Connections: HR’s role in business transformation’ from Ipsos LEAD and Cirrus, HR leaders are the crucial drivers of transformation in UK businesses through their roles of promoting devolved decision making, employee engagement and collaboration. Figures have shown that while half of CEOs expect their industries to be substantially or unrecognisably changed by digital, as of late 2016 10 percent of employees claim to have seen no significant change in their organisations at all – according to MORI’s Representative Employee Data (RED). This presents a significant difference between what we are being told by senior leadership and what employees believe to be the case.
March 21, 2017
Junior members of the workforce are most likely to be disengaged, demotivated and lacklustre about work according to a survey on happiness in the UK workplace from HR consultancy Personal Group. Based on a survey of 800 people benchmarked against a larger database of 41,000 from the University of Warwick, the survey claims that 48 percent of employees are not often happy at work and that almost one in five are rarely or never happy at work. The report suggests that it is more junior employees who are not only less keen to get to work in the morning but are also unhappier at work when compared to senior managers, directors and those who are self-employed. Similarly, when asked whether they feel enthusiastic about their job, directors and self-employed are the most passionate, reporting 70 percent and 76 percent respectively. Team leaders and frontline employees are significantly less enthusiastic, with 30 percent of the latter saying that they never feel enthusiastic at work.
March 20, 2017
Losing a job creates a ‘new normal’ for personal wellbeing that never goes back to previous levels, a new international study claims. Unemployment is damaging to people’s wellbeing regardless of their age, gender, level of education, ethnicity or region. The new study, co-authored by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and the University of East Anglia, looked at the impact of unemployment across a number of countries and found that joblessness tops even divorce or widowhood in its impact on our life satisfaction. The evidence also suggests people never adapt fully to unemployment. The longitudinal study of 24,000 people found on average that individuals had lower life satisfaction following unemployment and this never recovered to the pre-unemployment levels. These results applied to men and women, but the effects were found to be stronger for men. Men also were found to be happier than women once in a new job. The type of work is also important with temporary jobs proving worse than permanent work.
March 17, 2017
Gig economy workers are as likely to be satisfied with their work as workers in traditional employment, according to a major new survey published today by the CIPD which provides the first robust estimate of the size of the gig economy. Currently, 4 percent of UK working adults aged between 18 and 70 are working in the ‘gig economy’, which means approximately 1.3 million people are engaged in ‘gig work’ according to ‘To gig or not to gig: Stories from the modern. The report, which is based on a survey of 400 gig economy workers and more than 2,000 other workers, as well as 15 in-depth interviews with gig economy workers found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) believe the Government should regulate to guarantee them basic employment rights and benefits such as holiday pay. But the research also found that, contrary to much of the rhetoric, just 14 percent of respondents said they did gig work because they could not find alternative employment.
March 15, 2017
There’s a good reason why we find it hard to establish the causal links between our working lives and our personal happiness. It’s because it’s all very complicated. So complicated in fact that you can sidetrack any discussion on the subject by asking elementary questions such as: ‘what do you mean by happy?’ or ‘should it be the role of work to make us happy?’ A lot of commercial interests in the workplace sector would like us to think that there is a correlation between what they do and how happy people are at work, but the research shows that things are never that straightforward. It all depends not just on a stimulus but how we choose to respond to it. One thing that seems evident is that the design of the workplace would be characterised as a ‘hygiene factor’ according to the work of Frederick Herzberg dating from the 1950s, which explained why the things that motivate us are not the mere opposites of those which make us unhappy.
March 14, 2017
City infrastructure plays a key role when multinationals decide where to establish locations abroad and send expatriate workers, claims a new report. Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey now includes a supplementary question on city infrastructure, as easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on differences between a given assignee’s home and host locations. Western European cities hold most of the top ten places in the city infrastructure ranking, with Frankfurt and Munich jointly ranking 2nd worldwide, followed by Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5). London is in 6th place, and Hamburg and Zurich both rank 9th. However, in terms of quality of living which is ranked separately, Vienna (pictured) occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, and despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe, many of its cities offer the world’s highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on assignment. In the UK, London is favoured for its overall quality of living and for its city infrastructure.
March 14, 2017
European employees feel that age is the biggest factor preventing them from progressing in their career, according to research of nearly 10,000 European working adults by ADP. A fifth of employees name age as their biggest obstacle, followed by favouritism (7 percent), lack of opportunities with current employer (7 percent), qualifications (5 percent), and family needs (5 percent). Age is a particularly cited obstacle in the Netherlands (24 percent), Switzerland (21 percent) and the UK (20 percent). This issue increases as workers get older, with 46 percent of over 55s and 27 percent of those aged 45-54 feeling this way. This situation may reflect the increasing generational diversity of the workforce, as five generations of employees will soon be working side by side. Advancing technologies and more significant age differences in the workforce are likely to be isolating older workers, who may feel outdated by a younger, tech-ready generation.