Legislation and regulation
January 26, 2017
Three quarters of UK employers (76 percent) expect economic conditions to be more challenging in 2017 compared to 2016 and there are signs that the jobs market is slowing, claims the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) latest JobsOutlook survey. Employers intending to increase their permanent staff headcount within the next three months has reduced to one in five (21 percent), down from 24 percent reported last month. Similarly, demand for permanent staff has reduced in all sectors except health & social care and education. More positively, despite harsh economic conditions, businesses remain self-confident with three quarters of employers polled (74 percent) saying that their business will perform better this year compared to last year. Skills shortages remain a challenge for businesses however, as half of all employers (50 percent) anticipate a shortage of suitable candidates for some permanent roles this year. Employers anticipate that roles in engineering & technology, health & social care, and hospitality will be particularly affected by skills shortages.
January 25, 2017
Only one in five workers in the UK still take the traditional lunch hour break; a stark contrast to France, which sees the lunch hour as a key part of the working day, a new survey by commercial property agency Savoystewart.co.uk claims. Digital marketers take the shortest breaks, taking a meagre average of 14-minutes, followed by recruiters and those in telesales. At the opposite end of the spectrum are media & communication professionals, who take almost their whole hour at 55 minutes. Some of the reasons cited for the shorter break were to please the boss, too much work to do, other colleagues don’t take lunch, there’s nowhere to go or one hour is too long. Half of those polled work right through their lunch break, 30 percent will take under 30 minutes off, 52 percent admit to eating over their desk most days and 27 percent deliberately take a shorter break to please their boss. Yet UK legislation actually allows for a 1 hour interrupted 20-minute rest break after working 6 hours+, and those who are under 18 are entitled to 30 minutes if working above 4.5 hours. Some work contracts may even allow for additional breaks alongside lunch, like tea breaks.
January 17, 2017
There’s been some concerns among employers on the long term implications to recruitment on the UK’s decision to leave the EU and now a new report suggests that it is among the job sectors where demand for EU workers to fulfill UK jobs is highest where there is the largest immediate dip in interest. The digital research looked at volumes of online searches within different sectors and countries, and the opinions and intent indicators of people investigating a move to the UK. The results reveal that interest in UK jobs for male dominated employment sectors continues to rise, for example in Poland a 22 percent increase in interest in construction jobs can be seen. In contrast, while there has been no obvious decrease in the number of jobs being advertised within the EU by UK employers, the level of interest in employment sectors that tend to attract couples and families are experiencing a decline.
January 12, 2017
The European Display Screen Equipment Regulations were first introduced in 1992 as a way of improving the posture and wellbeing of people working with computers in the office. Although welcome at the time as a way of promoting good ergonomics practices in a rapidly digitising world, that’s now a long time ago and the workplace has changed a great deal in the meantime. Here’s a list of thing that have happened in the intervening years: 1. The Internet. Actually, we can stop there. Any piece of workplace legislation that predates the Internet almost certainly won’t be fit for purpose, especially one that is based on how we should work with computers, let alone other devices. Yet there it all is on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. It’s all so hopelessly out of date, it’s like starting a farm using a paleolithic cave painting as your guide to animal husbandry. The guidance is even called Working with VDUs which is certainly quaint, if nothing else.
January 12, 2017
Employee confidence in the UK has not been shaken by uncertainty around leaving the European Union, as 48 percent admit that they will be looking for a new job this year, claims a new survey by REED. The YouGov research asked more than 2,000 people about their careers in 2017, and found that 43 percent of employees are feeling optimistic about their career prospects, despite uncertainty created by the Brexit vote. Business confidence is also high with 53 percent of UK workers receiving a pay rise from their employer, compared to 41 percent found in the REED Market Insight 2015 – an increase equating to almost an eighth or an estimated four million UK workers according to recent ONS employment stats. While an increase in salary is still the primary motivation for people to look for a new job (51 percent), almost 38 percent (four in 10) would/ have move(d) for a better work-life balance and 33 percent, a third, for a better working environment.
January 10, 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a package of measures to address mental health support in schools, workplaces and communities. The plans, which aim to help ensure that no one affected by mental ill-health goes unattended also includes a new partnership with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace. The Prime Minister has appointed Lord Dennis Stevenson, the long-time campaigner for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness, and Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to drive work with business and the public sector to support mental health in the workplace. These experts will lead a review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace and perform at their best. This will involve practical help including promoting best practice and learning from trailblazer employers, as well as offering tools to organisations, whatever size they are, to assist with employee well-being and mental health. It will review recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health
January 9, 2017
Gender inequality remains high around the world – despite the fact that new research suggests how female leadership increases companies’ performance. A new report published by IZA World of Labor looks at the reasons for the persistence of wage and leadership gender gaps and their causes and consequences and emphasizes the beneficial role of female leaders in reducing gender inequality. The report claims that gender wage gaps and women’s under representation in leadership positions exist at remarkably similar magnitudes across countries at all levels of income per capita. In a new IZA World of Labor report the economist Mario Macis of Johns Hopkins University, USA summarizes recent research which shows that although women in many developed countries have reached parity with men in terms of formal educational attainment and employment, earning disparities between the genders are actually greater in richer countries.
January 4, 2017
It has been suggested before that the gender pay gap is a reflection of what happens to women when they become parents – and a new piece of research backs up this theory by revealing an enduring pay penalty associated with having children; which, unless tackled this will mean that current and future generations of working women will continue to face a significant life earnings penalty. According to a new analysis published today (Wednesday) by the Resolution Foundation as part of its Intergenerational Commission, while the gender pay gap for millennials in their 20s has halved in a generation to just 5 percent, much of that progress looks set to be undone with early signs showing that the gender pay gap continues to escalate as women enter their 30s and 40s. This suggests that millennial women will still earn significantly less than their male counterparts over their careers.
December 22, 2016
Companies with 250 or more employees will soon be required to give overall statistics about levels of pay for each gender. But experts say real change will only come about if employers were required to present this data in a more expansive way, accompanied by a reflective report explaining any gender pay gap alongside an action plan of how they intend to close them. Unless this happens, the new regulations requiring companies to report pay gaps between men and women are potentially “superficial” and will not necessarily tackle the complex reasons why females still have lower salaries on average, new research shows. Employers told researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Bath and Cardiff University that the Government’s proposals would over-simplify issues, just advertise pay rates without giving context and may not benefit all female staff. The study has been undertaken as part of a research collaboration facilitated by the GW4 Alliance, which brings together four of the most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK; the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.
December 16, 2016
Millennials have widely divergent experiences and attitudes toward diversity and inclusion within the workplace than older generations, claims a new US-based report. In the research from the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and Weber Shandwick into the importance that people place on diversity and inclusion (D&I) when considering a new job found that 47 percent of Millennials consider it an important criterion in their job search compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 37 percent of Boomers. Nearly six in 10 of all employed Americans (58 percent) report that they see or hear about some form of discrimination and/or bias at their workplace, most frequently racial or ethnic in nature (22 percent). Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be attuned to such behaviour at work, and also much more comfortable discussing these issues at work than their older colleagues. The survey also asked respondents why they believe employers emphasise diversity and inclusion in the workplace. All three generations cited “To make it a better place to work” among their top three reasons. Millennials also recognize increased opportunities while reputational benefits and outside pressures are noticed by Gen Xers and Boomers.
December 15, 2016
The first business in the UK has published detailed workforce data outlining the socio-economic make-up of the firm as a way of understanding its workforce diversity. KPMG has published data, which measures employees’ parental occupation and education and the type of school employees attended along with graduate and school leaver socio-economic data from the past three years. It reveals that the vast majority of the workforce – 74 percent of respondents – received a state school education: 60 percent attended a non-selective state school and 14 percent attended a selective state school, with 23 percent receiving private education. Additional detail on parental education shows that 48 percent have a parent or guardian with a university degree, while 43 percent do not. On parental occupation, 58 percent have parents in a higher managerial, administrative and professional occupation, 16 percent have parents employed in a manual occupation and 11 percent have parents in intermediate occupations. KPMG is the first business in the UK to share details of the parental occupation of its workforce, which is recognised by social mobility experts as a strong indicator of socio-economic background.
December 14, 2016
Just 5 percent of new fathers and 8 percent of new mothers have opted for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) since its introduction in April 2015 a new report claims. Just one organisation in five (21 percent) said they had received requests from male employees to take up SPL since April 2015 and in two-thirds (67 percent) of organisations with mothers eligible for SPL, none have opted in. This low take-up of (SPL) and the lack of affordable childcare options for parents with 0-2 year-olds are both major problems that need to be addressed to support working parents more effectively, according to ‘Labour Market Outlook: Focus on Working Parents’ from the CIPD. The survey of over 1,000 HR professionals also suggests that the lack of free childcare for 0-2 year-olds could be having a negative impact on women returning to work after maternity leave.