England’s technology firms now employ more people than California’s, claims new report

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technology firmsAs we reported last week, London and the South East of England remain the UK’s hotspots for new business start-ups and now new research claims that the region now has more people working in the vital technology and information sector than the capital of world tech, California. The report from South Mountain Economics and Bloomberg Philanthropies shows that there are nearly three quarters of a million people working for technology firms in London, the South East and East Anglia compared to 692,000 in California and that there are more firms working in financial technology in London than either Silicon Valley or New York. The report backs up new research from Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Mayor of London to coincide with London Technology Week, which claims that over the next decade, London’s digital tech sector is expected to grow at a rate of 5.1 per cent per annum, creating an additional £12 billion of economic activity and 46,000 new jobs, which in turn is driving change in the commercial property market. More →

Demand for London commercial property pushing occupiers into earlier relocations

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London commercial propertyThe revival of London’s financial, professional and business sectors, along with sustained demand from the TMT (Technology, Media and Telecoms) market is resulting in increasing demand for commercial property across Central London. This along, with a restricted supply of existing stock, due to conversion of office to residential usage is prompting many occupiers into making relocation decisions well in advance of a lease break or expiry. Cluttons’ London Property outlook for the second quarter of this year shows that rental costs are increasing in response to sustained demand, with a west to east migration by occupiers in evidence. Many tenants are also relocating from London’s West End to the Southbank area; while further out, ‘fringe’ areas such as Stratford are drawing tenants. More →

Government plans encourage employers to appreciate older workers

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Government plans encourage employers to appreciate older workersEmployers must recognise the potential of older workers and help them stay in the workplace. This is the message the Government will stress today at the launch of its new action plan. The new measures set out in Fuller Working Lives – A Framework For Action published today include; the appointment of a new Older Workers’ Employment Champion who will advocate the case for older workers within the business community and wider society; an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees from the end of this month and the launch of a new Health and Work Service which the Government says will give workers with long-term health problems the support they need to stay in or return to work. Part of the Government’s aim is also to challenge outdated misconceptions and encourage more employers to consider the benefits of older workers.

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UK public sector estate now reduced by 2 million square metres over three years

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Public sector estateThe UK Cabinet Office has today issued the latest edition of its regular State of the Estate Report which shows that the government has reduced the size of the public sector estate by 2 million square metres since 2010 – which it claims will boost economic growth and save a cumulative £1.2 billion with more savings in the pipeline. Now in its third year, the report also shows that: during 2013 there was a 500,000 sq m reduction in the size of the estate; £240 million was saved on running costs, against a 2009 to 2010 baseline; there was a 7.6 percent reduction in the cost of office space per employee; office space per employee was down from 13 square metres to 11.9 square metres; carbon emissions were down by 14 percent; and waste produced was down by 15 percent. The reductions are a core element in the Government’s plans to consolidate and modernise the public sector estate.

Big data not trusted by executives if it conflicts with their beliefs and instincts

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Big dataThere were a number of themes that ran through the Workplace Strategy Summit that took place in Reading this week. One of the most talked about was Big Data and its influence on decision making. The consensus appeared to be that data should not be the sole determinant of decision making, even though it can give people the reassurance they are doing the right thing, and even a scapegoat when things don’t go as the data might suggest. So in some ways it’s reassuring to hear that executives around the world are more than happy to ignore data when it goes against their instincts and beliefs. A study from the Economist Intelligence Unit which examined the approach business leaders take to decision making, found a clear pattern in the way executives use and perceive data and analytics, especially the fact that they do not trust it if it counters their own insights and the majority will reanalyse information that conflicts with them.

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Integration of workplace services continues to gain momentum, claims report

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Integration of workplace services is gaining momentumHR, FM and IT within large corporate organisations are gradually being brought together to provide ‘Workplace services’ that recognise new working practices and the importance of people. This trend – which has already seen an agreement between the BIFM and CIPD to collaborate in the future, will accelerate in the increasingly agile, digitally driven business environment.  This presents an opportunity for FM to provide new service solutions that focus more on supporting people, and less on the buildings from which they work. This is according to a new report, Delivering the Vision of an Integrated Workplace, was commissioned by Mitie, which will be unveiled at the Facilities Show next week. The report highlights the opportunities for FM providers to offer an expanded range of consultancy-style services, such as space management and the analysis of FM and property data to drive property strategy.

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Challenge for employers to find right talent as candidate availability falls

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Challenge for employers to find right talent as candidate availability dropsThere’s been a record employment rise over the last three months, with nearly 5,500 more people in work every working day and the number of private sector workers up by more than 2 million since 2010, according to official figures published today. The latest Labour Force Survey tallies with the recently published Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, which revealed the steepest drop in permanent staff availability for 16½ years; fuelling concerns that employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the talent and skills they need. The report on jobs also suggests that employees want more from their workplace than better pay and better benefits; as though starting salaries continue to rise, job seekers are sending out a very clear message that remuneration is not the only reward they are after. More →

Workplace features heavily in latest round of Government cuts and cost reductions

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WhitehallThe workplace features heavily in the latest round of cost savings announced by the UK Government. Of the £14.3 billion of cost reductions, £5.4 billion has been cut in the procurement of goods and services, with the Cabinet Office drawing particular attention to the use of consultants (which is probably the bulk of it), and the use of printer cartridges and paper (which isn’t). In addition, around £600 million was saved with the divestment of unused buildings and an increase in the number of departments sharing offices. The savings are driven by the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) which was set up by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office in the wake of the 2010 general election, and works with departments to make savings and address what it considers wasteful spending. This year’s savings follow £10 billion saved for 2012 to 2013, £5.5 billion in 2011 to 2012 and £3.75 billion in 2010 to 2011.

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Employers not living up to their commitments to support disabled staff

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Employers failing to meet commitment to support disabled staffMany of the employers that boast the Government’s two ticks symbol for equality for disabled workers have been found to be no better than companies who have not achieved it. Research led by Kim Hoque, of Warwick Business School, and Nick Bacon, of Cass Business School, found that just 15 per cent of organisations awarded the two ticks symbol adhered to all five of its commitments, with 18 per cent of those signed up not fulfilling any of them, with most – 38 per cent – only keeping one of the promises. The researchers say the ‘two ticks positive about disability’ symbol, which is awarded by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Jobcentre Plus to help job applicants identify organisations committed to helping disabled workers, is nothing more than an “empty shell” used by companies as PR and “impression management” rather than a true commitment to equal rights for disability workers. More →

Silicon Roundabout remains the UK’s foremost location for business startups

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silicon-roundaboutResearch from accountants UHY Hacker Young has revealed the UK’s most popular postcodes for business start-ups. Silicon Roundabout is the most prolific area, generating 15,620 new businesses over the last year. London, unsurprisingly dominates the list with only three zones outside the capital making the top 20. Within London, Silicon Roundabout saw nearly five times as many businesses launched as Canary Wharf (3,180). The Borough, Bankside and Bermondsey areas, covered by the SE1 postcode, saw a rapid expansion in new business creation, with a 13 percent increase in new businesses, from 5,190 to 5,850 in the last year. Outside of London, Hove (BN3), came 10th marked out as a hub for outsourcing, tech and finance businesses, Leeds LS14 which came 12th and Warrington WA1 which both offer a large number of business and technology parks.

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Physiotherapists warn that poor work habits are damaging staff health

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Physios warning of poor working habitsPhysiotherapists are warning employers that bad working habits are damaging workers’ health. A survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) found that one in five people (21%) worked through their lunch every day. Of those who do manage to take a break, 48 per cent said they ate at their desk. Only 19 per cent leave their workplace to go outside for a break, and only three per cent go to the gym, meaning most miss out on any kind of physical activity during the day. Investment in staff health and wellbeing makes good business sense for employers says the CSP, which is calling on them to find ways to support staff to be more physically active during the working day in order to reduce their risk of developing musculoskeletal problems like back and neck pain and more serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. More →

The boardroom knows tech is important but leaves IT decisions to others, claims report

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BoardroomThere is a recognition within the boardroom of the importance of information and communications technology (ICT), but business leaders see tech as something for technology managers to worry about and many are unable to make effective decisions anyway because they are digitally illiterate (and some are proud of the fact). Those are some of the findings of a new report from Sunguard Availability Services, published in partnership with Professor Joe Peppard of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. The study claims that the growing strategic role of technology offers chief information officers (CIOs) a chance to elevate their position and drive the wider business agenda. But also that this can be held back by a lack of engagement, or even the boardroom taking no account of ICT whatsoever, with strategic IT alignment remaining an afterthought for many organisations.

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