Latest Insight newsletter is now available to view

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Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; Maciej Markowski says most companies are not like Google, so don’t require a Google-cloned office; and Mark Eltringham explains why Charles Handy was largely correct in his pronouncements on the changing nature of work. Take up of leased office space in London hits its highest level since 2000; the UK workforce sees an increasing pay divide; and with new flexi-rights just weeks away, Acas publishes a new free guide on Shared Parental Leave. The Government publishes the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy report; and the House of Lords’ report, Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future, predicts that 35 percent of jobs over the next two decades will be automated. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

An inconsistent approach to social media can jeopardise your job prospects

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With around 260 million worldwide users, of which there are over 13 million in the UK, LinkedIn has become the ‘go to’ site for many job seekers. But, as is the case with social media, use it unwisely and you can jeopardise your chances of career progression. A survey of 2,000 British workers by employment recruiter Randstad found that while three-fifths (61%) of employees tailor their CV when they are applying for a new job, less than one-fifth (19%) amend their LinkedIn profiles to match, and over a third (34%) don’t tailor either their CV or their LinkedIn profiles. The research also highlighted the different tactics used by men and women. While a quarter (26%) of men will tailor their LinkedIn profile when applying for a new job, only 14 percent of women will do so. Far more women tailor their CV only (52%) as opposed to 46 percent of men.

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Job automation seen as a key digital challenge in new policy report

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Whichever party or coalition forms the next UK Government will face a raft of serious challenges with the emerging digital economy, including making plans for the automation of up to a third of existing jobs. That is the main conclusion of a new report published this week by The House of Lords. Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future, argues that the next 20 years will present the UK with a range of profound challenges and opportunities and it is incumbent on the Government to address them at the earliest opportunity. As well as imminent and well known  issues such as the need to roll out ultrafast broadband countrywide and the development of skills and digital clusters, the report also highlights the particular issue of what to do about the claim that up to 35 percent of jobs over the next two decades will be automated.

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Government making progress in flexible working and green tech

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flexible workingThe Government has published the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy’ report, which looks at how central public sector bodies in the UK are addressing environmental issues directly associated with hardware as well as related issues such as travelling to work, the use of property, working cultures and the delivery of services. For the first time the report includes details of energy consumption. The main commitments of the strategy are the ongoing shift to cloud based ‘digital by default’ operations and a focus on the flagship the Way We Work (TW3) flexible working programme which aims ‘to ensure that civil servants have the modern tools they need to enable them to work effectively together and with customers. New greener digital technologies and working practices will help do just that.’

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UK Government announces plans to increase access to wi-fi on trains

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wi-fiThe UK Government has announced that it is to invest £50 million in providing free Wi-Fi on a number of regional rail networks across England and Wales. The rollout will extend to Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN); Southeastern; Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales.  In addition, all future bids for new rail franchises will have to include provisions for Wi-Fi infrastructure. The government has said it is focusing on those operators that currently have limited plans to invest in Wi-Fi infrastructure to give the greatest benefit to customers, which may explain the absence of long distance carriers. The plan is to offer greater access to free wi-fi on the country’s rail network by 2017. The money is equivalent to the amount Network Rail has returned to the Government for missing punctuality targets.

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Record uptake of London office space continues…but at a price

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office spaceTake up of leased office space in London has hit its highest level since 2000, claims a new report from BNP Paribas Real Estate. The recorded level of 4.49 million sq. ft. during the final quarter of 2014 was driven by serviced office operators and occupiers in the technology, media and telecoms sectors. TMT firms accounted for just under a third (31 percent) of the market in Q4 and 24 percent for the whole year. However the market is still characterised by a mismatch of supply and demand which means not only low vacancy rates in key business districts but also sustained upward pressure on rents.  The average office rent per square metre in the City of London has risen by 17 per cent from £560 to £655. In the prime parts of the West End rents have jumped 8 percent over the year to £1092 per square metre.

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Government launches scheme to attract US tech sector to UK

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tech sectorThe Government has launched a scheme to attract US tech firms to set up or ramp up their businesses in the UK. The tech sector is already worth around £120 billion to the UK and the Government hopes the HQ-UK programme will offer investors a chance to tap into a well-established pool of talent and a business-friendly and low tax economy. The initiative is a joint venture between Tech City, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. HQ-UK will simplify and quicken processes for visa applications and setting up UK bank accounts. The programme will also highlight the UK’s high skilled tech savvy workforce, the Government’s commitment to the development of programming skills in schools and the second largest labour market in the EU.

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This isn’t a golden era for small business; it’s more interesting than that

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small businessesYesterday, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor Lord Young produced a report into the key trends experienced by the UK’s small businesses over the past five years. According to the headline figures presented by the report, this is a ‘golden era’ for small businesses in the UK, with a record number of small firms in the country. The reported 5.2 million small firms represents an increase of 760,000 over the five year period covered by the study. The report concludes that the main drivers of this upsurge are the growing belief people have in their own ideas and abilities coupled with the technological wherewithal to make them a commercial reality. Lord Young also claims the Government deserves some credit for providing the business landscape for this to happen. But is it really that simple?

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The latest Insight newsletter is now available to read online

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workplace insight newsletterIn this week’s issue; the UK takes a leading role in the development of the Internet of Things and the government publishes a guide to digital economy clusters; news that Europe’s commercial property market ‘sizzled’ during 2014 while a report suggests city leaders are the main obstacles to the implementation of urban infrastructure. Mark Eltringham derides more attempts to define the workplace of the future; Sara Bean warns that employers need to consider whether their workplace has an inclusive design; and as the winners of the first ever employee engagement awards are announced research reveals the cost of disengaged employees. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Digital economy spreads nationwide but London still dominates

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digital economyThe UK Government has published what it says is the first comprehensive analysis of the UK’s digital economy clusters as part of an ‘interactive data project’ called Tech Nation*. The project shows the development of digital businesses by region across the UK. The project has been developed by Tech City UK, the government’s flagship organisation focused on the UK’s digital economy. The project suggests that there are now  nearly 1.5 million jobs in the UK digital sector with around three quarters (74 percent) of them outside London. While the Government is keen to portray this as a nationwide success story, this still means that there are twice as many jobs per head in London’s digital sector as the national average and, as we reported earlier, the Government’s rollout of fast broadband to rural areas remains woefully inadequate.

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Rural areas overlooked by Government’s broadband rollout

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rural broadbandThe disjointed approach of the UK Government to the rollout of fast broadband is evident with the publication of a new report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. In true The Thick Of It fashion, the report appeared just as the head of the Cabinet Office Francis Maude was speaking at this week’s Slate 15 event praising the Government’s successes in the development of digital services. While progress is being made in many areas, it’s also clear that the patchy roll-out of fast rural broadband is holding back rural businesses and workers. The new report claims that people in rural areas are largely overlooked by the government’s £1bn Broadband Delivery UK project which aims to have broadband in all UK properties by 2017, including superfast broadband in 95 percent.

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Government publishes details of UK’s digital infrastructure for first time

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digital infrastructureThe UK government has today published new information about over 13,000 miles of publicly owned digital infrastructure and outlined steps to ensure that these networks are used to improve connectivity for users and businesses across the country.  Each year the government claims to spend around £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money on public sector networks, including signal masts, fibre optics, and cables but had no comprehensive database of the details of the current infrastructure. The Government now hopes that the publication of the details of the nation’s public digital infrastructure will allow its spare capacity to be used effectively, to minimise the chance that a lack of knowledge will lead to unnecessary duplication and to allow more parts of the UK to enjoy better digital coverage and enhance the benefits of flexible working.

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