Firms not offering staff the technology they need, claims report

Flexible working techMore than half (55 percent) of UK employees believe they do not have access to all the technology needed to do their jobs, according to research by Fujitsu. The study, Digital Inside Out, was based in a survey of just over 1,400 UK based employees and claims to reveal a significant disconnect between the needs of a digital-savvy working population and the digital services UK employers are currently providing. According to the report, 73 percent of UK employees believe that digital is vital to the future success of their organisation. However despite this, only 45 percent of employees feel they are provided with access to the technology services and applications they need to do their job sufficiently and 29 percent state that their ability to do their job is being hindered due to poor digital services. The report argues that the mismatch can be very costly for organisations.

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US FCC agrees net neutrality deal to classify Internet as a public utility

digiCord_t479The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a reclassification of the Internet as a public utility for the first time. It follows last month’s call from the UK Government for a similar approach to ensure that everybody has equal access to the online world. The FCC ruling specifically forbids Internet service providers creating a range of fast and slow services as a way – critics argued – of hijacking the Internet to gain monopolistic control over the digital economy and favour larger websites able to afford the higher rates. The ruling on ‘net neutrality’ has been broadly welcomed, not least by those campaigners who have argued for years that it would mean an end to the Internet as we have known it; an open platform that offers equal opportunities to all users and content providers and so fosters innovation.

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Report exposes myths and uncomfortable truths about Generation Y

Multi-generational workplace generation YA new report from IBM proves what we at Insight have been arguing for some time; Millennials have some differences to previous generations of employees, but ultimately they have more in common than most commentators acknowledge and their impact on a multi-generational workplace has been completely misrepresented. While the report, Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths, acknowledges Gen Y’s different experience of the digital world, it also demonstrates what we would suggest has been obvious all along; that unless Generation Y has arrived from another planet, it will share many of the strengths, weaknesses, drives, fears and abilities common to other demographic groupings. The study of 1,784 employees from organisations in 12 countries challenges many of the key myths about Generation Y and also lays out a number of ‘uncomfortable truths’ for employers.

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Employers embrace mobile workforces but retain traditional workspaces

Employers are embracing mobile workforces yet retaining traditional workspacesNearly three quarters of employers that offer staff the opportunity to work flexibly are failing to reorganise their workplaces to reflect the new ways of working. Research commissioned by US based AV company Barco, found that while 86 percent of organisations indicated a remote working approach was being used within their business; rather than using this policy to reduce desk space, 73 percent of organisations admitted they still had allocated desks. This is despite the fact that the top three drivers for unifying communications are to increase productivity (51%), reduce costs (44%), and increase collaboration (27%). And though the BYOD trend is continuing, with half (50%) saying personal laptops and personal tablets (45.2 %) are being used in the workplace; 82 percent of those surveyed said that laptops are still company issued.

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The pressing need for more women to forge careers in STEM disciplines

????????????????????One of the most pressing economic challenges facing the UK is producing enough qualified professionals in the key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines. And, as a number of new reports make clear, the problem is compounded by the failure of enough women to develop careers in those areas that will define the country’s economic future. It was a point raised in a recent Government report into the UK’s digital future. Writing for the BBC earlier this month Dame Prof Ann Dowling the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering laid out the scale of the problem; by 2022 the UK will need at least 1.82 million new engineering, science and technology professionals. What is also becoming clear is that, while many women are keen to develop STEM careers, they face a series of obstacles at every step.

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Latest Insight newsletter is now available to view

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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