Legislation and regulation
September 13, 2017
The majority (82 percent) of ethnic minority leaders believe there is institutional prejudice against minorities in the workforce in the UK; and almost one in five (18 percent) of these leaders have personally experienced workplace discrimination in the last two years. A report from Green Park, ‘Changing the Face of Tomorrow’s Leaders: Increasing Ethnic Minority Representation in Leadership’ claims that while 60 percent of ethnic minority leaders believe institutional racism has moved up the organisational agenda in recent months, two thirds of these respondents say the language is emotive and makes people uncomfortable. When tackling the issue of racism many firms are struggling to find an appropriate dialogue and language. When it comes to ethnic minority board level representation, just 2 percent of companies surveyed are meeting their identified targets. Over a fifth (22 percent) of firms admitted being unaware of current progress towards diversity targets and 18 percent did not know there to start. More than one in ten (13 percent) have a ethnic diversity target but no strategy, while 9 percent are simply replicating their gender diversity strategy.
September 7, 2017
One fifth of women (20 percent) feel overlooked by their employer during maternity leave and though three quarters (75 percent) see training as a key way to prepare for their return to work, nearly a quarter (24 percent) are not offered the same training opportunities as their colleagues. According to the new research from AVADO almost a third of women (32 percent) who’ve been on maternity leave in the past three years say they’d have felt more prepared to return to the workforce if they’d had the option to do some training; one in three (29 percent) would have felt better connected with their team members and for a fifth (24 percent), training would have allowed them to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their industry. During maternity leave, an employee and employer can agree to have up to ten Keeping in Touch (KIT) days, which may include training, but the research found that just one in ten (16 percent) were given the option to use these for training. This is despite the fact that 72 percent of women see it as one of the key ways to help them successfully head back to work after having a family.
September 6, 2017
More nations trial universal basic income as report suggests it could provide a major economic boost
The much talked about idea of a Universal Basic Income in developed economies is now attracting greater political momentum, at the same time that a major new research project from an American think tank sets out the potential economic benefits. Yesterday, Scotland’s First minister Nicola Sturgeon called for research into the plausibility of a “citizens’ basic income” in a speech to the Scottish Parliament. Her appeal follows an announcement on the same day that Hawaii is to become the first US state to formally explore the idea. A trial is already under way in Finland, although a recent report in the New York Times suggests it is deeply flawed.
September 6, 2017
Companies must tell employees in advance if their work email accounts are being monitored without unduly infringing their privacy, the European Court of Human Rights said in a ruling that defining the scope of corporate email monitoring. In a judgement in the case of a man fired 10 years ago for using a work messaging account to communicate with his family, the judges found that Romanian courts failed to protect the man’s private correspondence on the account because his employer had not given him prior notice it was monitoring his communications.
September 5, 2017
While a third of companies have already completed their gender pay gap reports, many remain reluctant to publish the figures; and a majority (70 percent) want to include an explanatory narrative to help support their findings. According to the new survey by Mercer, although perceptions of the regulations have improved since being made final, companies find the regulations complex (41 percent), confusing (29 percent) and misleading (28 percent). The result is, while a third of companies completed their analysis at the end of May, most (44 percent) plan on leaving it to later in the year (Oct 2017-Jan 2018) to report; and 28 percent don’t know when they will report. When looking for root causes of the pay gaps, 54 percent of respondents have conducted some sort of analysis (e.g. equal pay audits and bonus programme analysis) in the last three years. Looking ahead there is a dramatic change in the attention being given by organisations to actions beyond pay, and some leading organisations are addressing this issue already.
September 5, 2017
Cyber risk is becoming increasingly common while the types of breaches are becoming more diverse, claims a new white paper by the audit and accounting expert BDO. For instance, ransomware is now the fifth most common type of malware; with the cost of freeing up computer systems from ransomware tripling since 2016. Yet organisations are continuing to spend up to four times more on insuring other company assets (e.g. property, equipment etc.) than on cyber insurance, despite an increasingly widespread belief that their cyber assets are in fact up to 14 percent more valuable. The report also finds that as cyber incidents increase, they become more difficult – and therefore more expensive – to defend. In the new cyber insurance white paper, BDO’s global cybersecurity leadership group stresses the importance of businesses gaining an understanding of their unique risk profiles in order to ensure the right cyber insurance for their needs. Cyber insurance: managing the risk does include some of the positive trends around cyber security – for example, both the level of Board involvement and investments in cybersecurity have increased significantly in the last 2-3 years.
August 31, 2017
New data protection legislation – due to come into force next year will lead to a boost in recruitment, claims new research from Robert Half UK. Two-thirds (66 percent) of CIOs say they will hire additional, permanent employees to cope with the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new data protection legislation will reshape the way organisations approach data privacy, providing the public with more visibility into data breaches. As organisations concentrate on compliance initiatives, demand for permanent project managers (33 percent), business analysts (26 percent) and data protection officers (26 percent) that oversee how data is processed, will increase. A further 64 percent of CIOs will hire temporary or interim staff to ensure they have the highly-skilled talent in place to manage the change in data management and reporting. The type of role that businesses are recruiting for with GDPR will vary according to company size. Overall, 16 percent of SMBs see GDPR as a concern, compared to 12 percent of large business. SMBs are more likely to hire project managers (32 percent) to help with compliance while larger organisations are placing a greater focus on recruiting data protection officers (33 percent).
August 25, 2017
Poor awareness from employers about the challenges faced by trans employees can leave them feeling isolated at work, according to new research. A study commissioned by workplace experts Acas reveals that many employers are not up to speed with the law on gender reassignment discrimination, which protects some trans employees from unfair treatment at work; often it is left to the victims of transphobia themselves to inform their managers about the details of the Equalities Act 2010; and trans people not covered by the Act are even more at risk of being treated unfairly because employers have even less understanding of their experiences. Acas has published ndew guidance on gender reassignment discrimination which helps advise employers on how to manage their trans workers.
August 15, 2017
UK employment is predicted to grow strongly in the third quarter of 2017, but wage growth is likely to remain weak, according to the latest CIPD/The Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook. Although the UK labour market remains buoyant, basic pay award expectations for the next 12 months remain at just 1 percent. Put against the backdrop of poor productivity growth, the report points to an increase in labour supply over the past year as a key factor behind the modest pay projection. This is driven by relatively sharp increases in the number of non-UK nationals from the EU, ex-welfare claimants and 50-64 year olds. This increase in labour supply may explain why the jobs market remains challenging for some jobseekers, especially those seeking lower-skilled jobs. Employers report a median number of 24 applicants for the last low-skilled vacancy they tried to fill, compared with 19 candidates for the last medium-skilled vacancy and eight applicants for the last high-skilled vacancy they were seeking to fill. Overall, employers felt that around half of applicants were suitable for each role they were trying to fill.
August 7, 2017
An increase in the number of UK-born employees leaving the UK’s workforce, either through retirement or emigration is coinciding with a shrinking pool of younger workers, which a fall in immigration can no longer fill, a new report warns. An analysis of the UK’s workforce showed that the UK’s workforce grew in 2016-2017 only because of an increase in EU and non-EU workers. Mercer’s Workforce Monitor showed that retirement, opting out (i.e. due to caring responsibilities) or emigration saw around 143,000 UK-born employees leave the UK workforce with the loss of workers only being offset by the entry of around 147,000 EU-born workers and around 232,000 Non-EU workers. In sum, the UK’s workforce grew by an estimated 234,000 over 2016-2017. From Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, the number of workers over 50 in the UK economy grew by 230,000, the under 35’s grew by 50,000 while the number of workers aged 35-49 shrunk by 48,000. According to the analysis, if net migration into the UK levels off at 100,000 per year from 2020, the number of under 50s in the workforce will fall by 200,000 by 2025; the over 50s would increase by over 1 million while the number of under-25s in the population would fall by 100,000. This means apprentices and graduates numbers will be less.
August 4, 2017
Over half (51 percent) of people with a physical disability say that they had taken pains to hide their condition from employers when applying for a job, with that figure increasing to 60 percent when it came to those suffering from a mental health issue, a new survey has claimed. The reason, suggests the research from Badenoch & Clark – is that three in five (60 percent) UK employees with a disability have experienced bias in the workplace, in comparison to just 35 percent of those without a disability. Worryingly, the report, ‘Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace’, also found that two thirds of those with a mental disability (65 percent), and 45 percent of those with a physical disability believe that their organisation does not offer an inclusive environment. Unsurprisingly then, the research further revealed that around half (48 percent) of disabled candidates have either left a job or not applied for a role or promotion due to workplace bias, in comparison with just one in five (20 percent) of those without a disability.
July 27, 2017
Nearly three quarters of employers in a recent poll say retaining female talent in the workforce is the most important issue in HR in 2017, as changes to childcare funding could impact on the recruitment and retention of working mothers. The research, which was carried out by My Family Care and recruitment firm Hydrogen, found that most employers thought that flexible working and supporting working parents and carers was important to them but strikingly, nearly three quarters (70 percent) rate the issue of retaining female talent after parental leave as the most important issue. However, 60 percent of HR professionals said their company provided no form of coaching or training support for their employees going through the parental transition. When it comes to the success of their family friendly initiatives, flexible working proved to be the most successful, followed by their Childcare Voucher Scheme and then enhanced maternity or Shared Parental pay.