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London councils form office of technology and innovation

London councils form office of technology and innovation

The London Office of Innovation and Technology (LOTI) has been officially launched, ushering in what the fifteen councils behind the initiative claim will be a new era of digital transformation. The councils claim that London’s public services will benefit from faster adoption of technology, data and digital skills. The city-wide venture is a collaboration between all 32 London boroughs with the Mayor of London’s backing.

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Worker confidence in the UK jobs market falls

Worker confidence in the UK jobs market falls

Confidence in jobs market fallsThe Monster Jobs Confidence Index, published for the first time by jobs board Monster.co.uk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), claims that workers and job seekers confidence in the UK labour market has dropped by 10 percent, from 77 percent to 67 percent. The report defines confidence as how an individual feels about their ability to find a suitable job in the short-term, realise their career potential and build a better future for themselves.

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Government announces plans to to boost digital skills for adults

Government announces plans to to boost digital skills for adults

a group of people work together on laptopsThe UK Government has unveiled new qualifications which it claims will help to give adults the digital skills they need to succeed in the modern world. Free courses will be offered to thousands of people to help the 1 in 5 UK adults with no or low basic digital skills learn how to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The new qualifications, unveiled by Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton, will be based on new national standards and will be available for free to anyone over the age of 19 from 2020. They have been designed to help adults learn the essential skills, such as sending emails, completing online forms or using a tablet, that many people take for granted. More →

Government needs to sort Brexit deadlock as construction sector falls

Government needs to sort Brexit deadlock as construction sector falls

constructionThe Government and Parliament must break the Brexit deadlock and find a way forward warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), in response to the latest Construction PMI data, which shows another drop in construction output. The March 2019 PMI data revealed an Index score of 49.7, up slightly from 49.5 in February, against the no change threshold of 50.0. This points to a sustained decline in construction output, representing the first back-to-back fall in construction output since 2016. While the residential building sector enjoyed an upturn, commercial construction was the worst performing area.

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Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

Reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

There is a ‘significant risk’ that the reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ unless key differences between it and gender pay are recognised, said the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in its response to the UK Government’s consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. Although the IES supports the government’s proposals to introduce mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap information, it suggests that cultural and practical barriers to collecting and reporting ethnicity data are greater than for gender pay. More time and greater government support are therefore needed to prepare for these changes. The consultation response voices specific concerns that measures to increase the recruitment of under-represented groups, for example through apprenticeships or paid internships, could serve to widen pay gaps initially. This could inadvertently discourage employers from taking positive action to improve their ethnic diversity. Reporting arrangements therefore need to also take account of changes in the levels of employment participation for different ethnic minority groups, as well as their pay.

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Ten UK employment law changes to look out for in 2019

Ten UK employment law changes to look out for in 2019

From gender pay gap reporting to widespread claims of workplace sexual harassment, 2018 has been a busy year in employment law. Although employers may hope for a quieter 2019, it’s looking likely that there will be a number of issues that are prevalent throughout the year, amid the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit. Below are just ten changes employers need to look out for.  Whilst there are sure to be other new developments introduced throughout next year, employers would do well to keep a close eye on these particular topics and put plans in place to ensure their business complies with any new requirements.

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Economy could achieve significant economic boost by addressing skills gaps in younger people

Economy could achieve significant economic boost by addressing skills gaps in younger people

The UK could boost GDP by around £40 billion a year in the long run if it reduces the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) to match Germany, the best performing EU country. Despite making improvements in recent years, the UK only ranks 19th out of 35 countries across the OECD on a PwC index based on a range of indicators of youth employment, education and training. But this is slightly better than the UK’s ranking of 21st across the OECD on a similar PwC index for older workers released earlier this year. Across England NEET rates vary significantly, reflecting the disparity in educational attainment and job opportunities across the country. In 2017, the West Midlands had the highest NEET rate for 19-24 year olds at 16.7 percent, followed by the North East by 16.3 percent. Meanwhile the South East and South West have the lowest rates, both at 11.5 percent (see table below). More →

The workplace world responds to the UK Autumn Budget

The workplace world responds to the UK Autumn Budget

Yesterday, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the details of the UK government’s latest budget. While Brexit and austerity inevitably cast their shadows over the whole thing, there were a number of announcements relevant to the workplace, construction, tech and built environment sectors, some of which have been broadly welcomed by commentators, industry bodies and experts. Some are decidedly less popular. Among the announcements in the budget were new plans for infrastructure and property, skills and training, tax regimes for the self-employed, productivity, business rates and mental health.

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The satisfaction of self-employed people depends on skills development rather than business growth

The satisfaction of self-employed people depends on skills development rather than business growth

Developing skills and knowledge is more important for self-employed people’s sense of career progression than increasing their rate of pay, a new report by IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) and the IPA (the Involvement and Participation Association) claims. The report, Working well for yourself: What makes for good self-employment?, surveyed 800 people across the country about what constituted ‘good work’ for them. First of all, it found that work satisfaction levels are remarkably high among the self-employed. This reinforces the findings of a 2015 CIPD Employee Outlook survey, which showed that general work satisfaction is higher among the self-employed (81 percent) than employees (61 percent).

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Employers and government need to work together to address looming Brexit skills gap

Employers and government need to work together to address looming Brexit skills gap

As the UK continues to navigate a period of uncertainty ahead of its exit from the European Union, new research published by the City & Guilds Group and Emsi claims that nine in 10 employers already struggle to recruit the skilled staff they need. With most industries expected to grow between now and 2024, a significant number of skilled workers will be needed to meet demand. However, People Power, a study based on City & Guilds Group interviewing over 1,000 C-Suite employers in the UK and work with Emsi to undertake extensive economic modelling, has found that two thirds of UK employers think that the skills gaps in their businesses are likely to get worse or remain the same in the next three to five years.

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Automation will lead to greater inequality rather than job losses

Automation will lead to greater inequality rather than job losses

The total level of wages associated with jobs that have the technical potential to be automated in the UK is £290 billion per year, which represents 33 percent of all wages and earnings from labour in the economy, according to a new report published by IPPR  for the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice. The report further claims that low-wage jobs have more potential to be automated than high-wage jobs and so it’s not just automation’s impact on the number of jobs that need to be considered but the impact on inequality. If automation leads to lower average wages or working hours, or loss of jobs in aggregate, a significant amount of national income could be transferred from wages to profits. And while increased automation of activities will replace some workers and labour earnings, employment and wages will rise in other areas of the labour market due to higher output and productivity, offsetting some of the original £290 billion lost but increasing pay inequality.

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Built environment needs to address the talent gap to make the digital transition says WEF

Built environment needs to address the talent gap to make the digital transition says WEF

Built environment needs to address the talent gap to make digital transition says WEFThe construction industry needs new talent and skills to help in the adoption of new technologies to meet the challenges of digital transformation. It must also become more diverse, including increasing the percentage of women in the industry. These are the recommendations of a new report from the World Economic Forum, developed in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Shaping the Future of Construction: An Action Plan to solve the Industry’s Talent Gap. The report argues that the Infrastructure and Urban Development (IU) industry has failed to innovate as quickly as other sectors, resulting in stagnating productivity and negative effects on the economy, society and the environment. An ongoing industry-wide shortage of qualified workers is among the key reasons for this issue. It has undermined project management and execution, adversely affecting cost, timelines and quality. It also has impeded the adoption of new digital technologies, such as building information modelling (BIM), automated equipment and cloud-based collaboration tools, which could improve productivity. The report provides twelve key actions which needs to be implemented to close the structural talent gap of the construction industry.

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