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3D printing and Virtual Reality could reduce waste in design and construction says BCO

3D printing and Virtual Reality could reduce waste in design and construction says BCO 0

3D printing and Virtual Reality could reduce waste in design and construction

Digital technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D printing could help reduce waste during a design and construction project, suggests a new report from the British Council for Offices (BCO). “Virtual Reality and 3D Printing – Reducing waste in office construction through new technology” reviews the existing applications of these technologies and their ability to mitigate waste during the design and construction process. The report, which is the result of a collaboration between an international team of multi-disciplinary experts also identifies opportunities and challenges for the technology in the future. According to the authors, if the UK construction industry is to come anywhere close to achieving the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s 2025 construction strategy there needs to be a sensible re-think about how we design, procure and construct buildings in the future; and two technologies that are now reaching maturity and could help are VR and 3D printing.

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Climate change demands a rethink for our economic models

Climate change demands a rethink for our economic models 0

Swift and effective action is needed to create new, sustainable economic models to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on the world’s working population, claims a report published by the International Bar Association Global Employment Institute (IBA GEI). The Climate Change and Human Resources Policies Report focuses on the relationship between climate change and employment, and aims to contribute to nascent discussions anticipating structural changes to business and the training needs of workforces transitioning to low-carbon economies. The report also highlights potential issues in relation to employment policies, labour law, ‘weak’ jobs, ‘expanding’ jobs and new jobs. Further, it draws attention to what some countries are doing to help their nations’ employees adjust to industrial change, and how trade unions, employers and educators are working together to deliver green skills training.

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How the fourth industrial revolution might help to solve the challenges of mobility and migration

How the fourth industrial revolution might help to solve the challenges of mobility and migration 0

The already cack-handed Brexit negotiations and the ongoing saga of President Trump’s ‘wall’ have ensured that the issue of migration has stayed at the top of the political agenda so far this year. Yet, one potentially significant factor that has stayed out of the headlines so far is the potential for people to migrate digitally across nations and the globe. The World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Migration, in conjunction with Remote.co, has now published a report into the subject called Mobile Minds: An Alternative to Physical Migration in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The white paper claims to outline the benefits of, and challenges associated with, cross-border remote hiring. Led by Rajeeb Dey, Tolu Olubunmi, and Sara Sutton Fell, the goal of Mobile Minds is to explore the global impact of remote work as it relates to both the mobility of the twenty-first century workforce and workplace.

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Gender pay gap legislation may be aiming at the wrong target, claims report

Gender pay gap legislation may be aiming at the wrong target, claims report 0

Britain’s new gender pay gap legislation is addressing the wrong issue and so will fail to do what it sets out to do, according to a new report from executive search firm Korn Ferry Hay Group. The firm claims that its analysis of over 570,000 people on its UK database shows that the gender pay gap is “virtually non-existent” when men and women do the same job at the same level in the UK, but that the differences become pronounced in senior and executive arenas. The study backs up data from the Office for National Statistics which recently began publishing details of pay differentials by age and sex and the results are eye opening.  The most startling finding was that women in their 20s and early 30s earn slightly more than men of the same age and in the same job. However, as people get older, the pay gap goes into reverse, with men marginally out earning women at the age of 35, with the pay gap then widening rapidly into early middle age. As we reported earlier this week, the major issues arise both at a senior level of organisations and when women start families and begin paying a ‘motherhood penalty’ in terms of their pay and careers.

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UK productivity is up but the underlying puzzle remains unsolved

UK productivity is up but the underlying puzzle remains unsolved 0

productivity puzzleThe latest productivity data from the Office for National Statistics shows that UK productivity is up, although the accompanying briefing admits that the data ‘provides little sign of an end to the UK’s productivity puzzle’. According to the report, output per hour increased in the final quarter of 2016 at its fastest rate for more than a year. Quarterly growth of 0.4 percent lifted output per hour 1.2 percent higher than a year ago. While the productivity puzzle is a feature of most developed economies, it is particularly intransigent in the UK, which has a significant gap compared to other nations such as Germany, the US and France. This is despite the fact that Britons spend more time working than those in any comparable nation, except the US.

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Brexit should be a chance for the UK to enshrine employment rights

Brexit should be a chance for the UK to enshrine employment rights 0

Exploitative employment contracts continue to receive widespread media attention – from shaming the businesses who use them, to prompting questions regarding workers’ rights in Parliament. In light of the Prime Minister officially signing Article 50, to trigger the formal start of the Brexit negotiation period, now is a good time to consider how this will affect the UK’s tarnished relationship with zero-hours contracts? Zero-hours contracts, and their equivalents, are demeaning policies, often backed-up by capricious management practices. They are non-negotiable, offering draconian flexibility in numerical, temporal and spatial terms and conditions.  But would continuing with EU membership have made a difference? The evidence reveals otherwise.

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White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector

White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector 0

BSRIA has published a new white paper to explore how issues related to Brexit will impact the UK’s built environment sector. The report highlights the ways in which the industry that supports the built environment has a major impact on the overall UK economy and plays a positive role in supporting the government’s climate change and emissions reduction objectives. According to the white paper, the sector is particularly sensitive to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit because it is technology intensive, requires a highly-skilled workforce, and is very dependent on international trade.

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Days lost to illness in the UK down to lowest level in a quarter of a century

Days lost to illness in the UK down to lowest level in a quarter of a century 0

The number of days taken as sick leave in the UK has fallen to the lowest rate since records began, according to the latest release of data from the Office for National Statistics. In 2016, about 137 million working days were lost to illness, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. The latest figures represent the lowest number of days lost  since reporting began in 1993. Days lost have been falling since 2003 and particularly since the economic downturn of 2007-8, notes the ONS. This might suggest people are struggling in to work when ill out of fear, but that may be only part of the story as the growth in flexible working will also have had a significant impact. As always, the data throws up some interesting comparisons between demographic groups and sectors although the context is not always as clear or as straightforward as is commonly supposed.

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UK employment rises to record levels (and productivity is up too)

UK employment rises to record levels (and productivity is up too) 0

The UK’s employment rate rose to 74.6 per cent in the final three months of last year, the highest rate recorded since data started being collected in 1971, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics published today. The data also showed that UK productivity grew by 0.3 percent in Quarter 4 of 2016, following an increase of 0.4 percent in Q3, and that average earnings were 2.6 per cent higher over the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2015. The growth in employment is seen to reflect a decline in the proportion of adults who are inactive but not seeking work. The unemployment rate remained at 4.8 per cent, the lowest level since 2005. The number of people in full-time employment rose by 45,000 in the three months to December. This was partly offset by a 7,000 fall in the number of people working part-time.

A unity of opposites at Sky Central

A unity of opposites at Sky Central 0

It’s drummed into us from an early age that we can’t have it all, as a result we consider choices as being a binary either/or situation. The workplace design brief (where it’s actually undertaken, an entirely separate discussion) positions choices similarly – open or closed, focussed or collaborative, modern or traditional – the decision point existing along a sliding scale from one natural extreme to the other. Yet there is a way to consider workplace design as an attempt to achieve the “unity of opposites”, an idea proposed by the pre-Socratic aphoristic philosopher, Heraclitus, the original thinker on change. This holds that the existence of an idea is entirely dependent on the existence of its opposite, that one cannot exist without the other. The framework is considered here in its application to the recently completed Sky Central in Osterley (West London), a newly constructed 38,000m2 NIA activity-based workplace over three floors that is home to 3,500 of the total 7,500 people on the Campus. It may be considered as tool for aiding workplace brief development, or for understanding how a workplace has been conceived and functions.

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Gender earnings gap in tech sector is significantly higher than national average

Gender earnings gap in tech sector is significantly higher than national average 0

homepage-insideThe high tech sector may pride itself on offering some of the most attractive and modern workplace environments, but when it comes to equal parity between the sexes it seems out of date. New research from Mercer claims that at 25 percent, the gender earnings gap in the UK’s high tech sector is significantly higher than the national average (18 percent). The consultancy also found that small companies have the largest gap, with a 30 percent difference in (median) pay between all male and female employees, and a 26 percent gap when considering mean base salaries. This difference reduces as company sizes grow. Where the data allowed comparison of pay between women and men in equal job roles, the pay gap was much smaller, typically 8 percent. This is comparable to the UK norm of 9 percent for this type of analysis. The reasons for this gap is due on further analysis to a multitude of factors including the reluctance of many women to enter the tech field, not enough effort being put into promoting women and a lack of will in promoting flexible working patterns.

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Google confirms it is to go ahead with massive new London HQ

Google confirms it is to go ahead with massive new London HQ 0

googleFollowing the announcement in September that Apple was to reaffirm its commitment to the UK with a major investment in the creation of a new headquarters building in London, the latest global tech giant to follow suit is Google. The firm has confirmed it is to open a new HQ in the capital which will see 3,000 jobs created by 2020. In an interview with the BBC, chief executive Sundar Pichai claimed that he is confident that the UK Government will not be throwing up barriers to the movement of skilled labour in the wake of the Brexit vote. Based on this he is moving ahead with the Bjarke Ingels Group and Thomas Heatherwick designed £1 billion Kings Cross development that will allow the firm to expand its UK workforce to 7,000 people. Heatherwick has previously worked with Google alongside Bjarke Ingels Group on the design of their Mountain View headquarters in California. He was drafted in to work on the London project after a previous design was rejected because it was ‘boring’.

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