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Employers support post-Brexit immigration system that tackles skills and labour shortages

Employers support post-Brexit immigration system that tackles skills and labour shortages

Employers support post-Brexit immigration system that tackles skills and labour shortagesDemand for labour is likely to remain relatively strong in the near-term which is one of the main reasons why employers support a national approach to tackling the UK’s skill and labour shortages post-Brexit, in comparison with a regional or sectoral one. According to the latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and The Adecco Group the preference for a national labour or skills shortage occupation scheme reflects the main reason given by organisations for employing EU nationals, which is that they have difficulty finding local applicants to fill lower skilled roles, as cited by 18 percent of employers. The national survey of more than 2,000 employers found that the relative majority of employers (41 percent) would prefer a UK-wide immigration system that is based on national labour or skill shortage occupations in the likely event of migration restrictions once the UK leaves the European Union. In contrast, around one in ten (13 percent) favour a sector-based policy and just 5 percent would back a regional policy.

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UK productivity growing at quickest rate for six years

UK productivity growing at quickest rate for six years

Productivity in Britain is rising at its fastest rate in six years. Output per hour worked rose by 0.9 per cent between July and September of 2017, according to the latest quarterly report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was the biggest increase since 2011, when productivity grew by 1 per cent. The UK has a persistent problem with its productivity. Excluding the UK, G7 GDP per hour worked is 18 per cent higher than in Britain, with productivity in the United States 30 per cent higher, France 31 per cent and Germany 36 per cent. High productivity is considered the key to economic prosperity because it allows companies to produce more goods or services with fewer workers or hours worked. This in turn lets companies pay higher wages without having to raise prices. Many theories have been developed to explain the UK’s chronic low productivity, which are summarised by the Financial Times here (subscription or registration needed).

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Employers want to grow workforce next year, but concerned about Brexit impact

Employers want to grow workforce next year, but concerned about Brexit impact

Employers want to grow workforce next year but concerned about Brexit impactJust over half (51 percent) of firms across the UK will grow their workforce in the year ahead, with confidence highest amongst small and mid-sized firms (58 percent) according to the latest CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey. But the survey warns that delivering further jobs growth depends on businesses being confident they can remain competitive if they choose to base staff in the UK. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) currently believe that changes in the UK labour market will contribute to Britain becoming a less attractive place to invest and do business over the next five years – up from 50 percent last year and 25 percent in 2015. Skills gaps were the single most prominent worry facing firms, with nearly four in five (79 percent) respondents highlighting this as a worry – up from 64 percent in 2016. Access to overseas workers is a big contributor to this, with nearly half of respondents (49 percent) identifying uncertain access to labour supply – up from 35 percent in 2016 as a concern.

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Soft skills are vital for organisational success, say business leaders

Soft skills are vital for organisational success, say business leaders

A majority of business leaders see a positive impact on revenues following soft skills training investment as Apprenticeship Levy gathers pace, new research claims. Almost two-thirds (60 percent) of senior decision-makers said training employees in communication, leadership and sales skills leads to business growth. The findings suggest the new government-funded apprenticeship schemes introduced in April will improve companies’ bottom-lines, with 63 percent of respondents already seeing an increase in revenue from an investment in staff training. ‘Hard’ skills such as technical abilities were more of a focus under old apprenticeship schemes, but the data reveals business leaders want to invest in less quantifiable skills such as communication, leadership and customer service since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.

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Returnship programmes offer parents route back into work, yet only 4 percent of employers offer them

Returnship programmes offer parents route back into work, yet only 4 percent of employers offer them

A totaljobs study of 2,600 jobseekers and nearly 100 employers claims that while a ‘returnship’ initiative can offer a valuable route back into the workforce for anyone taking a break in their career, their success is hindered by a lack of awareness, rather than a lack of interest. The study found that 85 percent of employers are not aware of returnship programmes despite the fact that two thirds of recruiters believe they would offer returnships if they were incentivised by the government and 72 percent of employees would consider a returnship programme if they’d taken a break from the workforce.

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Employer bias is undermining business innovation and potential says OU

Employer bias is undermining business innovation and potential says OU

Employer bias is undermining business innovation and potential says OU

Over a quarter of senior managers hire people just like them, and this bias is still rife in some organisations, according to new market research commissioned by The Open University. The study amongst business leaders and employees finds that three in 10 (29 percent) senior managers admit they hire people just like them, and warns employers may be overlooking candidates from different social and educational backgrounds, impacting access to talent, and hindering business innovation and performance as a result. Employers place significant importance on educational attainment (86 percent), cultural fit (77 percent), tastes and leisure pursuits (65 percent), and even social background (61 percent). Considering the typical social make up of managers, this raises concerns about diversity, a key driver of innovation, and hints at a glass ceiling for those from less privileged backgrounds, with the re-enforcement of the historical class system. The issue is prevalent in both recruitment and employment, with bias creating a ‘degree premium’, particularly at entry level.

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Government targets 50 percent cut in greenhouse gases from the built environment

Government targets 50 percent cut in greenhouse gases from the built environment

The UK government has set some ambitious targets for construction and the environmental performance of buildings following the announcement of a Sector Deal for the construction sector. The sector deal was an integral part of the Industrial Strategy White Paper published earlier this week. In a statement, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark revealed more details of the deal supported by £170m of government investment and £250m of match funding from the built environment sector. The announcement sets out ambitious new targets for the built environment and infrastructure including a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and a third reduction in the costs of construction and whole life costs of buildings.

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Boosting skills is the key to improving sluggish growth and productivity

Boosting skills is the key to improving sluggish growth and productivity

The United Kingdom has record-high employment levels and very low jobless rates compared to most OECD countries. However, labour productivity growth remains weak and the job prospects of many adults are hurt by their poor literacy and numeracy skills. To boost growth, productivity and earnings, the UK should encourage lifelong learning among adults and promote better skills utilisation, according to a new OECD report. Getting Skills Right: United Kingdom says that educational attainment has been rising in the UK, with 42 percent of adults having a tertiary degree, compared with 34 percent across the OECD. Sixteen per cent graduate in the field of sciences, more than in any other OECD country, and nearly half of science graduates are women. The share of young adults enrolled in vocational education and training has risen to 43 percent but remains lower than in many other European countries. Apprenticeships are also less popular, pursued by around 24 percent of upper secondary students, compared to 59 percent in Switzerland or 41 percent in Germany.

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Government unveils Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and wealth

Government unveils Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and wealth

The UK government has published its ‘ambitious’ Industrial Strategy, which it claims sets out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and boost the earning power of people across the UK. With the aim of making the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2030, the government has committed to investing a further £725 million over the next 3 years in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to respond to some of the greatest global challenges and the opportunities faced by the UK. This will include £170 million to ‘transform the construction sector and help create affordable places to live and work that are safer, healthier and use less energy’

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Time for Britain to face up to its post-Brexit skills shortage

Time for Britain to face up to its post-Brexit skills shortage

A new and dramatic wrinkle seems to be added to the process of Brexit talks every week. But rumbling underneath the political positioning are some fundamental problems for business. Perhaps the most startling challenge is the prospect of a cavernous skills gap. A lot of attention has been paid to the problems of low-skilled workers – the “left-behind” who voted for Brexit in the first place, and the migrants who are currently propping up the agricultural economy and doing the jobs that UK workers don’t want to do. But a more pressing issue is the fact that for too long a large proportion of our skilled labour has been coming from outside the UK. This is not only in the form of skilled individuals who are recruited to work for companies and public sector organisations in the UK, but also in the way Britain outsources the manufacture of complex parts to companies in the rest of Europe. More →

UK improves opportunities for young workers, but faces longer term challenges from automation

UK improves opportunities for young workers, but faces longer term challenges from automation

The UK could boost GDP by £43 billion if it reduces the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) to match Germany, the best performing EU country. This is equivalent to a GDP increase of around £7,500 per 18-24 year old, according to estimates in PwC’s latest Young Workers Index. This year, the UK reached its highest position since the Index began in 2006, climbing to 18th out of 35 OECD countries from 20th last year. The UK’s improvement reflects lower youth unemployment and NEET rates as the economic recovery from the financial crisis has continued, but it still lags behind many other OECD countries, with Switzerland, Iceland and Germany leading the pack.

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Urgent action needed to boost small business workplace productivity says CIPD

Urgent action needed to boost small business workplace productivity says CIPD

The CIPD is calling on Government to invest £13m a year to provide HR support to small businesses, as new research shows that it could be a key part of efforts to resolve the UK’s workplace productivity puzzle. The call is based on the evaluation of year-long People Skills pilots providing HR support for SMEs in Hackney, Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow. People Skills was developed by the CIPD, with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. It provided up to two days’ worth of free HR support to small firms, including face-to-face advice, a telephone helpline, online information and templates, as well as group training events.

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