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Brexit impact on UK’s future workforce size could undermine productivity

Brexit impact on UK’s future workforce size could undermine productivity 0

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With the UK facing at best, very slow growth, or even shrinkage, of the working population, future changes to migration levels into the UK due to Brexit could exacerbate the financial stresses and strains caused by the UK’s aging workforce. This is according to the Mercer Workforce Monitor™ which claims that companies will need to invest heavily in automation, sectors of society historically under-represented in the workforce and look at ways of increasing productivity. According to the analysis, since 2013, the levels of EU and non-EU born immigration into the UK workforce has filled a gap left by the aging of the nation’s UK-born workforce which sees more in this group leave the workforce – through retirement, emigration or death – than enter it. National growth is closely linked to workforce growth; so reducing its future size would create major headwinds for the UK economy and since another 3.4 million people will reach the age of 65 in 2030; unless the UK decides to make drastic changes to the funding of pensions, health and social care, this smaller working population will be required to proportionally spend more of their income to care for their older citizens.

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No job is entirely safe as era of robots at work dawns 0

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Two new reports have highlighted the ways in which a new generation of robots could transform the workforce, opening up opportunities while also threatening existing jobs. A study from Oxford Martin School claims that 35 percent of jobs in the UK are at risk of automation, and not necessarily those of the low skilled and unskilled. The study analyses which jobs commanding a salary of more than £40,000 are most at threat. It found that top of the “at risk” ranking are insurance underwriters, with a rating of 98.9 percent, followed by loan officers at 98.4 percent, motor insurance assessors (98.3 percent) and credit analysts (97.9 percent). A second report from think tank Reform suggests that robots should be proactively brought in to the workplace to replace 90 per cent of Whitehall’s 137,000 administrative staff with “artificially intelligent chatbots” by 2030, saving £2.6 billion a year.

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Majority of employers predict more challenging economic conditions this year

Majority of employers predict more challenging economic conditions this year 0

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Majority of employers predict more challenging economic conditions this year

Three quarters of UK employers (76 percent) expect economic conditions to be more challenging in 2017 compared to 2016 and there are signs that the jobs market is slowing, claims the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) latest JobsOutlook survey. Employers intending to increase their permanent staff headcount within the next three months has reduced to one in five (21 percent), down from 24 percent reported last month. Similarly, demand for permanent staff has reduced in all sectors except health & social care and education. More positively, despite harsh economic conditions, businesses remain self-confident with three quarters of employers polled (74 percent) saying that their business will perform better this year compared to last year. Skills shortages remain a challenge for businesses however, as half of all employers (50 percent) anticipate a shortage of suitable candidates for some permanent roles this year. Employers anticipate that roles in engineering & technology, health & social care, and hospitality will be particularly affected by skills shortages.

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Government plans include improvements to mental health support at work

Government plans include improvements to mental health support at work 0

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Mental health support at workPrime Minister Theresa May has announced a package of measures to address mental health support in schools, workplaces and communities. The plans, which aim to help ensure that no one affected by mental ill-health goes unattended also includes a new partnership with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace. The Prime Minister has appointed Lord Dennis Stevenson, the long-time campaigner for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness, and Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to drive work with business and the public sector to support mental health in the workplace. These experts will lead a review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace and perform at their best. This will involve practical help including promoting best practice and learning from trailblazer employers, as well as offering tools to organisations, whatever size they are, to assist with employee well-being and mental health. It will review recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health

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Triple threat to worker wellbeing is financial, mental and physical

Triple threat to worker wellbeing is financial, mental and physical 0

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Triple threat to worker wellbeingWorkers are under siege from a triple threat to their wellbeing, often dealing with a combination of financial, mental and physical health problems. Research from AXA PPP healthcare claims that over half (52 per cent) of nearly 2,500 workers polled had faced financial difficulties, while around a third say they’ve lived with mental ill health (36 per cent) or had problems with their physical health (30 per cent). Most workers (81 per cent) say that, when they’ve experienced difficulties with their mental health, their physical health has suffered too, while over half (52 per cent) admit that their finances have been adversely affected. Similarly, when facing problems with their physical health, 71 per cent say that they’ve also experienced difficulties with their mental health, while 40 per cent report that their finances have taken a turn for the worse. A sizeable proportion of employees who’ve had financial difficulties say that their mental health (76 per cent) and physical health (50 per cent) have also been adversely affected.

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London firms promote health and wellbeing with Square Mile Relay

London firms promote health and wellbeing with Square Mile Relay 0

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hero-mediumOn the 22nd September, the biggest corporations in the City of London will compete in the iconic Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. The global race series, now in seven cities across the world, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in the capital with a record sell-out of 115 teams taking part in a unique relay in the heart of the square mile, as they attempt to prove themselves to be the fastest in the city. Each team consists of 10 runners, and each runner will be required to complete a one-mile course before passing the baton to the next competitor.  While at the heart of this race is its charitable motives, it is also reflective of an ongoing rhetoric surrounding the importance of health and wellbeing  in the workplace. The companies who have chosen to compete in this year’s global race series are communicating their desire for employees to embrace fitness as a lifestyle choice. It is a strategy in alignment with the ‘soft’ or ‘Harvard’ model of human resource management

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Electrosensitivity and the question of whether WiFi may be making us ill

Electrosensitivity and the question of whether WiFi may be making us ill 0

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WiFi-Stand-6Electrosensitivity is a particularly 21st century disease. Also known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI), it is a condition that is said to arise as a result of exposure to the low-level electromagnetic fields that now surround us, such as those that emanate from mobile and wireless technology, power lines and fluorescent and low-energy lighting. According to the Wireless Protection Organisation, symptoms of electrosensitivity can be far reaching, affecting us physically, cognitively and emotionally. Specific signs and symptoms may include: fatigue, faintness and sleep problems; headache, eye pain and visual disturbances, earache, tinnitus, toothache; skin irritation, tingling and burning; chest pain and irregular heart beat; aches, pains and numbness in joints, bones and muscles in arms and legs; lack of concentration, memory loss; and tress and irritability and depression

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Office design & stress + Manchester office shortage + Global flexible working

Office design & stress + Manchester office shortage + Global flexible working 0

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Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s Insight Newsletter; Mark Eltringham explains what Douglas Adams could teach us about workplace design and Sara Bean says there are fewer promotion prospects for part time working mums. Rise in worldwide take-up of flexible working; £1bn in savings if NHS made better use of its estate and Manchester may soon run out of Grade A office space.  2016 will see an exodus of Tech firm’s from cities, almost three quarters of small businesses believe co-working spaces are the ideal for start-ups and unpredictability and workplace environment are two most common factors influencing work related stress. Download the latest issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Delivering the low-down on the sit-stand workstation phenomenon

Delivering the low-down on the sit-stand workstation phenomenon 0

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Kinnarps-sit-standWhile the UK, US, Australia and other nations continue to treat them as something of a novelty, across Sweden, Norway and Finland, over 80 per cent of office workers use sit-stand desks. Offering employees a height adjustable work station is now mandatory in Denmark. However, sit-stand working is still in its infancy in the UK, with only 2 per cent of similar workers having access to variable-height workstations.  Given the huge amount of news coverage devoted to the subject of sedentary lifestyles in the last couple of years, ‘sit-stand’ and ‘active working’ have become buzz terms in UK workplace design. The ‘On Your Feet Britain’* campaign has raised awareness of the health perils risked by the many Brits who spend an average of 8.5 hours a day sitting, whether at their desk or slumped in front of the telly.  Inevitably, savvy employers will be asking themselves if they can afford to ignore the problem.

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Workplace bullying, pay, and productivity key workplace trends in 2016

Workplace bullying, pay, and productivity key workplace trends in 2016 0

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Future ProductivityAcas has published its Workplace Trends 2016 report, which identifies workplace bullying, pay, the new trade union bill and productivity as key trends that will have an impact on employment relations in 2016. In this report, thought-leaders discuss leadership, improving productivity, the art of communication, giving voice to a better way of working, encouraging positive behaviours in tackling bullying at work and the psychology of productivity. Writing in the report, Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber says that productivity is a real concern for the UK economy. He warns if we were able to match the productivity of the US then this would equate to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK, making it an issue that will remain high on the agenda in 2016. The report also features commentary from Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, Dr Makani Purva, Anti-Bullying Tsar at Hull NHS Trust and Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC.

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UK Government opens consultation on its new national digital strategy

UK Government opens consultation on its new national digital strategy 0

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s300_digital-economy-640x4001Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey has called on members of the public and industry to share their ideas on how the UK’s digital revolution can be taken to the next stage. The announcement of the consultation follows what the Government claims was a successful first stage of its strategy with the creation of digital clusters in East London, centred on Tech City. Five years on, the Government claims that  the UK is now truly a ‘Tech Nation’ with more than 70 per cent of digital businesses now based outside of the capital. According to Vaizey, “this revolution has been led by entrepreneurs but supported by Government in creating the right environment for ideas and businesses to flourish. Government is now looking at a new Digital Strategy for the UK for the next five years. It wants the UK to be synonymous with digital – a place where digital technologies transform day-to-day life, the economy and government.”

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Unhelpful generalisations about generations based on hype, claims report

Unhelpful generalisations about generations based on hype, claims report 0

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Generations hypeFor the first time, the age span of people in any workplace is now routinely between 16 and 75, as more people work past 60 than ever before. This means the UK is experiencing the widest working demographic in living memory. Yet generalisations about generations may simply be unhelpful, a new study into employee benefits has concluded. The report by Martha How, reward partner at Aon suggests a trend towards generational segmentation is much too simplistic and not necessarily supportive of employees or employer’s needs. She argues that the common view that we now have five generations in the workforce, each with differing needs and preferences are being overplayed. In fact, there is often too much of a tendency drift into caricature – for example, that twenty-somethings aren’t interested in pensions, while fifty-somethings worry mainly about pension and health.

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