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Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

property directorsWhen it comes to increasing organisational output, which in turn directly relates to real wage growth and higher living standards, the only determinant is productivity, measured in terms of output per hour worked. This is at the heart of all businesses and is essential for growth. The basic facts on productivity are clear. For over a decade, productivity has been painfully weak across all the major economies. The UK has performed particularly badly, with productivity having declined by 3.7 percent since 2008. A recent OECD report went as far as saying: “weak labour productivity since 2004 has been holding back real wages and well-being. The sustainability of economic expansion and further progress in living standards rest on boosting productivity growth, which is a key challenge for the coming years”.

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The pressing need for more women to forge careers in STEM disciplines

????????????????????One of the most pressing economic challenges facing the UK is producing enough qualified professionals in the key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines. And, as a number of new reports make clear, the problem is compounded by the failure of enough women to develop careers in those areas that will define the country’s economic future. It was a point raised in a recent Government report into the UK’s digital future. Writing for the BBC earlier this month Dame Prof Ann Dowling the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering laid out the scale of the problem; by 2022 the UK will need at least 1.82 million new engineering, science and technology professionals. What is also becoming clear is that, while many women are keen to develop STEM careers, they face a series of obstacles at every step.

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Orgatec preview: the next generation workplace is all about settings

There is a well travelled international circuit for those interested in what office design tells us about the way we work that has, for a number of years, taken in London, Milan, Chicago, Stockholm and Cologne as its main stopping off points. This week sees the launch of Orgatec, the longstanding biennial workplace festival in Cologne. One of the interesting features of Orgatec is that, because it takes place every two years, it offers snapshots of key developments in the market. It throws a spotlight on whatever workplace professionals are talking about and whatever product designers are doing in response to the changing world of work. And it does it on a big scale. This year over 600 companies from 40 countries will be presenting across an exhibition area of 105,000 sq. m. This seems big, and is, but is down markedly on the size of the show from 20 years ago when Orgatec was the launch pad for seminal products such as Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair and the Ad Hoc  furniture system from Vitra.

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Huge increase in Glasgow and Edinburgh office leasing activity, as demand grows

GlasgowGlasgow and Edinburgh have both seen more than 80 per cent growth in office leasing activity in the past year. A comparison of Scotland’s two major cities to other major cities on the continent at a recent JLL Research Seminar revealed that leasing activity in Glasgow increased by more than 120 per cent between July 2013 and June 2014, in comparison to the same period from 2012-2013. The increase in leasing activity placed Glasgow at the top of the list of forty comparable European cities. Edinburgh is fourth in the list with an increase in activity of around 80 per cent. The office markets of Edinburgh and Glasgow are expected to see continued high levels of occupier demand, an increase in investment activity and a strong performance from business parks. However, Edinburgh’s weakness is a lack of scale, and Glasgow’s is flat population growth; and though leasing markets in both cities are showing very strong recovery, vacancy rates are falling and Grade A space remains scarce. More →

Portfolio working could become the norm in ten years time says KPMG

Portfolio working could become the norm in ten years time says KPMGAt last year’s Worktech London, Charles Handy discussed the ascent of the portfolio worker. In a new survey by KPMG, 63 per cent of business leaders agree that portfolio workers will gain mainstream commercial acceptance within the next ten years. But some confusion remains as to just what constitutes a ‘portfolio worker’ as distinct from employees on flexible work schedules or freelancers. Just over a third (35%) of Generation Y respondents understood the term “portfolio workers” but they felt that they were simply freelancers by another name (78%), as did three quarters of the senior executives (76%) and the older respondents (74%). According to the survey portfolio workers differ from freelancers by having contracts in place with a number of different companies simultaneously, with a guaranteed number of hours of work from all during any given period of time. This approach, as Hardy has predicted, looks set to become the new way of work. More →

Business leaders must do more to address gender inequality says Mitie CEO

Change of mind set need to address gender inequalityThe Chair of the Women’s Business Council, (WBC) Mitie Chief Executive Ruby McGregor-Smith, is calling for a fundamental change in mind-set from business leaders, to help remove the final barriers to women’s equality. In the Council’s ‘One Year On’ report which included discussions with over 500 companies and individuals over the last year, as well as canvassing the views of male Chief Executives; the WBC concludes that male leaders are important, as visible agents of change, to ensure women are not held back in reaching their full potential in the workplace. Back in June 2013, the WBC published a number of recommendations for business and government to improve opportunities for women. Since then things have been moving in the right direction. But despite this progress, the organisation argues that male leaders could do more. More →

Employers urged to plan ahead as recruitment prospects rise

The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year aheadFresh evidence that the recession is over as the CIPD reports employment intentions are at the highest level for six and half years. However, pay continues to perform well below pre-recession levels, and the HR body warns that with the economy picking up, now is the time for employers to consider both the levels of pay and employment conditions they have to offer; and the reputation and branding of their organisation. Although CIPD’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook finds little evidence that the buoyant jobs market is feeding through into recruitment difficulties for the majority of employers in the short term, in some areas; such as engineering and management/executive there is already a struggle to fill high-skilled vacancies. The CIPD is therefore urging employers in all sectors to start planning ahead to mitigate the risk of widespread skills shortages in the longer term. More →

Report: How will the future affect us or can we effect the future?

 How will the future affect us or can we effect the future

Workplace furniture specialist Kinnarps has published its Trend Report 2013, which is the culmination of detailed research across European markets and thought leaders, conducted in partnership with Stockholm based futurologists Kairos Future. The study distilled a broad overview of emerging and established trends, across Kinnarps’ European markets, to focus on eight key themes that will influence the workplace of the future. According to the report, big changes are already apparent in our society, but these will come to have an altogether greater impact on the way we evaluate our working environment. More →

Female-friendly employers named as progress of women in boardrooms stalls

Top 50 Employers for Women named

In an interview this week on BBC’s Newsnight, Facebook’s CFO Sheryl Sandberg, revealed how she’d come to notice a growing gender imbalance as she moved up the corporate ladder. As her new book Lean in, points out, 30 years after women became 50 per cent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions. This is just one of many reasons why the publication this week of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list of the UK organisations that are leading the way in gender equality in the workplace is to be welcomed.

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