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Productivity starts with people, advises CIPD ahead of today’s Budget

Productivity starts with people, advises CIPD ahead of today’s Budget

BudgetInvesting in people’s development and offering flexible working practices can help organisations boost productivity. This is according to research by the CIPD published ahead of today’s budget, which the Chancellor has said will put the emphasis on improving UK productivity. The report: Productivity: Getting the Best out of People, explores the factors that help to explain why some businesses have higher productivity than others and finds that there are clear links between productivity and how people are managed at work. The report finds that performance tends to be higher in businesses where there is a focus on higher quality products or services rather than only on low cost and where workplace culture is clearly aligned with the future direction of the business. Investment in workforce training and an intelligent approach to the implementation of ‘smart’ or agile working practices also has a positive impact.

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Value older workers or sleep-walk towards a skills shortage, employers warned

Value older workers or sleep-walk towards a skills shortage, employers warned

Hiring older workersA demographic time bomb means employers must act to avoid a cliff-edge loss of skills and talents by 2035, a new study by the CIPD has revealed. There are currently 9.4 million workers in the UK today who are over the age of 50 and while the employment rate of older workers has increased significantly in recent years, there is still a 64 percent drop in the employment rate between the ages of 53 and 67. New research from the CIPD and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), the independent think tank on longevity, ageing, and population change, warns the UK could face serious skills shortages over the next 20 years. Unless organisations start improving how they recruit, develop and retain older workers it is estimated that the UK economy will struggle to fill one million jobs by 2035, even taking into account the mitigating effect of migrant workers.

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Gen Z workers will be far more conventional than commonly assumed

Gen Z workers will be far more conventional than commonly assumed

Glued to the deskDespite being the first generation of workers to boast ‘native’ digital skills, so-called ‘Gen Z’ is far more conventional than previously assumed. The coming generation of 16-19 years-olds who are fast approaching the jobs market will care far more about their workplace and their employer’s ethics than Gen Y, new research from recruiter Adecco claims. The research shows that long-term security is more appealing to Gen Z than short term perks; with gym memberships (12%), free technology (16%) and time off to travel (26%) rejected in favour of qualifications and job security; at 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively. However, the research does show they have strong personal ambition and high expectations from employers, with half of those surveyed expecting a promotion within their first year of employment and the same number expecting to move on from an employer within two years.

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Staff want flexible working but worry about growing fat, stale and lonely

Staff want flexible working but worry about growing fat, stale and lonely

flexible workingA new report from Regus, based on a study of 44,000 workers worldwide claims that while many people see flexible working as an important factor in their career choices, they also remain worried about what working from home will mean for their happiness, health, family lives and job prospects. The report claims that many workers are afraid that working from home will mean they grow lonely, overweight and stale. According to the report, home workers still long for a chance to mix with other professionals and so opt to pop out of the house regularly for a change of scenery and to reconnect with the real world. More →

Three reasons why National Work From Home Day has it all wrong

Three reasons why National Work From Home Day has it all wrong

Last Friday was National Work From Home Day in the UK. Each year, the TUC and organisers Work Wise seem to take this as an opportunity to analyse data about the uptake of flexible working and arrive at the wrong conclusions. This year, its analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey found that the number of people regularly working from home had increased by more than 800,000 since 2005, taking the total to over 4.2 million. These are solid enough data, but what are we to make of TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady’s conclusion that: “these figures show millions of British workers have adopted homeworking and are enjoying a better work-life balance, while saving time and money on costly commuting that benefits no-one”? There are several reasons to suggest that he’s got that wrong to a large extent.

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More support needed to help people with depression stay at work

More support needed to help people with depression stay at work

End of their ropeAt any one time around 1 in 6 people of working age are experiencing a common mental health condition such as depression or anxiety but a lack of awareness may lead employers to misinterpret symptoms as poor performance, finds a new report from Lancaster University’s Work Foundation.The paper, Symptoms of Depression and their Effects on Employment, recommends that in order to improve both productivity and health and wellbeing among those of working age, more concerted action must be taken to support people with depression to stay in and to return to work. The paper considers the ways in which some of the symptoms associated with depression can form a barrier to employment and calls upon government departments at a national and regional level to commit to improving the provision of evidence-based support to help people with depression.

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Expert advice issued on managing mental health in the workplace

Expert advice issued on managing mental health in the workplace

Mental health awareness weekMental health can affect people’s personal lives, wellbeing and morale. But it can also impact on their performance at work and be costly for businesses. That’s the message from Acas, which, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, has issued a guide to managing mental health in the workplace. It advocates creating an environment where people feel confident they can disclose conditions to employers; that employers be aware of any changes in behaviour that might suggest they’re having problems; and suggests that if a problem is being caused by work, look into ways of facilitating changes, such as offering flexible working opportunities.  It is also suggested that wellness initiatives which encourage healthy eating, exercise and mindfulness can also help to reduce the severity of mental ill health.

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Millennials now account for largest percentage of American workforce

Millennials now account for largest percentage of American workforce

Glued-to-the-deskThe publication this week of a survey by EY revealed the uncomfortable fact for US employers that 38 percent of millennials would consider moving to another country for better parental leave benefits. Now, another piece of research illustrates why US employers may need to work harder to keep their millennials (adults ages 18 to 34) happy. They now make up more than one-in-three of workers, surpassing Generation X to become the largest group in the US workforce, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of US Census Bureau data. This milestone was reached in the first quarter of 2015, as the millennial workforce hit over 53 million. With its large proportion of immigrants, and at an age of transition from college to working world, the millennial workforce is likely to grow even further.

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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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UK digital infrastructure struggling to keep pace with demand

UK digital infrastructure struggling to keep pace with demand

infrastructureThe UK is struggling to create the digital infrastructure it needs to keep up with burgeoning employment and investment levels in new technology. A new study from IT recruitment firm Experis claims there has been an 18 per cent increase in the number of permanent job roles in the IT sector advertised across the UK in the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, a report from Santander’s commercial business division claims that the UK’s SMEs are planning to invest £53bn in digital business  over the next two years. All of this should be good news except for the fact that digital experts are warning that the UK is about to hit the digital buffers over the next two decades, according to experts who will present their findings to the Royal Society next week.

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Business clusters fuel growth in office occupier demand in smaller cities

Business clusters fuel growth in office occupier demand in smaller cities 0

WarringtonSmaller cities, including Brighton, Solihull, Reading and Warrington [pictured], look set to see a growth in occupier demand for office rentals over the few years, a new report has revealed. JLL’s ‘Where Next in the UK?’ report analysed the economic and office market performance of 37 smaller towns and cities giving an insight in to which locations will offer investors the biggest opportunity over the next five years. It shows some smaller cities are found to have a stronger outlook than the ‘Big 6’, (Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh). The success of these smaller cities, says the report, will be closely associated with their ability to develop and grow clusters of businesses, for instance a growing nuclear research and technology cluster in Warrington – along with strong university links and the provision of integrated transport and infrastructure.

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UK’s health and social systems failing to improve workforce wellbeing

UK’s health and social systems failing to improve workforce wellbeing 0

workforce wellbeingA new report published this week by The Work Foundation, Healthy, Working Economies sets out the challenges facing the next UK government to improve the health and wellbeing of the country’s workforce. The report calls on the government to review how it is using local organisations, such as Health and Wellbeing Boards and Local Enterprise Partnerships to encourage improvements in workforce wellbeing and health. The Work Foundation recommends that a standardised set of measures be included in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessments performed by Health and Wellbeing Boards, including measures of employment outcomes for individuals with health issues. The report also suggests that employer leadership is needed to drive the step-change needed to improve the health of the workforce.

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