Search Results for: employment

This isn’t a golden era for small business; it’s more interesting than that

small businessesYesterday, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor Lord Young produced a report into the key trends experienced by the UK’s small businesses over the past five years. According to the headline figures presented by the report, this is a ‘golden era’ for small businesses in the UK, with a record number of small firms in the country. The reported 5.2 million small firms represents an increase of 760,000 over the five year period covered by the study. The report concludes that the main drivers of this upsurge are the growing belief people have in their own ideas and abilities coupled with the technological wherewithal to make them a commercial reality. Lord Young also claims the Government deserves some credit for providing the business landscape for this to happen. But is it really that simple?

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Digital economy spreads nationwide but London still dominates

digital economyThe UK Government has published what it says is the first comprehensive analysis of the UK’s digital economy clusters as part of an ‘interactive data project’ called Tech Nation*. The project shows the development of digital businesses by region across the UK. The project has been developed by Tech City UK, the government’s flagship organisation focused on the UK’s digital economy. The project suggests that there are now  nearly 1.5 million jobs in the UK digital sector with around three quarters (74 percent) of them outside London. While the Government is keen to portray this as a nationwide success story, this still means that there are twice as many jobs per head in London’s digital sector as the national average and, as we reported earlier, the Government’s rollout of fast broadband to rural areas remains woefully inadequate.

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Political focus on regulation misses real workplace issues, says CIPD

Politician's focus on regulations ignore the real workplace influencers says CIPDOne of the key policies of the Coalition Government is its Red Tape Challenge, intended to ‘roll back’ as many ‘restrictive’ employment regulations as possible. Such deregulation has been lambasted by the Labour party for its negative effect on employer / employee relations and workplace performance. As the parties gear up for the election May this argument looks set to intensify. Yet according to a major new report from the CIPD, Employment Regulation and the Labour Market, neither approach is likely to have any impact on UK labour market outcomes, suggesting there isn’t a case for the next Government to either deregulate or strengthen employment rights. Instead, the CIPD is urging policymakers to focus efforts on improving productivity through a much stronger focus on workplace practices, increasing awareness of existing rights and enforcing them more effectively.

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Employers need to do more to attract and train older workers says REC

Hiring older workersEmployers need to provide more training opportunities for older workers and how they advertise jobs to attract recruits over 55, according to the results of a survey issued by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). Asked to identify the most important change businesses should make to encourage applications from jobseekers aged 55 and over, almost four in ten (37%) respondents highlighted issues around advertising, while a third (34%) indicated that they should be providing more opportunities for older workers to upskill or reskill. Twenty percent said that businesses need to be more careful with language used in job adverts while 17 percent said that hirers need to look beyond posting jobs exclusively online. Evidence for the business case for retaining, retraining and recruiting older workers will be published by the Department for Work and Pensions in March.

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Good communication is essential to ensure workplace health and safety

health and safetyLast week the HSE marked its 40th anniversary with a series of warnings about the continuing importance of maintaining health and safety. While the number of people killed at work has fallen dramatically since the HSE was launched, it’s important employers don’t get complacent. A lack of education among the workforce about the adequate measures to take when considering health and safety can still make a huge difference. Good communication is vital, so provide in depth, yet cohesive and easy to follow Health and Safety guides, including useful information like fire blanket locations, fire exits, what to do in an emergency and emergency phone numbers which are handed out to all employees. Regular talks about the importance of health and safety should be conducted every few months to reiterate health and safety messages.

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Reports highlight the UK economy’s geographical and digital divides

Publication1The divides in the UK economy are not only geographical, but also technological. That is the conclusion of two new reports into the country’s economic makeup and the differences that mark out the North and South of the UK as well as its rural and urban economies. While the Centre for Cities 2015 Outlook report has focused attention on the North South divide with widespread media coverage, the Federation of Small Business (FSB) has also identified a second split between the digital economies of urban and rural areas. The former report paints a picture of a two-speed economy and a widening gap between South-East England and the rest of the UK while the latter highlights the damage done to businesses in rural areas as they struggle to cope with sub-par broadband.

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‘Squeezed generation’ of middle-aged workers take most sick days

 

Employers’ concerns regarding the ageing workforce are usually based on the belief older workers will tend to struggle more with health problems. However, new data from AXA PPP healthcare reveals it’s the middle band of workers (30-49) that take more sick days than any other age group; averaging 2.3 sick days in the past six months; with a quarter of these workers taking three or four days off sick. Twelve per cent of this middle age group have taken the equivalent of a working week off sick (5 or 6 days) in the past six months, double the number of 18-29 year olds (6%) and just 5 per cent of those 50-69. This ‘squeezed generation,’ faced with the pressures of balancing work and home, takes least positive steps to help ensure good health; has a fairly negative outlook regarding their jobs and is more stressed than other age group.

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Nearly two-thirds of over 50s say flexible working is best route to retirement

Nearly two-thirds of over 50s say part time working is the best way to retireAround half of over 50s would like to carry on working part time after 65, while 39 per cent of feel that working part time or flexible hours before stopping work altogether would be the best way to retire. According to new research, one in four over 50s said they would be interested in taking a few months off and then returning to work as an alternative to retirement. Meanwhile 36 percent of retirees say their advice to others would be to consider switching to flexible or part time work for a period first before retiring and 33 per cent of over 70s still working said they did so because they enjoyed it. However the poll also reveals some discrimination, with 23 percent of over 50s believing they are viewed ‘less favourably than younger workers’ and 15 per cent experiencing age-based discrimination in the workplace.

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Lack of flexible working options is distorting the job market for women

flexible working womanUK employers and their female employees are missing out on a range of opportunities because of their failure to implement better flexible working arrangements, according to a report from The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The report examined flexible working across Europe and found that while significant progress had been made in the UK, nearly two thirds (64 percent) of working women are unable to vary their working hours and a quarter (25 percent) claim it is difficult to take one or two hours from their day at short notice. The report claims the pent up demand for such working arrangements restricts employment opportunities for women compared to men, means more women are working in jobs below their skill level and creates the conditions for extensive underemployment.

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CIPD claims 2015 should be a ‘rollover year’ for workplace productivity

workplace productivityThe UK labour market will continue to expand at a strong rate in 2015 but there are unresolved issues relating to levels of pay and how best to increase workplace productivity to drive further growth, according to Mark Beatson, chief economist for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in a new report. While the report argues that the ongoing economic recovery and improvements in the labour market are good news for jobseekers and good news for businesses, it also considers it unlikely that we’ll see any real increase in wage growth until 2016. The author also warns that the UK’s steady growth remains vulnerable to developments in Europe and that the UK’s ‘workplace productivity puzzle’ is an urgent issue for policy makers and businesses to address in order to sustain growth.

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Digital infrastructure boost will lead to urban brain drain, claims report

Country_MouseThe tap roots of the digital economy will not spread beneath the concrete of Tech City and other urban enclaves, but in the fertile soil of the UK countryside. That is the finding of a new briefing document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which claims that rural areas are set to overtake towns and cities as the main driver of Britain’s digital economy. As a result of improvements in the country’s digital infrastructure and transport links as well as a changing relationship between firms, employees and contractors, there are now more people moving to the countryside from towns and cities than those moving in the opposite direction. The briefing suggests that by 2025, the rural economy will be worth an additional £35 billion and the productivity of rural areas could outstrip urban areas for the first time since the industrial revolution.

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Revised plans approved for development of iconic BBC Television Centre

Revised plans for former BBC television centre buildings approvedNew office space aimed at occupiers in the creative sector is included in Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan’s planned redevelopment of the former BBC Television Centre in west London. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham have granted planning permission for the revised plans for the mixed use development of the iconic building; to include the demolition of the existing Stage 4 and 5 office buildings and their replacement with a more sustainable and efficient new ten storey office building with improved facades, designed by architects AHMM. A change in use from residential to commercial has also been approved for a new nine storey office building fronting Hammersmith Park on the site of the old BBC restaurant block, with an overall increase in office accommodation across the site from 350,000 sq ft to 519,000 sq ft.

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