Many firms ‘actively tackling’ gender pay gap, survey suggests

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has suggested that 93% of UK firms are ‘actively tackling’ their gender pay gap.

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The survey of 350 businesses revealed that 60% of firms believe that diversity helps them to attract and retain staff, and a further 50% said it has brought new skills and capabilities into their workforce.

According to the survey, 50% of respondents are seeking to improve gender diversity in ‘all levels’ of their business.

Commenting on the CBI’s findings, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: ‘For the most part, employers are focusing on improving progression opportunities and on workplace diversity, which are positive steps. But there’s scope to go further, particularly on improving the gender balance in senior roles.’

As part of the second round of gender pay gap reporting, businesses and organisations are required to provide information on their gender pay gap by specific deadlines. Public sector organisations must publish and submit their data to the government by 30 March 2019, whilst businesses and charities must publish and submit by 4 April 2019.

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UK set to experience ‘strong growth in demand for labour’ in second quarter of 2018

A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has suggested that the UK is on course to experience ‘strong growth’ in demand for labour during the second quarter of this year.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 UK employers, also revealed that the net employment balance, which analyses the difference between the proportion of employers expecting to increase staff levels in the second quarter of 2018 and those who expect to decrease them, rose from +16 to +26 in the past three months.

However, the CIPD has warned that employers seeking to recruit may ‘find it more difficult’ to source the people and skills they require.

‘Employer optimism about job prospects remains extremely positive,’ said Gerwyn Davies, Senior Labour Market Analyst at the CIPD.

‘Employers need to think more creatively about their workforce planning and talent pipelines to ensure that they can continue to access and develop key skills. There needs to be a mix of attracting new and diverse talent as well as upskilling existing staff.’

Employers call for apprenticeship levy reform

More than half (53%) of employers currently paying the apprenticeship levy would like to see it replaced with a ‘training levy’, according to a new survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Of more than 1,000 employers questioned, just 17% of those paying the levy said they supported it, while four in ten claimed it would make ‘little or no difference’ to the training they provide.

The study also revealed that 46% of levy-paying employers will simply ‘rebadge’ their existing training in order to meet the requirements.

Introduced in April 2017, the apprenticeship levy is paid by employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year. The levy is 0.5% of the pay bill, although there is an annual allowance of £15,000.

The change was included as part of a package of measures to reform the funding of apprenticeships for all employers.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Lizzie Crowley, Skills Adviser at the CIPD, said: ‘Our research shows that the straitjacket of the apprenticeship levy is forcing many firms to re-badge a lot of their existing training as apprenticeships, as they seek to claw back the levy they pay. In many instances this is not adding any additional value and is creating a lot of additional bureaucracy and cost.

She continued: ‘The government needs to seriously review the levy to ensure it is flexible enough to respond to employers’ needs and to drive the greater investment in high quality training and workplace skills needed to boost UK productivity.’