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.’

Wage growth ‘likely to remain weak’, study suggests

imagesA study carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has suggested that wage growth is set to ‘remain weak’.

Pay rises for 2018 have been forecast at just 1%. The study attributes the subdued forecast to an increase in labour supply over the past year.

Meanwhile, 23% of private sector firms stated that National Living Wage (NLW) costs have affected pay growth.

21% of businesses cited uncertainty in regard to access to the EU single market as having an effect on income growth, and a further 21% believe that the government’s auto enrolment pensions scheme has affected wage growth.

Gerwyn Davies, Senior Labour Market Analyst at the CIPD, said: ‘Predictions of pay growth increasing alongside strong employment growth is the dog that hasn’t barked for some time now, and we are still yet to see tangible signs of this situation changing in the near-term.

‘The facts remain that productivity levels are stagnant and public sector pay increases remain modest, while wage costs and uncertainty over access to the EU market have increased for some employers.’

Businesses urged to rethink staff management as job satisfaction falls

Employers are being advised to re-evaluate their approach to staff management after a new survey found that one in four workers are unhappy in their current role.

According to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), job satisfaction is now at its lowest level for two years, with around a quarter of those surveyed actively looking for a new job.

Many cited being dissatisfied with the lack of opportunities for career development in their current organisation.

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Of the 2,000 people questioned, some 31% claimed that they suffered from exhaustion at the end of the working day.

The survey found that job satisfaction was lowest amongst those working in large, private businesses.

Following its findings, the CIPD has urged firms to consider new strategies to help keep employees motivated.

‘Today’s research shows that our approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations,’ commented the CIPD’s Claire McCartney.

‘Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed.’

She added: ‘They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of diverse experiences and opportunities that maximise their skills and their employability going forward’.

UK fares poorly for skilled jobs

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has reported that 58.8% of university graduates work in unskilled jobs – stating that the UK has reached ‘saturation point’ for availability of skilled jobs.

Ranked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK has one of the highest rates of graduates working in unskilled jobs, with only Greece and Estonia performing worse.

Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, said: ‘The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher value, higher skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed.

‘It’s crucial we as a nation take stock now of whether our higher education system is delivering desired returns for graduates, for organisations, and society.’

The report shows that an over-availability of graduates means that employers are increasingly asking for degrees from applicants for lower-skilled jobs, which may previously have been filled by individuals on apprenticeships.

The CIPD has called for a discussion with the Government to ensure the availability of high-skilled jobs in the UK.

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‘Sharp rise’ in job opportunities as employers seek to take on school-leavers

The number of employers planning to hire school-leavers, apprentices and graduates has risen sharply, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Results from the CIPD’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook survey,  which questions 1,026 HR professionals and employers, suggested that 33% of organisations with ‘hard-to-fill vacancies’ were planning to hire more young people to fill those gaps. That represents an 11 point rise on the previous quarter.

Some 26% of respondents said they wanted to hire more graduates, while 12% plan to recruit more school leavers – a major increase when compared with the 9% figure in spring 2014.

Gerwyn Davies, CIPD labour market analyst, said: ‘After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter. The tightening labour market is undoubtedly encouraging more employers to turn to a wider range of younger recruits.  However, it is also due to a recognition among a growing number of employers that they need to develop talent to limit the potential for future labour shortages and pay pressures.’

He added: ‘Looking further ahead, the introduction of the [compulsory] national living wage may boost the attractiveness of employing workers aged below 25 further, which could see young people reverse recent trends by becoming the new winners in a new era for the jobs market.’

The CIPD said that findings help to explain the latest ONS data showing that the employment rate for 16-24 year olds not in full-time education had risen to 74%, its highest level since 2008.jobs