Research suggests that, for too many jobs, the cost of university outweighs the economic benefits, and that the prevailing rhetoric on the need to get more and more young people into university needs to change.
Successive governments’ preoccupation over the last 30 or more years with getting more and more young people through university is no longer justified given the employment outcomes for many graduates and the associated costs involved, a new report has shown.
The report, Alternative pathways into the labour market, by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, finds that, for a wide range of occupations which have seen significant increases in graduate rates over the last 35 years, alternative vocational routes into employment are both possible and less costly, with a smaller proportion of this lower cost falling on the learner.
The report is published at a time when the average student is now leaving university with £44,000 of debt and, even by the Government’s own estimates, 45% of the value of student loans will not be repaid. The report calls into question the continued focus on the ‘graduate premium’, with previous CIPD research showing that more than half of graduates were working in non-graduate jobs after they left university. Furthermore, Brexit makes it even more important that the UK’s investment in education and skills delivers value for learners, employers and the economy.
The CIPD’s research considers 29 occupations, which together account for nearly 30% of employment in the UK and over 30% of the work performed by graduates currently. It shows that for many of these jobs, while the numbers of graduates have increased sharply over the period from 1979 to 2014, in many instances the level of skill required to do the job has not appreciably changed.
The report also suggests that, for too long, employers have been recruiting graduates into many roles that don’t utilise this level of qualification. Employers need to open up recruitment to more non-graduates, while also working to develop more of the roles that do require graduate skills.
The report, Alternative pathways into the labour market, finds:
In response to the issues raised in the report, the CIPD is calling for Government to:
Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, said: “This report shows clearly how the huge increase in the supply of graduates over the last 35 years has resulted in more and more occupations and professions being colonised by people with degrees, regardless of whether they actually need them to do the job.
“Governments of all colours have long had a ‘conveyor belt’ approach to university education, with a rhetoric that has encouraged more and more students to pursue graduate qualifications. However, with this research showing that for many graduates, the costs of university education outweighs its personal economic benefits, we need a much stronger focus on creating more high-quality alternative pathways into the workplace, such as higher level apprenticeships, so we really do achieve parity of esteem between the two routes.
“It goes without saying that the UK needs a world class higher education system, but this report really does provide a reality check on the assumption that continually increasing the numbers of people going to university truly adds the right value for learners of all ages, employers and the economy.
“Graduates are increasingly finding themselves in roles which don’t meet their career expectations, while they also find themselves saddled with high levels of debt. This ‘graduatisation’ of the labour market also has negative consequences for non-graduates, who find themselves being overlooked for jobs just because they have not got a degree, even if a degree is not needed to do the job. Finally, this situation is also bad for employers and the economy as this type of qualification and skills mismatch is associated with lower levels of employee engagement and loyalty, and will undermine attempts to boost productivity.”
Peter Cheese added: “In the current Brexit context, it is imperative that we take stock of the UK’s education and skills policy so that our current and future workforces can deliver the economic growth we need.
“To tackle this problem, policy makers need to improve the quality of careers, advice and guidance so young people have better information about other non-graduate routes into the labour market, for example, through apprenticeships. At the same time, much more needs to be done to reform the apprenticeship system which currently generates high numbers of Level 2 apprenticeships, equivalent to just 5 GCSE passes, with relatively few at Level 3 and above. Unless we have many more advanced and higher level apprenticeships, the apprenticeship route will continue to be seen as the poor relation to university.
“Employers also need to broaden their recruitment practices and ensure they are not using a degree as a means of screening job applicants for jobs where there is no justification in terms of the skills needed to do the job.
“Finally, government needs to ensure that its new industrial strategy has a focus on creating more high skilled jobs, which requires working in partnership with employers, representative bodies and unions at a national, sectoral and local level to improve the quality of leadership and people management, job design, and training and development across the economy.”
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Skills shortfalls, people risk, corporate behaviours and culture are all causes of increasing concern in a landscape of continued change and uncertainty, so organisations need to innovate and adapt.
“HR must continue to innovate and adapt to meet the rapidly changing needs of business”, says Peter Cheese, Chief Executive CIPD.
“The need for professional HR and L&D capabilities have never been in greater demand, but we’ll need to look beyond traditional thinking and standardised practice, and start defining ‘professional’ in new terms”.
Cheese wants to encourage delegates to shift from searching for best practice or standard approaches, to innovate and to challenge existing orthodoxies driven by a real understanding of context, purpose and outcomes. Business has to become more people centric in every sense, and to make a shift from accounting to more accountability. HR has to be at the forefront, acting with confidence and credibility founded on a strong base of professional knowledge and competence.
“We know that there’s no one size fits all model for great HR, and we need to adapt our HR practices to the context and needs of our workforces and organisations” says Cheese. “But what guides our actions and decisions? Any business is about judgments and priorities that drive decisions and actions, but these need to be framed through principles and values that drive good, ethical and sustainable business more clearly. These principles should provide the framework for HR to support the judgments and often the compromises that we are so often called on to make.
Furthermore, we need to challenge ourselves in examining our processes, policies, and practices as the world of work evolves. We must look at the purpose and outcomes of what we do more critically, and understand what fundamental principles and base of knowledge make those practices effective. Ultimately, we need a new definition of what it means to be an HR professional, with a greater focus on clarity of professional capability and purpose, and a strengthened ability to provide trusted and credible advice to businesses, whatever the circumstances.”
The CIPD’s commitment to helping the HR and L&D professionals of the future realise their true potential is encapsulated in its Profession for the Future strategy. It has already conducted extensive research with HR practitioners, business leaders, academics, thought leaders, regulators and line managers to shape its thinking, and is starting a debate about the core principles that should guide the profession going forward as well as what guides good business.
“The first step in our Profession for the Future strategy is to establish a shared understanding of HR’s purpose, who our stakeholders really are, and where our priorities lie – in other words, a set of core principles to guide our decision making. We want the principles to be broad, ambitious and applicable in any context and we’re turning to HR practitioners, academics, thought leaders, policy makers, business leaders and line managers to help us define them.
The next phase will be about ensuring we equip the HR professionals of the future with the knowledge, skills and expertise to apply those principles in practice, so that we can secure HR’s role as a trusted and credible profession that helps to create sustainable value for all of a business’ stakeholders.”
Source: CIPD’s Annual Conference – November 2015
Against the backdrop of low unemployment and rising recruitment pressures, UK employers are increasingly turning to young talent to fill their skills gaps, signalling the end of a broadly ‘bleak’ decade for young jobseekers and giving a boost to the thousands of young people who are entering the jobs market for the first time this summer.
This is according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, which shows that the proportion of employers that say they plan to hire more apprentices and school-leavers has increased sharply in response to recruitment difficulties since spring 2014. Up-skilling for all employees remains the most prevalent employer response to recruitment difficulties, cited by half of employers (50%) but a third (33%) of employers currently reporting hard-to-fill vacancies plan to hire more apprentices, a marked increase compared with just 22% in the spring 2014 report. Around a quarter (26%) predict recruiting more graduates and twelve per cent plan to hire more school leavers, up by a third compared with the spring 2014 report (9%).
The findings help explain the latest ONS data which shows that the employment rate for 16-24 year olds that aren’t in full-time education has risen to a level last seen in 2008 (74.3%).
Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Analyst at the CIPD, comments: “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. The increase in the number of high-quality apprenticeships and the ongoing recruitment pressures faced by employers should mean that the pathway to sustainable employment will be within the reach of more young people.
“However, employers need to support this recruitment drive by ensuring that they have the people management practices in place to support the effective utilisation of skills, which is critical to job retention and productivity. The UK has the second highest level of over-qualification in the OECD and unless more employers get better at putting their people’s skills to good use, efforts to boost their and the UK’s productivity will be critically undermined. Looking further ahead, the introduction of the ‘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.”
Pay becomes polarised
While prospects for young people have improved, the CIPD’s report highlights an increasingly polarised picture for wages. It shows a continuation of the clear gap that exists between workers that have comfortably exceeded the current inflation rate in their pay packets, those who have received modest increases or none at all, and the majority of workers who exist in the middle.
Davies comments: “At one end of the spectrum, workers in occupations where there are skills or labour shortages and thriving sectors such as finance and construction seem likely to get pay increases well above current inflation. However, at the other end of the scale, many workers in areas such as manufacturing and public sector, are seeing only a very modest increase in living standards. In-between, the bulk of workers will continue to see moderate growth in their pay packets but with inflation expected to stay low, they should still feel the benefit of any increases.”
The Labour Market Outlook finds that the level of median pay awards anticipated by employers for the next 12 months has edged up from 1.8% to 2%. Looking back over the last year the median basic pay award is also 2%. The CIPD data and analysis suggests that the increase in average earnings in recent months highlighted in official statistics may be inflated by a number of factors. These include a disproportionately large increase in the number of people in full-time employment, a relatively large above inflation increase in the National Minimum Wage and perhaps most significantly, workers in thriving industries or key roles which are in demand where workers can earn a premium.
In the year to June 2015, almost a quarter of employers gave an increase of at least 3% while almost a fifth froze pay. Just 16% of employers raised wages in response to recruitment challenges. Looking ahead, a fifth of employers, mainly drawn from the private sector, say that their organisations will award a pay increase of 3% or more in the 12 months to June 2016. Meanwhile, fourteen per cent plan to freeze pay.
Employer confidence continues
The Labour Market Outlook also suggests that employment confidence looks to remain strong over the next three months. This quarter’s net employment balance – which measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase and those that intend to decrease staff levels – has increased to +29, up from the +24 reported in Spring 2015.
With three million 16-24 year olds now part of the UK labour market, the development of young people within the workforce now needs to be a key area of focus for employers, so they can retain great talent and improve business performance. This is according to a new report from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, which highlights that recruiting young people is just half of the equation and that once in work, more attention must be given to developing individuals and building the skills they need for future success.
The report, Developing the Next Generation, is being launched today at the CIPD’s Managing Talent Conference and Workshop, and explores this issue through a series of case studies from organisations including Fujitsu, ActionAid, CapGemini, Reed Smith and Barclays. It considers how organisations can identify the most effective learning and development (L&D) programmes for young people and the importance of outlining a clear business case for investing in their development.
The research found that a key step, but recurring challenge for organisations trying to develop young people, is establishing a clear business case. The case study organisations discussed how their development programmes for young workers have impacted significantly on the wider business, helping to drive engagement, increase efficiency and foster greater productivity. Fujitsu said that focusing on developing young people has positively impacted the wider business, both culturally and at the bottom line. By attracting a diverse range of young talent, they are starting to alter the demographic of the organisation, and are seeing improved gender diversity. By going a step further and developing young workers, retention is higher, recruitment costs have gone down and they are successfully creating a pipeline of future leaders.
Nick White, Graduate Programme Manager at Fujitsu, comments: “We can see real value in the programmes and investing time, effort and money into making the programmes work. It’s about making sure we have future leaders, and that is actually happening. Thirty per cent of those on our Future Leaders Programme started as graduates in the organisation.”
Ruth Stuart, Research Adviser for L&D at the CIPD, says: “With over 300,000 young people entering the workforce every year, organisations need to establish effective development opportunities from the moment they’re employed, so they can retain them and build on the unique skills they bring. To be successful though, organisations must be clear on what they are trying to achieve. It’s pointless to introduce a scheme without first considering its impact on the wider business and ensuring it fits with future resourcing needs. By providing an appealing alternative to university through their recruitment and development programmes, for example, Barclays and Capgemini have been able to tap into and retain young talent, plug significant skills gaps and achieve substantial organisational benefits. This shows just how crucial a clear business case is in achieving a quality outcome.”
The report goes on to discuss how, once the business case is clear, L&D and HR professionals must understand the strengths, skills and learning preferences of young people. Those the CIPD interviewed flagged a preference for bite-sized learning, gaining knowledge from experience and receiving constructive feedback on actions. But although they admitted to being ‘tech-savvy’, when asked about which learning methods they disliked, the answer was unanimously ‘online training’. Organisations therefore need to be careful not to generalise or stereotype young people, as this could lead to false assumptions and ineffective development initiatives.
On skills, the case study research highlighted that young people bring enthusiasm and drive, innovative thinking and technological understanding to the workforce. However, analysis of the literature shows that young people need to develop deeper skills in self-awareness, acceptance of criticism and emotional intelligence. In response, the CIPD recommends that employers should focus on providing a strong support network, clear objectives, regular feedback and opportunities for upward communication.
Stuart continues: “Young people have enormous potential to contribute to a business’s success if their strengths and skills are recognised and enhanced. Organisations need to carefully select the right kind of programmes to ensure they have the chance to make an impact at an early stage. L&D and HR professionals need to collaborate and communicate to pinpoint the learning preferences of new generations and line managers also have a crucial role to play in developing and implementing initiatives. In the longer term, we should be looking to instil a sense of self-awareness and confidence at an earlier age to deal with certain skills gaps, and the responsibility here lies with policy-makers and educational leaders, as well as employers. But for now, the key is to understand young people and develop blended programmes using different methods that suit their learning preferences, whilst still staying in line with the overall business objectives.”
Developing the Next Generation has been published as part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme, which promotes the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment and champions the business case for investing in the future workforce. For more information visit: www.cipd.co.uk/learningtowork
The UK labour market will continue to expand at a strong rate in 2015 but it’s unlikely that we’ll see any real increase in wage growth until 2016, according to Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. While improvements in the labour market are good news for jobseekers and good news for businesses, Beatson warns that the UK’s steady growth remains vulnerable to developments in Europe and that the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’ is an urgent issue for policy makers and businesses to address in order to sustain growth.
In his annual analysis of the UK labour market for the year ahead, published today, Beatson predicts:
• Employment may grow by as much as half a million in 2015, slightly more than the OBR forecast. This is due to the extra number of migrant workers seeking work, older workers looking to stay in work to strengthen their pension pots and more people leaving benefits and going into jobs under the Welfare to Work programme
• Economic growth of around 2.4% is expected in 2015, slightly lower than in 2014
• The Eurozone as a whole is still expected to grow by just 1.1% in 2015
• Interest rates are expected to rise but any increases are likely to be small
• Wage growth is likely to remain in the 1-2% range for most or all of 2015, although low inflation means average earnings may increase slightly in real terms. However, no significant increase in wage growth can be expected until 2016, and even then, it is not guaranteed
• Productivity needs to form the core of economic policy and employers need to raise their productivity – including developing their workforce – before skills shortages mount.
Beatson comments: “By historic standards 2014 has been a year of reasonable growth, but there are still some very significant challenges that the government needs to address around productivity. We said at the start of 2014 that productivity needed to be at the top of the agenda for Government and the same is true for this year. As a country we are still producing less value today than before the recession, and the years preceding that. We need a massive step-change as without growth in productivity, we are unlikely to see real earnings grow for some time”.
Beatson warns that while hiring intentions remain positive, at some stage labour shortages will start to become more acute and that taking advantage of relatively cheap labour now could have an impact on business competition, particularly in international markets. In both cases, he suggests that employers can manage these risks by investing in productivity. This might include investments in capital equipment such as technology and machinery as well as investing in intangible assets, including people.
He continues: “Upskilling the existing workforce is an insurance policy against future skills shortages, but these efforts will only be maximised through broader changes such as improved management practices and job design. We need to see a similar focus from policy makers. Higher productivity is necessary if living standards are to improve and economic policy in the next Parliament should focus on achieving it through creating an environment that supports productivity growth at a sector and local level.
The UK’s productivity challenges are deep-rooted and require systemic change. We need government, employee representatives and business to come together and pinpoint where workplace practices are working, where they need to be challenged and how we can build a workplace of the future that really works and drives the productivity we need.”
The CIPD has recently published research which pinpoints the role of effective management in the workplace and how this contributes to business productivity and organisational resilience. ‘Megatrends: are UK organisations getting better at managing their people?’ View research here.
The predictions report is available to download here.
CIPD welcomes renewed focus on careers support for young people
Responding to the new careers body announced by the Government on 9 December 2014, Katerina Rüdiger, Head of Skills and Policy Campaigns at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
“Far too often we hear that young people aren’t prepared with the right skills or awareness of the complexities of working life. Strong careers advice can help to close the gap between education and the world of work, but our latest research has found that just a third (35%) of parents are satisfied with the quality of careers advice and guidance provided in their child’s school or college.
“Supporting young people to navigate the increasingly complex world of work, and to find jobs and fulfilling careers is a critical part of securing the long-term competitiveness of the UK economy. The Government’s decision to invest more in careers advice, and to embed significant input from employers in the process, is a welcome step in the right direction and good news for young people and for businesses. It will help to ensure young people are getting the best possible start in the world of work and businesses are building a strong pipeline of talent for the future.
“The new body does not start with a blank canvas. There are many initiatives that are already delivering good results, and should be supported and enhanced by the new body. From experience, we know how valuable routes into work such a mentoring, apprenticeships and work experience can be both for young people and for the employers that provide them and would urge for greater investment in encouraging links between schools, colleges and employers.”
The CIPD is firmly committed to increasing employer engagement with young people. Through its Learning to Work campaign, the CIPD provides employers with the insights and practical guidance they need to offer more access routes for young people and make their organisations more youth-friendly.
In June 2013 the CIPD furthered this commitment by launching a formal partnership with the Inspiring the Future initiative to get HR professionals into local state secondary schools and colleges to help students with their CVs, conduct mock interviews and deliver careers insight talks. Over 2,000 CIPD members have signed up to the initiative, providing support to thousands of young people throughout the UK. CIPD members can also provide support through Steps Ahead Mentoring which offers young people, most of whom have never worked before, six one-to-one mentoring sessions with CIPD members to help them improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work. Young jobseekers (aged 18-24) are referred to Steps Ahead by Jobcentre Plus advisers, and other selected partners. To date, 73% of those who have completed the programme go on to find work or work experience.
Rüdiger adds: “Our schemes highlight the value of HR professionals and employers taking an active role in helping young people into work. We believe that businesses need young people as much as young people need jobs. Through our Learning to Work programme we’re working hard to champion better work and working lives, which starts with young jobseekers having the support and opportunities they need to access the labour market.”
One in three employees (33%) report that their career progression to date has failed to meet their expectations, according to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook survey. The survey of over 2,500 employees published by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, in partnership with Halogen Software, also found that more than a quarter (28%) of employees are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the level of career training and development offered by their current employer.
Despite these findings, the survey reveals that levels of job satisfaction* have increased over the last 12 months, rising by four percentage points to +44. However, the survey suggests that although employees might be satisfied in their current job role, there is a clear link between satisfaction with the level of career training and development and job-seeking intentions. Only 12% of those satisfied with the level of career training and development are looking for a new job with another organisation, compared to almost a quarter (23%) of employees overall.
The CIPD recommends that employers who are concerned about retaining their talent should make sure they understand and manage their employees’ career expectations. This means ensuring that both employers and employees are clear about how an existing job fits into wider career development. The survey explores a number of factors surrounding levels of career satisfaction amongst employees, and reveals that:
|Jessica Cooper, Research Adviser at the CIPD, comments: “For the first time this survey asked questions on employees’ careers, revealing that a third feel their career progression has failed to meet their expectations. The survey also shows that likelihood of career progression and availability of career training and development opportunities have a big impact on employees’ job seeking intentions. Although job satisfaction levels are on the up, the data indicates that employers can be doing more to understand employee’s career expectations and help employees understand how they can realise these aspirations.|
|“Employers should be encouraged to think flexibly, ensuring they understand employee’s career expectations and how best these can be fulfilled by their organisation, whilst recognising and supporting where this might not be possible. This involves thinking less rigidly about job roles and instead developing a better understanding of the skills of their workforce and deploying them in more effective ways that meet people’s career expectations but also serve the business well. One way to do this is to make sure performance reviews are developmental rather than focused on looking back over the previous year. Employers can also ensure that, where possible, staff are given the opportunity to make lateral moves to broaden their skills and experience, and ensure that employees recognise that career development does not always have to involve progressing into more senior roles.”|
|Donna Ronayne, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Halogen Software, said: “Investing in career development is just good business sense. We see firsthand how it helps organisations retain key employees and provide a pipeline of great talent for corporate growth. To do this well organisations should give managers the tools and training they need to ensure feedback and performance conversations are future-oriented and focused on developing and evolving the skills of employees. It also means ensuring managers engage employees in regular discussions — at minimum once per year — about career development and progression.|
|“Of course career development plans should support the strategic goals of the organisation, but it’s worth noting that employee career progression is about helping employees develop the knowledge, skills and experience they’ll need for their next job. This advice may sound odd but the reason this investment matters is because hopefully, their next job will be with your organisation. By recruiting and filling roles from within, organisations can increase employee retention, and
|The CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook survey also tracks overall employee engagement via the Employee Outlook Engagement Index, which comprises a set of measures which are important to understanding the level of engagement an employee feels towards their organisation. The index consists of 16 items, weighted and aggregated to give an overall score and is tracked regularly. The proportion of engaged employees has grown to reach 38% from 35% in spring 2014, now matching the levels of engagement a year ago.|
|* Net satisfaction scores refer to the proportion of people agreeing with a statement versus those disagreeing. Scores can range from -100 to +100.|
Source: CIPD Press Office
Article by Rupert Sellers
What do employers and candidates want to achieve from an interview process?
Obviously, the right match. But both parties also want a fast process.
It’s fair to say that if a candidate was given the choice: Either being invited to a face-to-face interview or invited to record a video interview for an employer, they would probably opt for the face-to-face.
And so would I.
Unfortunately, it’s often not practical for an employer to meet all the applicants that have passed the initial CV sift, unless there is only a small handful in the selection. Each interview is likely to take about an hour if you factor in the scheduling time and preparation time.
By contrast, an employer can create a video interview, using their own questions, and then email the link to as many candidates as they like – and this process can take less than 5 minutes. The recruiter / hiring manager can then get on with other job tasks whilst the applicants record the interview in their own time. The recruiter is alerted every time a new video has been recorded which can be reviewed whenever convenient on a user-friendly dashboard.
Positive and negative reviews
I have read many articles about video interviewing, most of which are positive. But there are also stories that aren’t so favourable, such as a study last year by DeGroote School of Business in Canada, which featured in a CIPD article in March 2014. DeGroote claimed that using video conferencing for job interviews disadvantages both employers and candidates and that “video conference interviews are not equivalent to face-to-face interviews”.
Let’s put this in perspective. Of course, video interviews are not going to be on par with a face-to-face meeting. They’re not meant to be (and anyone who says you can simulate a face-to-face interview is wrong). Asynchronous (ie pre-recorded / one-way) video recordings should only be used for candidate screening purposes. And once the employer has reviewed all the videos and narrowed down the selection I would absolutely expect the next step to be in-person interviews.
Talking to myself on camera – Weird.
It’s easy to poke holes at the concept of a pre-recorded interview where you answer questions on video – and yes, talking to your mobile device or PC with webcam might seem strange. And some think video is impersonal. But it works and it’s a fast growing phenomenon. This medium is providing considerable value to the employer – and the candidate.
Thousands of candidates have been given the opportunity to showcase themselves on video to employers. In a traditional process, there is too much reliance on words in a CV and many are not given the chance to reveal who they really are. It’s easy for the employer to send an automated ‘regret’ email, but a lot of good talent gets overlooked.
Having been a recruiter for 14 years in the hospitality sector, I have interviewed many candidates who didn’t shine particularly well on paper but had oodles of personality / soft skills and were highly suitable for jobs. On the flip side, I have also interviewed hundreds of candidates who didn’t sparkle as their CVs had indicated.
So before making a judgment from academic studies about whether video interviewing is or isn’t for your organisation, try it and see for yourself how beneficial this tool is for a slick recruitment process. It’s fast and effective which is what both employers and candidates want.
As the CIPD video interviewing article concluded: “For now… the revolution continues unabated.”
You can sign up for a free trial here: www.compactinterview.com/sign-up. It takes 2 minutes and if you want any help we can assist you with creating your interview.
“A quarterly increase of almost 200,000 full-time jobs shows that employers are becoming more optimistic about the future. Young people seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of this increase, which may be fuelled in part by the growth in formal training schemes and the appetite shown by an increasing number of employers to invest in their future talent pipeline.
“Meanwhile, the latest statistics also show that the number of public sector jobs fell only very slightly by 11,000, which aligns with our survey of employers. We are now seeing the education and health sectors making some new hires and replacing leavers. But we should not assume this is the end of public sector job cuts. The medium term outlook for the public finances suggests further job losses are likely in the next few years.”
Davies continues: “However, despite this positive picture, recruitment difficulties are yet to feed through to employers, which may partly explain why the pay trajectory appears to be moving in the opposite direction. The government’s welfare reforms, the availability of EU migrants and the latent supply from the under-employed are just some of the reasons why employers are still yet to report difficulty filling vacancies. However, the CIPD is urging employers in all sectors to start planning ahead to mitigate the risk of more widespread difficulties in the longer term.
“The fall in the rate of earnings growth also reflects the unwinding of events a year ago when some employers delayed bonus payments and pay rises to take advantage of the reduction in the top tax rate. Businesses may be expecting to invest more but this has still to show up in higher productivity growth and, until this happens, there is little leeway for higher earnings growth.”
Source: CIPD published 11 June 2014
Commenting on the Labour Market Statistics for January to March 2014 released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Gerwyn Davies, the CIPD’s Labour Market Adviser, said:
“The bumperquarterly increase of 283,000 in work shows that the UK jobs market continues to go from strength to strength. However, the recovery is still yet to be felt in people’s pay packets. Consistent with CIPD predictions, the average basic pay increase has fallen slightly to 1.3%, which remains well below the pre-recession average of 2.5%”.
Davies continues, “However, this relatively benign situation for employers in terms of wage growth may change if the labour market recovery continues to accelerate. Skills shortages, currently concentrated in particular sectors and occupations in the domestic labour market, could soon begin to spread to other parts of the labour market putting upward pressure on pay. Employers need to be developing existing workers, as well as hiring new ones, if they’re to mitigate this risk and ensure they have the skills to grow.”
“Amid predictions that more employers look set to increase business investment this year, now is the time for employers to prioritise training as part of this investment. As well as ensuring that future business requirements are sustainably resourced, this also holds the key to boosting UK productivity levels – a pre-requisite for sustainable increases in the pay prospects of employees sustainably, many of whom are still yet to feel the benefits of the recovery. A failure to act will cause come sectors of the labour market to overheat, while also placing a brake on UK productivity and international competitiveness.”