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Recent high-profile job losses announced at HMV and Rolls Royce are a reflection of wider sentiment towards job security, with the beginning of 2013 seeing an overall drop in confidence among UK workers, according to Legal & General’s Job Security Index. 

The drop has been most notable among part-time workers, whose confidence in their job security is 10% lower than full-time workers.

The Job Security Index, which has been running since January 2012, shows that only 65% of part-time workers are confident about their job security compared to 75% of full-time workers.

In comparison to this time last year, confidence in job security has fallen further among part-time workers (from 69% in January 2012 to 65% in January 2013) than full-time workers (from 77% in January 2012 to 75% in January 2013).  Both part-time and full-time workers’ confidence in their job security was at a high of 73% and 79% respectively in October 2012.

This trend is mirrored by last month’s ONS employment statistics which showed that the number of people in part-time employment decreased by 23,000.

Employees still face an uncertain future in 2013, as UK businesses are increasingly unsure if they will need to make redundancies over the next six months.

According to a survey of 783 UK businesses by Right Management, around one in twelve UK employers (8%) are uncertain if they will need to make redundancies in the next six months. This figure has risen by six percentage points in the last six months, up from just 2% in 2012.

The survey also reveals a slight drop in those reporting they will make no layoffs at all; 77% of employers feel they will make no layoffs at all in the first six months of 2013, down from 81% in 2012. However, this is a higher figure than the global average of 69%, and no employers reported they would make significantly more layoffs (down from 4% in 2012).

Only 22% of UK employers believe their companies are very effective at redeploying employees rather than making redundancies. This is a global problem, almost three in ten employers believe their organisations are “not too effective” or “not at all effective” at redeployment.

In response to the latest ONS labour market statistics, Gerwyn Davies, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)'s Labour Market Adviser, commented:

“In a continuation of recent trends, today’s official ONS employment figures appear to show yet another strong labour market performance.  However, a number of factors suggest that fault lines are emerging. For example, redundancy activity has picked up for the first time this year and there are record numbers of self employed and people working part time because they cannot find a full time job. There is also a continued increase in the number of people on government funded employment and training programmes.

“In addition, today's figures don’t reflect the lengths to which a significant number of employers are going to in order to hold on to skilled staff despite low levels of demand; as the CIPD reported in its quarterly Labour Market Outlook earlier this week. The continued fall in productivity and increase in unit labour costs will put more pressure on employers.”

A new report from the Chartered Management Institute paints a bleak picture of the impact of the recession on UK workplaces. Compared with 2007, managers today are: working longer hours due to larger workloads; increasingly suffering from ill health including stress and depression; and more likely to come to work despite being sick.

Coupled with this, negative management styles continue to prevail in UK organisations, with the most commonly reported being bureaucratic (45%), reactive (33%), and authoritarian (30%). The research highlights how these harmful management cultures are affecting UK businesses and holding back UK growth. Negative management styles were linked to employee disengagement, decreasing job satisfaction, poor mental and physical health, reductions in productivity and business decline.

Key findings include:

  • Growth firms are far more likely to have accessible, empowering, trusting and consensual senior managers – for example, only 6% in declining organisations described the dominant style as empowering, compared to 35% in growing firms. By contrast, 45% of declining firms had authoritarian styles, compared to 15% in growth organisations.
  • Change is now the norm. Some 92% of managers had experienced organisational change in the last year – including major change such as organisational restructuring (83%) or compulsory redundancies (42%).
  • The average manager now works around 46 days unpaid overtime per year – up from 40 days in the 2007 study. Some 60% of those working overtime feel they had no choice because of the volume of work, and 29 % worked long hours because job cuts had increased their workload.
  • ‘Presenteeism’ is on the rise – 43% believe people don’t take sick leave when they are ill, a marked increase from 32% in 2007. Managers also believe organisations are less tolerant of people taking sick leave.
  • The report found that more managers are suffering from stress and depression (42% of managers reported suffering from stress symptoms in 2012, up from 35% in 2007, and 18% reported suffering from depression – a 3% rise).

The Government has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the rules on consulting staff about large scale redundancies.

Currently large employers have to consult with their staff for 90 days if there is a threat of large scale redundancy. Ministers want to reduce this period and to produce a new Code of Practice to improve the quality of communication between managers and staff, to reduce uncertainty and to make sure that employers can better respond to changes in market conditions.

Last year the Government carried out a Call for Evidence which concluded that there was a need for change. The formal consultation seeks views on a number of proposals including:

  • Introducing a new, non-statutory, Code of Practice to give clearer information on how to conduct good quality consultations.
  • Reducing the 90-day minimum period for large redundancies (over 100 staff) to 45 or 30 days.
  • Improving the guidance for employers and employees on the support on offer from the Government.

The consultation will run for 13 weeks closing on 19th September.

New figures have shown that employers are struggling to hang on to workers, despite the turbulent employment market, with more than 283,000 managers walking away from their jobs in the 12 months to September 2011.

The 2012 National Management Salary Survey, published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR, collected data from 38,843 individuals across 160 UK organisations. The survey revealed that nearly one in ten managers (9.4%) resigned from their jobs last year – more than twice as many as quit the year before (3.9%). Overall labour turnover for management roles – those resigning, retiring, transferring internally and being made redundant – has also increased dramatically, almost doubling from 10.5% in 2011 to 20.3% this year.

Christopher Kinsella, Acting Chief Executive of CMI, says: “Employers are struggling to recruit and to retain high quality managers. One in ten managers resigned from their jobs last year, presumably for better offers elsewhere. However, there is a risk that a substantial proportion of these managers left the profession altogether, a grave situation when UKCES/Government data estimates that the UK needs 544,000 new managers by 2020.”

The TUC has warned against reducing consultation rights during collective redundancy exercises, claiming that it could cost jobs, damage workforce morale and increase unemployment.

The government is considering whether the 90-day consultation period, which applies when more than 100 jobs are at risk of redundancy, should be reduced to make it easier, quicker and cheaper for employers to lay off staff. The TUC argues that cutting back these consultation rights would be detrimental for employers, employees and the wider economy.

Longer consultation periods provide time for employers and unions to explore all alternatives to redundancies, including identifying new orders, efficiency savings, restructuring, and recruitment freezes.

According to the TUC, the 90 days minimum consultation periods provide time for effective redeployment exercises, to ensure any selection processes are fair and for employers and unions to agree redundancy packages which assist workers in getting training and paying bills until they find new employment. It also provides time for union learning reps and government agencies to provide access to training, advice and job search support to those at risk of redundancy.

The TUC believes any reduction in the 90 days minimum consultation period will send a signal to employers that they need not prioritise exploring ways of saving jobs. This could lead to increased unemployment and more reliance on the welfare benefits, and would also have a detrimental impact on local economies and communities - particularly those areas of the UK where unemployment is already high and where there are limited job vacancies.

The latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) quarterly Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey has found that the first quarter of 2012 will be the most difficult quarter for the jobs market since the recession, as a greater number of private sector firms surveyed are planning to make redundancies.

The report’s net employment balance, which measures the difference between the proportion of LMO employers that intend to increase total staffing levels and those that intend to decrease total staffing levels in the first quarter of 2012, has fallen to -8 from -3 since the autumn 2011 quarter. This is the report’s worst figure since spring 2009.

The results also suggest a further widening of the north-south divide in job prospects. The net employment balance for the south of England has improved modestly to -1 from -4 in the past three months. London is the only region in the UK to register a positive score (+3). In contrast, employment prospects in the north have fallen to -20 from -17 over the same period.

This follows the most recent official Labour Force Survey unemployment statistics which showed that the north east of England (+2.3%) and the north west of England (+1.2%) saw the largest unemployment increases in the 12 months to November 2011.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Organisations that are planning to make redundancies expect 4% of their workforce on average to be made redundant.
  • Six out of ten LMO employers are not planning to create any new roles in the next three months.
  • Looking ahead to the next five years, LMO employers anticipate an increase in demand for roles in business and development (28%), sales and marketing (24%) and IT staff (20%).
  • Business support functions have borne the brunt among those employers that say they have been prevented from creating new roles during the past two years.

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