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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters



Employment Today Magazine

World at work

ONE-THIRD LESS

Male financial directors are out-earning their female peers by almost £30,000 a year, says HR Grapevine. Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics shows that at the chartered and qualified accountant level, where the workforce is split roughly equally in terms of gender, the pay gap is 5.1 percent. Men in these roles receive an average annual salary of £37,250, compared to £33,010 for women. However, the gap grows among financial managers and directors, where women account for 42 percent of the workforce. The pay gap here widens to 31.6 percent, with with women earning an average of £42,674 in comparison to the £71,986 salary of their male contemporaries—a £29,312 a year difference.

KNOWLEDGE GAP

Almost two-thirds of people in the UK incorrectly identified what the gender pay gap is and confused it with the issue of unequal pay, according to Personnel Today. When asked in a YouGov survey whether they thought the gender pay gap was “women as a whole being paid less on average than men as a whole” or “women being paid less than men for doing the same job”, only 30 percent of 1640 adults correctly identified the former definition, while 64 percent chose the latter. Despite 83 percent of respondents claiming they understood the gender pay gap, 70 percent of women and 58 percent of men believed the unequal pay definition was the correct answer. Men aged 18-29 were the most likely to understand what the gender pay gap is (39 percent chose the correct definition), while women in their 30s were least likely to know (16 percent correct).

RECRUITING TOOL BIASED AGAINST WOMEN

Amazon has been forced to switch off a high-tech recruiting engine after it was found to be ignoring the CVs of female candidates, Reuters reports. The company’s experimental hiring tool, which they began developing in 2014, used artificial intelligence to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars. By 2015, the company realised its new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical posts in a gender-neutral way. That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumés submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry. In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable.

QUICK FIXES WON’T IMPROVE EMPLOYEES’ MENTAL HEALTH

Quick fixes won’t improve employees’ mental ill-health, CIPD president Professor Sir Cary Cooper warned attendees at the recent Mad World Conference and Exhibition, which aimed to shift the conversation about employee mental health up a gear.

People Management reports he urged employers to identify what could be damaging workers’ wellbeing instead of only offering “easy” solutions like “mindfulness at lunch”.

A lot of companies look for quick fixes, said Cooper. “They say ‘let’s do sushi at the desk’. I don’t think it’s the solution. The solution is the culture of your workplace.”

Earlier this year, a CIPD survey found 24 percent of employees said their job negatively affected their mental health, while 22 percent reported feeling exhausted at work and 11 percent regularly felt miserable.

The fundamental issue in the whole wellbeing arena is the need for a new kind of leader, according to Cooper, who is also professor of organisational psychology and health at the Alliance Manchester Business School. He acknowledged managers in the UK were “technically extremely competent” but said they are often not trained to manage people.

“Do we enhance their emotional intelligence,” he asked “Do we have socially and interpersonally sensitive line managers?”

Businesses are not selecting “the right people for the times we’re in,” where they have fewer people, doing more work, and feeling more insecure, he told delegates.

Managing that kind of cohort, where there is an overload, requires a socially, interpersonally skilled manager.

Mark Pigou, co-founder of Mad World, agreed with Cooper’s sentiments but said the conversation has been getting stuck at line manager level. For real change to happen, he said, it has to come from the boardroom.

RUNNING LATE FOR WORK

More than 1 in 10 Australians (12 percent) are late to work by an average of 32 minutes, according to data from workforce management software company Deputy.

An analysis of over 540,000 shifts from Australian businesses using Deputy to manage scheduling, timesheets and payroll also found that, on average, 20 percent of employees were not on time to work, arriving either early or late for their shift.

Other key findings from the Late to Work report include:

  • • 
    Men are less punctual than women. Men were on average 33 minutes late to work, compared to 30 minutes late for women;
  • • 
    On the flipside, eight percent of employees arrived early, arriving for their shift an average of 31 minutes earlier than they needed to;
  • • 
    Young Australians are the most punctual, with just eight percent of those aged 16-25 running late;
  • • 
    Employees aged 56-65 were late nearly twice as much as their younger counterparts, with 14 percent arriving late, at an average of 28 minutes late.

Ashik Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of Deputy says employees arriving on average half an hour late could have serious repercussions for both the business and the employees left to cover for colleagues. “Given that over half (51 percent) of Deputy customers are in the hospitality sector, one employee arriving half an hour late to work holds the potential to hugely impact a business, especially during busy service hours,” he says.

HIGHER PERFORMING HR FUNCTIONS SPEND LESS SAYS REPORT

The highest performing HR functions spend 26 percent less than their peers on HR and manage 32 percent fewer staff, according to the Forging a Digital Path to World-Class HR report from The Hackett Group.

Personnel Today reports the analysis firm found that “world-class” HR organisations, according to its benchmark, invested in cloud-based HR technology so they could operate more effectively. They also designed their services around customer experience, and shifted their resources towards high value activities.

The report found that world-class organisations spent 28 percent less on labour and 29 percent on outsourcing per employee than typical companies. They often used outsourcing selectively, for example, on areas such as talent acquisition.

And those in the top quartile had transaction error rates two to five times lower than other organisations, leading to major savings.

Max Caldwell, principal of Hackett Group’s people & HR transformation practice, says world-class HR organisations are adopting new technology and analytics tools to become leaner, smarter and more customer focused. It’s the next chapter in transforming HR to operate as a true strategic partner to the business.

He says making the journey will require new skills in areas like data science, smart automation and user-driven design.

While it is predicated on organisational willingness to change, it gives HR leaders a terrific opportunity to rethink and reinvent the HR function for the future, he says.

ETHNICITY PAY GAPS EXPLORED

UK companies may be forced to publish their ethnicity pay gaps under new government plans to uncover the extent of inequality that ethnic minorities face in the workplace.

HR magazine reports prime minister Theresa May has launched a consultation seeking to find out if mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gaps will help address disparities in the pay and career prospects of people from different ethnic backgrounds. The consultation asks firms with more than 250 employees to share their views on what information should be published “to allow for decisive action to be taken”.

May is also due to unveil a Race at Work Charter that commits businesses to increasing the recruitment and career progression of ethnic minority employees.

Thomson Reuters

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