Melanie Robinson, Senior HR Director at ADP

10 years on from the financial downturn, research reveals the growing strength of the UK workforce.

New research from ADP has revealed the strength of the UK workforce and its growth in optimism, stability and skills confidence since 2012, the period often considered the tail-end of the economic downturn.

The findings point to a more positive workforce that has continuously strengthened since the financial crash. Optimism has grown with just 12% of respondents reporting feeling very optimistic about their future in the workplace in 2012, a figure that jumped to 27% in 2019.

ADP’s Workforce View report has surveyed around 1,500 UK employees every year since 2012, tracking changes in their attitudes, beliefs and opinions. 

With the 2019 Workforce View report having recently been released, the research shows a strong UK workforce although concerns around the future of work and workplace inequality persist.

A stronger workforce following the financial downturn

The research illustrates a remarkable improvement in prospects since the early 2010s. In 2012, 55% of employees were worried about job security and in 2013 22% believed work would never return to normal following the financial downturn.

In 2013, 40% saw their future at work as unstable – a figure that dropped to 29% in 2014 and then to a quarter (25%) in 2015.

At the same time, skills confidence has increased in the last seven years. In 2012, just 79% of workers were confident they held the necessary skills to succeed in their role, yet just two years later this figure rose to 91% before dipping slightly to 87% in 2019.

Concerns around the #FutureofWork

However, the study also shows there are still fears around how jobs will change in the future.

In 2013, around a fifth of workers (22%) said they believed that they would have to retrain to keep up with changes in their role in the next five years, and in 2019 over a quarter (27%) believed their job will be automated or replaced by a robot in the next five years.

While the workforce is more positive and confident than in past years, there are continued concerns around preparing for the transformations of the future.

Conflict and inequality in the workplace

In recent years there has been a growing awareness around gender inequality in the workplace, particularly around shared parental leave and the new gender pay gap reporting. However, some advances have fallen short of expectations.

In 2012, 37% said they would take advantage of shared parental leave now or in the next ten years, yet 2018 figures showed that shared parental leave is sometimes as low as 2%. Mothers are still likelier to carry the brunt of the childcaring responsibility, more often opting to take leave from work, cut their hours and, ultimately, put their career on hold.

Many claim the gender pay gap can be linked back to the fact that women more often take time out of work to care for children, and the government has recently announced plans to launch a consultation looking at how the parental leave system can be improved.

Alongside this, gender pay gap reporting was implemented in 2018 in order to galvanise companies into action and the Workforce View report shows support has continued to grow. In 2018, 14% felt there was a need for gender pay gap reporting – a figure that jumped to 23% in 2019.

Other key changes include the rise of intergenerational conflict in the office. In 2012, more than half of the working nation (54%) were aware of intergenerational issues in their workplace, rising to 66% by 2015.

The rise of flexible working

Through the years, flexible working has also risen on the agenda as more people begin to focus on the importance of work-life balance.

In 2012, employees said that, aside from pay, the top workplace motivator was praise and recognition from management, yet from 2014 onwards the most popular option was generally centred around flexible working and work-life balance.

This confirms the prediction in 2012 when 32% of respondents said the ability to work when and where they want would be the top motivator for the next ten years.

Melanie Robinson, Senior HR Director at ADP, commented:

“It’s encouraging to see how confident and positive the workforce is since the downturn of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Businesses have been through enormous change but have handled this well, alongside managing the challenges raised by digital transformation and significant change in the political sphere.”

Robinson continued: “While highly positive, this doesn’t mean organisations can rest on their laurels. Our research has found that there is still significant work to do in reducing workplace inequality and, while it is no easy feat, businesses and society must do more to address this and change entrenched stereotypes. The rise of flexible working ties in with this in many ways, allowing families to better balance their work and home lives. To stay ahead of the curve and attract top talent, businesses must ensure they’re doing everything to offer employees the benefits and opportunities that will help them get the best out of their employees.”

Skills shortages are an ongoing  problem

UK firms are keen to hire but skills shortages is an ongoing  problem they’re facing. In the second quarter of the year, 60% of British firms tried to hire new employees, in the latest sign of strength in the job market.

Jason Fowler, HR Director at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said:

“It’s worrying to see that such a large proportion of organisations are struggling to find people with the relevant skills for their openings. Digital skills – for example – are key to driving effective change across the country, so, with the skills gap costing our economy £63 billion a year, there is an urgent need to funnel more efforts into investing in the UK workforce. If we don’t, there is a risk we won’t be able to keep up with the pace of change that is taking place.

“To sustain the competitiveness of the UK economy, businesses, government and educational institutions need to come together to implement a long-term plan that will help train and educate the current workforce and the next generation of workers so they are utilising new technologies and are ready for the jobs of tomorrow. Whether this is retraining programmes, apprenticeships, or public-private partnerships, there are many exciting and innovative pathways to ensure that the UK is digitally savvy.

“If we want to continue to see the UK as a ‘digital first’ nation we must ensure we are investing in all talent. From the current workforce to those at the very beginning of the journey, by developing the right skills we will be able to support the future digital economy.”

Attracting and retaining top talent in the current skill shortage

The British Chamber of Commerce released their latest employment figures yesterday (29 Jul) that indicate that UK employment is rising, particularly in the gig economy.

Offering her opinion on how businesses can continue to attract and retain the top talent in the current skill shortage, Vivienne Barclay, Vice President, Quality Operations Excellence at Korn Ferry, said:

“[These] employment results indicate that businesses are increasing the rate at which they’re recruiting, which is encouraging. The gig economy, in particular is fuelling this growth, showing how the UK’s employment landscape continues to shift as companies compete for staff with the right skills.

“Not all businesses are in the financial position to offer monetary rewards to attract and retain top talent. However, for the most part employees’ expectations have begun to shift and so money is no longer necessarily the most effective way of rewarding staff or appealing to new talent.

“Companies need to look at benefits beyond financial incentives in order to attract the best talent. From flexible working schemes for a better work-life balance, to robust career development programmes and creative working environments, employers need to communicate the benefits associated with their brand. This is particularly important as the gig economy widens the talent pool, but companies need to be responding and accepting this change.

“With this change in focus, organisations are able to attract and retain the best talent and so combat the current skills shortage that is affecting many industries”

About the research: Exploring the attitudes of employees toward the future of work, the research for ADP was carried out by independent market research agency Opinion Matters in October 2018. The sample consisted of 10,585 working adults in eight territories across Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 4 hours 51 minutes ago

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin |...

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin | 3rd Aug

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page