ONS workforce statistics published in March 2015

The latest ONS statistics published this week show that 73.3% of people aged 16 to 64 were in work, up from 72.1% in the same period in 2014 and the highest rate of employment since comparable records began in 1971.

The budget brought some good news for lower paid employees, a rise in the national minimum wage in October to £6.70 and a rise in the personal tax free allowance to £10,800 next April. The statutory minimum wage for 18 to 20-year-olds will also go up by 3% from October.

Plugging the skills gap

There’s better news for employers wanting to address the skills shortages that seem to be common to many industries, in April national insurance payments for employing under 21’s will be abolished, and from April 2016 NI will be abolished for employing young apprentices.

However the CIPD in its budget breakdown with an HR perspective, pointed out that there was no mention of how productivity could be improved. Productivity is something that’s currently top of mind for many British businesses.

Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD, commented: “The government is right to cheer the rise in employment, but there are still some big questions that they have failed to answer on productivity. It’s astonishing that productivity wasn’t referenced even once in the chancellor’s speech, and yet this is the biggest challenge that the economy and businesses face now. We need to understand how we can make more of our people, our assets and our infrastructure in order to boost business performance.

How many people do you employ?

A good workforce management solution will contribute towards boosting business performance.  For example we came across a case study this week by Janine Milne in Diginomica about Tullow Oil, a multinational company which until recently didn’t know exactly how many employees they had because finance and HR used different data capture and reporting systems and counted headcount in different ways.

I’ve come across businesses who don’t even have a basic overview of what sort of contracts and pay rates their employees are on. Identifying and tracking wage costs by department for example could show where potential savings and efficiencies can be made – just ask some of our customers!

Sources:

CIPD Budget 2015: the highlights for HR

Diginomica – HR hits a rich seam of data at Tullow Oil

ONS employment data March 2015

 

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