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Group seeks accelerated gender equalities in work place

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A United Kingdom based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has urged businesses to accelerate the pace of for female representation on boards, highlighting that there has been a 1.8 per cent increase at executive director level since 2012.

   The group argued that while some progress has been made, the “pace of change must accelerate”.

    Diversity Adviser at CIPD, Dianah Worman said: “There has been progress which can be seen in the rising percentage of women on boards over the last few years towards the Lord Davies targets and that should be recognized.

    “However, the gains in the main have been made in non-executive positions where as the numbers for women in the top spot executive positions and visible to the wider organization still only accounts for 8.4 per cent.

    “Seeing is believing and that’s why our specific call to Government is to have a separate voluntary target of at least 20 per cent for female executive directors on the   boards of FTSE 100 boards by 2020”

   According to the group, the year 2014 delivered growth, adding that  2015 must be a year of productivity to sustain growth and improve earnings.

“It’s unlikely that we’ll see any real increase in wage growth until 2016, says       Mark Beatson, chief economist for CIPD.  

   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 yearly analysis of the UK labour market for the year 2015 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 per cent is expected in 2015, slightly lower than in 2014; the Eurozone as a whole is still expected to grow by just 1.1 per cent 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 per cent 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 said: “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 to attain more 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.”



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