Flexible working. A day-one right to request. For everyone.
CIPD in the news: better, fairer and more flexible jobs; and breaking the stigma on menopause
A round-up of the CIPD’s voice and influence in the world of work throughout the last month
The CIPD’s voice and influence on the world of work has been loud and strong in the month of May.
Not only did its evidence and insights secure lots of high-profile media coverage on a range of topical issues, but its calls for fairer work – based on insights from CIPD members – also featured in all of the main party manifestos in the recent Scottish election.
Calling for better jobs, not just more jobs
The CIPD’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook has proven to be a reliable indicator of employers’ recruitment intentions over the past eight years. The latest report showed that employment intentions are at an eight-year high and pay expectations have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. But the CIPD has been urging employers to invest in better jobs, not just more jobs.
Gerwyn Davies, the CIPD’s Senior Labour Market Adviser, commented: ‘To offset the emerging threat of recruitment difficulties, employers should be reviewing not just their recruitment practices, but also the quality of work they offer – such as employment conditions, the possibility of promotion, training opportunities and the right balance of flexibility and security.’
The report secured extensive coverage across national media, including pieces by The Times*, The Financial Times*, The Guardian, The Independent, and The Week, as well as mentions on a number of radio stations, including LBC, TalkRadio, Times Radio, and the Ian King show on Sky News. In response, the CIPD secured a meeting with Shadow Secretary of State, Jonathan Reynolds MP and his Shadow Cabinet team to discuss some of the challenges facing the labour market, including skills shortages, increased job insecurity and the need for enhanced labour market enforcement to improve job quality. A shared concern over the lack of reference to the Employment Bill in the recent Queen's Speech was also discussed. The CIPD committed to keeping in touch with the Shadow team to share insights from upcoming research.
CIPD members help pave the way for fairer workplaces and better working lives in Scotland
The CIPD’s Scottish election manifesto, Fairer workplaces for a fairer Scotland, made a total of 21 public policy recommendations and at least half of them appeared in one or more of the main parties’ manifestos. The CIPD’s calls focused on putting fair work at the top of the Government’s agenda, achieving better balance in skills policy, a greater focus on workplace wellbeing, and supporting inclusive workplaces. Marek Zemanik, Senior Public Policy Adviser for the CIPD, commented in a blog post: ‘This is the result of a lot of hard work by our members, whose insights and experiences informed these calls. They have influenced political parties’ agendas. They have paved the way for significant changes. They have made employees’ lives better.’
Normalising conversations about the menopause at work
This month, TV presenter Davina McCall shared a warts and all story of her experience of the menopause in a Channel 4 documentary. Her revelations prompted prolific discussions across traditional and social media, about a topic that is often considered taboo.
A recent poll of CIPD Update readers showed that the proportion of employers offering support for the menopause has more than doubled since the CIPD first started raising awareness of this issue in 2019. But the poll suggests that the majority still don't have a policy, framework or guidance in place, so there's still work to be done. In partnership with Bupa, the CIPD has recently published updated guidance for line managers to help normalise conversations about the menopause at work and ensure women get the support they need. The guidance has proven very popular with the CIPD’s social media followers.
New data bolsters calls for Apprenticeship Levy reform
The CIPD’s ongoing calls for a reform to the Apprenticeship Levy received a welcome boost this month when the Financial Times* reported on new evidence gathered by the CIPD. Using Freedom of Information requests, the CIPD gathered data which show that employers have been forced to write-off nearly £2 billion of levy funds over the last two years, as they were unable to use them on apprenticeships.
The CIPD wants to see the Apprenticeship Levy turned into a more flexible training levy so that employers can maximise their ability to work with colleges and universities by investing in other forms of accredited training and development. Without such fundamental reform, the Government’s ambition to put employers at the heart of the skills system will be fatally undermined.
Flying the flag for flexible working
The CIPD’s calls to make flexible working a day-one employment right continued apace this month. As part of its #FlexFrom1st campaign, it has been urging employers to look beyond remote working when considering flexible working, after finding that remote working is the only type of flexible working that has increased since the onset of the pandemic, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
CIPD Chief Executive, Peter Cheese, commented: ‘Employers should take action to offer and encourage the uptake of a broad range of options that give opportunities for everyone to have more choice and flexibility in how they work. If the use of other flexible working arrangements continues to fall this will drive many questions about fairness and equality in the workplace for those whose jobs require them to be in a place of work.’
In his role as co-chair of the Government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, Peter also gave a number of high-profile media interviews on the topic, including The Observer, Guardian, iNews, Radio Four Today Programme (scroll to 15:28), BBC News Channel, The One Show and eight regional radio stations.