July 10
10 Jul

5 Things The Employment Benefit World Has Taught Us This Week - July 10th

 July 10

Each week we take the time on our employee benefits blog to spell out the 5 top employee benefits news stories of the week. We do the same this week, of course, and so here are the week’s top stories.

1. Graduates Should Look North Rather Than South For Jobs

Manchester is the best city for graduate opportunities, according to research from the Intergenerational Foundation (IF). The report, Should Young People Look North?, found that Manchester came top for matching affordable housing and graduate work opportunities, followed by Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool and Nottingham. The report found that London and its surrounding satellite towns, as far out as Brighton, have extremely unaffordable housing, with homes often costing at least 10 times average incomes. The research suggests that young people are largely shut out of the housing markets in these areas unless they are prepared to accept very high housing costs. IF co-founder Angus Hanton said that young people should consider looking outside of London for a better work-life balance. “Young people want both to work and to be able to afford housing, but in most of the UK they can only do one or the other," he said. "While London offers many job opportunities, the capital’s housing crisis means young people may have good jobs but their income is disproportionately swallowed by high housing costs. They could have a better work-life balance by looking North instead."

2. Half of Workers Don’t Understand Pension Terminology

Half of employees (50%) find pensions-related terminology ‘complicated and confusing’, according to research from Capita Employee Benefits. More than four in 10 (45%) respondents said they would be willing to save more into a pension if they had a better idea of how they worked, and more than half (52%) did not know how much they should be saving for retirement. The report, Capita’s annual Employee Insight Report, found that 33% of employees are worried that they will not be able to support themselves when they retire. However, of those only 14% said that saving for retirement was one of their main financial priorities. The top priority for this group of workers is to save for a holiday or go travelling (26%). The researchers also found that employees are underestimating their life expectancy. For example, only 2.3% of respondents expect to reach the age of 100, compared to the probability of 13.7%. Despite the recent changes to pension schemes, only 7% of over 55s in a scheme said that they have changed their retirement plans as a result of the new freedoms.

3. Send Your Workers To Bed. Seriously.

It seems that if you want your employees to bring some fresh thinking to your company then you should send them to bed. This is because the best money making ideas are made whilst lying in bed, according to a poll conducted by Moo. 27% of those asked said that their most creative business ideas were devised in bed. 18% said work was their ‘creative hub,’ while seven percent said the shower cleansed their mind of creative suffocation.  Six percent were inspired whilst in their car, and four percent had a ‘eureka’ moment in the toilet. Respondents aged 16 to 24 had the most inspiration, with 18% having already started work on their latest idea.  30% of ‘passion projects’ were perused after spotting a gap in the market and 13% stemmed from frustration with existing products or technology.  London was the most creative city, followed by Birmingham and Cardiff.

4. Skills Development Is the Future

The Government needs to invest more in vocational and further education if employers are going to see real increases in productivity, according to the CIPD. In the week that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures suggesting that workers’ output per hour has gone up at its fastest rate in three years, the HR membership body has called for the Government to prioritise workforce skills development in next week’s Budget. According to the CIPD’s report, “Productivity: getting the best out of people”, only 41% of businesses consider increasing productivity to be a current priority, while one-third do not have any measures of productivity in place. It found that performance tends to be better in businesses where there is a focus on higher-quality products and services as opposed to reducing costs, and where workplace culture is clearly aligned to the business. According to the ONS, UK labour productivity went up by 0.3% in the first three months of this year compared with the last quarter of 2014, and was 1.3% higher than the same period in 2014 – the fastest annual growth since the first quarter of 2012. However, while output per hours grew in the services sector, it fell in manufacturing and production, both for the quarter and year-on-year, the ONS said.

CIPD chief economist Mark Beatson said: “Government investment is vital to increasing productivity but it needs to be broad-based.

“Decisions over how we fund vocational and further education and support small businesses to raise their game and get more out of their people are just as critical to our future prosperity as investments in transport, infrastructure and technology.”

5. What Are The True Costs of The Living Wage?

With speculation rife that Wednesday’s budget will see George Osbourne announce incentives for companies that pay the Living Wage, KPMG has calculated the actual impact of a national adoption of the Living Wage. The Living Wage is set at £7.85 an hour, or £9.15 in London. The report, The Living Wage: an economic impact assessment, said that paying the Living Wage would only add 1.3% to the national bill. It would also bring in an additional £4.5billion in taxes and reduced benefit claims. Writing in The Observer, Rohan Silva, a former aide to David Cameron, called for all businesses to pay the Living Wage: “There’s one simple thing we can do: make the living wage a requirement for all London jobs, as well as for jobs across the UK. “It’s ridiculous for some to claim that businesses can’t afford to pay £9.15 per hour in London, and lower in other parts of the country. Second Home, the company I co-founded last year, pays the living wage to all, our employees and cleaning staff. If a small business like mine can do it, there’s no excuse for the multinationals and public sector behemoths. A living wage is not just the fair thing to do, it’s good for business.”

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