Research
Summary In contrast to the recent past when even Labour politicians were ‘intensely relaxed’ about high pay, there is now widespread concern about the apparent excesses of some pay structures in corporate businesses. Top pay has risen much faster than average levels of pay in the last twenty years. This is in part the consequence ... Continue reading
Research

Gender pay gap reporting produces another round of misleading statistics

Summary Now into the second year of mandated gender pay gap reporting for large organisations, it has become increasingly clear that the influx of data - ranging from negative gaps, to gaps exceeding 50% - fails to provide any meaningful insight into equal or fair pay for men and women in the workplace. The requirement ... Continue reading
Research

Complexity, compliance and a case for reform

Summary:  The National Minimum/Living Wage system has become too complicated, making unintentional non-compliance a problem, and is in danger of becoming a political football. The Low Pay Commission should reject the Taylor Review proposal for new separate minima for workers on zero-hours contracts. We should revert to having just two rates – one for 18-24 ... Continue reading
Research

Why we shouldn't panic about automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence

Summary: 1. It is claimed that robots, algorithms and artificial intelligence are going to destroy jobs on an unprecedented scale. 2. These developments, unlike past bouts of technical change, threaten rapidly to affect even highly-skilled work and lead to mass unemployment and/or dramatic falls in wages and living standards, while accentuating inequality. 3. As a ... Continue reading
Research

Crude gender pay gap reporting measures render results meaningless

Summary: Despite an influx of new gender pay gap data - ranging from negative gaps, to gaps exceeding 60% - the government’s new pay gap reporting measures fail to provide any meaningful insight into equal or fair pay for men and women in the workplace. The requirement to measure pay gaps across entire organisations (rather ... Continue reading
Research

Proportion of UK employees needing a licence to work has doubled in the last 15 years

Summary:  Around one in five UK employees requires a licence from government to practice their chosen occupation. This proportion has probably doubled in the last fifteen years. A further fifth of workers are certified by government agencies, and such certification is often necessary for employment. Occupational regulation is usually justified by the need to protect ... Continue reading
Research

Equal Pay Day calculation is fundamentally misleading

Summary:  While the official gender pay gap figure is 9.1% for full-time workers, the pay gap between men and women aged 22-39 is negligible. The gap widens later in life, often as a result of women taking time out of the workplace to raise children, and returning to work in a part-time capacity, reducing future ... Continue reading
Research

Taylor review fails to factor in costs to employees of proposed interventions

Summary:  The Taylor Review should be commended for recognising the success of the UK’s flexible labour market and for refusing to endorse the outright bans on zero-hours contracts and app-based “gig” economy advocated by the Labour Party, trade unions and other pressure groups. However, its recommendations for further regulation of these types of work seem ... Continue reading

Political consensus to increase employment regulation risks undermining the economy

Summary: Legal restrictions on the terms and conditions under which employment takes place have a long history in the UK. Since the mid 1960s, however, regulation has substantially increased and now permeates all aspects of work. The costs of this are huge. Just one element relates to the direct burden on firms. For example, the ... Continue reading