Flexible working takes hold of British industry

Flexible working practices are widespread in British industry, and meet with little resistance from the workforce, a survey reports this week. A growing emphasis by firms on training promises to enhance employability and offset a decline in job security, but skill shortages are continuing to affect many firms. These are the findings of the first […]

Flexible working practices are widespread in British industry, and meet with little resistance from the workforce, a survey reports this week.

A growing emphasis by firms on training promises to enhance employability and offset a decline in job security, but skill shortages are continuing to affect many firms.

These are the findings of the first Employment Trends survey by the CBI and actuarial and human resource consultant William M Mercer. It covered 671 organisations, representing 10% of the UK workforce. Manufacturing accounted for 42% of respondents.

Shift working was the most widespread flexible working pattern, followed by outsourcing, but job sharing and annualised hours are also widely used.

A surprisingly high number of companies had introduced competency-based pay, and 62% of companies offered training beyond the needs of their employees’ current job.

‘As it becomes increasingly difficult to provide the security of a job for life there is an increasing need for employees to train beyond the needs of their job and enhance their employability,’ said CBI director general Adair Turner. Nevertheless, 45% of manufacturing firms reported that their organisation’s output had been hit by skill shortages over the last year.

‘We must continue to address the problem of skill shortages if we are to realise the full potential of this workforce flexibility as a competitive advantage,’ said Turner.