The UK has come a long way since the early Equal Opportunities legislation of the 1970s, high-profile cases in the 1980s and 1990s identifying institutionalised discrimination, and the subsequent focus on celebration of diversity and promotion of inclusion. However, the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements are reminders of how far we still need to travel. In this episode, Peter Urwin is joined by Emma Parry, Professor of Human Resource Management at Cranfield School of Management, to discuss how to further move the dial on diversity in the workplace. Asking whether research provides clear lessons for managers, they identify a number of similar messages across the economics and HRM literatures. However, whilst recent debates over the value of unconscious bias training caution against untested approaches, evaluation of “solutions” such as Inclusion present a real challenge. Peter and Emma debate these tensions, and consider possible ways forward. For an accompanying blog post on this issue, go to https://www.propelhub.org.
In the second instalment of this series looking at how Coronavirus has affected the working landscape, Peter Urwin is joined by Professor Emma Parry: Professor of Human Resource Management and Group Head Changing World of Work at Cranfield School of Management. They discuss what work will look like after the pandemic; drawing on a variety of recent evidence from surveys of HR practitioners, employees and companies to better understand which of the changes to working will persist beyond the current crisis. For instance, there is a clear gender split emerging as the burden of childcare continues to fall on women, who are being forced to balance the demands of working from home and home-schooling. But will this turn around now schools are reopening, and working from home brings benefits for those with caring responsibilities?
The New Labour government introduced a national minimum wage (NMW) in 1999. At first this was opposed by the Conservative party, but they have since joined a growing political consensus. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) are tasked with recommending NMW rates that 'help as many low-paid workers as possible without any significant adverse impact on employment or the economy’. The LPC’s apparent success in achieving this, may be one reason for growing political census, so it is perhaps worrying that a National Living Wage (NLW) is being set without these considerations. Len Shackleton, Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham and Editorial and Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, sets out these issues and more in a recent IEA paper on Restructuring Minimum Wages. Prof. Shackleton argues that the system has become overly complex and recommendations made by the Taylor Review will only add to this complexity. In this interview we consider his proposals and what the future may hold for UK minimum wages.
Recent decades have seen radical change in the way that conflict is dealt with in UK workplaces. Collective industrial action has been replaced by pursuit of individual employment rights through litigation, via Employment Tribunals (ETs). Richard Saundry is Professor of HRM & Employment Relations at Plymouth University Business School. He has written extensively on workplace conflict and brings a wealth of experience, including time spent at NUM HQ at the start of the 1990s. Peter and him consider why employees in certain types of firm report higher levels of conflict; whether ‘vexatious’ ET claims represent a significant cost to firms and discuss how conflict is resolved in the modern workplace. In this modern setting, what role is there for the union movement and what are the implications of Brexit?