Survey says employment has become more secure over the last decade

Job security fears sparked largely by the pandemic may well have been unfounded, according to a new report, which suggests employment is actually more secure than a decade ago.

According to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), over the past 10 years, unemployment, long-term unemployment, and inactivity have all decreased.

It adds that although pockets of insecurity exist, work is actually becoming more secure on most measures, with fewer people working part-time involuntarily and working variable hours. Low pay and variable pay have also declined.

The report’s analysis says that by eliminating certain types of contracts from the labour market, choice and job quality should be at the heart of discussions about different ways of working.

A labour market with more choice will include diverse ways of working, including some forms of work that are less secure, but which suit some people’s preferences.

Non-permanent employment suits many people with around 20 per cent of the workforce in this situation. That figure has barely changed over the last 20 years and evidence shows that most people choose this because it suits their lives or working preferences.

There are still areas of insecurity in the permanent workforce as a whole, where 7.8 per cent of people say they would like to work more hours, and 2.7 per cent are working part-time involuntarily because they were not able to find a full-time role.

Strengthen enforcement measures

The report says the best way to protect people from insecure work that does not suit their needs is to strengthen enforcement of existing employment rights across the labour market and help employers to manage atypical working arrangements responsibly.

The CIPD says that while the UK’s labour market does provide flexibility for employers and protections for individuals, it is undermined by inadequate enforcement.

It is calling for a strengthening of employment rights as part of the forthcoming establishment of a new single enforcement body (SEB). This should include a much stronger focus on supporting employer compliance and raising employment standards.

CIPD key recommendations

  • Increase the number of labour market enforcement inspectors to one per 10,000 workers.
  • The UK Government should take full responsibility for compensating employees and taking action against employers for non-payment of employment tribunal awards.
  • Double the Acas budget to boost its ability to advise small employers and individuals on people management, workplace conflict and employment rights.
  • Allocate SEB inspectors on a regional as well as a sectoral basis to ensure local employers and their staff are made fully aware of relevant employment legislation and rights and are supported to deliver them effectively.
  • Ensure the SEB is adequately resourced and has the power to make decisions on a range of areas.

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