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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Lucie Mitchell

A week in HR: Is the recession the key to job satisfaction?


This week, Lucie Mitchell reports on a mass UK jobs exodus, a rise in job satisfaction, and the swine flu outbreak.

The recession will cause a permanent UK jobs exodus, according to new research. A study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has revealed that 81% of the UK’s largest multinational firms are planning or considering moving at least one major business function overseas by 2015. The research also found that there has been a surge in international outsourcing and offshoring, with 53% of firms having already moved or considering moving the HR function.
"The recession has prompted our largest companies to re-examine the UK as a business location in terms of skills, cost and infrastructure," said David Stern, UK managing partner at the consultancy. "Globalisation is enabling them to consider unprecedented levels of offshoring across all aspects of their business, which could result in permanent damage to the UK job market and economy."
The current downturn has actually caused a rise in job satisfaction, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which carried out a survey of more than 3,000 employees and found that job satisfaction has increased since 2006, despite the recession. The figures were compared to a 2006 CIPD survey on employee engagement.
However, the research also found that 52% of staff stated there has been an increase in work-related stress as a result of the recession, and 38% agree there has been a rise in office politics.
Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD, and co-author of the survey, said: "Job satisfaction may have edged up – but this could be the employee opinion survey equivalent of a fixed grin. Employees grateful to have a job at all are less likely to grumble, and more likely to see scorched earth rather than greener grass on the other side of the fence."
The Equality Bill should be welcomed with open arms, an expert has said. "Claims that the new Equality Bill is simply an extra layer of red tape and a barrier to enterprise are absolute nonsense," commented Jane Farrell, CEO of
Farrell added that some managers are criticising a Bill which in reality will take between two and three clicks of a mouse in a HR department to retrieve the required information.
"The resistance and often open opposition to the aims of the Bill by the CBI and IOD displays an attitude that is both short-sighted and blinkered," she said. "We need to stop treating equality and diversity as a barrier to success but rather as a way of building a fulfilled and productive workforce."
Do you agree or disagree? Please let us know by posting a comment below.
The government has announced that, from October of this year, using tips to make up staff pay to minimum wage levels will be outlawed. The move means workers are guaranteed fair wages and employers are ensured a fair and level playing field, the government said.
"We do not believe employers should be able to use tips meant as a bonus for staff to boost pay levels to the legal minimum," said employment relations minister Pat McFadden.
Derek Simpson, Unite joint general secretary, welcomed the announcement: "Hard-working waiting staff will be delighted to learn that bad employers can no longer line their pockets with the money that customers intended to go to workers."
However, Matthew Clayton, a partner at law firm Rickerbys, said: "This does not necessarily mean that workers will necessarily receive the whole of any amount which is left as a tip. We must hope that businesses in the hospitality sector will recognise the commercial benefits of signing up to the voluntary code of practice announced today."
Finally, for those of you concerned about swine flu and the affects of a pandemic on your business, do not fear. has been inundated with press releases and various pieces of information for employers, so of course we thought it only fair to pass it on to you, our members. Here is a brief selection of what we have received:
• Hannah Robbins, a solicitor at Pinsent Masons, advised: "A well thought-out policy can resolve many of the thorny employment issues that a pandemic may present. Such a policy could set expectations about what contractual provisions and entitlements may be revoked during a pandemic."
• Workplace consultants Croner has urged employers to use the outbreak as an opportunity to develop or review contingency plans, which should form an integral part of the business strategy and will enable managers to guard against these unexpected events, ensuring that the long-term economic health of the business is safeguarded and employees are fully protected.
• In recognition of the possible impact of swine flu on business, Business Link has some relevant guidance at
• Senior public policy advisor at the CIPD, Ben Willmott, said: "All employers should think about maximising home working and investigate the potential for increasing the use of video-links and teleconferencing to help limit the amount of face-to-face contact. In case of a pandemic, employers should also formulate clear advice for staff on the symptoms of the virus and the importance of staying at home and seeking medical advice at the soonest opportunity."

One Response

  1. Recession and job satisfaction

    My experience is that rather than feeling greater job satisfaction, employees feel more desparate, the ones who would be trying to move jobs for various reasons, are staying put because they feel they should (security, bills to pay, families to support) and as a result are beginning to feel frustarted, trapped and resentful.  The recession doesn’t make people happier in their jobs it just makes them lie about how they feel, to themselves and to the surveys.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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