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May 13, 2014
Is HR doing enough to tackle low pay?
Business is definitely picking up – well, that’s the word on the street and it’s what the Government seems to be saying …but that doesn’t mean wages are.
The question is, can HR professionals help address the current problem of millions of people stuck in low paid, low skilled jobs in the UK?
Collectively, HR professionals can improve productivity and performance for the UK economy and the employers within it, with better-off and happier employees and consumers.
But how can an individual employers increase pay levels and costs when it is so, supposedly, so hard to pass on any consequent price increases to customers?
John Philpott, head of The Jobs Economist consultancy and former chief economist at the CIPD, addresses this in his report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Rewarding Work for Low Paid Workers.
The study revealed that effective HR management actually helps to increase employer profits – through increased job satisfaction and well-being supporting higher productivity and lower attrition and absenteeism.
Providing low paid staff with training and better-paid jobs is a practical task for HR professionals – they have the power to help train people in appropriate, transferrable skills and designing pay structures to reward skills acquisition and performance.
Conversely, the study found, with an ‘over-rigorous’ appraisal system is counterproductive.
Another study, at Manchester Metropolitan University, showed that care establishments offering skills development and higher pay provided better quality care.
So even in a cost-competitive sector like healthcare, employers do have a choice over their pay and employment policies.
All this shows that effective HR management and development pays off – for the economy, for employers and for employees as well.
HR professionals need to make this case is presented and take practical steps to deliver it.