News & Events News News in Brief End 2019 Employment figures still at record high, but wages slow UK employment figures reached a record high of 32.8 million people in work after a rise of 24,000 in the past quarter, while unemployment remained at 3.8% - the lowest since the 1970s. However, wage growth has slowed for the third month in a row after annualised growth in weekly earnings dropped to 3.2% in October, down from 3.6% at the end of September. John Philpott of the Jobs Economist, warned that a weak and shrinking private sector labour market, particularly in construction and retail, was being propped up by strong growth in the public sector, saying that "We may now be on course for faster growth in public sector employment than seen throughout most of the past decade." Survey finds workers willing to fake sickness – but will stand up for colleagues While the average worker takes just four sick days a year, research by ComRes for the BBC has found that two in five adults admitted they would fake a sick day if they needed a break from work, even if they weren't actually ill. Similarly, two thirds of adults – 66% – said they would lie to cover for a colleague who was absent but not really ill. Occupational psychologist Helen Lewis suggests this may be because of a culture of presenteeism, where being 'sick' is seen as the only option for workers who need to take a break. The same survey, however, found that young people were much more likely to stand up against sexual harassment in the workplace; 70% of those under 34 said they would report or intervene if they saw a senior figure at work making sexual comments to a junior colleague, while less than half of those aged over 55 agreed. Wetherspoons boss in corporate governance argument Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, lashed out at the UK's corporate governance rules in an angry diatribe, labelling the system "up the spout – and is itself a threat to listed companies – and therefore to the UK economy". He criticized non-executive directors as having too much power and objected to rules stating that they should no longer be considered independent after nine years, saying such systems encouraged "inexperience and navel-gazing". Shareholder advisory groups had raised a number of red flags around corporate governance at the pub chain, 32% owned by Mr Martin, ahead of their AGM this year, including the spending of £95,000 of company money on pro-Brexit beermats and posters during the referendum campaign without first seeking shareholder approval, leading to Pirc advising shareholders to vote against the company's annual report. In the end only around 5% of shareholders voted against the report and 6% against the pay policies, while Martin himself received the endorsement of 98% of voting shareholders.