The 'Working Future 2014 - 2024' report - Key Findings 

The UKCES published its ‘Working Futures 2014 – 2024’ report this month. It provides an overview of the UK labour market, its future size and share ‘by considering employment prospects by industry, occupation, qualification level, gender and employment status.’ 

The report shows that the primary sector and utilities is expected to grow only modestly between 2014 and 2024, which will lead ‘to a decline in employment over the course of the decade.’ A similar forecast is predicted for the manufacturing industry, which is expected to grow at a slower rate than the wider economy over the next decade, having an impact on productivity and employment. The public administration, health and education sector is expected to grow at a much slower pace in the medium term due to budget cuts. However, the ‘job losses in the first half of the period are expected to be more than offset as employment growth picks up between 2019 and 2024’. The construction sector is expected to grow faster than any of the other sectors, in both output and employment terms, due to increased public and private investment. The business and services sector is expected to increase its output and employment more slowly compared with what was seen between 2004 and 2014, though still above the economy average. Finally, the trade, accommodation and transport sector is expected to grow at a pace similar to the economy average, whilst employment will grow a little faster than average. 


First all-out strike action by junior doctors

In the first industrial action of its kind, thousands of junior doctors went on strike for two days this week as the disagreement over the Government’s new contracts continues. 

The Government wants to change the contracts of junior doctors as part of a series of proposals ‘to create a truly seven-day-NHS.’ The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt claims that a lack of senior staff working in hospitals at weekends means that ‘patients are 15 per cent more likely to die if they are admitted on a Sunday compared with a Wednesday,’ though this figure has been strongly contested by the BMA. The Government has offered junior doctors a basic pay rise of 13.5 per cent during their regular working hours in exchange for reducing overtime payments for working evenings and weekends. The Government has also promised to restrict maximum hours to “make care safer for patients.”

However, junior doctors say that the new contract would put patient safety at risk and that they "already work weekends and evenings.” The new contracts have been described as being discriminatory to women, especially single mothers. The BMA junior doctors committee chair, Johann Malwana has urged the Government to “lift the imposition” so talks between the two parties can resume. 


UK Steel Crisis: Port Talbot Steelworks

Tata Steel is planning to close down its UK arm after making substantial losses over a number of years. This could result in 15, 000 job losses at Port Talbot steelworks. Tata Steel’s UK boss, Bhimlendra Jha said the company has not set a “fixed deadline” to find a buyer, amid concerns that there may not be enough time to find one. However, Jha warned that Tata “cannot continue to bleed” and that there remained “serious question marks about the viability of Port Talbot”. 

Jha said solving the pension problem was key to finding a buyer. Tata Steel has been paying more than £100m a year into the pension scheme to fund its liabilities. Mr Jha also said that the UK had “structural weaknesses around energy prices and business rates” which was impacting their steel business. The Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the crisis, having admitted in hindsight that he should have gone to Mumbai for a crucial Tata Steel board meeting in March, but he responded by saying: “I will do everything in my power to help, but that is all I can do. I cannot change the price of steel globally. This is a big economic challenge for the country. I don’t want to live in a country where we have to import all our steel.”