Concerns for job losses with one year to Brexit

This week marked the one year anniversary of the triggering of Article 50 and the half-way point of Brexit negotiations before our exit in March 2019. Despite the agreement in principle of a transitional deal this month, concerns remain that many large firms are preparing to execute contingency plans to relocate some jobs overseas before March of next year. Jobs in the financial sector are thought to be particularly at risk due to the expected loss of financial passporting rights for the City of London after Brexit - one senior city figure claimed that between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs of finance and support staff would move by the end of this year.

Fall in apprenticeships sparks criticism of levy

Figures published this month reveal a 41% fall in the number of apprenticeships during the first 6 months of the new apprenticeship levy, compared with a year earlier. During the May - October 2017 period, the number of new apprenticeships was only 162,000, compared with 273,000 during that period in 2016. The reports have led to criticisms of the functioning of the apprenticeship levy from the CBI, LGA and others, who have complained that the functioning of the central pooling of apprenticeship funds was too "complex" and the requirement for apprentices to spend 20% of the time in off the job training was too burdensome on employers.

However, some particular schemes have seen significant growth and success, in particular management apprenticeships at level 4+ which rose 424% in September 2017. The popularity of the level 6 chartered manager degree apprenticeship was a major contributor to this growth, something praised by Petra Wilton of the CMI who described the apprenticeship as “the best of all worlds… You get a full degree from a recognised university, work-based learning from an employer and the chance to have a practical impact on your workplace, plus professional recognition through the degree’s chartered status – three in one. Plus you’re getting fully paid”.

Gender pay gap publication deadline arrives

From April 2018, all companies employing over 250 people in the UK will be required to publish statistics that reveal any gender pay gap and the proportion of their top jobs held by women. However, figures suggested that only half of required companies had done so by Wednesday 28th March, just days before the deadline. Analysis by the FT of reports so far indicated a 9.7% median gender pay gap across all employers, compared with previous ONS figures that suggested an 18.4% gap for the whole workforce (part-time and full-time), reduced to a 9.1% pay gap among full-time workers only, while among part-time workers the gap was 5.1% in favour of women. Most of the national gap therefore appears to arise from the difference in full and part time employment rates. Meanwhile, the number of female CEOs at large firms in the UK fell by 1.3 percentage points in 2017 to just 6.5, according to a survey by Egon Zehnder.