In the last 100 years the British labour market has been in many ways a more equal and fairer society it has ever been. For example, 70 years ago women were not allowed to work after they got married and people were openly discriminated on their colour of their skin. Today, it is illegal for employers to discriminate on gender, race or disability with the result that almost 50% of the workforce is female and the participation rate among most ethnic minorities keeps on growing. Despite of these improvements, inequality still persists. In many areas the improvements have stopped and in some cases the gap has started to widen again (Equalities review, 2007).
Following, Britain faces new developments like technological improvement and globalization and challenges like the economic downturn. The signs are that these can have a disproportionate impact on particular groups of workers and jobseekers (Equalities review, 2007).
In this report, we will explore economic and labour market developments and changes. As the London labour market differentiate significantly from the British labour market, we will describe them in two different sections.
The first section highlights the changes in the labour market over the last 10 years, the impact of the downturn on organisations and HR and how this has affected disadvantaged groups.
The second section will firstly give an overview of the London labour market and economy specifically focused around inequalities. Secondly, it will describe the causes of these inequalities and the impact of the Single Equalities. Thirdly, it will outline the developments in the next five years. Following, the skills needed to operate in a London context as an HR practitioner.
Section 1: UK labour market and economy
Changes of the labour market over the last 10 years
In the last 10 years there are several changes that had a profound impact on the labour market. Firstly, the continuing shift from a manufacturing to a service based economy (Kew and Stredwick, 2010). This means that companies rely heavily on people as their source of value production. Therefore, it is for employers very important to invest in hiring the right people, motivating and retaining them (CIPD, 2009). A practice that can help to retain staff is offering flexible employment like part-time contracts, working remotely or flexible hours. This will give families (especially after the increase in employment rate of women) an chance to combine work and caring possibilities (Edwards and Rees, 2006).
Underlying the structural shift from manufacturing to services and flexible employment is the impact of technology. Internet gives the opportunity to work from a distance of your employer or client and creates a 24-hour economy. In addition, technology contributed significantly to globalization. The relative distance between countries has been decreased due to internet and planes. Many companies made therefore the decision to outsource their manufactures or administration to countries with low wages like Thailand, or opened offices around the world which made the world much more interlinked.
Although technology and globalization has benefits like lower cost goods and a wider market for UK products, it has clearly disadvantages as well.
The interconnectedness of the economy increased competition and technology replaced many low skilled jobs. This has caused polarization in the labour market. It has increased the demand for highly skilled workers and has decreased for low skilled workers with a result: a growing wage differentiation (Haskel and Heden,...