From women in tech to charity interns: this week’s HR round-up

This week’s HR news round-up covers everything from concerns about girls and tech and technology labour shortages to a new pilot to help people from the private sector find work in the charitable sector.

Woman engineer working at a desk


Study reveals STEM confidence gap among girls

A new study by Teach First highlights a major confidence gap between girls and boys when studying maths and science which it says will exacerbate the skills shortage currently facing the STEM sector.

It found more than half of girls (54.3%) don’t feel confident learning maths, compared to two-fifths (41.2%) of boys, with the gap even wider for science, with more than four in ten girls (43%) not confident, compared with a quarter of boys (26%).

The findings come from a national YouGov survey of more than 1,000 young people aged 11 to 16.

Teach First is calling for more high-quality teachers to inspire the next generation.

Meanwhile, new research conducted by global talent services company Morgan McKinley shows that 76% of technology hiring managers found recruitment ‘very’ or ‘quite’ competitive in 2023 across the UK.

A quarter of hiring managers cited shortage of skilled candidates as their primary obstacle. Other challenges included difficulties in competing on pay and benefits (22%) and a lack of approval for new headcount (19%).

For 2024, however, half of technology hiring managers said that they are increasing headcount in the first half of the year and 46% of technology workers are looking for new roles, with a further 31% considering a move.

In 2023, three quarters of technology professionals chose to stay in their current roles. Nearly half (46%) expressed feelings of indifference, insecurity or significant insecurity in their current positions. When looking to move roles, technology workers value a higher salary (40%) the most, followed by career growth and development opportunities (14%) and the ability to work fully remote (13%).

McKinsey says technology is the sector with the greatest proportion of people who placed ‘work from home’ as one of their most valued benefits (71% picked it in their top five).

42% of technology professionals would prefer to be in the office 1-2 days a week, whilst just 8% want to be on-site 5 days a week. Over half (53%) would skip a pay rise if it meant they got the flexibility they desire.

New flexible working APPG launched

A new Flexible & Family Friendly Working All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been launched which will focus on championing flexible working policies that support families across the country to remove the barriers that people with caring responsibilities face in the workplace.

The group is jointly chaired by Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead & Kilburn, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury (City Minister), and the Dame Maria Miller, former chair of the Women and Equalities Committee.

The inaugural meeting of the APPG is anticipated to take place in March at The Houses of Parliament, marking the beginning of a concerted effort to drive legislative changes that promote flexibility in the workplace. Employer supporters include Save The Children, Zurich, TLT, Wates and SF Recruitment.

Read more here []

Women need to work and save 19 years more to avoid gender pensions gap

For women to retire with the same amount of money in their pension savings as a man, they would need to work and save for an extra 19 years on average, according to a new report out today.

The 2024 gender pensions gap report by NOW: Pensions, carried out in partnership with the Pensions Policy Institute, shows women retiring at 67 will have saved an average of £69,000, compared with £205,000 for men.

It says that women make up 79% of workers who earn less than the automatic enrolment earnings threshold – this means that 1.9 million women in employment are not automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. Automatic enrolment also only starts from age 22.  The report calculates that if both age and earning thresholds were removed from automatic enrolment, an additional 885,000 young women in employment would become eligible for a workplace pension.

It says that part of the issue is caring responsibilities falling more on women. On average, women spend 10 years away from the workforce to raise families or take on other caring responsibilities. This career gap, exacerbated by childcare costs, means that, by their late 50s, women will have built up just 62% of the pension wealth of men.

Read more here.

Growing age divide on attitudes to pensions

The confidence of people over 55 in their ability to retire has risen slightly while it has fallen among younger people, according to a survey by PensionsBee.

Its latest Pension Confidence Index – which measures sentiment towards retirement – found an increase in pension confidence among over 55s in the final quarter of 2023, but a bigger increase in negative pension sentiment among adults yet to reach the age they can first access their pension over the same period.

There was a 7% increase in optimism about pensions among 55-64 year olds towards the end of last year, from 38% in September to 45% in December. Meanwhile, fewer said they felt pessimistic. There was a 9% drop from 55% to 47% over the same period. Over 65s were even more positive in December, with over half (53%) feeling confident about their pension, although this was a similar proportion to September.

Read more here.

State pension age may need to rise to 70+

The UK and other ageing populations will have to increase their state pension age to 71 by 2050 to maintain the number of workers per retiree, according to analysis for the International Longevity Centre’s Healthy Ageing and Prevention Index.

The Index ranks 121 countries against six indicators: life span, health span, work span, income, environmental performance and happiness.

However, most of those countries ranked at the top of the Index have rapidly ageing populations which the ILC says makes it increasingly important for these governments to act to support healthy ageing.

The Index maps the dependency ratio of each country, which is based on the percentage of people aged 65+ relative to the working adult population (15-64), comparing changes in the ratio over time based on the ILC’s Healthy Ageing and Prevention Index ranking of each country in 2019.

It shows that high-ranked countries are ageing at a very rapid rate compared with lower-ranked countries. It says that in the UK the state pension age would need to be 70 or 71 by 2050 compared with 66 now to maintain the status quo of the constant number of workers per state pensioner. It states that this might need to be brought forward 10 years if factors such as time spent in full-time education is taken into account.

Meanwhile, a survey of 2,000 adults by Canada Life has found that about one in five people over 55 believe they have been discriminated against because of their age, in relation to everything from promotion to stress at work.

Read more here.

Unemployment revised down, but economic inactivity is up

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revised the UK unemployment rate down to 3.9% for the three months to November, lower than the previous estimate of 4.2%.

The ONS also revised the inactivity rate up to 21.9% for the same period, from 20.8%. The inactivity rate has been driven higher by long-term sickness and waiting lists for treatment, with 2.8m people now suffering from chronic health conditions compared to a first estimate of 2.6m. The revisions were made due to an overhaul of the ONS labour force survey, which had low responses and therefore unreliable data.

Internship pilot successfully places candidates in charities

Six people, including returners from career breaks, have found paid placements in the charitable sector after taking part in an innovative pilot programme to get people with decades of experience in other fields into the sector.

Charity Interns, a non-profit start-up project incubated by NCVO, launched the six-month pilot programme in late 2023. The project aims to highlight the positive impact of transferable skills from the private or public sector to the voluntary sector, and that there is no sell by date on experience at any point in someone’s career – particularly those aged over 50.

In collaboration with leading organisations, including Age UK, Age International, Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation, and Disability Equality Scotland, Charity Interns has successfully placed six people in paid placements with these organisations. Recruitment specialists Charity People also backed the project and helped to recruit the first interns.

The six had previously been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure charity jobs due to their lack of previous charity sector experience.  They come from a wide variety of industries including advertising, creative industries, financial services, banking and technology. They include people who are looking to switch from roles in another sector and people returning to work after career breaks or time away due to care responsibilities.

Read more here.

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises