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In what ways have the nature and patterns of employment changed in the last forty years?

Discussion

Rogers (2016) stated that employment is important for a nation in order to bring stability in the economy. Thus, it is crucial to maintain high employment rate and also make the workplace suitable, safe and secure to retain the employees (Trading Economics 2018). Thus, it can be said that the economic growth is directly proportional to the employment rate of a nation. Rhodes (2015) descried this process by stating that when employee of a nation works for an organization and earn wages, they spend the money for buying goods that are produced which on the other hand enhances the economy growth and financial profitability. van Dam, van Vuuren and Kemps (2017) also portrays that the greater is the number of employment in a nation, the greater is the production of the nation.

The nation that is considered in this assessment is United Kingdom and the essay focuses on the discussion on the ways through which the nature and patterns of the employment in UK have been changed in the last forty years. In United Kingdom, the employment rate from the year 1978 has declined till 1985 and the rate of employment had increased till 1889 (Trading Economics 2018). The employment rate had diminished from the year 1993 until 2012 and then rose till the present times (Trading Economics 2018).

Image 1: Employment rate in UK 1978- 2017

(Source: Trading Economics 2018)

Moreover, the changes that has been witnessed in the employment trends in the UK is that more people have opted for service industry from the manufacturing base as manual work declines and management focuses on professional works. It has been also found that during the year 1992, there are 68% people working in the service industry which has increased to 80% by the year 2011 (Office for National Statistics 2011).

Image 2: Percentage share of workforce by sector

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2011)

Considering the history of the employment in the United Kingdom, during the industrial revolution, more people are hired in order to build ships, steel manufacturing companies and textile industries (Bbc.co.uk 2018). However, these sectors are considered as secondary sector. It is also found that by 1990s, half of the UK’s populations were employed in the secondary sector (Bbc.co.uk 2018). de Sivatte et al. (2015) on the other hand argued that in order to enhance the productivity of the company, organizations focused more on the machines. Appelbaum et al. (2016) also stated that the incorporation of the machines not reduces the number of employment and this duration is known as mechanization period. Thus, in order to retain the profitability, UK businesspeople emphasized more on export their products. During that time coal was a source of business to make profit but due to declination of the availability of coal and the expensive process to extract the coal, UK imported more coal. This results in reduction of employment in the primary sector, which was the energy industry (Bbc.co.uk 2018). The rise in employment is witnessed in the tertiary sector that is schools, hospital and retail sectors and by the year 2000 more than half of the UK’s population has been employed in this sector (Bbc.co.uk 2018). In addition to that, the research and development sector is considered as quaternary sector and is a contemporary concept and in recent times becomes an important and growing sector in the UK market.

Primary and Tertiary Sectors

Image 3: UK structure of employment from 1800 – 2000

(Source: Bbc.co.uk 2018)

The current population of the UK in the year 2017 was 65.81 million people  which is 0.7% higher compared to the UK’s population in the year 2016 which was 65.38 million (Trading Economics 2018).

Image 4: UK Population from 1960- 2016

(Source: Trading Economics 2018)

Thus, it can be said that if not all the person, who qualified and educated get job, the rate of unemployment will be increased. However, in the last couple of decades the people employed in different sector has been increased. The different sector, where UK people are employed are wholesale & retail, health care sectors, professional scientific & technical activities, administrative support services activities, education, manufacturing, food services activities, constructions, transport & storage, public & defense, information & communication, financial & insurance services, entertainment & recreation, real estate, agriculture, water supply and power supply (Statista 2018). Thus, it can be clearly identified that there is an increase in the employment of the service industry from the manufacturing base. He manufacturing industry comprised of automotive industry, nuclear, pharmaceutical industry, constructions and textile; on the other hand service sector comprised of banking industry, hospitality sector, telecommunication and retail (Economic and Social Research Council 2002). The major reason for this transformation is flexibility of the time. Atkinson and Gregory (1986) mentioned that due to increase in the ability to adjust quickly and cheaply marketers implemented flexible working time for continuing the rate of productivity and growth. Marketers in order to make more profit also opted for part-time employee concept and recruit only those people, who can adopt the changed policy and business transformations. According to Atkinson and Gregory (1986) this results in reduced employment cost for the organization.

Image 5 workforce jobs in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2016- 2018

(Source: Statista 2018)

Thus, the development of different sector has been increasing raised the number of new job opportunities and sectors which increases the employment rate in the UK. However, there are differences on pattern in the job in the UK markets. Some of these changes are increased number of women at work, rise in the number of part-time employees, flexible working practices and development of service and public sector jobs.  

Women are being more encouraged to work in the organization in recent times but the same is not happened two decades ago. However, the rate of Women’s participation in the labor market has been increased from 57% in 1971 to 76% in 2001 (Striking-women 2018). There were trends of the part-time and women were highly employed during the time and 90% of the women’s employment as a part time worker has been increased in the 1970s and 80s (The Guardian 2018).  The report published in the ‘The Telegraph’ also depicts that Women have made great strides in the workforce of Britain in the last 40 years. It is also published that as per as the report of Office for National Statistics, women are still remained lower-paid compared to male counterparts. The number of women participation has been increased and this can be illustrated by the data that shows 53% of the employee were Women in 1971 which has become 67% in recent times (The Guardian 2018). There is always a difference of women employee with that of the male employees. The below charts represents tends in total number of employee from 1975- 2005 and 2007- 2016 respectively.

Changes in Gender-Based Employment Patterns

Image 6 Employment rate of male and female employees from 1975- 2005

(Source: Rhodes 2015)

Image 7: Employment rate of male and female employees from 2017-2016

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2018)

This change in the UK workplaces has become popular after incorporation of the rules like anti-discrimination legislations and regulations. The business experts also highlighted this problem that even though the participation of the women has increased, there is a difference in pay gap in men and women employees. The government data also shows that median gross hourly earnings of women and men full time employees have grown by 10.4% (Office for National Statistics 2018). This growth has been from £13.12 to £14.48 every hour in case of men and when considered the women’s case, the growth is of 12% from £11.75 to £13.16 per hour (Office for National Statistics 2018). The pay gap has been reduced as per as the report of ‘The Telegraph’ and shown by the statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (Office for National Statistics 2018).

Image 8: Median gross hourly earnings of men and women for full-time from 2011- 2017

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2018)

In addition to that, it is also found that the pay gap is also dependent on the type of the job a person is doing. Taken for instance, the median hourly pay was equally high for both the men and women if they are working as a full-time employee. However, considering the part time employees, in case of men, the wage are 65.4% higher compared to the men, who are employed as a part timer and in case of women, the percentage was 42.8% higher for part-time work (Office for National Statistics 2018).  

Image 9: Proportion of full-time men’s and women’s jobs in the year 2017

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2018)

Image 10:  Gender pay gap by age group and working pattern for median gross hourly earnings 2017

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2018)

The UK government also pays attention to the betterment of the part-time employees and imposed rules for them. On such rule is Part-time Workers Regulations 2000 was come into force from 1 July 2000 (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service 2018). This regulation also includes the right of pay, training, pensions and holidays. According to these rules, the part-time employees also receive same hourly rate of normal work and overtime work as that of the full-time workers (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service 2018). Flexible working pattern has also introduced in recent times in order to reduce to reduce the work pressure. The positive outcomes of the flexible working hours are maximizing the available workers, improved customer services, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, attracting diverse candidates, retention of the valuable employees, enhanced employee commitment, increased organization’s ability (Cloonan 2016).

Flexible Working Practices

It is also found that before 2000, in UK, the largest national gender gaps is present in the working hours is due to presence of long full time employee than part-time employees. It is also found that from the mid 1970s onward, working time reorganization in the UK has been occurred. The concept of the part-time employment comes into consideration especially after the participation of women during the childbearing years. The trends of dual earner from the single earner family concept are also a main reason for the increase in the women’s participation (Liu et al. 2016). In such cases, many mothers prefer to diminish their paid working as their children are young and associated with the cultural norms that think that women are considered as good of they are good mothers and this is the reason that they have to withdraw from the full time employment (Dauer et al. 2015). There are also many regulations due to which the harassment faced by the women is reduced. These laws are Protection of Pregnant Women (1992) which is an EU Directive (Dauer et al. 2015). The Employment Act (2003) the introduced for the protection of the right for the parents with the children below 6 years old. Thus, ut can be seen that the protection of the women after the year 2003 has been increased which is not present before 2000. This is the main reason that there are lesser female employee in the workplace especially women with children. This safety provision has been increased after the year 2007 when the regulation The Work and Family Act (2006) has been introduced.

Image 11: Total number of full-time and part-time employees in the UK from 2000 to 2018

(Source: Office for National Statistics 2018)

There are several statutory regulations on the working time that is Working Time Regulation Act (1998) according to which there is three week of paid leave, daily and weekly rest periods, average of 8 hours working hours and exemption for many workers. Another major change the ethnicity develops in the UK market is that the proportion of UK women staring their business rises from 58,000 from 2006 to 126,000 in 2015 (Independent.co.uk 2018). However, the number has been decreased when compared to the number of business women in 2013 which was 139,000 (Independent.co.uk 2018). In UK, there are also Business grants for women entrepreneurs that promotes some business like dress materials, herb farming, babysitting, voice over, ironing, laundry service, knitting, sewing service, childcare, gardening, flower arranging and decorator. However, men are more focused towards technological works and opt for business like business coach, computer repairing shops, personal trainer, telecommunication service providers, social media consultant and bookkeeper. Thus, the ease in performing the work and cognitive knowledge is the reason for the job segregation.

Another major change in the trend is the rise in e-ecommerce that require employee for assisting the users 24X7 and provide more importance to the flexible timing at the work place. The trends of the e-commerce operation has been seen from 1970s with the inclusion of basic systems of electronic commerce technologies like electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic funds transfer (EFT) (Chaffey 2015). During this time online support chats are included that recruited a number of employee for the support chat system. However, after 2000, the rise in online shopping and other e-c0mmerce services results in more recruitment in the back-offices in the industry of online food ordering organizations, online market place and online store front. The development in the retail industry has increased from 2006 and is still growing.

Image 12: Development UK's retail sector from 2006 to 2017

(Source: Rhodes 2015)

Conclusion

Thus, it can be said that the nature and patterns of employment in the United Kingdom has been changed in the last 40 years. The finding of the essay shows that the employment rate from the year 1978 has declined till 1985 and again started diminished from the year 1993 until 2012. In 1990s, half of the UK’s populations were employed in the secondary sector and due to the fact that UK businesspeople emphasized more on export but the coal was a main source of business to make profit at that time. However, the expensive way to extract the coal results in declination of the availability of coal and the expensive process to extract the coal and this result in reduction of employment in the primary sector. Moreover, development of different sector has been increasing which raised the number of new job opportunities. Another trend in witnessed that is inclusion of women are being more encouraged to work in the organization. There is an increase from 57% in 1971 to 76% women participation by 2001. Laws like Protection of Pregnant Women (1992), The Employment Act (2003), The Work and Family Act (2006) and Working Time Regulation Act (1998) also developed the trend in flexible working time and safety of women employee even in the part time working procedure. One of the important reasons in the rise of flexible timing is found by the rise in e-ecommerce that require employee for assisting the users 24X7.

References

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service., 2018. Changing patterns of work. [online] Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/5/b/B09_1.pdf [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Appelbaum, S.H., Wenger, R., Buitrago, C.P. and Kaur, R., 2016. The effects of old-age stereotypes on organizational productivity (part two). Industrial and Commercial Training, 48(5), pp.241-248.

Atkinson & Gregory., April 1986 ‘A Flexible Future’ Marxism Today. WebLearn.

Bbc.co.uk., 2018. Changing employment structures over time [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/economic_change/characteristics_industry_rev3.shtml [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Chaffey, D., 2015. Digital business and E-commerce management. Pearson Education Limited.

Cloonan, M., 2016. Popular music and the state in the UK: culture, trade or industry?. Routledge.

Dauer, L.T., Miller, D.L., Schueler, B., Silberzweig, J., Balter, S., Bartal, G., Chambers, C., Collins, J.D., Damilakis, J., Dixon, R.G. and Marx, M.V., 2015. Occupational radiation protection of pregnant or potentially pregnant workers in IR: a joint guideline of the Society of Interventional Radiology and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 26(2), pp.171-181.

de Sivatte, I., Gordon, J.R., Rojo, P. and Olmos, R., 2015. The impact of work-life culture on organizational productivity. Personnel Review, 44(6), pp.883-905.

Economic and Social Research Council., 2002. Britain’s World of Work Myths and Realities WebLearn.

Independent.co.uk., 2018. Proportion of UK women starting their own business falls sharply. [online] Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/Business/indyventure/uk-women-start-own-business-female-entrepreneur-number-proportion-drop-international-figures-a7603246.html [Accessed 03 Jul 2018].

Liu, B., Floud, S., Pirie, K., Green, J., Peto, R., Beral, V. and Million Women Study Collaborators, 2016. Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study. The Lancet, 387(10021), pp.874-881.

Office for National Statistics., 2018. Full-time, part-time and temporary workers (seasonally adjusted). [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/fulltimeparttimeandtemporaryworkersseasonallyadjustedemp01sa [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Office for National Statistics., 2018. Understanding the gender pay gap in the UK. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/understandingthegenderpaygapintheuk/2018-01-17 [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Rhodes, C., 2015. The retail industry: statistics and policy. House of Commons Library Briefing Paper.

Rogers, B., 2016. Employment rights in the platform economy: Getting back to basics. Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev., 10, p.479.

Statista., 2018. Number of workforce jobs in the United Kingdom (UK) from March 2016 to March 2018, by industry (in 1,000s). [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/284123/workforce-jobs-in-the-united-kingdom-uk-by-industry/ [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Striking-women., 2018. From the 1970s to the present- Addressing inequalities. [online] Available at: https://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/1970s-present [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

The Guardian., 2018. UK women remain concentrated in lower-paid work, figures show. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/sep/25/uk-women-lower-paid-work-figures [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Trading Economics., 2018. United Kingdom Employment Rate. [online] Available at: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/employment-rate [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

Trading Economics., 2018. United Kingdom Population. [online] Available at: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/population [Accessed 26 Jun 2018].

van Dam, K., van Vuuren, T. and Kemps, S., 2017. Sustainable employment: the importance of intrinsically valuable work and an age-supportive climate. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(17), pp.2449-2472.

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