Employer practice in progressing low-paid staff
Employment in the UK has been, up until the recession, relatively high; but there have always been problems with the low-pay no-pay cycle.
Employer practice in progressing low-paid staff (PDF, 606 Kb) - Full report
Employer practice in progressing low-paid staff (PDF, 497 Kb) - Case studies
Published August 2012
This research shows that when employers progress their staff, they reap a number of organisational benefits, including: improved retention of staff and the subsequent reduction of recruitment costs; a general improvement in employee satisfaction; greater organisational flexibility; improved productivity; and a positive impact on organisational reputation.
So not only does progression represent good business practice, it also makes good business sense. With the myriad ways there are to progress employees – horizontally, vertically and via a range of training and development opportunities – and different time and resource commitments associated with each one, there is a strong case for employers to help people progress out of the low-pay no-pay cycle and get into and on in work.
There is a strong link between unemployment and lack of progression opportunities. Around half of all new claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance are from people who had made another claim less than six months previously .This suggests there is a degree of ‘churn’ in the labour market. If employees are not able to progress with their current employer or another employer, they are at risk of becoming trapped in a low-pay no-pay cycle. Those already out of work are disadvantaged as progression up the job ladder is necessary to free up lower and entry level jobs for people looking to get into the labour market.
To tackle issues around progression it is necessary to understand employer practice in this area. The low-pay no-pay cycle is problematic and there are many trapped in it – but some employers do break the cycle by progressing employees from low-skill and/or low pay jobs. This, however, is a neglected topic; so the aim of this research is to develop an understanding of how the progression of low-skill and low pay employees works.
Employers likely to progress their low-skill and/or low pay employees were identified using the 2011 Employer Skills Survey. Around 30 of these employers were then asked to participate in qualitative interviews about their organisations and their progression practices. This report looks at how and why these employers progress their low-skilled staff and what the outcomes and benefits are. The accompanying series of employer case studies lays out each organisation’s progression strategies and experiences in more detail.