Taylor urges employers to think about job security and quality of work

Bad jobs are detrimental to UK productivity and worker wellbeing, according to the head of a government review into the gig economy.

Matthew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), who has been leading the review since last year, has released a blog in which he said the UK needed to talk about the quality of work and not just the quantity. Taylor will report his findings back to government following this summer’s general election.

Taylor said all workers should be able to aspire to what the RSA defines as ‘fair and decent’ work ‘with scope for fulfilment and development’.

He calls for workers to be offered a “viable” route to better pay and status in their workplaces, while employers should consider the development and progression of those that work for them as an “essential” part of their responsibility as employers.

Taylor adds a lack of surety over when workers will receive their next pay check causes stress, producing a range of negative effects from unhealthy lifestyle choices in the short run and conditions such as higher blood pressure longer term, while workers who feel unjustly treated at work are also at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack or angina.

In contrast, greater autonomy, security and fair financial rewards at work, Taylor says, are associated with better health and wellbeing. 

Consequently, Taylor calls on employers to place a greater emphasis on training and career development as high levels of job insecurity and fear at work of losing their jobs or a reduction of status have been shown to be drivers of poor productivity.

On the theme of “good work”, the HR trade and membership body the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development launched their ‘Manifesto for Work’, urgingt he next government to put ‘good work’ at the heart of its thinking in order to improve the economy, boost individual welfare and prosperity – “creating the conditions for good work in organisations across the country.”

The manifesto makes the following recommendations:

  • A pilot of revised Individual Learning Accounts, designed to encourage people to invest in their own lifelong learning, in collaboration with their employer.
  • A voluntary target for 20% of FTSE 350 board level executive directors to be women by 2020 to set the UK on the road to achieving equal gender representation on boards by 2030.
  • New rules enabling workers on zero-hours contracts to request a minimum number of hours after 12 months of employment.
  • Voluntary human capital reporting standards to encourage more publicly listed companies to provide better information on how they invest in, lead and manage their workforce for the long term.
  • A ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign, run by government alongside employers, informing people on the different types of employment status and their associated rights, in order to tackle the lack of knowledge about employment rights in an increasingly fragmented world of work.
  • Widening out the Apprenticeship Levy into a broader training levy making it more flexible for employers’ training needs.

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