UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Getting women on board


The previous UK government loved reviews and inquiries – and the new one is little different. From corporate governance, to pensions, to the structure of banks, those in Westminster relish a report, preferably one packed full of important-sounding recommendations but which compel no one to do anything. That’s because, very often, the problem being tackled is not one that can be easily or neatly solved with legislation or a slap on the wrist.

The government’s review into female representation on the boards of big business is a case in point. The panel, led by former trade minister Mervyn Davies, met on Monday to discuss final recommendations for increasing the number of female board directors, with quotas mooted as one option. Its report is due out soon. But quotas are highly unlikely – for the simple reason that business does not like them.

“…boards and shareholders should be able to form a board based on the merits of an individual and the requirements of the company,” the Institute of Directors said in its submission to the Davies review. “Far from increasing the legitimacy of boards, gender quotas would undermine the credibility of female board members. Female directors would be tainted with the suspicion that they had been appointed in order to fulfil regulatory requirements, not on the basis of merit.”

Of course, no company or organisation should employ an individual who is patently less qualified or able than another simply because of their gender, or the colour of their skin. But clearly much more does need to be done to address homogenity at the top of British business (and countless other fields, not least politics).

from The Great Debate UK:

Sluggish U.S. economy may threaten UK business development

- Paddy Earnshaw is the Director of Customer Relations at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own.-

British importers and exporters’ confidence in the economy leapt in July, as positive economic data fuelled hopes for a return to strong economic growth. According to the Travelex Confidence Index (TCI), which jumped 12 points in July to 116, from 104 in June, strong gains were driven by quarter 2's GDP figure, as it showed the UK grew at its fastest pace in four years.

from MacroScope:

Health and the older worker

An interesting post on ING's new eZonomics blog points the reader to a new study on older workers and health.  The findings -- as reported in The Lancet -- don't at first glance look terribly surprising:

A poor work environment and health complaints before retirement were associated with a steeper yearly increase in the prevalence of suboptimum health while still in work, and a greater retirement-related improvement; however, people with a combination of high occupational grade, low demands, and high satisfaction at work showed no such retirement-related improvement.

Do you think tipping improves service?


restaurantTipping just got more complicated — or did it?

Under new legislation, employers will no longer be able to use tips and service charges to make up the minimum wage salaries of its workers.

However, employers are not obligated to share the money they earn on service charges added to bills with their employees.

Would you take a pay cut?


A small but growing number of companies are considering asking their workers to take a pay cut as a means of cutting costs without having to fire anyone.

In the latest example, three unions representing steelworkers at Corus have offered to take a 10 percent cut across the company’s entire UK workforce of 25,000 for six months in an attempt to save one of the last remaining steel factories in Britain — the plant at Llanwern in Newport, South Wales.