Making employment work for everyone
by Ian McArthur, Business Growth Hub
For many people, modern work isn’t working. Record high employment figures conceal major deficiencies in the quality of work people are doing.
In an increasingly insecure UK labour market, poverty rates have risen for every type of working family and one in eight workers nationally is now in poverty.
The Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review, launched earlier this year, found that wages have fallen by 6.6% in real terms between 2006 and 2016 for the average worker in the city-region, in a labour market which has seen a rise in unstable and low paid work.
This can’t be right. We need to be offering employees secure, fulfilling and well-paid work that prevents them from falling into poverty in the first place, and that means that our businesses and third sector organisations can grow and succeed based on the skills and engagement of their staff.
That’s why in Greater Manchester we’re doing things differently, working with employers and employees in all sectors, trade unions, representative organisations and other key stakeholders to develop a Good Employment Charter.
Through two consultations and a broader co-design process involving GMCVO and others, including GMPA, we’ve developed a list of seven employment characteristics which define good employment:
Security of work
Payment of a real living wage
A productive and healthy workplace
Excellent people management
Excellent recruitment practices and progression
Workplace engagement and voice
Taking the Charter forward into implementation we want to support employers on a journey towards best practice in each of these fields, demonstrating the positive impact that better employment standards can have on employee welfare and organisational performance alike. The Charter has been developed with a tiered approach to help support and encourage employers to share excellent practice, access support to progress to higher standards, and help them become more successful as a result.
The Charter model has now been agreed by the Combined Authority and, working with partners, we are beginning the process of putting the Charter into action. Already, it has been highlighted by the recent Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review as an important element in increasing economic growth and pay in the city-region.
The Charter Supporters’ Network will be launched in July and employers from across the private, public and community and voluntary sectors will be able to sign up then and access a number of resources and networks to help drive up employment standards. Also in July, a representative pilot group of employers from across Greater Manchester will work with the Charter Implementation Unit (hosted by the Growth Company), on developing membership standards appropriate for employers of various sizes across all sectors. Third sector employers who would like more information on the Charter or would like to take part in the pilot process should contact Ian MacArthur