Advertisement
Employment

UK workers in ‘routine’ jobs denied same access to training as ‘higher’ roles

New research has found job quality has been “surprisingly unaffected” by the pandemic but inequalities persist

Inequality in workplaces is limiting access to skills development and leaving lower-level employees with less support than management throughout the pandemic, a human resources body has warned.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Good Work Index found job quality had been “surprisingly unaffected” by the Covid-19 pandemic though existing inequalities still remain across the UK.

CIPD’s survey of 6,527 workers found marked differences in job quality between occupations. Only 27 per cent of workers in “routine” occupations – including bar staff, labourers and bus drivers – reported being given access to skills development, compared to 67 per cent in “higher” managerial and professional occupations. A third of routine workers said managers were good at seeking views of employees, compared to 55 per cent in higher positions.

It may well be that we are still in the calm before the storm Mel Green, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

<span style="font-weight: 400;">Mel Green, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development</span>

But the findings could be “the calm before the storm”, according to Mel Green, research adviser at the CIPD, as reduced access to skills development could hurt job security in the long-term.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Green said: “While the pandemic has had a huge impact on people and business, our data shows that there hasn’t been a dramatic shift in job quality. There are a number of possible reasons for this and it may well be that we are still in the calm before the storm. 

“Employers should not, though, see this as an opportunity to take their foot off the pedal. In fact, our report highlights that there is much work to do to close existing gaps and improve job quality across the board.”  

Get free training, careers advice and access to hundreds of thousands of jobs with The Big Issue’s RORA Jobs & Training

Despite a large shift to home working for many and key workers carrying out their roles on the frontline during the pandemic, there was a small decline in the proportion of workers who said work is bad for their physical or mental wellbeing.

There was also a marginal increase in the percentage of workers who said work offers good opportunities for development – up to 52 per cent from 48 per cent in 2020.

Meanwhile 30 per cent of workers reported unmanageable workloads in 2021, down two percentage points on 2020, and one in four workers continued to report a poor work-life balance – the same as before the pandemic.

Furloughed workers surveyed also reported less opportunity to develop skills which CIPD called an area of “particular concern”, warning workers need to boost skills to improve longer-term job security. 

The pandemic also uncovered trade-offs in job quality with home workers enjoying more autonomy than those going into work but reporting higher workloads.

CIPD urged employers to “keep workers’ wellbeing high on the agenda” after the pandemic as well as improving skills development, reviewing flexible working options to tackle work-life balance challenges and monitoring workloads for remote workers and key workers.

Green added: “A strong economic recovery post-pandemic is not just about more jobs, but better jobs too. It may not be realistic to make all jobs great in all ways, but there are several dimensions to job quality and by being more creative with job design and HR practices, employers can and should make work better for everyone.” 

Get more career tips and advice from our Jobs and Training series:

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
The national living wage, real living wage and minimum wage explained
Employment

The national living wage, real living wage and minimum wage explained

Considering a new job? Here's how to retrain in 10 crucial areas desperate to hire
Retrain

Considering a new job? Here's how to retrain in 10 crucial areas desperate to hire

‘An ambitious, bold, moonshot mission’: Can Labour’s green jobs strategy fix all of Britain’s problems?
Labour Party Conference

‘An ambitious, bold, moonshot mission’: Can Labour’s green jobs strategy fix all of Britain’s problems?

What's behind Britain's recruitment crisis?
Big Issue Recruit

What's behind Britain's recruitment crisis?

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.