Yesterday the UK’s revised economic growth figures were revealed to be just 0.6%. Better than previously announced, but a long way from where we should be.
But running alongside that is the issue that UK employees have had below-inflation-rate pay increases for years. So effectively a pay cut.
With employees having less to spend each month, we, as a nation, are losing consumer spend. I am no advocate of returning to the rabid consumerism of the mid 2000s – it did far too much harm to both people and country.
But there is a strong argument that people need to be able to earn more.
I am aware that the counter argument to this is that UK productivity per head is dropping, so UK plc cannot pay more.
My repost would be is that UK plc should develop people to perform better (be it more effectively or at a higher level), which will increase ultimate revenues; some of which can go towards pay (and training bills).
It is a tough road to travel, but to simply keep employing cheaper and cheaper staff on lower and lower wages can only lead to a further deterioration in productivity.
UK human resources professionals have the skills to change this cost-cutting, low-growth mindset.
HR has so much to offer to get the UK out of low growth – let us support each other to give UK plc a push in the right direction.
To that end, I am getting together a range of reward, HR and pay experts at a Pay Debate to be held at Employee Benefits Live 2013 in September. It will be a chance for us as a profession to exchange frank views on how we feel about the minimum wage, the living wage, low pay increases, high pay and executive reward. These are all the issues that regularly hit the headlines that we can influence for the better if we work together.
Speaking to reward directors at the Employee Benefits Summit last month, it is evident that many of you face similar challenges around pay – so maybe it is time for a forum in which to discuss this. Drop me a line if you want to get involved in the Pay Debate, or simply come along on the day (details will be advertised in all our Employee Benefits Live marketing – of which there is always loads!).