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CIPD Report: Employee attitudes to pay, pensions (and performance management)

by on March 4, 2015

The CIPD has just published a report entitled ‘Employee Outlook: Focus on employee attitudes to pay and pensions: Winter 2014-15’ (and available to download from this link on their website). It explores a number of very interesting topics and is certainly worth a careful read.

One of the key areas covered is that of changing work and retirement patterns. The Report finds that ‘respondents expect that they will retire from paid employment when they are 66 years old. Those aged between 18 and 34 think they’ll carry on until age 67, while those aged between 45 and 54 predict that they’ll retire at 65. Among those aged 55 or over, the forecast retirement age is 66, suggesting that those nearing retirement are more likely to estimate a higher age.’ It goes on to examine the impact of gender, pay levels and sector on retirement age expectations, suggesting this remains a complex area.

Amongst the other interesting findings reported, a couple stood out, particularly given the debate at the recent OU Business Perspectives event.

For example, a recurring theme in the talks, for example, by Paul Deemer and Robyn Palmer (NHS Working Longer) and Martin Hall (BMW) was the challenges of effective performance management by employers and ensuring employee wellbeing across the working life. This was in the context of an ageing working population though I think it’s fair to say the view was that effective management should be in place regardless of employee age rather than something introduced specifically for, say, older workers.

So I was interested to see one of the headlines in the CIPD report relating to employee perceptions of performance management. ‘Employees also doubt whether their employer is good at assessing their performance (–14), their team’s performance (–15) or the performance of senior managers (–23), suggesting an explanation for the UK’s recent poor productivity record.’ This suggests there is work to be done improving performance management within organizations (as well as examining the relationship between employee perceptions and being ‘performance managed’).

The second area of note relates to reported differences in how employees over 45 say they are preparing for extended working lives. These preparations relate to ‘mind’ (courses, training etc) and ‘body’ (regular exercise, healthy diet). An interesting difference is reported: ‘as salaries increase, workers are more likely to focus on keeping their skills and knowledge up to date and less likely to focus on their exercise and diet. This may indicate lower-paid employees are more likely to be in jobs that require a reasonable level of health and fitness while higher-paid employees are in occupations that require levels of skills and knowledge. It may also reflect the limited opportunities that lower-salaried workers have to refresh or learn new skills and knowledge not associated with their current job.’ The report predicts that workers may in future be the focus of a collaborative approach between employers, employees and government to look after both their minds and bodies. This is likely to be a controversial issue which no doubt we will see debated in future.

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