Navigation Links
Workplace opportunities and stresses are both increasing
Date:12/13/2007

Teamworking and other modern employment practices can put as much strain on a womans family relationships as working an extra 120 hours a year, an extensive study of the British workforce funded by the Economic and Social Research Council suggests.

The research finds that while British employers have maintained long-term career relationships with employees in spite of competitive market pressures, they have devised ways of extracting more effort and higher performance. These practices include team-based forms of work organization, individual performance-related pay, and policies that emphasize the development of individual potential.

Such human resource management practices are thought to be good for staff morale as well as an essential ingredient of successful modern business performance. Yet, finds the research, the pressure to perform which they generate has a knock-on effect on employees families.

Womens family relationships are more adversely affected by such employment practices than mens. In addition, both women and men are more likely to become anxious about childcare arrangements when placed under pressure by workplace practices. Women are also less likely to get help at home from male partners if the men have jobs in which they face the pressures of modern human resource management.

A significant new source of stress in the modern workplace is ICT surveillance. The research shows that more than half 52 per cent of all British employees report that a computerised system keeps a log or record of their work. This picture is confirmed by employers, with managements of one in five workplaces reporting that all employees are now covered by computer-based monitoring systems.

The spread of ICT surveillance has led to a sharp increase in work strain, reflected by feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and work-related worry. There is an overall 7.5 per cent rise in strain among employees whose work is checked by ICT systems compared with those in similar jobs which are controlled by more traditional methods. Evidence of work strain is particularly strong among administrative and white-collar staff in places such as call centres, where it rises by 10 per cent among employees whose work is continually checked by ICT systems.

Computers and IT systems are bringing surveillance to most workplaces, comments Michael White, who co-directed the research study. Now for the first time we can see how this development is damaging employees well-being.

The research, funded as part of the ESRCs Future of Work research programme, covers the period 1984-2004 and shows significant changes in the prospects and job conditions of British employees: the results are published this week in a book Market, Class, and Employment co-authored by Patrick McGovern, Stephen Hill, Colin Mills and Michael White.

On the basis of US experience, it had been widely supposed that the highly competitive market environment in which most businesses and much of the public sector now operate would lead to moves towards hire and fire practices, temporary jobs and a decline in training and the concept of careers. But the research finds that, although British employers use redundancy as a normal way of adjusting staff numbers, in general they have not abandoned the retention and long-term development of employees.

The proportion of employees in permanent employment remains above 90 per cent and rose during the 1990s. Fixed-term or casual employment grew in the 1980s but declined during the 1990s. Increased use by employers of communication techniques, employee participation, team organization, training and development, and rewards for performance all point to efforts to maintain a long-term workforce.

A decline in trade union recognition and membership, say the researchers, could expose employees to unfair treatment. But this has in part been balanced by a growth in alternative forms of employee engagement such as meetings with management and consultation with individuals over work changes.

By 2000, about one in three employees was taking part in individual bargaining over pay. This is more likely to occur in workplaces where there are no unions and, note the researchers, it is leading to increasing inequality. Managers and professionals are more likely than other employees to strike personal pay bargains. Women are less likely than men to bargain over pay when they are recruited. They are also less likely to be represented by a union, so the ability of women to challenge the gender gap in pay is limited on both sides.

The research concludes that class differences in job rewards have increased since the early 1990s. Earnings inequality, for instance, increased during the 1992-2000 period. This reflected large real increases in the average earnings of higher managers and lower but still substantial gains for other managers, while the earnings of those in semi-routine and routine occupations remained static or declined.

The research examined a wide range of fringe benefits including occupational pensions, sickness pay and paid holidays. There was a marked class gradient in favour of higher managerial and professional groups across all these. Moreover, the gap was tending to increase rather than decrease over time. Job desirability reflecting not only pay but also non-financial factors that are valued by employees, such as flexible hours and autonomy in planning tasks also differed greatly by class.

It is likely, conclude the researchers, that inequality in pay and benefits will continue to grow because of other developments identified by the research. Managerial and professional staff are more able to benefit from the expanding opportunities for personal bargaining over pay increases. They are also the group most involved in pay-for-performance deals which bring opportunities for substantial bonuses or salary increases.

Summing up the research lead author Patrick McGovern says: The major story about work in Britain is not that it has become more precarious or fragmented, rather it has become more demanding while the returns have become more unequal. The major winners in the so-called new economy are professional and managerial employees who have actually moved further ahead of the rest of the labour force.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alexandra Saxon
alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-032
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Nationally Recognized by BusinessWeek and AARP for Creating a Unique Workplace Environment for New and Mature Employees
2. SAE International Recognized for Workplace Wellness
3. New Website Contributes to Healthy Workplace Culture
4. Steelcase Unveils the Walkstation to Bring Healthy Habits to The Workplace
5. Arthritis Takes Major Toll on Workplace
6. Employees with workplace flexibility have healthier lifestyle habits
7. Pregnancy-Friendly Workplace Is Key to Retaining Skilled Workers
8. In Celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Susan G. Komen for the Cure San Diego Announces Opportunities for San Diegans to Get Involved in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
9. Alcohol and cancer -- recent research and prevention opportunities
10. Biotech Company Builder Papadopoulos Says Investment in Innovation Needed to Advance Drug Pipeline at Massachusetts Biotechnology Councils Ninth Annual MASS Opportunities Investment Conference
11. Holidays Can Present Drinking Opportunities for Teens
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 07, 2016 , ... They are musicians and librarians, fashion designers and fitness ... from New England and around the nation. What do they have in common? All ... a beautiful and compelling new photographic exhibit debuting Friday, December 9 at Logan International ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... and financial consultation services to residents in the Sacramento/Folsom region, is initiating a ... treatment facility. , The Another Choice Another Chance treatment center in Sacramento works ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... ... A. Kevin Spann Insurance, a New York-based firm offering insurance and financial consultation ... drive to raise funds that will benefit the Marine Corps League. , The Marine ... Corpsmen. Working closely with the MCL, the A. Kevin Spann team plans to generate ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Facial plastic surgeon, Dr. John D. Rachel ... a portion of proceeds to two local organizations: North Chicago Animal Control and Friends ... is a team of authorized and trained volunteers who support rescued animals held ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The medical profession is well aware that heart attacks do ... analyzing heart attacks among 138,602 people recorded a 35% higher number of heart attacks ... agree of course–no time of year is a good time for a heart attack! ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016 Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma - ... Markets Direct,s latest Pharmaceutical and Healthcare disease pipeline ... provides an overview of the Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma (Oncology) ... tumor that forms when two types of cells ... increase in number to form a mass. These ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016  Nearly 30 million people in ... of diabetes. 1 However, nearly 40% of diabetes ... (hyperglycemia) and significant glucose variability. 2 These patients are ... events. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to cardiovascular ... blindness. 3 As part of Diabetes ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016  Arcturus Therapeutics, Inc. ("Arcturus" or the ... that it entered into collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical ... treatment of NASH and other gastrointestinal (GI) related ... and UNA Oligomer chemistry. The financial terms were ... to and expertise in GI disorders, we are ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: