XpertHR data round-up, June 2011: Company cars, commuting, benchmarking & labour disputes

CompanyCarsManagers2011XpertHRBenchmarking.JPGWelcome to XpertHR’s data round-up for June 2011. As well as highlighting this month’s big HR benchmarking questions (focusing on company cars, benefits and allowances and retirement), we look at the following: data relating to your daily commute; trends in labour disputes; and putting together an HR survey with a difference. We also present links to articles, blog posts and data sets of relevance to HR.

This month’s big HR benchmarking questions

Here’s a selection of key HR benchmarking questions from the latest datasets added to XpertHR Benchmarking (XpertHR Benchmarking subscription required):

Company Cars

Benefits and allowances


Latest XpertHR benchmarking data:

Subscribers to XpertHR Benchmarking can access and drill down into the complete benchmarking data from more than 100 XpertHR benchmarking surveys, and generate their own bespoke benchmarking reports.

Latest additions to XpertHR Benchmarking include the following:

The data behind your daily commute

Just how long is your daily commute? And what else might we learn about you from the length of your commute? These questions are highlighted by a new dataset on Commuting to work from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS finds that 75% of UK workers ‘enjoy’ a commute lasting half an hour or less. However, workers in London display commuting patterns “vastly different” to their cohorts in the rest of the UK, “with more than half [of those working in London], 56%, needing to commute for more than thirty minutes to get to work every day.”

But there are some consolations. The Financial Times reports that longer commutes tend to be associated with higher earnings:

The ONS found that long commutes were largely the preserve of high earners. London workers who commuted for an hour or more had average hourly median earnings of £18.80, compared with £9.60 for those who commuted for 15 minutes or less. Elsewhere, the figures were £14.30 and £8.30, respectively.

Of related interest is an excellent infographic published on FT.com a few months back, charting variations in house prices relative to commuting distances from four major cities around the world.

Staying on the subject of what we might learn from data on commuting, UK HR blogger Rick raises the fascinating question of how commuting times might relate to and indeed contribute to the gender pay gap.

[T]he story that is dying to be told here, and I’m sure the data must be there but the ONS hasn’t published it yet, is how far men and women commute and how this changes with age. We know that the gender pay gap increases with age and with the number of children people have. A reasonable hypothesis might therefore be that older women and women with more children commute shorter distances.

I’d be very interested to get XpertHR readers’ views on Rick’s theory. Feel free to have your say via the comments box below.

Labour disputes: The figures behind the rhetoric

Strike action is hitting the headlines, with 24-hours of coordinated strike action by public sector workers (in protest at planned changes to pensions) set to go ahead later this week (on Thursday 30 June 2011). The rhetoric from the trade unions suggests that as many as three-quarters of a million public sector workers could participate in the planned strike action.

However, it is interesting to note the following from the PCS website. The PCS union has 290,000 members. The union’s press release on the results of its strike ballot provides a breakdown on how members voted:

61.1% of members voted in favour of strike action and 83.6% in favour of action short of strike, on a turnout of 32.4%.

Indeed, UK industrial relations are if anything remarkably placid at pleasant, at least in terms of the actual levels of strike action taking place.

Latest official data on levels of labour disputes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that there is a long way to go before strike action reaches a level might be seen as disruptive. According to ONS:

In April 2011, there were 13,000 working days lost from 14 stoppages. In the twelve months to April 2011, there were 154,000 working days lost from 102 stoppages.

Just one month previously, the May 2011 ONS release noted that working days lost to labour disputes were at a record low:

In the twelve months to March 2011 there were 145,000 working days lost from labour disputes, the joint lowest cumulative twelve month total since comparable records began in the twelve months to December 1931.

So is this the calm before the storm, or could the prospect of strike action in protest at economic austerity measures prove to be a damp squib? The data will have the answer, in time.

Putting together an ‘HR survey with a difference’

What have you always wanted to know about HR (but were afraid to ask)?  Charlie Judy, author of the HR Fishbowl blog, is looking for suggestions, to be incorporated into a forthcoming HR survey with a difference. Charlie is currently compiling a survey of HR professionals to be run via Focus.com.

So, if there’s a burning question you’ve always wanted to ask about HR, or a particular HR metric that you’ve always wanted to see captured, now’s your chance to have your say!

Help compile the next XpertHR data round-up!

And on a similar note, please do get in touch with me if there are any HR-related data measures or topics you would like to see covered in future XpertHR data round-ups. You can submit suggestions via the box below, or contact me directly via Twitter or LinkedIn.

HR data: Latest blog posts, articles and datasets

  • Using internet search data as economic indicators Very interesting piece from the Bank of England, looking at how “data on the volume of online searches can be used as indicators of economic activity,” with a focus on “the use of these data for labour and housing markets in the United Kingdom.” Could Google search patterns provide a rich source of HR data in years to come?
  • Benchmarking informal approaches to managing workplace conflict Line managers are failing to handle workplace conflict effectively and frequently cause conflict to occur, the latest XpertHR Benchmarking research suggests.
  • IMF data mapper An outstanding interactive tool from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), enabling you to drill down into a wealth of data on global economic trends.
  • LinkedIn and HR Data. A short thought A brief but very interesting post from Thomas Otter.

XpertHR data round-up archive

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