XpertHR’s HR data round-up for August 2012 looks at new data from both XpertHR and from ONS which suggest that we could be seeing a downward trend in absence rates. We also provide links to all the latest additions to XpertHR Benchmarking and present our regular round-up of the best HR data blog posts.
Are we seeing a downward trend in absence rates?
Absence rates fall as economic uncertainty continues, XpertHR survey finds
We are seeing a “slow but sure” decline in absence rates, XpertHR research finds.
The median absence rate for the 2011 calendar year is down from the rate of 6.4 working days per employee recorded for 2010. This is according to latest XpertHR benchmarking data on absence rates and costs (XpertHR Benchmarking subscription required).
This downward trend in absence rates suggests it is possible that workers could be striving to take less sickness absence amid concerns over job security arising from ongoing economic uncertainty.
Absence rates in public sector outstrip those in private sector
Overall, absence rates in the public sector continue to outstrip those in the private sector, the XpertHR survey shows.
This trend is also reflected in latest official absence data from ONS.
The ONS survey of Sickness Absence in the Labour Market 2012 presents detailed breakdowns of UK absence rates for the 2011 calendar year, alongside analysis of long-term trends in absence rates over the period from 1993 to 2011.
The chart above – compiled by XpertHR from ONS data – shows absence rates by gender and by broad industry sector as. According to ONS, these figures show that “the percentage of hours lost to sickness in the private sector is lower than in the public sector, 1.6% and 2.6% respectively.”
So why are public sector absence rates coming in higher than those in the private sector?
ONS suggests a number of possible reasons for this trend. These include the following:
- the greater likelihood that public sector workers will receive sick pay than those in the private sector; and
- the fact that “the public sector employers a higher proportion of female workers” (as, according to ONS, “on average, women have more sickness absence than men.”
Absence rates fell sharply between 1993 and 2011, says ONS
Absence rates have fallen significantly over the past 18 years, according to time-series analysis from ONS.
XpertHR has put together a chart tracking long-term trends in absence data from ONS (see above).
ONS offers the following interpretation for the apparent long-term downward trend in absence over this period:
The number of days lost through sickness absences remained constant through the 1990′s until 2003 and has fallen since then. [...] The reason the number of days lost remained constant between 1993 and 2003, when the percentage of hours lost were falling over this period, was because there were more people entering employment during this time. Looking at the number of days lost per worker, in 1993, around 7.2 days were lost (or around a week and a half based on a 5 day week). By 2011 this had fallen to less than a week (or 4.5 days).
Is your organisation seeing a decline in absence rates?
So how does this compare with absence trends at your organisation? Have you seen a downward trend in absence rates at your organisations over recent years? And if so, what do you think is the underlying cause?
Benchmarking absence rates and costs: XpertHR resources
XpertHR Benchmarking presents a wealth of essential benchmarking data resources to help your organisation measure and monitor absence rates, costs and causes in 2012.
- Benchmarking absence rates, costs and causes in 2012 Full details of the range of absence data resources available to XpertHR Benchmarking subscribers.
- Absence Rates and Costs for 2011 Subscribers to XpertHR Benchmarking can drill down into the complete results data from this survey and generate bespoke reports on how their organisation compares.
- XpertHR absence benchmarking dashboard 2012/2013 XpertHR’s absence benchmarking dashboard provides you with all the data resources you need to measure and monitor levels, costs and causes of sickness absence at your organisation.
- XpertHR absence benchmarker Answer the questions in this spreadsheet to create a printable report on how key recruitment metrics at your organisation compare. The spreadsheet is accessible to XpertHR Benchmarking subscribers only.
More from XpertHR Benchmarking
Click here to see the full range of more than 150 essential HR benchmarking datasets that are available to XpertHR Benchmarking subscribers.
The XpertHR Benchmarking data resource is growing all the time, with new survey datasets being added every month.
Click here to take part in the latest XpertHR Benchmarking surveys, and to see a list of upcoming survey topics.
HR data blog post round-up: August 2012
Here’s our latest monthly pick of top blog posts on HR data issues from XpertHR’s blogs and other blogs:
- I Hired A Zombie Have you ever hired a zombie? This highly entertaining infographic from Vitamin T explores the true cost of bad hires: “”Forty-one percent of companies estimate that a bad hire cost them more than $25,000. One in four say it cost them over $50,000.” Read more about the displayed in this infographic here.
- China Gorman: Paycheck Pessimism In this post from her excellent weekly Data Point Tuesday series of posts, China Gorman presents a fascinating analysis of data on employee optimism as regards pay rises (or, rather, “paycheck pessimism”). She also offers up as good an argument as any I’ve seen as to why HR should engage with data: “This is what’s so great about data. They let you connect import dots. Also, they always raise more questions than answers – but if you’re interested and aware you’ll start asking more of the right questions and connecting critical dots. And who knows? That could lead to formulating more effective people management and business risk mitigation strategies. Isn’t that what HR is all about?” Follow China on Twitter.
- Making Sense Of Big Data In HR Josh Bersin argues that we have now entered what he describes as “the analytics era,” and explains what this means for HR. Bersin says that the challenge for HR now is to “build a ‘program’ which can grow, build credibility, and drive more and more business alignment every year. Your analytics program will eventually cross between talent acquisition, engagement, compensation, and other areas of HR. And as we discuss in our research, it will also link to other analytics teams in your company (marketing, customer analysis, sales, and finance).”
- Benchmarking: What Is It? There are numerous definitions of benchmarking but, in essence, it is learning from others through the comparative analysis of process performance, writes Ray Wilkinson, director of The Best Practice Club.
- Data shows you the future workforce you need – if you ask the right questions Making sure the right workforce is in place for the future and working out what that workforce should consist of would seem on the face of it to be a fundamental HR priority, writes my colleague Noel O’Reilly.
About XpertHR’s HR data round-up
XpertHR’s round-up of HR data for August 2012 is the latest instalment in an ongoing monthly series, highlighting latest HR data releases from XpertHR and other sources, alongside links to news stories and blog posts of direct or indirect relevance to issues around using HR data.
If there are any HR-related data measures you would like to see covered in future XpertHR data round-ups, or if there are any surveys or HR data blog posts that you would like to see highlighted, please do get in touch. You can submit comments via the box below, or contact me directly via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
XpertHR data round-up archive
Catch up with all the posts in XpertHR’s data round-up series!
- HR data round-up July 2012: Benchmarking planned redundancies
- HR data round-up June 2012: The costs and benefits of the 2012 Olympics
- HR data round-up May 2012: The changing ratios of HR to employees
- HR data round-up April 2012: IT pay trends; private sector pay forecasts & more!
- The HR data tapes: HR lifers; CIPD qualifications; workforce analytics, & more!
- HR data round-up March 2012: Tough times for graduates
- HR data round-up February 2012: Are employers losing the battle to combat work-related stress?
- HR data round-up January 2012: What is the ideal employee to HR ratio in 2012?
- HR data round-up, December 2011: Christmas working and minimum office temperatures
- HR data round-up November 2011: Why did you get into HR?
- HR data round-up October 2011: National minimum wage; HR data visualisation; & using HR data effectively
- HR data round-up September 2011: Benchmarking absence; social media ROI; & latest HR data blog posts
- HR data round-up July 2011: HR careers, absence & turnover
- XpertHR data round-up, June 2011: Company cars, commuting, benchmarking & labour disputes
- XpertHR data round-up, May 2011: HR benchmarking data, absence & hand-drawn charts