HR data round-up December 2012: A less merry Christmas?

XpertHR’s HR data round-up for December 2012 looks at data on UK employers’ Christmas working arrangements and plans for spending on workplace Christmas celebrations. 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.

Ongoing economic uncertainty means that Christmas 2012 could be a little less merry in some workplaces than last year:

  • UK employers are more likely to be open for business on Christmas Day 2012 than they were in 2011.
  • They are also less likely to award staff Christmas bonuses than a year ago.
  • However, private sector employers report an overall planned Christmas spend for 2012 that is higher than that for 2011.

These are some of the key findings of the XpertHR Benchmarking survey on working arrangements for the 2012/2013 festive period. The survey is based on responses from 185 organisations with a combined workforce of 160,097 employees.

Subscribers to XpertHR Benchmarking can drill down into the complete benchmarking data from the latest Christmas and New Year Working Arrangements survey.

Will your workplace be open on Christmas day?

XmasOpening2012.jpgOne organisation in 20 reports that they will be open on Christmas day, while a further one in 10 will be partially open.

A comparison with last year’s survey findings reveals that UK employers are twice as likely to be open on Christmas day in 2012 as they were in 2011.

Across all sectors, four-fifths of respondents will be closed on New Year’s Day (Tuesday 1 January 2013). However, nearly one in five retailers plan to be open that day.

Private sector employers report higher planned Christmas spend per head in 2012 than in 2011

What are employer planning to spend on workplace Christmas celebrations this year?

XmasSpend2012.jpgAcross the whole economy, employers report a planned median Christmas spend per employee for 2012 of £50.00, with an interquartile range of £25.00 to £75.00

This figure comprises planned spending on Christmas parties, lunches, employee gifts and bonuses.

A sectoral breakdown of planned Christmas spending for 2012 reveals that differences between Christmas spending plans in the private sector and the public sector are becoming ever more pronounced.

Spending cuts have forced public sector employers to scale back their Christmas spending to the bone.

In contrast, private sector employers report an overall higher planned Christmas spend for 2012 than they did for 2011:

  • Service sector employers expect a Christmas spend of £50 per employee in 2012 (up from £35.00 in 2011).
  • Manufacturers plan to spend £42.50 per head (up from £37.00).

Breaking down employers’ Christmas spending plans for 2012

Planned Christmas-related spending for 2012 breaks down as follows:

Awarding a Christmas bonus is a minority practice in 2012. One employer in 10 plans to award Christmas bonuses to employees in 2012. This is down slightly on the proportion of employers that awarded Christmas bonuses in 2011.

Among those awarding Christmas bonuses, none plan to award higher bonuses in 2012 than they did in 2011. Three in ten expect to give out bonuses set lower than a year ago.

HR data blog post round-up: December 2012

Here’s our latest monthly pick of top blog posts on HR data issues from XpertHR’s blogs and other blogs:

  • John Philpott: HR – more big hats, cattle no more engaged or productive  

    Fascinating analysis of official data on broad trends in the numbers of people employed in HR and development roles over the past decade or so from independent economist John Philpott. This post is full of eye-opening findings. For example: “The number of ‘big hat’ HR honchos is thus around 14% higher and the level of HR staff in general almost a quarter (23.5%) higher than in 2001.  The share of HR in total employment has likewise increased from 1.3% to 1.5%. This is great news for the HR profession but is also somewhat disconcerting. While HR employment has increased considerably in both absolute and relative terms in the past decade this hasn’t had any discernible effect on outcome measures of things one might expect HR to have a positive influence on.” Follow John on Twitter.

  • Sharlyn Lauby: Data is everywhere 

    A lovely little post from the HR Bartender blog, in which Sharlyn Lauby conjures up a great metaphor for data overload: “The key isn’t finding tons of data. It’s finding the right data. Think of it as the difference between quenching your thirst with a glass of water and drinking through a fire hose. Being able to curate data is a necessary skill.” Spot on about the key importance of data curation, Sharlyn! Follow Sharlyn on Twitter.

  • Sarah Welfare: Are firms keeping employees on in the hope that things will get better?

    Fascinating data analysis from my colleague Sarah Welfare on one of the most puzzling aspects of the labour market in 2012: Why has the labour market remained relatively resilient despite the fact that the economy is thought to still be 2.8% smaller than it was before the onset of recession at the start of 2008″? Follow Sarah on Twitter.

  • Gautam Ghosh: Stories and Purposes for the HR Community

    I really like the point Gautam makes here about how important it is that HR finds ways to tell stories with data: “Stories are not just entertaining – they are also tools for sensemaking of all the data and information we are inundated with. Stories are what adds meaning to experiences and gives us the space and time to step back and reflect.” Follow Gautam on Twitter.

  • Trade Union Density in the UK

    The always excellent Economics Help blog takes a close look at long-term trends in trade union density (which it defines as “the percentage of the workforce who belong to a trade union”), and the reasons for its ongoing decline. Their analysis includes the following fascinating tidbit on the impact of the rise in part-time working on union membership levels: “Traditionally, trade unions were stronger in permanent full time jobs. However, the gap between full-time and part time and between permanent and temporary is less than you might expect. Evidence trade unions have expanded into part time and temporary sectors.” For more trends in union membership levels, see my recent XpertHR series: State of the Unions. Follow Economics Help on Twitter.

About XpertHR’s monthly HR data round-up

XpertHR’s round-up of HR data for December 2012 is the latest instalment in an ongoing monthly series.

Each post in this series highlights 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!

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