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January 04, 2013

Also in the news this week – 4 January 2013

Employees spend hours surfing not working

New research conducted on behalf of K3 Managed Services reveals that 14% of the UK workforce spends three hours a day surfing the Internet for personal use while they are at work. The findings show that, on average, 64% of workers in the UK waste one hour a day at work. In addition, downloading illegal files, sharing data across the web and using unlicensed software can leave a company's IT vulnerable to malware, viruses and spyware. Jason Price, head of sales at K3 Managed Services, said: "When we discuss the results of how their bandwidth is being used with our customers, many are shocked to see how much is taken up for personal use by employees." K3 Managed Services has produced a free guide to help businesses implement an effective IT usage policy.

CIPD report investigates the "jobs enigma"

Employment trends were puzzling in 2012, with muted economic growth figures accompanied by strong private sector jobs creation. But there is an explanation, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)'s annual "Barometer" report. It identifies key factors – including moderation in labour costs and "labour hoarding" where employers have held on to skilled staff. Now the CIPD is warning there may be a flipside to the 2012 enigma. With many employers retaining staff, there could be a new paradox – stronger economic growth accompanied by weaker employment growth.

Mystery Shopper initiative shakes up public sector procurement

Over 300 complaints have been investigated in the past 18 months through the Cabinet Office's Mystery Shopper initiative – the service that allows SMEs to complain about procurement practice across central government and the wider public sector – according to a new progress report. Chloe Smith, Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary, said: "In the past, the playing field was stacked against SMEs winning public sector contracts. This Government is determined to change all that and to strip out unnecessary process from public procurement. We want more businesses to use this service to raise complaints so we can name and shame the parts of the public sector still doing procurement in the clunky old-style."

Retailers and shoppers play cat and mouse

The latest statistics from the Ipsos Retail Traffic Index (RTI) have highlighted the changing face of Christmas shopping, with many retailers holding sales before the holidays as well as after. Peter Luff, president of Ipsos Retail Performance, said: "Retailing appears to be in a period of transition. Pre-Christmas sales have now become more common and the traditional post-Christmas sales are simply a continuation of this longer more managed trend. It really has become a game of cat and mouse between shoppers and retailers. Knowing the customer – how they think, behave and are likely to shop – has becoming an even more critical element of the 'operational differential' for retailers as we progress into 2013."