Weekly roundup

Today we cover the Brexit effect on the EMA and UK SMEs, a shocking 40% UK gender pay gap, and Thailand's place in the rankings of UK travel health insurance claims.

David Sapsted News in Brief - 2 August 2018

The Brexit effect on the European Medicines Agency

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is being forced to relocate from London to Amsterdam next year because of Brexit, now expects to lose almost a third of its 900-strong staff because of the move. The agency says that, because staff who do not intend to move to Holland are already leaving, it will have to further scale back or suspend some operations.Aside from 30 per cent of the workforce expected to stay in the UK, the EMA admits it is uncertain about the retention of mid-term staff once it begins operations in Amsterdam and says, because of employment laws in the Netherlands, it will be unable to take about 135 short-term contract employees with it in the move. Read more about the impact of Brexit on the activities of the EMA. 

Skills and labour shortages for UK SMEs

With the UK government still dithering over its post-Brexit immigration policy, concerns among the manufacturing sector's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over skills and labour shortages have reached a 30-year high.A survey of more than 300 firms by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that while new orders in Q2 rose at their fastest pace since 1995, the number citing skill shortages as a factor likely to limit output had risen to its highest since 1988.Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said skills and labour shortages are "really biting hard", adding: “SME manufacturers will be feeling buoyant after a period of strong growth in orders and production. But cost pressures remain stubbornly high, and the clouds of uncertainty are still looming large, as seen in the deterioration in firms’ plans for investment in 'intangible' areas."

MPs uncover shocking 40% UK gender pay gap 

A committee of MPs has identified "obscene" wage differences of more than 40 per cent between men and women in some British companies and is calling on the government to do more to close the gender pay gap.The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee says in a new report that the UK has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe, with the median rate 18 per cent higher for men but differences of more than twice that not uncommon.Rachel Reeves, who chairs the committee, said: "A persistent gender pay gap shows that companies are failing to harness fully the talents of half the population. The penalties of working part-time, both financial and in terms of career progression, are a major cause."Companies need to take a lead. For example, why aren't they offering flexible working at senior levels? They must look at why they have a pay gap, and then determine the right initiatives, policies and practices to close it."  Read more about the gender pay gap

Thailand and health insurance

Thailand is the country that generates most health insurance claims from British business and leisure travellers, according to a report from Endsleigh Insurance, which specialises in professional and student insurance. Travellers to Thailand generate 23 per cent of all claims, considerably higher than the 15 per cent originating from each of the next two nations on the list: the US and Chile.Aquarium Software is now calling for insurance providers to deploy the latest tech to reach those who continue to travel without adequate cover. "Apps, comparison sites and social media have a role to play, linking communication streams and bringing new products to market fast,” said Mark Colonnese, Aquarium software director. 

Disloyalty bonus for British workers

Pay growth for British workers who move jobs has now hit ten per cent, the highest for more than a decade, according to a report from the Resolution Foundation think-tank. This compares with average pay rises of 2.5 per cent for employees who stay put.Stephen Clarke, senior economic analyst at the foundation, said: ""Despite this growing 'disloyalty bonus', young workers in particular seem reluctant to make the move."
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