Exploring Structural Change in Uk Economy and Labour Market Inequality in London

6184 words 25 pages
MA Human Resources and Employment Management

Assignment 1
Exploring Structural Change in the UK Economy and the Extent of Labour Market Inequality Within London: Implications for the HR Function and HR Practitioners

Word Count: 4,455 words (main body of assignment)

Contents How the structure of the UK economy has evolved and changed since the 1970’s, the impact on organisations and HR functions 3 Overview of key factors responsible for structural change 3 Impact on the external labour market, the employment relationship, the psychological contract and the policies and practices of HR departments 4 Challenges the 2008 recession has brought for organisations and how organisations and HR departments have responded 6
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To reduce costs and improve productivity, many organisations have carried out restructuring programmes leading to a shift from large, beaurocratic centralized hierarchies to leaner, flatter, de-centralized organisations. (Robinson 2006) Flexibility has been seen as crucial for organizations to be globally competitive. It increases responsiveness, reduces costs and improves quality and service. The concept of the flexible firm originally proposed by Atkinson (1984) is outlined in Appendix Figure 1.
This has created increased demand for part time, temporary and contractual work, met through the increased participation of women (Economic and Labour Market Review 2007), the self employed and agency workers (Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, D. 2012).
Blair led a move away from what had become an adversarial relationship with Trade Unions under the Thatcher regime and created the partnership agreement, still in place today, resulting in a reduction in industrial action (Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, D. 2012). Trade Union membership has declined consistently, refer to Appendix Graph 1, having nearly halved in membership from 1970s to 2012.
Blair also signed the EU Social Chapter of Maastricht Treaty, standardizing employment rights across the European Union (Gennard and Judge 2005). The UK labour market, employment law and ACAS best practices have since been shaped by EU legislation and directives. It has led to initiatives such as minimum


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