The Taylor review is far from comprehensive, but is heartening to see that it presents a balanced and nuanced view of the job market. So how does the review, and its recommendations, reflect the needs of the millennial generation?
It champions flexible working hours
The fixed 9-5 working structure is on its way out. Many younger workers value a work life balance and expect flexibility to be built into a job. A 2016 study by Fidelity found millennials would take an average pay cut of $7,600 if it meant they could improve their work-life balance or more purposeful work. Equally, others juggle both professional and personal interests alongside their day jobs. The review recognises this shift and makes recommendations such as enhancing, rather than eliminating, zero hour contracts, in order to support this.
It understands the relationship between good working conditions and mental and physical wellbeing
Mental health is becoming more of a concern in today’s pressurised environment and a recent study found one in five millennials reported being depressed. Mindful of this, the review sets out some concrete and practical steps designed to protect workers’ wellbeing. It also highlights exactly how it is in the interests of the employer to put in place safeguards in this respect, particularly when it comes to productivity and engagement.
It recognises the value to younger workers of zero hour contracts…
Zero hour contracts have been pilloried by the press as a result of the supposed uncertainty they cause workers. But for younger, more flexible workers, including students and those just starting out in the world of work and looking to supplement their incomes, they can be a useful resource. In fact, research by PwC found that 45% of millennials would be willing to consider such contracts. The Taylor review recognises this and has made strong recommendations to consider the positives going forward.
…But recommends steps to enhance their security
However, there is plenty of evidence to show that some workers on zero hour contracts are not treated fairly. For example, many feel unable to refuse shifts or make complaints for fear of not being offered work in the future. The Taylor review suggests giving full employee rights to those who work over a threshold of say 40 hours per week. If implemented, this would be a positive for younger workers in particular as they are increasingly called upon to shoulder the burden of saving adequately for retirement.
It embraces technology
The review takes into account the opportunities provided by technology for facilitating the working lives of millennials and other self-employed workers. For instance, it highlights the possibility of using digital platforms as a way of increasing autonomy of working lives, citing a scheme being piloted by Tesco which allows workers to book overtime and holidays remotely. This is an efficient way of meeting the millennial generation’s desire for slick, on the move technology as well as making it easier and more manageable to control working hours.