…in brief

This week’s news in brief

Profitability slump

The profitability of UK companies has slumped by 40 per cent over the last
three years, falling for an unprecedented 12 consecutive quarters, according to
new findings by business service firm Experian. Across the economy, the average
return on capital – a leading measure of profitability – fell from 10.84 per
cent in the year to March 2001 to 8.37 per cent this year.  www.experian.com

Personal development

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has launched a new personal
development scheme that allows its members to have their development formally
recognised by the organisation. The continuing professional development (CPD)
scheme will initially be voluntary, and invites members to commit to 20 hours
of activity in each membership year. Activities recognised include short course
attendance, in-company training and private study.  www.rec.uk.com

Work-time job search

More than 60 per cent of staff seeking to change jobs search internet
recruitment sites during work time, a survey by IT services company Parity has
revealed. Jobseekers are even unwilling to use their lunch break to seek
alternative employment, with peak times being mid-morning and just before the
end of the working day.  www.parity.net

High cost of living

London is the most expensive city in the European Union for overseas workers
to be based, according to a cost of living survey by Mercer Human Resource
Consulting. The survey, which covers 144 cities and measures the comparative
cost of more than 200 items in each location, ranked London 10th – up from 12th
last year.  www.mercerhr.com

SSC gets go-ahead

Employers in the engineering, science and engineering technology sectors
have been given the green light to set up a Sector Skills Council. The Sector
Skills Development Agency (SSDA) approved an expression of interest for the
development of a SSC following high-level employer support and financial
commitment from all parts of the industry. 
www.ssda.org.uk

Call to stop closures

Royal Ordnance workers are to lobby Parliament to call for an end to factory
closures. The Transport and General Workers’ union claims that since
privatisation of Royal Ordnance factories in 1987, 10,000 jobs have been lost.
Six factories closed, and now two more factories are at risk – Bridgewater in
Somerset, the last UK manufacturer of high explosives for the armed forces, and
Chorley in Lancashire.  www.tgwu.org.uk

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