Many FTSE 100 firms are still failing to share important workforce data in their annual reports despite an increase in the quantity of workforce reporting, according to new research from the CIPD. The study found reporting on skills shortages to be, notably, woefully lacking.
In response, the professional body for HR and people development, is calling for improved reporting and transparency from Britain’s biggest businesses. The body warns that failure to capture and disclose key workforce data is keeping investors, employees and other parties in the dark on key business indicators.
The CIPD’s research examines how workforce reporting has changed over the last five years and how transparent organisations are being about risks and opportunities relating to the workforce.
The report, Hidden Figures: How workforce data is missing from corporate reports, found:
“It’s positive to see that the quantity of workforce reporting is increasing, but there’s still a considerable challenge regarding the quality, consistency and transparency of data being reported. Organisations seem to focus their efforts on complying with legislation and governance codes and report on very little else voluntarily,” said Edward Houghton, senior research adviser for human capital and governance at the CIPD.
“Reporting is also often subject to trends or pressure from government rather than ongoing strategic imperatives. We need to see much more consistency in what is being reported, the language used to report it and the measurements being applied so all stakeholders get a complete picture of workforce opportunities and risks.”
According to the CIPD, without full transparency there’s a “real danger” that businesses are painting an overly positive picture of how they manage their people and people risk. Gender pay gap reporting regulations have shown that a framework and a common language can improve disclosure and prompt healthy debate on important issues among key stakeholders. It’s also awakened an appetite among investors for even more workforce data, said the CIPD, and businesses need to be ready to respond to this demand.
“We need senior leaders to get comfortable with being more transparent about their workforce practices and we need investors and government to be demanding far more of these insights,” added Houghton.