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With over 20 million workers in the UK alone, the steel industry is one of the largest in the world.
Its a sector that’s been under significant pressure due to the rise of cheap technology and automation, along with an increasing reliance on low-paid manufacturing.
But for some it’s the perfect balance of job security and flexibility, with employers offering the same flexible working arrangements to their employees as well as giving them the freedom to work independently.
A study from the consultancy Bain & Co. found that the UK is home to just over 40 per cent of the world’s steelworkers, with the sector employing about 25 per cent more workers than it did in 2001.
It also found that over 50 per cent have worked at the same jobs for the last five years.
The survey looked at how these different types of work arrangements have affected the jobs they’ve taken up over the past five years, looking at a wide range of factors including job satisfaction, job stability, and the impact of changes in technology.
The firm found that whilst the UK was still the most popular workplace for steelworkers to join, there were some areas where the UK had a much better reputation.
“The UK’s overall performance in terms of job satisfaction and job stability is highly consistent with the World Bank’s assessment of a strong job market in the sector,” Bain &s; Co said.
“The UK remains one of only three countries in the EU and the world to offer the widest flexibility in terms for working with your employer, and this is reflected in the fact that workers are able to work from home, while being able to make and pay for their own living.”
The survey found that while the number of employed workers has increased, the overall rate of unemployment has been lower in the past few years, from 13.7 per cent to 9.1 per cent, and that overall the number is still relatively low.
The firm also found a positive trend in the proportion of people who are self-employed, with employment rates at around 65 per cent.
According to Bain &ing Co, the UK remains among the safest places to work in the developed world, but it is not for everyone.
“In fact, we find that there is a significant amount of variation in the availability and security of these arrangements.
In the UK and the UK-wide industry as a whole, we are finding that in some sectors there is little or no access to flexible working,” the report said.
“There is little to no regulation of these work arrangements and this can leave many people vulnerable to the threat of redundancy, which in turn may be a trigger for employee dissatisfaction.”