Absence Survey 2015.  Only 5% track the full cost of absence.
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XpertHR Absence Survey 2015 – Cost of absence still just guesswork

On 5th October, XpertHR published the findings from its Absence Survey 2015. Their survey respondents from 670 companies declared an average absence level of 2.8% or 6.5 days per employee per year. The CIPD annual absence survey normally reports absence figures using the median value to avoid the numbers being skewed by extremely high or low absence figures. To provide an easier comparison, XpertHR study shows a median of 2.5% (5.7 days). In 2015, CIPD reported a median absence level of 6.9 days per employee, up from 6.6 in 2014. In terms of cost of absence, XpertHR survey reports an average cost of absence of £561 per employee per year. This can be compared to CIPD’s median cost, which for 2015 is £554.

However you slice the figures, they are nevertheless still quite modest. In our work with employers, we usually find that companies, which aren’t proactively managing absence, do not know what their actual absence levels are. Once more attention is paid to staff absence, the figures become clearer but this goes hand in hand with a push to manage absence better and therefore the numbers will straight away see a downward positive trend. By the time the organisation is confident enough to report their figures in the annual survey to CIPD or XpertHR, the firefighting will already be over and more sustainable attendance levels have been achieved.

It is interesting to see that despite the organisations having data on their absence levels, they don’t know the cost of absence. 65% of the respondents in XpertHR survey did not track their cost of absence and 88% of those who did only use direct sick pay as an factor leaving all the other direct costs and all of the indirect costs out of the equation. This means that only a measly 5% of companies attempt to understand the full cost of absence. What really would be interesting is if all the respondents were asked to complete our absence cost calculator. Our calculation is only a starting point because it only focuses on the direct costs but it is based on figures that most companies can produce and highlights some of the key cost factors that employers often overlook.

Absencehub team work with clients to work out the true cost of absence. Combined with real and up-to-date absence data this is a powerful tool in proving that absence management really matters, not only because of the soft values of caring for employees but also for hard facts on productivity and results.