Bath is one of the UK’s most woke cities!

Bath is one of the UK’s most woke cities in which to live and work…

For those less familiar with the term, the word ‘woke’ originates in American slang. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this as being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”

To this end, it’s often used interchangeably with other words that describe progressive attitudes and behaviours.

How do you measure a city’s woke status?

Bankrate has ranked 50 cities across seven specific categories, which include:

  1. Google search trends: how frequently the city’s web users have searched for the followings terms over a 5-year period:  ‘LGBT’, ‘Fair Trade’, ‘Volunteering’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Feminism’, ‘Protest’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Charity’, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Politics’.
  2. The gender pay gap: the disparity between wages for men and women.
  3. Recycling rates: the quantity of household waste that is recycled.
  4. Voter turnout: comparing ‘the size of each electorate with the total number of votes in the 2017 General Election.’
  5. Vegan & vegetarian: from the perspective of a reduced carbon footprint; counting the number of exclusively vegan and vegetarian eating establishments.
  6. ULEV registration: the number of vehicles registered as ‘ultra-low emission’, which usually refers to ‘electric or hybrid cars.’
  7. Council diversity: exploring the representation of women and minority groups in local government.

Full details of each category and data sources can be found on the Bankrate site.

How progressive is Bath?

Bath is officially the third most woke city in which to live and work, according to this assessment scale. The city receives a total score of 22.31.

Only Oxford and Brighton & Hove achieve greater progressiveness scores, reaching 23.82 and 23.33 respectively.

Bath performs especially well for its:

  1. Recycling rates: achieving a score of 4.6/5. This surpasses Oxford’s 4.2 and Brighton’s 2.4.
  2. Vegan/vegetarian establishments: 4.5/5. Brighton achieves a perfect 5 for this aspect, however, Oxford falls behind with 3.5.
  3. Voter turnout: 3.9/5. Mirroring Oxford (3.9) and only just behind Brighton (4).
  4. ULEV registration: 3.7/5. Beating Brighton’s 2.6 and scoring only marginally less than Oxford’s 3.8. 

However, Bath still needs to work on its:

  1. Council Diversity: 0.6/5: the city’s weakest ranking. Oxford and Brighton, however, each only achieve scores around 2/5 for this element. Wolverhampton, in contrast, receives a 4.3.
  2. Gender Pay Gap: 2/5: this was a low-scoring area for each of the top three cities. None of which even reach a 3/5. Swansea, however, receives an impressive 4.1/5 for its minimal pay gap.
  3. Google Search Trends: 3.1/5: Bath residents and professionals could use the Internet for more progressive means! Brighton & Hove achieves its second perfect score (5/5) for this aspect, yet Oxford also has work to do with its 3.4.

Interestingly, if it wasn’t for the Council Diversity ranking, Bath (21.8) would beat both Oxford (21.4) and Brighton & Hove (21.3). Please note: we haven’t totted up the scores for the rest of the cities to see how else the rankings would change.

Want to work in a woke city?!

We’re proud to have recruited for businesses in Bath and the surrounding area since 1999. You’ll find the latest local job openings listed here.



More holidays and a pay rise

The New Economics Foundation is calling for more holidays and a pay rise for the good of the British economy!

This recommendation (and its accompanying report) focuses on ways in which to improve national productivity.

The idea being that if consumers are able to spend more money, and have more time in which to spend it, the demand for products and services will increase. This, in turn, will help bolster business productivity and the wider economy.

Do we need more holidays?

Few employees would decline the opportunity to have more time off. Especially on hearing that Britons receive fewer public holidays than many of their European counterparts.

While the UK minimum stands at 28 days, EU employees receive anywhere from 30 to 40 paid public holidays each year.

This report also reflects employees’ priorities, according to a separate study

When looking for a new job, British people prioritise:

  1. Their salary (98%)
  2. Holiday allowance (91%)
  3. A pension plan (89%)
  4. Promotion opportunities (78%)

Talking of holidays…

Therefore, while the ideas sound welcome, there may be additional issues to tackle in practise! In the meantime, don’t forget to use your jobs research as a chance to review your personal priorities. 



How secure are today’s jobs?

How secure are today’s jobs compared to those of twenty years ago? Plus to what extent do these findings even affect employees and job-seekers?

Before we delve into the latest stats, there’s one important question we should be asking…

What does job security really mean?

There was a time when job security was closely correlated with a ‘job for life’. Something now considered to be a feature of the distant past – and not expected to return, either!

In more recent decades (and as per the Oxford Dictionary), job security has become “the state of having a job…from which one is unlikely to be dismissed”.

How secure are jobs in 2019 versus 1998?

Due to the discussions surrounding the gig economy, you won’t be surprised to hear that most people think national job security is diminishing.

However, CIPD research suggests this is untrue:

  • The total share of non-permanent jobs has ‘not increased since 1998’.
  • Nor has the ‘under-employment rate’ of people requiring additional work.
  • The vast majority of national employees are in fact in ‘regular’ 9-5 jobs.
  • Any fluctuations that have occurred throughout this twenty-year period are additionally temporary in nature and relate to specific events, such as recessions.
  • While largely positive, the CIPD has called on the government to do more to tackle poor pay and discrimination issues.

Does it matter how secure your job is in 2019?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the growing gig economy and increase in ‘side jobs’ are signs that professionals are less concerned about job security…

Advice for those worried about job insecurity:

MindTools has issued advice to help people cope with the uncertainty of their work.

Two of the best tips from this piece also apply to your job-seeking process…

  • ‘Show your value’: not only does this approach help you stand out as an employee, yet it also helps set you apart from your job-seeking competitors.
  • ‘Stay current’: upskilling is sure to be a continued theme in recruitment news, as technology advances alter the jobs landscape. The way you market your skills should also be current…including regularly refreshing your CV!

Looking for a new job? You’ll find the latest temporary, permanent and contract openings listed here



What employers want – key candidate skills

What do employers want to see in their future team members and how can you demonstrate these abilities?

It’s always helpful to remember that (for the most successful companies!) the recruitment process is about far more than checking experience boxes. Business leaders are also looking for candidates that possess the appropriate skills to enhance their performance and complement the rest of the team.

One study has uncovered six such skills that employers want to see in their recruits:

  1. Adaptability (71.5%)
  2. ‘Resilience’ (57.5%)
  3. Being prepared to ‘upskill’ (39.7%)
  4. Being able to change (31.3%)
  5. Striking a ‘balance between work and personal life’ (29%)
  6. And networking skills (16.4%)

The first four skills all relate to the rapid pace of change now facing employers, as discussed on HR News.

This focus on change also cropped up in our recent post on the most wanted trainee skills – which is also relevant to non-trainees; especially those looking to enter a new sector!

How to demonstrate these skills:

As ever, you don’t want to treat these skills as CV or interview buzzwords so much as useful starting points.

Brainstorm examples that demonstrate how you’ve used these skills and what you’ve achieved as a result. Use these examples in your CV where relevant and practise discussing them in an interview scenario.

‘Relevant’ means you’re also tying your examples back to the skills and attributes required by each individual employer. I.e. you’re carefully reading individual job advertisements and specificiations and then tailoring your approach to match.

An interesting note on skill number three…

You’ll see that being prepared to upskill came in third place and this was discussed further in the HR News piece…

  • It suggests that 89.3% of employers are taking a ‘proactive approach’ to employee skills development for a variety of positive reasons. All sounds fantastic, yet this response is not supported by other research conducted on employees themselves.
  • In reality, only around 46% of professionals believe they are receiving adequate training. Advice for employees in this position can be found here.
  • Business owners may benefit from conducting some internal reviews to ensure that they’re not overestimating their skills development efforts. After all, this has long been a powerful staff retention tool.


Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here



Perks & pay: for employees earning less than £30K.

What’s more important, perks or pay for employees earning less than £30,000 a year? 

If you keep your eye on the jobs news, you’ll spot a common theme. Researchers always want to know more about your working values and how these compare to each other. The perennial question tends to include ‘what matters more to you, your salary or your…!’ (As a case in point, we recently reported on the topic of company culture versus salary level.)

Today’s source specifically explores the parity of the work benefits package and salary for the ‘under £30,000 workforce’.

Perks or pay?

In this instance, the title suggests that they’re ‘just as important’ as each other – and many of the employees surveyed place more weight on other work-life benefits.

  • 45% of respondents are happier when offered learning and development opportunities
  • 36% value flexible working hours, including ‘leniency in start times and/or breaks’
  • 26% already enjoy non-typical work schedules
  • ‘Frequency of pay’ is briefly mentioned as an additional motivator
  • Candidates are also eager to source jobs local to home (27%)

The income issue:

This sample explores the ‘Hidden Heroes’ workforce: those who earn an average salary of £16,403. This comprises employees in multiple sectors and across a variety of working ages.

So, from the above findings, you may think this group just isn’t as reliant on their income. However, many of the respondents express financial concerns.

  • Over 1/3 are ‘unsure or worried’ about covering their general bills
  • While 72% do not think they’d be able to fund ‘a large unexpected’ payment
  • Alongside this, 54% of this employee group report feeling ‘underpaid’
  • Millennials most often relate to feeling ‘overqualified’ (45%) for their roles
  • And the hospitality and catering industries contain the greatest number of workers who feel overqualified (54%)

What this tells us…

Employers looking to attract candidates for openings of this salary level would be smart to explore their wider benefits packages. What else could be offered to motivate and incentivise employees? Small changes could prove invaluable to professionals.

Naturally, extending benefit schemes across the entire workforce helps companies to maintain a competitive advantage.

For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130. 



Create more joy at work – for you & others

What are the top ways to create joy at work? Essential reading to support you and your colleagues…

Work and joy aren’t necessarily synonymous in your thoughts. Yet understanding what creates most happiness could help you to step closer to this notion. What’s more, knowing what makes most people feel happier could help you to become a better colleague – whether you’re managing employees or simply working alongside them.

It’s time to turn to a recent survey of UK professionals, which reveals that…

The greatest work joys include:

  1. Completing tasks without mistakes (52.6%)
  2. ‘Helping others’ (41.9%)
  3. Challenging your abilities with a tricky task (30.5%)
  4. Praise from your manager (27.7%)
  5. Compliments from colleagues (24.8%)
  6. Being awarded the ‘leading role’ on a project (18.8%)
  7. Leaving work each day! (17.3%)
  8. Arriving at work on time (15.3%)
  9. Taking your allocated breaks and heading home on time (5.4%)
  10. And not having too much work to do (3.8%)

Is this a good sign?

It’s promising that the most popular responses are those that pertain to doing a good job and being a great colleague, rather than escaping from work! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking forward to your personal time when you consider that most people are experiencing some work-life balance challenges.

If you do find yourself solely identifying with items 7, 9 and 10, it’s likely you’re not doing a job that aligns with your skills and interests. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the latest job opportunities.

Additionally, if you identify with a mix of these factors but really don’t get much opportunity to experience them, you may also want to do some research to see what else is out there.

How to bring more joy & be a better colleague

  • One of the benefits of this list is that it’s relatively simple to experiment with. While you may not be awarded any leading roles right now, you can more easily offer others your help; challenge yourself to really use your skills; offer genuine compliments to colleagues and make more of an effort to arrive and leave on time.
  • Of course, your colleagues are likely to appreciate those genuine compliments and your assistance. Yet they’ll also appreciate something you may not so readily do – accepting their offers of help.
  • And you never know, the more items you tick, the more likely you are to receive that praise from your manager and/or be assigned a more senior role or project.

Feeling happy at work yet ready for a new challenge? You’ll also want to head straight to our jobs page!



Are gap years good for your CV?

Can gap years actually benefit your CV? Is there a ‘right way’ to take one and is there an age limit on this sort of break? 

Today’s topic is inspired by this HR News post. Its headline states that gap years can ‘help applicants stand out.’

  • 63% of HR professionals think this is the case, according to YouGov.
  • As 44% of businesses rate ‘experience’ as more important than a degree, the gap year may also provide some valuable practical insights and skills.
  • This is all good news for the 88% of students who chose to take a gap year specifically to increase their employability.

There’s one important phrase that crops up several times in the post, however, and that’s the mention of ‘constructive’ gap years. This brings us to the following question…

Is there a right way to approach a gap year?

Of course, if you’re just looking to take a break from your studies or career (we’ll come to the latter shortly) you could spend your time doing whatever you please.

However, if you’re thinking along the lines of enhancing your employability, this is where the constructive bit comes into the equation.

The sort of break that looks best on your CV is one that features paid and or voluntary work. Each of which can increase your skill-set, confidence (alongside other attributes) and general experience in a variety of ways.

Is there an age limit on this sort of break?

Not when you consider that gap years can be referred to as ‘sabbaticals’.

Experienced professionals can also use this time to learn new skills and gain experience in sectors that they’re eager to pursue.

Is there a right way to feature your gap year on your CV?

Yes! Far from simply leaving a gap in your career history  – no pun intended! – you want to let prospective employers know how you used your time to their potential benefit.

Treat this as you would any other role. Provide the dates of your break, an overview of what you were doing, and real-world examples of your skills and achievements.

As ever, the specific details you provide should also be tailored to your applications.

But what if you can’t afford to take one?

We can’t all afford to take gap years, whether due to financial constraints or other life commitments. Don’t think this will hamper your applications and never force yourself to take one thinking it will definitely improve your employability. There are no guarantees of the latter! What’s more, there are so many other ways to make your CV stand out.

One of the best tips has already been shared above. Tailor each application with genuine examples of your skills and achievements from your employment, education and voluntary roles to date. Make it obvious to the employer why you’re the best match for their role; don’t leave anything to guesswork!

Ready to send your CV? You can apply for individual jobs directly or upload your CV as a general applicant. If you’d rather email your CV, here’s what to include in your cover note



The stress of taking time off

Why is it so stressful to take time off work – both before and after your holiday? Advice included for employers and employees alike…

We’re all encouraged to book breaks from work and with good reason. Holidays (whether spent at home or away) are necessary to help us unwind and restore our productivity and focus. However, what do you do when the act of taking a break proves stress-inducing?

  • An astonishing 91% of UK employees feel ‘more stressed’ in the days before their break, according to research by Wrike. 92% of German employees feel the same.
  • 43% of the UK group reports feeling ‘very stressed.’
  • This is compared to 42% of French workers who only attest to being ‘slightly stressed’.
  • As for returning from a break, 84% of UK professionals experience stress at this stage.
  • Only 30% of French employees and 29% of Germans report the same.

Why is it so stressful to take time off?

The article discusses the ‘disruptive’ nature of work holidays and how challenging it can be to step away from – or finish – projects to go on leave. This can also leave you worrying about those tasks you’ve got to return to.

These sentiments are supported by ‘‘No time for a holiday?‘, in which we hear that being ‘too busy’ to book time off is the leading reason for people not using their full holiday entitlement.

Advice for employees on minimising your pre- and post-holiday stress:

As we’ve said, breaks are an essential part of your work-life balance.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now officially recognised burnout as a real condition. It’s defined as: ‘energy depletion, exhaustion, and negativity resulting from chronic workplace stress.’ So you need to take time off, but you need to know how to do it well.

Harvard Business Review has some excellent tips, some of which are summarised below…

  • Build relaxation into daily life, rather than leaving it until your holiday.
  • If you can, prioritise all tasks a few weeks before you go and ask your manager’s opinion on your list. Focus on this list.
  • Let all necessary parties know that you’ll be away (and, where possible, that you won’t be contactable during this time).
  • Handover tasks to anyone who is covering your absence and let your manager/boss know who this will be.
  • Tidy your desk to reduce clutter-associated stress.
  • Prepare your out-of-office.

As for your return, TIME recommends

  • Allocating some space to catch up on emails as soon as possible.
  • Where suitable, asking to work from home on your first day back.
  • And phasing into a ‘manageable work pace and workload’ to reduce overwhelm.
  • Mind additionally suggests: preparing a healthy dinner and breakfast ready for your return.
  • Using your lunch breaks and leaving on time throughout your first week.
  • Prioritising and setting goals for your upcoming tasks.
  • Decluttering your desk (if you missed that from the above list!).
  • Organising a catch-up with whoever took care of your tasks.
  • Focusing your mind on the most enjoyable aspects of your job.

If these tips don’t help, it could be time to look for a new opportunity.

Advice for employers and managers…

The evidence is clear. All businesses need to support their employees to minimise the risk of burnout (and benefit from healthy and productive teams).

  • Keep an eye on the holiday diary. Make sure that people feel able to book breaks and help employees prep for their time off.
  • Reading the above tips will help.
  • As will booking one or more temps to provide cover support. This is especially essential for small and/or highly busy teams where nobody else is available to receive additional tasks.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to book a temp or email us for support. 



Parents & the success versus happiness debate

Why do some parents crave success over happiness for their children? Is there any science supporting their approach – and which careers do they want their children to pursue?

The parents prioritising success

Earlier this year (and as reported by the Independent), a survey of UK parents revealed that…

  • More than 1/5 of parents would like their child to seek success over happiness, kindness or honesty
  • 1/6 currently have a ‘career in mind’ for their kids
  • And a 1/4 confess they actively discuss this career more frequently than others
  • Over 1/2 try to steer their children towards particular subjects, with the intention of helping them to secure these jobs in future

The parental divide:

When it comes to the jobs themselves, mothers’ and fathers’ opinions commonly differ.

  • Mothers most want their children to pursue ‘engineering and manufacturing’ roles (27% vs. 21% of fathers).
  • Conversely, dads most want their children to enter the world of ‘computing or coding’ (33% vs. 13% of mums).

Why would any parent pick success over happiness?

A spokesman for Siemens (the study’s author), suggests that most parents truly ‘wish for their children to be happy’, yet some parents think ‘money can buy that happiness’.

Are these parents right? Let’s see what the science says…

Which comes first, success or happiness?

The London School of Economics and Political Science has a great piece on this topic.

  • They open by discussing the old adage that you ‘work hard, become successful, then you’ll be happy’. However, they go on to discuss multiple studies that suggest the opposite is true.
  • They conclude that ‘taken together, the hundreds of studies we reviewed…provide strong support for our hypothesis that happiness precedes and often leads to career success’.
  • Forbes also supports this notion, stating that ‘Neuroscience and studies of positive psychology prove that happiness is a key driver and precursor of success, with two decades of research backing this up’.

So, whether you’re at risk of becoming a pushy parent, think your parent steered you towards your career, or you’re just trying to work out the best job for you, it’s time to start asking what will make you and/or your children happiest!

Visit our jobs page for the latest openings.