What employees want & need in 2019

Do you know what most employees want from their employers?

It’s always interesting to see how your daily hopes differ from those of your colleagues. Of course, if you’re the employer it also becomes rather beneficial to know those factors that could be getting your team down.

Sometimes, the least expected concerns may be those that top the list. This could be said for the leading ‘want’ in Viking’s data, compiled from nearly 14,000 respondents…

What most employees want:

  1. Greater information regarding the possible health implications of their daily ‘display screen equipment’ use and sedentary working ways.
  2. Increased mental health and work stress support.
  3. Mental health training for all managers.
  4. Remote working opportunities.
  5. Protected lunch breaks…so employees actually get to take them.
  6. A four-day working week; working longer days Monday to Thursday to accommodate this.
  7. More artwork throughout the office space – to lift moods and reduce stress.
  8. Guidance on social media policies.
  9. Efforts to reduce ‘annoying office habits’.
  10. And for employers not to ban social media use (believing that this would actually hinder productivity).

It’s well worth reading the full article on HR News to see all the supporting stats. Alongside those irritating office habits that make 41% of people want to leave their jobs!

Elsewhere, employers are reminded of another specific need…

HR Magazine has a thought-provoking post regarding the impact of fertility issues on employees. A conversation that is rarely discussed in HR and recruitment media.

The feature highlights the emotional challenges experienced, as well as the logistical problems posed by treatment appointments and medication needs.

It also provides some well-informed suggestions for employers and HR professionals.

Now, what do you really want or need from your job?

This is a fantastic question to ask yourself at the start of a New Year. What would make your Monday mornings brighter in 2019? Do you look forward to a new challenge or setting? Have you outgrown your existing role and/or do your skills exceed your salary?

If the answer is ‘yes’, you’ll want to keep a close eye on our news and jobs!



FAQ: understanding your payslip & tax code!

Wish you understood your payslip and tax code? You’re far from alone! Here’s a helpful guide complete with links to make sure you’re earning what you should be…

If you’re an Appoint temp, you’ll receive your payslips directly from us. Payslips are issued on a weekly basis (and are sent the week after you last worked).

Essentially, each payslip details…

  1. Your earnings prior to all legal deductions. This is your ‘gross pay’.
  2. A breakdown of all deductions made. This includes your tax and National Insurance contributions, alongside any Student Loan repayments and similar. See a deduction that you don’t recognise on your slip? The Gov.uk website details the deductions that may be processed by your employer.
  3. Your total earnings after deductions. This is your ‘net pay’.

How much tax should you be paying?

Money Saving Expert has a handy calculator to help you estimate how much tax you should be paying…

  • Don’t forget to check the ‘Use Advanced Options’ box to obtain a more accurate result. This will enable you to enter your Tax Code and state whether you have any student loan repayments to make, etc.
  • The results are then detailed in a summary box, which rounds up your annual income, plus tax and National Insurance totals.
  • Rather more helpfully, you’ll also receive a more detailed breakdown. This includes your gross (pre-tax) wage, how much of your wage is taxable, how much tax should be paid, your tax-free allowance, and National Insurance contributions, and similar. You will see results listed by year, month and week.

Please note: Money Saving Expert advises you to check your Tax Code to ensure your results are more accurate. So, let’s take a look at this next…

Are you on the right tax code?

Your tax code will vary by your personal circumstances.

Other useful tools!

Looked at the above and still have questions? You may find the following links handy…

  • The Income Tax calculator from gov.uk. This is the most accurate way to calculate your Income Tax for the current tax year. However, unlike the Money Saving Expert link above, you’ll have to sign in to access the service.
  • All contact details for gov.uk Income Tax general enquiries. You can use these contact details to check your tax code, seek information on the details HMRC holds regarding your employment, and to obtain an estimation of the tax you owe. Such a great help if you’re struggling with either of the online calculators!

We hope these links help and you feel much more confident the next time you look at your payslip! If you’re temping for Appoint and have any additional questions, please get in touch



Using the 80-20 principle in your job search!

How to apply the 80-20 principle to your job search…

Happy New Year to you all! Perhaps you’re simply catching up on some careers and recruitment news after the festive break, or maybe January has inspired you to launch a fresh new job search. Whatever brings you here today, this post endeavours to save you some time…

We’ll explore a rule of thumb that you can apply to all aspects of your work. Including your efforts to secure that new role.

Introducing the 80-20 principle…

This popular business concept is more formally known as the ‘Pareto Principle’. Which just so happens to be named after its founder, Vilfredo Pareto – a notable economist and philosopher.

Forbes provides an excellent explanation of the 80-20 principle. However, let’s get straight to the core finding: 80% of the results you generate at work (and in your job search) will come from just 20% of your total efforts.

Let’s imagine you spend 100 hours (just over 4 days) searching, applying and interviewing for new roles. The average person would undertake 80 hours (3.33 full days) of action without achieving many results. It would be the 20 hours of work (less than one full day’s efforts) that would provide 80% of the pay-off.

How accurate is this?

This is a rule of thumb. So, it may be that just 15% of your hard work gleans the most results or it may be that it takes a spot more effort on some occasions. However, it does appear to broadly apply across life and business.

As for the 100 hours to find a job part, this is just an example. It’s incredibly challenging to predict how long it takes to find a job due to the number of variables – for some people it takes only a matter of hours or days, for others it’s a far longer process.

The Pareto Principle also appears to apply to the choices we regularly make. We tend to pick the same 20% of options 80% of the time. So that’s the same few lunch options on regular rotation, the same tasks we’ll select from our daily/weekly lists, and the few outfits we’ll most often pick from our wardrobes.

So how does this knowledge benefit your job search?

The trick is in the application of the 80-20 principle. Rather than throwing all of your waking hours at your job search, invest your time where it will truly count. For instance…

  • Identifying your core search requirements before you get started vs. applying for every interesting vacancy you spot and then later realising they’re not right for you anyway.
  • Ensuring you’re contacting recruitment agencies who definitely recruit for your target roles/industry.
  • Generally doing your research at every stage – from thoroughly reading job specs (vital for CV writing) to interview preps.
  • Making sure your CV clearly demonstrates your suitability for each job; even when skimming.

You won’t always know which job vacancies will generate interview offers. After all, you’ll rarely know who you’re up against or exactly what the employer is searching for. But you can still save yourself a lot of wasted time.

Eager to get started? You’ll find our jobs vacancies listed here.



UK faces employee performance crisis

If you take a look back over the past 12 months, how would you rate your employee performance? Are you giving your job your all, or do you know that you’re contributing far from your best?

The nation may be facing an employee performance crisis, with more than 1/4 of people knowingly underperforming at work. This particular stat comes from research conducted on more than 15,000 European and UK workers (as discussed by People Management).

Findings also reveal:

  • 1/3 of people do not feel stimulated by their job.
  • 2/5 additionally don’t believe they’re undertaking ‘meaningful’ tasks at work.
  • The UK is also falling behind the rest of Europe, where only 1/5 of employees believe they’re underperforming.

Why are employee performance levels so poor?

In addition to craving more meaningful roles, it appears that a lack of ongoing skills development may lead people to feel dissatisfied and rest on their laurels. Advanced IT training (61%) and problem-solving skills coaching (35%) are both cited as possible motivating factors to increase job satisfaction.

Of course, the individual motivators will vary by business and team. Which is why employers are also encouraged to get to the root of productivity problems within their own companies. Further advice is given in the piece.

Are professionals dreaming of other jobs?

These stats also call to mind a story shared by The Independent. There, we hear that 90% of people are not currently working in their dream job. What’s more…

  • 2/3 of employees don’t think they would be successful in achieving their ideal role.
  • Millennials represented the most optimistic survey group, with 64% thinking they could secure it within about six years.
  • The women most want to be authors (replacing the teachers of previous studies), while men hope to be ‘entrepreneurs’ (in lieu of their prior footballing aspirations).
  • People are most discouraged by a ‘fear of failure’ and/or lack of financial buffer.
  • Some simply do not know how they’d break into their target industry. Others are waiting for a different time in their life to attempt it, such as after becoming parents.

What these findings mean for you

Know that your own employee performance levels are lacking? It’s time to ask yourself why! Do you crave the chance to do a spot of training and update your skills? Are you feeling ready to leap into that long-imagined career (the one that always features in your party chat!)? There’s a good chance that you sit somewhere in-between and feel ready for that next step in your career.

If this is the case, it’s a great time to start looking at what’s out there. Employers are urgently seeking fresh skills for a variety of fantastic opportunities. You’ll find the latest jobs listed here.

To discuss your recruitment needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.



What the average working day looks like

Does your average working day reflect the national norm?

Read any business interview and you’re likely to hear that ‘every day is different.’ While largely true, it appears that there are some common working patterns.

The average working day in Britain now features: 

  • 8.5 hours spent working and commuting (Accounting for 35% of each working day. This equates to a 37-hour working week. Our commutes also happen to be the longest in all of Europe, averaging an hour per day).
  • Sleeping (28% of each working day…but of course, we’re now out of office hours!).
  • Leisure or personal activities (24%).
  • Unpaid work and ‘miscellaneous tasks’ (12.5%).

These stats were reported by HR News. Almost 1/2 the national workforce additionally undertakes some work en route to the office or while on their way home.

What type of unpaid work and miscellaneous tasks are people doing?

This section refers to everyday tasks or chores, including cooking, housework and caring responsibilities.

  • The average man spends 2.3 hours a day on unpaid tasks, with women contributing 3.6 daily hours. This creates a collective average of 2.9 hours.

There’s also a gender disparity when it comes to the value of work being undertaken during this time. Women’s out-of-office tasks are said to comprise higher value activities.

How do people spend their leisure time?

It appears that the nation is favouring solitary activities – and it’s suggested that this may be in response to our high-tech and ‘interconnected’ lifestyles.

  • Watching TV, listening to music and reading currently top the list of leisure activities.
  • Men are more likely to opt for watching TV or films, whereas women are likelier to pick a meal out with friends or indulge in a relaxing hobby, according to this particular study pool.

And are we getting enough sleep?

Even though it’s the second item on the average working day list, the answer is ‘no.’ What’s more, it’s this topic that is perhaps of greatest interest to the study’s authors – Mattress Online!

  • The most popular time to go to bed is between 11pm-12pm.
  • Men are more likely to go to bed sooner, selecting 10-11pm. Whereas women are more inclined to choose somewhere between 12-1am.
  • The British average is 6.8 hours of sleep, just shy of the recommended 7-9 hours.

So, how closely do you match the average? Let us know by TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Want to boost your workplace wellbeing levels? Head straight to our last post!



Workplace wellbeing: 4 ways to improve yours

How to improve your workplace wellbeing – whether you’re an employer, manager or employee…

There are multiple motivations for companies to increase their workplace wellbeing efforts. For many company owners, the productivity benefits will be of paramount importance. Yet it also provides yet another competitive advantage at a time when great job-seeking candidates prove more challenging to find!

Of course, if you’re reading this from an individual perspective you’ll need little convincing as to why it would be helpful for you to feel less stressed, more supported, and all-around healthier throughout your working weeks. With this in mind, let’s look at…

4 ways to increase your workplace wellbeing, according to recent news reports:

1. Use your lunch breaks!

Source: HR News

This topic crops up time and time again, which is why it’s less of a surprise to hear that British workers are giving up 19 million hours worth of lunch breaks per day!

10% of professionals are grabbing lunch at their desk on a daily basis and 22% will give themselves less than 10 minutes for lunch.

However, legally, all employees working more than six hours a day should receive 20-minutes of uninterrupted lunch-break. Lunch breaks also provide all sorts of health boosts – from lifting your mood to reducing stress and increasing your concentration.

  • Managers/employers: here’s yet another message to make sure all bosses are honouring this right! If you know your employees are regularly skipping their breaks, you need to act fast.
  • Employees: take your breaks! If there’s a major reason you don’t feel that you can, you should discuss this with your manager or HR contact.

2. Move more often.

Source: HR Review

81% of British office professionals spend somewhere between four and nine hours a day sitting at their desks. This tots up to 67 days per person annually!

Alongside this, few people feel comfortable in the chairs provided and many report daily aches as a result. Although, legally businesses must conduct regular ‘workstation risk assessments’.

Research conducted with ergonomic equipment and sit-stand desks across a four-week period led to increased workplace wellbeing, higher comfort and greater energy levels.

  • Managers/employers: let this be a nudge to conduct those risk assessments and find out how your team is feeling. Explore better desk and chair options. Encourage everyone to take short breaks to get up and move around.
  • Employees: we should all aim to stand up and move at least every half an hour. Even if that’s just to pop up and down a flight of stairs, take something over to a colleague, head to the loo or put the kettle on.

3. Introduce or become a Mental Health First Aider

Source: The Telegraph

About 1 in 6 of us will experience a mental health problem at work at some stage. Full-time working females are twice as likely to encounter something of this nature. That’s a lot of the working population and may contribute up to 12.7% of national sickness absence.

Younger workers can also experience additional challenges, including exam anxiety and social media pressures alongside workplace isolation.

  • Managers/employers: why not introduce a mental health first aid person or team, dependent on the size of your business? Visit Mental Health First Aid England or St. John’s Ambulance for training details and advice.
  • Employees: you could volunteer to be a mental health first aider at work. Share some of the research behind this, alongside some of the training course details and see whether this is of interest to your employer. Here’s a recent advice piece we shared on LinkedIn for workers experiencing anxiety or depression.

4. Watch your environment

Source: HR News

64% of HR professionals believe a poor workplace environment can have a ‘substantial’ impact on employee sickness rates.

Naturally, absenteeism is of national concern as it now amounts to a cost of £18 billion a year. Think it’s always been the case? Well, 59% of people now take more sick leave than they used to a decade ago.

A more positive workplace setting is believed to provide encouragement and a sense of purpose. Great news for workplace wellbeing levels!

  • Managers/employers: this may take a spot of anonymous surveying, but it’s important to find out how your team perceives your workplace. You should also watch out for any hints of staff bullying, chronic negativity and/or low spirits. Also monitor your own actions to make certain you’re leading in a positive manner.
  • Employees: this may feel out of your control, however, you can also start with your own actions. Watch that you’re not using every chat as an opportunity to grumble, say please and thanks to your colleagues and try to respond to new ideas in an open way. Where possible, speak to a trusted manager or HR colleague if you have any concerns regarding the atmosphere for yourself or your colleagues. Of course, sometimes a fresh environment is also the best solution!

Further reading:

Managers looking to do more to increase their workplace wellbeing rates may also be interested to read:

  1. The real reason employees are calling in sick via HR News.
  2. Job insecurities are hurting your employees on People Management.


The working parent: maternity, SPL & the untapped pool

Discussing some of the issues faced by today’s working parent…

Maternity returners are lacking confidence & left unsupported

Less than 1/5 of management-level professionals feel confident about re-entering the workplace after their maternity leave, reports People Management.

What’s more, over 1/3 of this group consider leaving their role due to feeling ‘unsupported and isolated on their return’. 90% additionally say their company provide no formal support or ‘returnship’ focus whatsoever.

The CIPD encourages businesses to provide senior level job-sharing opportunities, alongside increased flexible working, to further support these employees.

Shared parental leave take-up remains incredibly low

Of the 285,000 couples who qualify for shared parental leave (‘SPL’) annually, only 2% take advantage of this opportunity. Why is this and are employers to blame (asks HR Magazine)?

The article cites a variety of possible factors. These include:

  • Mothers not actually wishing to share their leave with their partners
  • Health factors, including the mother’s need to recover from pregnancy or birth
  • The perceived impact on fathers’ careers
  • Cultural values around ‘being the breadwinner’
  • Lack of SPL promotion at work
  • Complex workplace policies

The single working parent: the ‘untapped talent pool’

Single working parents are more likely to be unemployed than any other primary employee group, says HR Review. In fact, their unemployment rate is now two and a half times that of the British average.

Unfortunately, the new-employment rate for the single working parent has actually declined over the past five years.

These stats come from Indeed – and the company is advising businesses to consider the group as a major untapped talent pool. With 845,000 national vacancies to fill, and record national employment rates, they suggest this may be one possible solution to overcoming the skills shortage.

Once again, the notion of increased flexible and remote working is discussed.

They also reference disabled and minority ethnic employees as further talent pools. Positively, national employment rates for both of these groups have increased over the past five years.

Appoint welcomes recruitment enquiries from each of the discussed employee groups, as well as those looking to do more to attract and support them. For initial advice, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us via the bath.info address. Here’s what to include in your cover email as a candidate.



Employers intend to invest in their teams

Two separate surveys highlight employers’ plans to invest in their teams; regardless of their economic expectations…

Survey 1: employers set to invest in new employees

Source: REC

Our first survey actually comes from our accrediting body, the REC. Confidence in the UK economy appears ‘negative’ for its fourth consecutive month. In figure terms, this equates to a survey score of -14.

However, despite this, hiring and investment plans remain positive and have even increased by a percentage point over the past month. Taking this particular score to +16.

  • 48% of businesses looking to hire permanent employees are worried that there will not be enough candidates available (+6%).
  • Likewise, 53% of those hoping to grow their temporary headcount are concerned about sourcing enough skilled staff.
  • The marketing, media and creative sectors are among the most affected by the skills shortage.
  • Overall, the number of companies planning to recruit agency staff within a short-term time frame has increased by 3% since October (to a total score of +19).

Neil Carberry of the REC suggests Brits are displaying their ‘pragmatic best’ in spite of their wider economic concerns – and are set to ‘invest in their own businesses to meet demand’.

These attitudes clearly reflect those of other sources, as recently discussed.

Survey 2: employers will continue to invest in staff benefits

Source: The CIPD via People Management

Looking to the next two years, most businesses (97%) additionally intend to either maintain or increase their employee benefits schemes.

  • 81% plan to spend the same amount.
  • 16% intend to increase their spend in this area.
  • Businesses predominantly wish to focus on professional development benefits (43%), including mentoring and secondments.
  • Health and wellbeing incentives, such as sick pay (29%), follow this.
  • 25% will mainly focus on financial schemes, including pensions and debt-related advice.

Once again, these figures are deemed promising when considering external economic factors.

Charles Cotton from the REC praises businesses for their efforts. He says ‘spending in these areas can help improve employee performance, and ultimately corporate performance.’

The two news items are extremely closely related, with benefits packages also providing valuable staff attraction tools.

Looking to recruit permanent or temporary staff? Call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can apply for new jobs via the website, or upload a CV as a general applicant



Reputation matters to job-seekers

Why any business looking to recruit new team members would be wise to take a good look at their reputation.

Today’s discussion rather neatly follows on from our last post. If you haven’t read it yet, it highlights the importance of job skills in relation to the ongoing skills shortage.

With many stats pointing towards both high staff demand and low application numbers, employers must appraise their staff attraction approach. And this is where brand reputation comes into the conversation…

Never more important than now:

It’s said that a brand’s online rep is more important now than ever before. Alongside the recruitment climate we’ve outlined above (and over the past few articles!), we all clearly possess the digital means to thoroughly investigate our prospective employers. The stats suggest:

  • 70% of people will always research an employer’s reputation before applying for a job.
  • 56% would not go on to make an application if the business had ‘no online presence’. 57% say they would distrust these companies.
  • As for what the candidates are searching for, employee satisfaction and how staff are treated top the priority list.

The power of word of mouth…

It’s not only low job application numbers that employers should be concerned about. Future buying behaviour may also be affected by their recruitment reputation.

Perhaps understandably, candidates who’ve been through an unpleasant recruitment experience are less likely to support that employer’s products or services. What’s more, word of mouth could further harm wider purchasing choices.

  • 69% of candidates would discuss their negative experience with others – 81% would do so through one-to-one conversations and 18% via social media broadcasting.
  • 47% who heard about such a negative encounter from a friend would be less willing to purchase the brand’s offerings.
  • The experiences most likely to influence buying behaviour included poor interview encounters, and ‘lack of transparency’ regarding salaries or job descriptions, alongside non-existent interview feedback.

A reputation for the positive:

Thanks to HR News, we’ve observed the importance of employer reputation and the consequences of a poor recruitment rep. Now, we turn to Recruiting Times and the draw of a positive impact.

Employees feel that working for these companies would increase their individual happiness and productivity. In addition, staff members would be willing to leave roles that didn’t prioritise a positive or meaningful ethos.

How companies can work with recruitment agencies to improve their employer reputations

  • As well as ensuring you have an up-to-date and easily found website, why not provide some extra details that support your employer reputation profile? This could include links to any awards you’ve received (especially those for staff management), links to review sites, and HR provisions you’re proud to offer.
  • If you have had any negative reviews as an employer, it may be worth discussing these with your Consultant. Perhaps it came from previous management and new methods are now in place. Honest conversations can help your Consultant to communicate openly with prospective candidates.
  • Sometimes it helps if candidates can meet with one or a few employees during the interview process. This also proves a useful tool for ascertaining potential team fit.
  • Recruitment consultants can advise on how to best conduct the interview process, support you in creating the most appropriate job descriptions and help provide interview feedback/updates.
  • The above can also include a focus on your impact statements and brand purpose. This must be authentic though, or else an excited applicant could soon become a disgruntled employee!

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.



The job skills special

As ever, we’re keeping a close eye on the job skills news. It’s vital that everyone involved in the recruitment process (candidates, clients and consultants included!) remains aware of the nation’s changing skills needs. Information that becomes all the more vital as the UK skills shortage becomes all the more prolonged…

What exactly is the skills shortage?

Quite simply, it’s the shortfall of suitable applicants for the number of job vacancies that the nation has to fill. It’s an issue that we’ve been discussing for more than 18 months.

The latest job skills news reveals that…

  1. Most businesses (79%) plan to increase their higher-skilled roles within the coming years. However, the majority of employers (66%) worry that they will struggle to find suitably matched employees.
  2. A Barclays LifeSkills survey shows that almost 60% of UK adults ‘lack core transferable’ job skills, including leadership and creativity. Differences are reported among demographic groups.
  3. 2/5 of people are being recruited for roles before discovering they do not have the right ‘soft skills’ required. More than 1/2 of workers have left a role on realising their personality or work style does not suit the position.
  4. SMEs face the worst of the skills shortage, with underperforming recruits costing an annual average of £39,500.

What are the solutions?

According to the reports, changes must be made at a formal education level. All future workers should be equipped with adequate skills for the modern workplace.

Alongside this, employers need to provide continued training opportunities. Therefore enabling existing workers to upskill on the job; aiding staff retention and business growth.

Businesses must also review their recruitment approach to ensure…

  • They are managing to attract enough applicants.
  • Employers also know how to best identify suitable skill-sets.
  • The job offering is additionally appealing enough to compete with those of other (perhaps better known) organisations.
  • Decision-making processes are swift enough to retain interested applicants.
  • While ample onboarding is provided to welcome new staff members.
  • Plus the list really does go on..!

What should you do now?

  • Employers & employees: keep reading articles such as these! We regularly share posts discussing the most sought-after job skills – useful insights whether you’re the one looking to fill these or the businesses competing to attract them!
  • Especially for job-seekers: do all that you can to ensure that you’re searching for the right jobs for you and you’re doing everything possible to highlight your skills. Stop the scattergun approach (i.e. applying for anything and everything regardless of whether it suits your skills and experience!) and make sure your CV clearly matches each job specification you put yourself forward for. Read job adverts as closely as you can – they highlight the most essential skills for each individual role.
  • Especially for businesses: start working through that bulleted list above! Your Recruitment Consultant is the perfect person to call on to support you with this. For tailored recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.