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.

Timing matters in recruitment!

Further proof that timing matters to job-seekers, right from the application stage through to interview feedback. A must-read for candidates and companies alike…

We’ve all heard it said often enough, time is our most precious commodity. The job searching process can take up a lot of time. Especially if you’re trying to go it alone in your search, you’re hunting in a competitive industry, applying for specialist roles, and/or you’re not quite looking in the right places. We’ll come back to this point shortly!

Meanwhile, we wanted to share two news items on the subject of recruitment timing.

Timing matters: at job application stage

Almost 3/4 of candidates are said to walk away from a job application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. This is according to large-scale research, as reported by HR Magazine.

The article cites ‘lengthy processes’ and ‘too many requirements’ as the primary factors that cause applicants to abandon ship.

There are several ways to look at these findings. Firstly, too many organisations are putting barriers in place that may drive job-seekers away. Not the wisest move when the nation is facing an ongoing skills shortage! Yet it could also be said that few candidates would abandon an application if they were truly drawn to the job in question. In other words, perhaps it’s only driving away those who aren’t overly interested in the first place.

As with many studies of this nature, the reality likely lies somewhere between the two.

Advice for candidates:

  • Before you walk away from a longer job application, take a moment to consider your true level of interest. If 73% of people will tend to abandon that process, there are likely to be fewer applications than for the average job. This gives you more chance of standing out. It can also demonstrate determination and dedication. Still, if you’re not drawn to apply, you can invest your time in other more interesting applications.
  • Let’s return to the point of whether you’re looking ‘in the right places’/for the right roles. If you keep applying for positions because they’re the only positions you’re really finding, or you just feel you might as well, then you may want to read these job hunting tips. They’re designed to help you invest your job search time in the most rewarding places.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Where possible or appropriate, divide lengthier job applications into stages. Meaning only candidates already shortlisted as potentially suitable have to enter into any extended (time-consuming!) processes. A CV and cover letter commonly still makes for the best initial shortlisting tool.
  • In addition, find a recruitment agency who specialises in your field. This allows you to tap into all of an agency’s candidate attraction tools. This usually includes their own online job application systems, as well as the use of any external jobs boards. It also allows you to utilise their expertise in candidate screening and selection. The REC Member Directory is a great place to start.

Timing matters: when it comes to interview feedback and job offers!

Yes, it’s not only in the job search phase that timing matters. 1/3 of job-seekers have also accepted their second preference role due to timing. Only, in this case, it’s due to ‘delayed interview feedback’.

This separate study, shared by HR News, also found that job applicants who’ve had delayed (or absent!) interview feedback may share their negative experiences with others, and could even cancel any services they hold with the company.

The South-West was the second slowest feedback region (after Scotland). Interviewers take an average of 29 days to provide interview feedback in the South-West, which is almost two weeks longer than the South-East region. Regional and sector differences have been illustrated on this map.

Advice for candidates:

  • If you’re working with a recruitment agency, your consultant will keep in touch with the recruiting client and obtain any interview feedback on your behalf. While some clients will still have an extended decision-making process, this will increase your chances of knowing where you stand sooner. It’s never recommended to contact the client directly without prior permission from the consultant, as it can undermine the agency’s approach. Should you wish to drop a thank you for your interview, or have any questions, simply contact your consultant. Remember, they will also be rooting for you so will be trying their best to keep you up-to-date!
  • When making direct applications, you may wish to drop a thank you to the organisation and/or contact the company to seek feedback. The Balance Careers has shared some advice on doing this in a professional manner.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Don’t want to lose out on an excellent candidate? Keep them in the loop and don’t forget that your consultant is there to help and discuss your options! Update your consultant on your decision-making process and allow them to take all the work out of feeding back to the candidate. Even if your update is simply to say decisions will be made on ‘X’ date, this is helpful to hear.
  • See what you can do to shave off some of the decision-making time. Just an extra day can make all the difference to an applicant who is considering several vacancies. Especially if the applicant is currently unemployed and cannot afford to wait when another great offer is presented.
  • Sometimes it helps to introduce a final round of interviews, allowing you to make a decision between two closely matched candidates. These can also be used to introduce applicants to another interviewer.

Ready to recruit? Call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130. 

Job-seekers missing out!

Are you one of the many job-seekers missing out on career opportunities because of misunderstanding the skills required?

HR News reports that more than 1/3 of candidates have not made a job application due to not understanding the skills required for the advertised role.

An additional 46% say they struggle to identify which skills they should be honing in on throughout their recruitment approach. Right from their initial job applications to interview day.

8% don’t even know where to start (or wouldn’t make any effort whatsoever!) when considering the skills described in job ads.

It’s not only job-seekers missing out…

Employers are also potentially suffering as a result of this. After all, a fantastic candidate may not apply for a role that they would be more than suitable for, if only they could see that they were!

So, who’s responsible for this problem? Both parties have an opportunity to resolve it.

Job-seeking candidates:

We discuss how important this issue is in Day 4 of these job hunting tips. We also introduce you to a simple process to help get you started. If there are skills or phrases that you’re unsure about, why not research them before dismissing the vacancy entirely? Ask a trusted friend, Google the expression, and/or check with your Recruitment Consultant.

Furthermore, don’t shy away from making an application if you almost tick all the requirements. Perhaps there’s a computer program discussed that you’ve not used, yet you’ve worked with a competitor product. Why not highlight your success with this product, make sure you note how it relates to the advertised package, and promote how quickly you are able to adapt to new systems?  The same approach can also be applied to less tangible skills and experiences.

This isn’t to say you should apply for any old job you see! If you don’t understand most or any of the items discussed in the ad, it’s likely that you’re yet to gain the experience required (see Day 5 of these tips). Saving your time by not applying for these jobs presents you with more time to invest in the ads that you most closely match.

Recruiting businesses:

Are your job specs bursting with unnecessary jargon? Are your skills descriptions too vague, flowery or obscure for ‘outsiders’ to decipher?! And/or are you advertising nice-to-have skills as absolute musts?

If you respond ‘yes’ to any of the aforementioned, you may be missing out on some excellent candidates. Take another look at your job ads and see how you can tidy them up.

It’s not always easy to promote a job opportunity when you’re on the inside looking out. Why not consult with a trusted recruitment agency in your field to enhance your staff attraction offering? The Recruitment & Employment Confederation has a handy Member directory to make this process easier.

Call the office today on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.

Skills of the future: do you have them?

Do you have the career skills of the future? For that matter, do you have the skills you need right now?

70% of employees lack both, according to research by Gartner.

In a report published by Personnel Today, concerns primarily centre around an inability to keep up with the pace of digital development. Development considered essential for continued business progression.

The article does not explore specific skills (we discuss these below!). Yet businesses are more generally advised to ‘determine the skills their market and clients are calling for’ before finding ways to meet these.

They also break the process down into three core stages.

Skills of the future: what job-seekers should look to develop

Prefer to dig into some specifics?

  • These are the 9 most important career skills of the future, according to the World Economic Forum. This link is also an essential read for anyone considering how to better promote their existing skills.
  • Empathy has separately been singled out as a valuable asset. In fact, we’re apparently already living through the ‘Empathy Economy’, a business era characterised by the strength of this uniquely human trait.
  • You may recall that the ability to continually ‘reskill’ could also take you from 3 possible career paths to your choice of 48.

Companies are already paying more to source skilled employees

We recently shared a brief mention of this feature when discussing the REC’s September jobs report. However, it feels fitting to raise this point again.

With unemployment levels notably low, businesses are struggling to find the right candidates to fill their vacancies. This is pushing companies to increase their starting salaries to attract candidates with the appropriate skill-set.

If you’re a job-seeker struggling to find work, are you doing enough to highlight the skills that you have? Are you even applying to the right people in the first place? You may benefit from a more focused strategy.

Businesses have so many opportunities to create an appealing staff attraction approach. For some expert employee attraction and recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Overqualified at work? You’re not alone!

Are you overqualified for your current job? A government survey suggests that this statement may now apply to 2.5 million UK employees. That’s 8.7% of the national workforce!

The latest ‘UK Employer Skills Survey’ finds…

Which skills remain most required?

  • ‘Task prioritisation’ and ‘time management’ abilities remain most-in demand, contributing towards 59% of skills gaps, according to People Management.
  • The need for advanced or specialist IT abilities has fallen by 8% points between 2015 and 2017.
  • It’s reported that 76% of skills gap needs are ‘transient’ and will be resolved over longer-term employment and the completion of staff training.
  • That said, poor motivation (32%), lack of performance improvement (31%) and lack of required training (25%) are each contributing factors.

A note for your CV…

  • Take advantage of these new findings and ensure to demonstrate your prioritisation and time management abilities on your CV. ‘Demonstrate’ is the key word here! Don’t just write these skills down as filler words. Instead, find fitting examples to show how you’ve utilised these abilities within your recent roles. Illustrate this with stats, achievements and/or results wherever possible.

A word for businesses on managing overqualified employees:

  • These research findings call to mind an earlier post on the reasons that so many workers ‘shut off their minds’ in order to survive each working week. Noticed any team members that not being used to their full potential? Watch out for these people – and then find ways to challenge them with new projects and responsibilities.
  • If you’re unsure how their skills could be utilised, why not ask? These employees are such a great asset to your future business growth. Learning to spot talent opportunities within your existing team is also another simple way to enhance your staff retention rates.

Permanent staff shortage & increasing demand!

The UK is predicting an increased permanent staff shortage, says the REC.

July’s REC JobsOutlook has just been released and, as ever, houses some illuminating stats…

Permanent staff shortage:

  • 50% of UK businesses expect to face a shortfall in permanent staff. In other words, there is national concern regarding a ‘shortage of appropriate candidates’.
  • 72% of employers are concerned about the ‘sufficient availability of agency workers,’ which is more than double the number of companies reporting the same in 2017.
  • Businesses are, however, highly satisfied by recruitment agency offerings. 83% of companies are pleased with their agency’s candidate pool.

Increasing recruitment demand:

  • Short- and medium-term projections see an increased intention to recruit temporary staff.
  • Almost 1/4 plan to increase their permanent employee numbers within the next three months.
  • Of those looking to increase their permanent headcount, medium businesses show the most growth versus the last survey period.
  • 76% of companies need to recruit new staff members in order to take on any additional business demand.

Partnering with recruitment agencies:

  • 45% of employers now use recruitment agencies to hire their permanent employees.
  • 53% utilise this channel for their temporary staff recruitment.
  • Interestingly, both figures have increased since 2017 (by 2% and 10% respectively).
  • It is the quality of service that matters most to the majority of businesses
  • (76%). Furthermore, 75% of employers are looking for management information from their recruitment agency.

The top reasons to recruit temps include…

  • To provide short-term access to key strategic skills (joint first: 63%).
  • Covering annual leave or staff absences (joint first: 63%).
  • To meet demand peaks (58%).
  • Responding to ‘fast-changing organisational requirements’ (56%).
  • As a cost-saving recruitment strategy (55%).

So how do we overcome the permanent staff shortage? 

The advice from last year’s Skills Shortage article very much still applies – whether you’re reading this as an employer or prospective employee.

[Source: REC July 2018]

Over on the Appoint LinkedIn!

Did you know that the Appoint LinkedIn page also houses exclusive content?

As you know, we use the main Appoint news page to update you on the latest recruitment and business happenings. That’s whether you’re reading the news as a job hunter or manager/employer. In fact, you’ll find many articles detail specific advice for all parties.

Alongside this, and as an extension of our recruitment news, we also have active social media feeds. Feeds which are regularly updated with exclusive content alongside new job alerts.

Recent examples on the Appoint LinkedIn page include…

  1. How not to irritate your work colleagues. A roundup of the 10 things that most irritate British workers, according to HR News and EBuyer!
  2. Over 2 in 3 candidates have declined their dream job. Why this is and what businesses can do about it.
  3. Take action this spring. There’s still time to use the season to your advantage – just as Success Magazine recommends!
  4. Oldest, middle or youngest child? How your birth order affects your career choice. Or so says the Independent.
  5. The 15 sentences your interviewer does not want to hear. Also including an extra link to support their advice!
  6. 19 successful people who made big career changes post-30. Because new careers aren’t reserved only for school leavers. There are so many possibilities post-30 and far beyond!
  7. How to shrink your stress levels without hurting your salary, via HR News’s quick-fire guidance.
  8. Will you be one of the 6 million people working into their 80s? With findings from the ‘working late’ report.
  9. Whether working when sick is our unhealthiest national obsession. A topic discussed fresh after winter, yet one that’s still making regular news headlines this spring.
  10. Is your job costing you more than £1.5K a year? Why this might be and the costs that most frustrate workers.

Please note: you may need to sign into your LinkedIn feed to access the above links. Don’t forget to follow the Appoint LinkedIn page so you receive all future updates directly to your feed.

Do let us know if there’s a particular topic you’d like to read more about. You can also share your thoughts and access more exclusive content via Twitter.

New starter advice: for employees & managers

New starter advice for managers and employees…

Poor onboarding (or failing to create a positive new starter experience) is more of a problem than you might think. In fact, it’s said to be costing our national economy millions of pounds.

So where are things going so wrong?

This problem is far from a UK-only issue. Research conducted on 9,000 job-seekers from 11 countries; spanning four continents highlights just how vital the early job experience is to staff retention.

  • 91% of respondents (and remember that’s from 9,000 people!) would be open to leaving a role within the first month.
  • 93% would be willing to do so within their probation period.

And as for why, the reasons stated include:

  1. ‘Poor management’ (44%)
  2. The disparity between an advertised job and the realities of the role (44%)
  3. A ‘mismatch with corporate culture’ (38%)
  4. Poor onboarding efforts (36%)
  5. An alternative job offer (23%)

How to overcome a poor new starter experience…

As the new employee:

  • Firstly, make sure you’re doing all that you can to get the most out of your early experience. You’ll find a dedicated new starter advice PDF on our Downloads page (top right!).
  • Sometimes our nerves and the weight of our expectations can cloud our perceptions of the role itself. Focusing on our individual performance and seeing how we can achieve our early job aims can help to direct our focus of attention. Plus, if you do decide to leave the role, you know that you’ve at least put the effort in on your side!
  • In addition, be sure to communicate your concerns to your recruitment consultant. They may be better placed to suss out any issues that are affecting your onboarding experience. For instance, if the team are facing additional challenges that are diverting their time and resources.
  • They may additionally be able to obtain insights into any disparities that you have encountered. And, where appropriate, they may be able to discuss the alternative job offer that you’ve received.
  • If you’re certain that you cannot remain within the company, there’s all the more reason to have a chat with your consultant to ensure that you depart in a professional manner.

As the employer:

  • Many of the reasons for leaving can also fall under the umbrella of poor onboarding efforts, or reason 4. For instance, the failure to assign your new starter a manager/dedicated point of contact; not providing early access to this contact, and a lack of discussion regarding the company culture/efforts to ascertain the employee’s expectations regarding this. The good news? All onboarding elements can be overcome!
  • We have a separate tips post at the ready for you (scroll to the final section).
  • We’d recommend incorporating these tips into a prevention strategy. Effectively onboarding each new starter should be an integral part of all future recruitment efforts. For further advice on staff attraction, onboarding and retention, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Small businesses face recruitment challenges

Are small businesses really facing extra challenges when recruiting new staff?

A vast 81% of small business leaders believe their recruitment challenges are greater than those faced by their larger business counterparts, according to a report in HR News.

This research specifically relates to companies employing fewer than 10 people, also known as ‘micro-businesses’.

What the stats tell us

  • 34% of companies are finding it hard to source suitable candidates.
  • 42% feel frustrated when they can’t find someone suitable within a month.
  • 59% attribute these challenges to a ‘perceived lack of job security.’
  • 49% believe it’s down to a lack of brand recognition.

Other reasons reported by HR News range from a perceived lack of career progression opportunities to workplace benefits. You’ll find more stats in the article.

It’s all a matter of perception

The research was conducted by Indeed. Commenting on the findings, the company’s UK Managing Director highlighted the need to address misconceptions surrounding the benefits (or rather the perceived pitfalls!) of working for small businesses.

It’s also interesting to consider the companies’ own perceptions. After all, this is qualitative data. Meaning the companies are sharing their opinions on the challenges faced and any potential causes, rather than statistical evidence.

A note for small businesses…

The above isn’t to say that small businesses are not facing unique recruitment challenges. However, larger businesses (even those with household names and HR teams!) still face their own recruitment struggles.

Back in the Autumn, HR News shared some interesting comparative stats. In these, smaller companies report a greater challenge in finding people with the right skills and experience, alongside a lack of applications. The larger companies also shared struggles of this nature, albeit not to the same degree.

However, it’s big businesses that are almost a quarter more likely to face direct ‘competition over applicants’, in which they are essentially outbid by competitors.

What this means for your company

Many of these challenges can be overcome with a considered recruitment approach. Sometimes it’s about knowing where to search for candidates, how to approach prospective employees, and better share the benefits of working for your brand. Our recruitment consultants have had many years of experience doing this. We’d be delighted to offer some support: 01225 313130.

As for local job-seekers…

Most UK businesses actually fall into the SME category, employing anywhere from 1 to 249 people. Bath certainly has a strong SME business culture; one that has weathered many business storms!

Small businesses are often incredibly exciting to work for as you can have such a hands-on role in the growth and development of the company. Alongside the connections that you can foster within your team as you develop together. They also offer a variety of other unique benefits, which is why almost half of millennials say this represents their ideal employer size.

We say have a good read of each job spec, ask your recruitment consultant any questions you may have, and review the positives of working for businesses of all sizes!