The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current. 



GDPR: are you unknowingly breaching the law?

What does GDPR mean to you? Perhaps you thought your role in it all ended when you received your last ‘we don’t want to see you go, please stay on our mailing list’ request last summer. Well, you could be unknowingly (and regularly!) breaching this legislation in and out of work…

How employees risk breaching GDPR legislation…

What’s the issue here?

GDPR requires personal data to be secure at all times. Personal data refers to all ‘information about a particular living individual. It doesn’t even need to appear especially private in nature; if someone accessing the data could identify its subject then you are most definitely dealing with personal data.

For this reason, it’s suggested that pseudonyms and encryption, and other such measures, are used to secure all personal data.

Transferring data to phones and laptops, which can easily be lost or stolen, and email accounts and apps, which could be hacked or accessed by third parties, increases your risk of a data breach.

It’s not just employees overlooking GDPR. The Independent reports that many small businesses remain ‘clueless’ about the legislation.

Could you be dismissed for breaching GDPR?

Serious breaches could indeed lead to dismissal; your employer’s disciplinary procedures may state this.

GDPR requires more serious breaches to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’). The ICO has a helpline which will guide you through the necessary measures to ensure the data breach is contained.

This isn’t to say that every breach must be reported to the ICO. Rather, it’s those that are higher risk.

What to do next…

  • Stop using personal accounts and tools to deal with work communications and/or data! If your employer is actually asking you to use these, direct them to the above links to ensure they are aware of the data breach risks.
  • Consult your employer’s GDPR guidelines and training materials.
  • Speak to your HR team or a manager if you have any additional concerns.
  • Visit the ACAS and ICO websites for legal information regarding GDPR.
  • Any employers would be wise to provide adequate training to all team members. Both to ensure you’re being responsible and to support your ‘learning culture’.


Is voicemail dying in recruitment? Advice included!

Why you might want to rethink your attitude towards voicemail when it comes to your job search…

It’s great that there are so many ways to get in touch with recruitment agencies and prospective employers these days. This may be via social media, email, a text, or call. However, research suggests that one method of contact might be dying out. Yes, the title gives this one away, it’s the voicemail!

According to the research (published by HR News):

  • Only 20% of respondents choose to leave a voicemail if they can’t reach their contact by phone.
  • There’s a distinct age divide: middle-aged and older people are far more likely to both listen to and leave voicemails promptly versus their younger counterparts.

What stops people from leaving a voicemail?

  • The primary reason (22%) for not leaving voicemails is that people don’t like to receive them themselves! In other words, they’re trying to do the prospective recipient a favour of sorts. This was closely followed by:
  • The fear of making a mistake that they can’t delete (21%),
  • A belief that it won’t even be listened to (17%),
  • Disliking their own voice (17%),
  • And embarrassment that they’re not speaking directly to someone (15%).

The article also cites a number of reasons that people dislike receiving voicemails.

Advice for job-seekers…

Perhaps it is the case that voicemails are a dying breed of communication. However, whatever your viewpoint, you’d still be wise to brave them for the good of your job search for now!

You never know which HR manager, employer or recruitment consultant might be calling you – nor for that matter their preferred method of contact.

It’s savvy to make sure you’re as accessible as possible and you’re actively listening to and responding to any form of communication regarding your job applications. After all, you don’t want to miss an urgent interview invite or temp assignment. You certainly don’t want to be that one candidate who is always super tricky to get hold of.

Alongside this, leaving voicemails yourself where appropriate allows you the opportunity to impress an employer with your professionalism. Our advice?

  1. If you’re nervous about leaving a message, be proactive. Before you even pick up the phone, jot down a few points that you’d say. Say them aloud to yourself if needed.
  2. Always state your name and number clearly and slowly, repeating any details as appropriate.
  3. If you make a mistake, most voicemails offer the facility to re-record the message. If not, apologise for the confusion and move on…just as you would in regular conversation. Remember, the recipient is also human!

What to do if your voicemails don’t work:

Don’t leave this to guesswork! Make sure that your contact knows in advance that this is the case and ensure you provide alternative routes to reach you.

Additionally, always respond in as timely a fashion as you can. If you’ve asked for emails or texts, be sure to monitor them.

The more proactive you are, and the more you use your initiative, the more points you stack up against your job-seeking competitors!

Looking to contact a recruitment agency for the first time by email? Here’s what to include in your cover message



Ghosting in recruitment

Why ghosting may be a growing recruitment issue – and why you really want to avoid being a part of it!

Mostly, ‘ghosting’ refers to dating. It describes the act of ending a personal relationship suddenly and without any explanation…or further communication whatsoever!

This cultural phenomenon actually entered the Urban Dictionary back in 2007 and is now regularly discussed online.

The act of ghosting is also increasingly being discussed in relation to both recruitment and employment.

How candidates are ghosting employers:

In this case, a growing number of job-seekers are failing to get in touch to explain that they will not be attending job interviews or their first day of work. Some are even using this practice to leave their jobs!

Why is this phenomenon growing?

Sources suggest that there are a few factors at play here. Firstly, the fact the ongoing skills shortage has created what’s known as a ‘candidate-driven market‘. As the name implies, this is when there are more jobs than there are appropriate applicants to fill them. In such periods, applicants can enjoy a greater sense of choice and may feel less pressure to impress each prospective employer. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

The digital nature of many recruitment processes could also be facilitating this problem. Candidates who have had little if any real-life contact with prospective employers might perceive ghosting to be a more ‘acceptable’ practice.

Applicants who have already experienced or used ghosting in other areas of their life may additionally feel that it is normal.

Why you really want to think twice about ghosting prospective employers…

The employment market will not always be candidate-driven. Throughout our many years in recruitment, we have also observed lengthy employer-driven periods. During such times, candidates compete against vast quantities of applicants and must stand out to succeed.

Your reputation really is your currency. Prospective employers and recruiters are looking for candidates that they can trust. It’s far better to get in touch and explain you’ve had an alternative offer, or that your plans have changed than to simply disappear. This shows that you respect everyone’s time and all efforts invested in you to date.

Employers, managers and recruitment consultants may also move around. The person you ghost at one company that you don’t care so much about may very well become the person recruiting for a role that you truly want.

Keep those doors open – those five minutes needed to pick up the phone or tap up an email could make all the difference to your future career!

Are you the sort of candidate who always wants to make a good impression? Here are the latest jobs that we’re recruiting for! You can also register your CV via the website.  



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.



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.