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!

How EQ could enhance your salary!

Why one particular year-old study could inspire you to work on your EQ! 

We recently saw a Guardian career piece pop up as a recommended read. The piece claimed that EQ (AKA ’emotional intelligence’ or ‘EI’) could be ‘the secret to a high salary’.

In order to reach this conclusion, the Amercian study explored students’ emotional intelligence and then tracked their career path over the coming decade. As you can gather from the above, the students with the greatest EI also had higher incomes.

How EQ increases earnings…

Essentially, the salary effect is achieved by understanding how others are feeling and then using this to ‘accurately motivate and influence their behaviour’. Although the idea of influencing others may sound sinister, it can also be highly positive.

The research showed that people with high emotional intelligence make many friends in their work, allowing them to tap into a wider knowledge base, which boosts their performance (and salary!).

It also proved positive from a people management/mentoring perspective, as high EQ workers are more attuned to the needs and feelings of others. Helping employees and mentees feel ‘heard’.

How is emotional intelligence actually defined?

You’ll find a full definition here. Really, it comes down to being self-aware and able to identify and help manage emotions – both your own and those of others.

Wondering how high your EQ is?

There’s no single specific EI test. However, Pyschology Today offers a fairly comprehensive free emotional intelligence test. They predict this takes around 45-minutes to complete. At the end of it, you then receive a percentage score and a brief overview; without so much as entering a name or email address. Anyone wanting to receive a full report with advice can then pay around $10 for it.

This isn’t to say everyone’s onboard with the EI-salary connection…

If you take another look at the original Guardian article, you’ll see it’s received over 90 comments. Many of which are highlighting the successes of people with questionable emotional intelligence levels!

There’s certainly truth in this, however, what’s the harm in working on your own EQ levels? Even if it doesn’t immediately (or ever directly!) increase your income, it offers many benefits.

Forbes discusses some of these.

Further reading for furthering your emotional intelligence!

  1. In a separate Forbes post, they share 5 ways to develop your EQ.
  2. Medium has an interesting question-filled article to help you to work towards a greater score.
  3. Balance also shared 9 useful steps.

One final EQ tip…read more and read differently!

Don’t only read the research and news articles that strike you as immediately relevant to your life. Get in the habit of seeing what’s happening in the world, and what other demographics are saying and feeling.

Recruitment news makes for a perfect example! There are so many studies which highlight what matters most to employees and employers, what professionals fear or strive for, the similarities and differences between different groups, and the steps we can all take to reach our goals. We publish many such stories on our News blog. Why not pick a post that you wouldn’t usually read and spend some time considering the emotions experienced by the news item/study subjects, how you feel throughout, and how you would express yourself in the given situation?

Get in the habit of doing this often and let it extend to the audio and social media that you also consume.

What’s your purpose at work?

How often do you consider the purpose or meaning of your work? The latest career news suggests this topic is growing in importance for many employees. Some of the findings may also surprise…

Far from any career-hopping stereotypes, millennials are looking for meaning:

The first news item that we’d like to discuss today comes from the Independent. For reference, this article classifies millennials as those born from 1980 to 1999.

Using research from education charity Teach First, we’re told:

  • Millennials aren’t really switching and swapping between careers as casually as the media might suggest!
  • More than 1/2 of millennials have actually opted to stay in the same career sector for fear of starting from scratch – or the possibility that a new route ‘will not work out’.
  • Only 19% of respondents would choose a high salary over personal fulfilment.
  • And, right at the crux of today’s conversation, this group is primarily seeking ‘greater meaning’, social impact, and a role that ‘will make a difference to other peoples’ lives’.

Managers would accept a pay cut for a sense of purpose:

Our second news item appeared in HR Review. In a separate survey focusing specifically on managers of unspecified age (so, this may also include some millennial workers), we hear:

  • Over 1/4 of British managers would take a pay cut to join a company with a greater purpose than making a profit.
  • 32% of people would leave their current role if they could not see evidence of this.
  • While 53% would resign if they realised the business’s values didn’t match their own.
  • All companies looking to recruit and retain talent should consider ‘the importance of having a defined company purpose that marries commercial success with social progress’.
  • Purpose-led employees are found to be ‘more positive, more engaged and have greater career confidence’.

In some ways, this shouldn’t surprise…

Purpose is proven to support our mental and physical health.  The sense of purpose lends us all some extra motivation. Including the motivation to stay well enough to hop up on a Monday morning and head to work. It also reduces stress and (rather helpfully!) minimises the risk of premature death.

Is finding a greater sense of meaning or purpose part of that niggle that something’s not right in your work? You may find our FAQ on ‘what next’ for your career a helpful read.

Creating an experimentation culture

UK businesses are sorely lacking when it comes to creating an experimentation culture. This is if the latest RADA in Business findings are anything to go by…

Looking at the stats:

  • 81% of workplaces lack ‘a culture of experimentation’
  • And almost a quarter (24%) are in need of ‘new ideas and fresh thinking’

These findings come from staff spanning 1,000 UK workplaces. Meaning the vast majority of employees feel they have little room to play around with new concepts and solutions.

Within this…

Only about a fifth (21%) of workers believe others want to hear their ideas, and 18% say that even when ideas are shared they tend not to be implemented.

Perhaps more alarmingly, 16% of people say new ideas are treated with ‘suspicion and criticism’, while 15% are actually ‘actively discouraged’ from any innovative action.

However, we know workers want to exercise their creativity!

We have already shared the data to demonstrate the nation’s creative ambition – alongside some ways in which a creative side project can help. We’d also encourage all business owners, HR managers, and team leaders to consider their role in this process.

There’s always a way to make a position more creative. Furthermore, creativity has nothing to do with the sector you’re working within. Rather, it’s about opening up the potential for brainstorming, opinions, idea sharing, free thinking and some trial and (even!) error.

Ideas include:

  • Regular individual and/or team brainstorming sessions – these don’t have to be formal. In fact, it may be better if they’re more relaxed.
  • New channels for ideas to be shared more freely. Encourage team members to show evidence of how and/or why their ideas can be implemented.
  • Ensure suggestions are not dismissed until there is clear evidence as to why they will not work.
  • Anonymous feedback opportunities.
  • ‘Free time slots’ whereby staff can work on any project of their choosing; providing it is directly linked to your goals.
  • Using in-house training and/or mentoring to support with the above.

Time and resource constraints will naturally vary by organisation. However, most businesses can accommodate one monthly brainstorming session. Plus it may just have wonderful consequences when it comes to staff retention, career development plans, and long-term business growth!

Feeling stifled by your organisation?

Often our perceptions can be proved wrong. Why not test the waters and ask whether your leaders may be open to some more brainstorming/ideas sharing? They may not have thought of this yet.

If this fails –or you’re simply ready to invest your ideas in a new setting– you may wish to explore where else your ideas might fit. Visit our jobs page to see who’s looking for skills such as yours.

Candidates competing for lower-skilled vacancies

What does the Labour Market Outlook tell us about the number of candidates competing for each role?

And what is the Labour Market Outlook?

Each quarter the CIPD surveys more than 1,000 employers regarding a host of ‘labour market indicators.’ These include noteworthy facts and stats across recruitment, redundancy and salary levels.

Personnel Today has shared some of the latest findings. Chiefly opening with those relating to the number of candidates competing for roles of certain skill levels.

So, how many candidates are applying for each role?

The figures suggest a median of:

  • 24 applicants per each ‘low-skilled’ job vacancy
  • 19 candidates for each ‘medium-skilled’ role
  • And 8 people per ‘high-skilled’ opening

We must acknowledge that such surveys only take a snapshot of the current job market. After all, there are considerably more UK employers that will not have provided any data.

Nonetheless, this offers a useful gauge for job-seekers. Not only does it demonstrate the sort of competition that you may be up against, it shows why it can sometimes be hard to get a foot in the door initially. That said, these figures should not be cause for concern…

Drawing on the positives:

  • Candidates competing for jobs is by no means a new phenomenon! It is likely that you have unknowingly competed against such numbers before, and if not more. Back in 2014, the Telegraph reported that employers received 39 applications for each graduate job.
  • Often, candidates will apply for roles that they may not meet the application criteria of. This will naturally inflate such figures; such applicants will be of minor competition. Tip: the best Recruitment Consultants will only submit your CV for the roles that you are most suited to. Although this does not guarantee an interview, it certainly lifts your chances (and saves your time!). If you’re not already registered with a recruitment agency in your sector, now is the time to send your CV.
  • We can also use this knowledge to fine-tune our job-seeking approach…

Using the data to your advantage:

Focus your efforts on doing all that you can to stand out as a quality applicant. That way, when your CV sits on a pile of 24 people you’ll be far more likely to be invited for interview.

Some resources that may help include:

  1. Your CV: and what to do BEFORE you Write it: how to ensure your CV sells your best self.
  2. FAQ: Career Change Advice: how to boost your chance of success in a new industry.
  3. What to Take to a Recruitment Agency: how to get your job search off to an effective start.
  4. How to Stay Motivated Throughout your Summer Job Search: your seasonal strategy.

Remember, our news page is regularly updated with insider recruitment advice spanning our many years of experience. Don’t forget to Bookmark and return for all the latest!

Why we’re all taking fewer sick days + the difference this makes

We are taking fewer sick days as a nation. In fact, 70% of us now engage in ‘presenteeism’ (working when we don’t need to and/or shouldn’t).  So, why is this happening and what does it mean for the UK workplace?

First, let’s explore the stats:

What underpins presenteeism? Well, two-fifths of workers are said to be placing company performance ahead of personal wellbeing. In addition, 40% of people fear the workload they face when returning from leave.

Elsewhere, it is suggested that presenteeism may be motivated by the ‘fear of a negative impact on job prospects’. Concerns regarding additional pressures placed on colleagues also dominate.

Such findings are furthermore reflected in the fact ‘National Sickie Day’ and ‘Blue Monday’ no longer appear to exist!

This news appears positive for employers…

However, multiple challenges remain:

  • The anxieties underpinning presenteeism.
  • The impact on productivity and morale.
  • Why employees feel ‘a lack of support, care and advice’ in the case of longer-term absence.
  • Whether employers are taking too much of a ‘crack down’ approach to absence. Therefore, also affecting those with legitimate cause.

Presenteeism is even described as “a genuine threat to overall business performance” by the Medical Director at Aviva Health UK.

In other news, the world is commending one CEO for his attitude to absence:

It all started with an employee’s Out of Office. Here, Madalyn Parker explains she is taking two days’ leave to focus on her mental health.

CEO Ben Congleton’s response is now viral. Congleton states that he will use Parker’s notification “as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health,” continuing with how he “can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organisations.”

Furthermore, Congleton calls Parker “an example to us all,” concluding that she will “help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

Perhaps the international attention will help better shape attitudes towards sickness absence in future? Any positive action is all the more welcome in the wake of our recent piece on workplace happiness.

[Sources in linked order: Stylist, HR Review, HR News and Telegraph]

Workplace happiness low in the UK

Take a quick look at HRnews.co.uk and you’ll see two workplace happiness features have appeared in so many days. Together they house some illuminating statistics…

Workplace happiness: 1 in 4 workers are distinctly unhappy

Today’s article reports that just shy of a quarter (24%) of workers feel unhappy at work. Yet many are not seeking new roles due to concerns regarding their age and a general lack of confidence.

Sadly a vast number of workers (72%) regard their role as a ‘job’ rather than a ‘career.’ It may not surprise to hear that those falling into the career category are almost 20% more satisfied.

Employees perceiving their work to be a ‘job’ also regard this as a ‘means to an end’.

There is little difference between age groups other than the fact younger workers are more likely to view their role as a career.

It may shock to hear that 41% of workers feel ‘too old’ to make a career change once they’ve turned 34. Family needs, uncertainty and low confidence also prevent positive action.

Workplace happiness rates more valuable than salary levels

Two days prior to the above post we read that 60% of employees regard workplace happiness as more important than their salary.

The news piece talks of how a ‘collaborative and friendly atmosphere’ can enhance candidate attraction and retention rates, alongside creating a thriving output.

Friendship comes into play, with 57% of people saying a close friend made their work ‘more enjoyable’ – and others reporting increased productivity and creativity as a result of their friendships.

Again the stats are explored for demographic differences. This time gender alters the outcome, with 80% of women prioritising workplace happiness versus 55% of men. Job status also divides the responses; managers are far more concerned by salary than entry and executive level workers.

Workers aged 45 and over are also more likely to value workplace happiness.

Looking to increase your happiness at work? Sign up for our Business Brunch, a fortnightly email comprising the best career-boosting tips and tricks.

Feeling ready for a change? Time to refresh your CV; we suggest starting with a quick Skills & Achievements Master List!

The CV skills that may lose you money!

Sharing the 25 CV skills that may lose you money, according to Stylist magazine…

Stylist has a great habit of unearthing some real gems on the topic of careers (remember how they first spotlighted the entreprenurial Siobhan Holmes of The Vino Van?).

Well, their recent research piece is yet another that catches the eye, claiming that…

These 25 CV skills may lose you money!

  1. Filing
  2. Property management
  3. Data entry
  4. Bookkeeping
  5. AS/400
  6. Call centre
  7. Help desk/help support
  8. Collections
  9. Intuit QuickBooks
  10. Delphi
  11. Packaging
  12. Computer hardware technician
  13. Plumbing
  14. Administration
  15. Pricing
  16. System repair
  17. Shipping
  18. Document preparation
  19. Customer service
  20. Dreamweaver
  21. Online research
  22. Paying invoices
  23. Phone support
  24. WordPress
  25. Typing


This list comes from data generated by payscale.com. Workers identified skills that were deemed “most critical to their jobs”, with the information then cross-checked against salary levels.

Of course, the results you see tally up to those skills with the most negative financial relationship. Furthermore, filing was found to be the weakest/poorest paying of all!

But why?

With the suggestion that you may wish to delete all such skills from your CV, we have to wonder why they supposedly matter so much in the first place?

We cannot see any immediate cause for harm. However, we understand the article’s reasoning. It is suggested that most of these skills tie in with those an employer would ‘assume of you’. Really, are there many office roles that won’t require a spot of typing these days?

Many of the more specific skills could also fall under the assumed needs of your previous job roles. Customer service as a skill held by a Customer service representative being a case in point..!

So would we hit delete?

Perhaps these skills may not be of utmost priority for your ‘Key skills’ list. However, they may still have a suitable home. For example, if you’re an Accounts Assistant, it would be useful to hear that you have prior experience of invoicing. This could be outlined as part of a wider paragraph on your daily duties or (in the case of dramatically speeding up processes, introducing bold new systems, or similar!), this may even form part of your workplace achievements.

In a nutshell, the articles offers an interesting read. Yet we’d advise you to take such research data with a generous pinch of salt. Naturally, your CV should always be the best match for your skills and achievements; visit our Downloads page for more CV writing tips.

[Source: Stylist Magazine]