SMEs express recruitment confidence

How SMEs perceive their recruitment abilities – and how they’re looking to attract new employees. Plus what the rest of the employment market stats are saying…

SME stands for ‘small and medium-sized enterprises.’ This refers to any business with fewer than 250 employees. Together, these companies employ more than 16 million people, which accounts for half of the UK’s working population.

The findings show:

  • SMEs are confident in their abilities to recruit over the coming year; regardless of the wider business climate. 61% of these companies express this sentiment, versus 53% of global businesses.
  • Business owners are looking to increase their investments in training and development, alongside ‘demonstrating a commitment to ethical and social values’ in order to attract more employees.
  • Salary remains the most regarded employee attraction tool among business leaders, with the aforementioned training and development in second place.
  • Employers are no longer placing the same level of focus on ‘long-term service’, however, a ‘competitive salary’ is also deemed the most effective tool for promoting staff retention.

Each of these stats come from this Onrec report. The research itself was conducted by Oxford Economics in association with American Express.

What about the latest ONS labour stats?

Over on the REC website, it’s stated that the national unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been since November 1974 to January 1975, at just 3.9%.

  • 32.72 million people of working age are now in employment. 475,0000 more people than over the previous year.
  • The number of job vacancies has also increased by 32,000 to a total of 852,0000 for January to March 2019.
  • As positive as these figures appear, this poses a continued challenge for employers looking to recruit new team members. The REC describes this as a ‘big risk’ to future economic growth.

How do these findings compare to the current KPMG and REC Report on Jobs?

  • These figures also reveal a ‘steep decline in staff availability.’ This is partially attributed to a ‘Brexit-related uncertainty’.
  • The Report on Jobs also suggests the ‘fastest decline’ in permanent employee placements since the middle of 2016.
  • However, these figures additionally show employee demand has increased at its ‘softest pace’ since August 2916 – both across temporary and permanent recruitment.

What does this all mean for you as a job-seeker or employer?

For job-seekers:

There are some fantastic opportunities out there for you. When you consider that 85% of local businesses are SMEs, their confidence becomes all the more newsworthy.

What’s more, these businesses are competing for people with the relevant skills, attributes and experience for their companies.

Low unemployment means you may experience reduced job-seeker competition in your field. However, you cannot rely on this! Appealing roles have a habit of attracting greater numbers. You must still ensure your CV and applications are doing all that they can to demonstrate your suitability for a job.

Take a look at the latest local openings and/or email your CV to our Consultants. Here’s what to include in your cover email.

For employers and managers:

The challenge of standing out from your competitors continues.

As per the SME discussions, employee attraction strategies are now of the utmost priority. The following posts share some useful considerations:

Work closely with your Recruitment Consultant to ensure they’re aware of your individual recruitment needs as well as your complete employee offering. Get the most out of the agency’s staff attraction tools, honed through years of recruitment expertise.

You can call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130 or reach a Consultant directly via email.



The creative & innovative employee

How creative or innovative do you get to be on a daily basis? It’s important to remember that these words should apply to all industries and jobs, not just the artistic!

Creativity and innovation allow us all to work in new ways, formulate new ideas, and progress. However, employers and managers are overestimating just how much room they give their teams to use these skills.

Employees don’t feel able to be innovative at work…

  • 76% of business leaders believe they ’empower their employees to be innovative.’
  • However, only 34% of professionals feel encouraged in this way.
  • Yet 95% of businesses see innovation as imperative to their business growth and 91% of employees want the opportunity to be more innovative in their roles.
  • Employers are also misreading those tools that inspire creativity. They over-prioritise financial incentives and under-prioritise the role that ‘purpose’ plays in our work.
  • These findings (from Accenture, reported by HR Magazine) also reveal that staff specifically want appropriate skills development, flexible working opportunities, and a healthier work-life balance. Each aspect is believed to nurture greater innovation.

Tips for employers: each aspect features in our ‘7 Days of Employee Attraction Tips.’ See Days 3-5 for more advice. Make sure you’re also gathering genuine feedback from your employees. You don’t want to be among the managers who think they’re creating a culture that they’re not!

Good managers can spark creativity

It’s interesting to hear that managers can also increase creativity by using one essential skill – attentive listening.

  • In a separate international study, also shared by HR Magazine, employees expressed greater creativity when they felt listened to. Their workload was also of increased quality.
  • Conversely, distracted managers failed to promote such a response.
  • The article additionally highlights several flaws surrounding common brainstorming activities. Many people fear ridicule in response to sharing their ideas. Employees also worry about being the person that constantly offers up ideas in fear of annoying others.

There’s some sage advice for all managers; much of the focus needs to be paid to creating a more relaxed and informal culture that allows for ideas to be developed over time.

A brief note for stifled employees…

Where possible, share your ideas with your manager or a trusted colleague. You may be letting your fears get the better of you. Hopefully, your confidence will soon increase alongside your enjoyment of your role.

However, in instances where you’ve repeatedly tried and still feel stifled, or you simply fancy a change of scene, your skills may be better used elsewhere. You can read and apply for the latest jobs here.



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page



Money worries at work

Are money worries affecting your work? You might not associate financial concerns with recruitment discussions, however, this very topic has become an increasing news theme over recent months…

Most employees experience money worries.

But what does this all have to do with recruitment?

Working towards solutions…

  • This issue presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The more that these discussions take place, the more likely employers are to find ways of supporting their team. While the most innovative companies can make this another staff attraction and retention differentiator.
  • Professionals will also feel less alone in their money worries. Anyone who has concerns that they are unable to discuss with their employer would be wise to contact the Money Advice Service. This is a free, impartial service.
  • On a separate note, if you’ve never really got to grips with your payslip and tax code, this post should help.
  • If you’re wondering whether you could earn more for your career experience and skill-set, speak with your Recruitment Consultant. Regularly researching jobs in your industry can also improve your knowledge of the going market rates.


7 days of employee attraction tips!

Are your employee attraction strategies up to scratch? Check your progress against our top tips – we’ll be sharing something daily over the next week…

The latest skills shortage stats show just how vital this information is to employers. After all, you’re currently competing against a greater number of companies for a smaller number of candidates.

Ready to get started?

DAY 1: your culture and ethos

Could you (and your existing team) describe your company culture and brand values/ethos? If so, how do you promote this to prospective employees – is it on your website? Do you include any blurb on your job descriptions? If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above, it’s time to get brainstorming!

Working for brands with a positive purpose is becoming increasingly important to emerging generations of professionals.

Communicating your company culture can also help attract like-minded individuals to your business. And we all know the value of a positive team fit!

What’s more, well-aligned values also appear to boost later productivity and workplace relations. Please note: the ‘well-aligned’ is key here! It’s important that anything you communicate is truly reflected in your workplace. Whether that’s comments about the positive atmosphere, your people-centred approach, or your attitude to progression and diversity.

DAY 2: building your benefits package

You might not think you’re in the position to create much of an employee benefits package, however, you really don’t need to have a vast budget in order to do so. It could also be a costly mistake not to at least explore your options.

Where possible, detail some of your employee benefits in your job descriptions. 85% of candidates are more attracted to organisations that do this. Or, at the very least, make sure candidates know that there are a number of benefits on offer.

Do your competitor research to see what other companies are offering their employees. Also, swot up on the latest research surrounding job-seekers’ priorities. We reguarly share such news findings, including our recent post on what most employees want and need in 2019.

DAY 3: be more flexible

It’s time to discuss flexible working. Yes, this is featured in some of the staff benefit discussions, yet it more than deserves its own employee attraction spotlight.

People are increasingly drawn to companies that provide flexi-working opportunities. There are multiple plus points to consider here:

  1. It may help you attract large and in many cases untapped talent pools, such as maternity returners and working parents.
  2. Again, emerging worker groups are also more attracted to jobs with flexible and home working potential.
  3. Your team may become happier and your business may better keep up with rapidly changing workplace needs.
  4. What’s more, as the UK lags behind other nations in this respect, you may gain a distinct competitive advantage in your field.

DAY 4: be a rarity!

In order to attract the most valuable employees, you need to offer and promote something that few companies ever even consider.

Something that will also help retain your employees once on-board – and help overcome some of the most worrying national workplace trends (the employee performance crisis; high levels of disengagement and a general sense of unhappiness at work)…

This something is only offered by approximately 19% of businesses and is best described as ‘an experimentation culture’. It’s all about enabling your employees to share their ideas without criticism, actively encouraging innovation and creativity, and all-around greater team and individual involvement. You’ll need to have the right management approach in place to make this possible. You’ll also need to communicate this message to prospective employees. However, just think of the possibilities for your business!

DAY 5: make a path

Again, this is somewhat touched upon as an employee benefit. Yet did you know that 90% of UK employees deem training to be ‘vital to furthering their career?’ All the while, only 25% of HR professionals say their employers provide a ‘learning culture’.

You may not have the sort of business that enables a clear route of progression, yet you can certainly help your employees to see a path of personal progression and development. What a helpful tool to include in your job adverts.

As we’re now deep into a ‘skills economy’ period, it’s great to consider all training avenues – from online learning and knowledge sharing to in-house coaching and external courses. This is all discussed in the above-linked post.

DAY 6: now for the salaries!

It’s hard to deny that salary levels are important. UK employees are more motivated by pay than those of any other European country, with 62% of professionals saying that their salary is their primary driver to work.

In addition to this, average national salaries grew by 7.6% last year. This is driven by the skills shortage and saw a boost in December when candidate availability numbers fell again.

Make certain that your salary levels are as competitive as they can be to attract more job applicants. Monitor your competitors’ job adverts and be sure to seek salary guidance from your Recruitment Consultant.

DAY 7: bringing it all together

You’ve put in all the work to create an attractive employer offering, now you need to make sure you’re reaching out to as many candidates as you can; as effectively as you can!

This means crafting an appealing job description – and making sure that this is actually getting in front of your target audience.

Contact an expert recruitment agency in your industry for support with both elements. From job description guidance, through to regional industry insights, and ready access to the most effective candidate attraction tools, there are so many benefits to working with a dedicated recruitment consultant. They may even have the perfect person on their database waiting for a job such as yours!

Thanks for joining us for this week of tips. We hope you’re feeling ready to execute your newly refined employee attraction approach! To discuss your recruitment needs, please call Appoint on 01225 313130.



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



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.