Young workers lead the flexible working movement

How younger professionals are driving the flexible working movement. Also featuring some of the latest flexible work news…

Over the weekend, The Independent shared an interesting post titled ‘Young workers are leading the way out of the office.’

It describes some of the current business trends for young professionals both in America and Britain. This includes:

  • Changing jobs for improved work-life balance (as opposed to a title change or step up the career ladder).
  • Prioritising flexible work opportunities; allowing employees to focus on other needs, such as their children, hobbies, and pets.
  • In fact, increasing numbers of employees are actually ‘demanding flexibility’ in their roles.
  • Requesting benefits such as paid paternity leave, ‘generous’ holiday allowance, the chance to work remotely, etc.

A mixed response…

Some may perceive this as a push towards less work or softer working lifestyles. However, proponents argue that this approach says ‘I will work harder and/or more’ if you support a more balanced lifestyle.

The article cites a number of reasons why younger employees are driving this work-life balance focus:

  • They’ve been born into a highly technological world in which they can see other ways of working rather than staying at one desk for set working hours.
  • Other lifestyle choices, such as marrying and babies, are happening later meaning they are ‘more invested’ in their career path by the time they make these decisions and, therefore, know what they want to ask for.
  • Millennials represent the first generation to observe large numbers of women, including family members, live professional working lives. Many have also observed the challenges their parents have faced due to ‘inflexible employers or unstable jobs’.

The piece also raises the notion that more flexible work and other work-life balance improvements could benefit all working generations – saying ‘change the system so we can all succeed’.

Also in the flexible working news…



The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



Job Search September! Is everyone looking for a new job?

Will this new season also spell the start of a new job frenzy throughout the nation? Some of the latest findings suggest so…

Wix (the web development platform) has conducted its own research among professionals. They’ve found that:

  • 49% of British professionals intend to leave their job on return from their summer holiday.
  • September is one of the most popular times to change jobs, next to January.
  • A number of workers are deliberately missing return flights and hiding their holiday social media updates so their employers won’t see!
  • There is also data regarding the desire to set up new businesses, the industries people want to specialise in and the type of breaks that inspire a new job search!

Why are professionals feeling so fed up?

  • 69% of respondents experience a sense of ‘dread’ about returning to the office.
  • 42% of people crave more flexibility in their working lives.
  • 39% state that they feel ‘undervalued’.
  • In addition, 37% believe they’re underpaid for their role.
  • 34% say they either don’t like their boss or colleagues.
  • And 31% cite poor management at work.

Will we really experience a Job Search September?

It’s unlikely that the whole study pool will hand in their notice this month! While holidays often spark a period of reflection, many people won’t follow through on their ideas on return from their break.

That said, some of the group will, and the fact remains that this is a popular time to make a change. Other findings reflect some of the above sentiment, yet less dramatically(/imminently)!

For instance, a separate study suggests that just under 1/3 of office employees are ‘considering’ finding a new job within the next year.

Many of the triggers are the same…

  • 39% hope to achieve a better work-life balance, with 32% specifically wanting flexible working options.
  • 38% are looking for a pay rise.
  • This group also believe that their skills will be ‘more desirable in the coming months’ (32%) – and that they’ll still receive ‘multiple job offers with competitive salaries’ (33%).
  • The youngest age group (comprising 16 to 24-year-olds) appears most likely to search for a new role, with career progression and work-life balance the greatest incentives for this demographic. They also prioritise corporate culture over pay rates.
  • Employees aged 35 and over are 10% less likely to job search, yet place an increased value on salaries (42% versus 17% for 16 to 24-year-olds). This is unsurprising if you consider career stage and life factors, including average household and/or caring responsibilities.

Both articles mention the need for employers to prepare themselves for a period of change. Alongside exploring staff retention strategies, this may naturally include an increased recruitment focus.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment requirements or email the team directly. Job-seekers can apply for the latest openings via the jobs page, CV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re looking for a new job!



New mother retention rates & more parental news

Should companies publish their new mother retention rates? Some MPs think so, in order to reduce discrimination levels. There’s also talk of fathers facing discrimination within the latest news for working parents…

The publishing of new mother retention rates

Source: Personnel Today

  • The Women and Equalities Committee is in favour of increased support for new parents – including extended legal protections regarding ‘redundancy for pregnant employees and new mothers’.
  • In addition, they’re calling on the government to take greater action to support parents. They suggest that larger employers should publish their new mother retention rates 12 months after they return to work, as well as 12 months following a flexible working application.
  • It’s not the first time the group has made such recommendations. They follow ‘shocking stories of workplace discrimination’ with concerns surrounding the ’emotional, physical and financial impact on women’.

Many UK working fathers face discrimination 

Source: HR Review

  • 44% of dads say they’ve experienced discrimination after taking up their right to paternity leave or shared parental leave.
  • 1/4 of fathers have received ‘verbal abuse or mockery’ as a result of their choice.
  • More than a third (35%) additionally perceive a negative career impact – such as job loss (17%) or demotions (20%).
  • This may be contributing to a culture of white lies, in which fathers feel unable to be upfront about their ‘family-related responsibilities.’

Could one prominent paternity leave programme make a difference to many more dads?

Source: People Management

  • O2 is increasing its paid paternity leave programme to 14 weeks for permanent team members – while also ensuring that same-sex couples and adoptive and surrogate parents are all included.
  • This policy will be extended to retail workers as well as head office employees, which puts O2 ahead of many of its retail counterparts.
  • While it’s acknowledged that these policies are largely offered by big corporate business, the competitive advantage will likely cause other companies to follow suit. Consequently, we may see reductions in stigma and discrimination.

Leaders need to support flexible working for parents

Source: Personnel Today

Offering flexible working alone is not enough to support working parents, according to ‘The 2019 Modern Families Index: Employer Report’.

Instead, business leaders should look to more actively celebrate the benefits of flexible working. While also helping to reduce the pressure parents feel when considering their working options.

The report suggests employers can make flexibility ‘visible’ from the top tiers of their companies – and educate their employees on how colleagues achieved senior positions through flexible working.

Perhaps this will help to improve the current stats, which show that:

  • 2 in 3 people are finding it ‘increasingly difficult to raise a family.’
  • Only 1/4 of working parents feel they’ve struck the ‘right balance between work, family life and income’.

Looking for a job that better suits your needs? Visit our jobs page



Is a 4-day week the future norm?

Could a 4-day week become the new ‘norm’ for employees and help solve the nation’s working challenges? This is the core theme of multiple HR and recruitment news features published within the past fortnight.

Living in the overtime capital

The UK has sadly earned itself the moniker of ‘unpaid overtime capital of Europe.’ The average full-time employee now works around 6.3 hours of unpaid overtime weekly. This amounts to £5,000 per person each year, according to ADP research data.

You could assume this means we’re flying ahead in the productivity stakes, however, the opposite is true. What’s more, our culture of overwork could actually be at the root of this problem.

  • It’s said that the Danes are ‘23.5% more productive per hour,’ despite the fact they work 4 hours less each week.
  • The Republic of Ireland is also 62.7% more productive, yet works less than 40 hours per week. The UK averages 42 hours.
  • Apparently, if changes aren’t made, ‘it would take 63 yearsfor UK employees to receive the same amount of leisure time as the rest of Europe.

Employees call for a 4-day week

Alongside the productivity issues, UK professionals are also feeling increasingly stressed. More than 1 in 3 people feel more stressed than they did just two years ago. The respondents suggest this is due to:

  • Increased workloads (66%)
  • ‘Changing relationships’ at work (30%)
  • Not having control over their work (27%)

On being asked what would help lower their stress levels, the participants said:

  1. A 4-day working week (Almost 1/3: 30%)
  2. Greater management support (25%)
  3. Reduced responsibilities, or other work changes (13%)
  4. Stress management training (6%)
  5. Regular exercise (5%)
  6. Not receiving work emails outside of their contracted hours (5%)

Various views on the 4-day week

It’s suggested that technological advances should make a 4-day working week feasible. Yet some employers and employees have their concerns…

  • Businesses worry about paying the same salaries for reduced workloads and professionals fear that they’ll end up working fewer days yet even longer hours. Others worry that they’ll have to squeeze their existing workloads into a briefer timeframe.
  • Several examples are provided in the above-linked piece. One of which is a Surrey-based trial in which employees will work an extra hour a day in order to shorten their working week to four days/32 hours for full-timers. The workers’ stress levels will be compared at the end of it. It will be interesting to see whether the longer days/shorter weeks outweigh the associated concerns.
  • One German-company has taken a different approach: reducing each working day from eight hours to five. They say this has resulted in reduced stress and improved work-life balance. They have, however, had to implement some practical changes to help employees manage their workloads. This included reevaluating ‘social media usage and finding weekly routines’.

In conclusion…

While it doesn’t appear that 4-day working weeks will become the imminent norm, don’t be surprised if you see more UK employers experimenting with this notion. In the meantime, are there any jobs that more closely match your working priorities? For example, those with reduced commutes or more favourable hours or shifts, flexible working opportunities and other lifestyle benefits.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for future updates regarding this topic/how the Surrey study turns out! As well as sharing such updates via our news feed, you can also follow us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.



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.



Working with Gen Z

This year, Gen Z employees are expected to outnumber their millennial peers in the workplace…

Generation Z refers to the population born from about 1996 onwards and it’s a group also referred to as the ‘post-millennials’.

Gen Z differs from other employee groups in a number of ways. Let’s review some of the key findings:

Gen Z: career predictions

Source: HR News

  • This could be a highly mobile employee group. More than 1/2 (55%) intend to hold their first professional role for less than 2 years.
  • Staff retention tools could make all the difference to Gen Z workers. In fact, more than 70% of employees would remain in their job for up to 5 years if certain benefits were in place.
  • The most popular benefits include training and mentorship opportunities (76%), flexible working options (63%), and the potential for home working (48%). Although, they may not always want to use the latter. We’ll return to this topic shortly!
  • Prospective employees also want to see more job details provided up-front in job descriptions (68%).

Gen Z: ‘dropping out’ of the recruitment process

Source: Recruiting Times

  • 18% of this staff group are currently ‘dropping out’ of existing recruitment processes.
  • Gen Z employees crave a more ‘personal connection’ with their employers. And a lack of this may prove a barrier to their job application and acceptance decisions.
  • New technologies may attract and engage these candidates throughout the recruitment process. This could include everything from interview tools to digital exercises and even online mentoring schemes.
  • Efforts towards meaningful engagement can help improve the candidate experience. Any negative insights could also be publicised via digital platforms.

Gen Z: politically and socially aware

Source: Independent

  • Generation Z’s business perceptions are highly influenced by recent ‘social, technological and geopolitical’ change.
  • Employees are more attracted to companies who prioritise ‘diversity, inclusion and flexibility’.
  • Alongside a focus on tolerance, businesses should resolve any issues surrounding pay levels and workplace culture.

Gen Z: blurred lines

Source: HR News

  • The boundaries between work and play may be fuzzier for post-millennial employees. Many (65%) perceive a ‘fun environment’ to be a core component of a positive workplace culture. Conversely, only 22% of Baby Boomers (workers aged 55 and above) agree.
  • It’s a sociable group and 81% say communal areas are important at work.
  • A mere 8% of workers think they would perform better working from home (whereas the national average is 20%).
  • Many candidates value friendships at work (43% versus 22% of Baby Boomers).

A reminder about age discrimination…

These are fantastic insights for employers looking to attract a diverse workforce. Naturally, this type of data will always be somewhat of a generalisation and it’s important to get to know the specific needs and wants of all prospective employees – something an expert Recruitment Consultant can assist with!

In addition, it’s also vital that businesses remain aware of age discrimination laws. LawDonut has one of the best FAQ guides we’ve seen on this subject.

For further staff attraction advice, please call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can also search and apply for jobs here



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.