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 exploring 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.
  5. Even when sources disagree on job vacancy figures, they agree upon these ongoing recruitment issues!

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! Re-read our skills shortage advice post.
  • 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. Follow these tips as closely as you can.
  • 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.


Simple workplace happiness hacks

When you think of finding happiness at work, you might picture a promotion, more rewarding project, or achieving your ultimate job goal. Yet what if we were to tell you that there are some simple steps you can take to make your current job at least a little happier? Not only that, but you could also bring happiness to your colleagues and/or employees by executing this newfound knowledge…

The recent Office Happiness Index suggests that this is indeed the case.

HR News shared the Index findings, also revealing that 75% of workers feel happy at work.

The leading happiness hacks are:

  1. Saying ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to colleagues. Receiving such acknowledgement from bosses and clients tops the list for 85% of professionals. However, we can all show our appreciation whatever our job role.
  2. Taking your lunch-break and encouraging others to do the same. Despite this being ranked the second happiest moment of each working week, we know that so many people aren’t taking their breaks. Managers need to ensure their team feels able to do so, finding ways to reduce strain where needed. Top tip: booking a temp can relieve a lot of pressure in periods of high demand/workload.
  3. Treating your colleagues to cakes, pastries, or similar. This simple gesture wins over 80% of people, plus it can be combined with the next most popular happiness hack…
  4. Asking someone how their weekend went. Even better, ask someone you don’t always chat with.
  5. Finding a way to fix that faulty piece of office equipment. A moment of bliss, according to 73% of participants!

You can also beat the biggest pet peeves by…

  1. Doing point 5. above! Yes, this leads the list of office peeves, so prioritise the fix (or find someone who can!).
  2. Checking your emails and comments for all hints of the ‘passive aggressive!’ It’s easy to let personal stresses spill into your comms with your colleagues, yet it’s certainly not the way to vent your concerns or win people over.
  3. Avoiding unnecessary meetings. If you’re calling a meeting, make sure it has a clear purpose and timeframe and only invite those who really need to be there.
  4. Cleaning your crockery! Dirty coffee mugs and cutlery left on desks are considered the bane of office life for 65% of workers. Get in the habit of clearing as you go – and win yourself some brownie points by offering to lend a hand to an even busier team member!
  5. Considering your temperature needs. It’s hard to make everyone happy with this one. What’s comfortably warm for one is irritatingly chilly for another…and yet far too hot for someone else. Wearing layers can help, plus asking around before you fiddle with the thermostat or whip open the windows. Managers should also consider the team’s individual seating and supply needs.

Talking of seating and supplies, the article also shares insights regarding the types of offices that create the most happiness.

In other happiness news…

The UK is considered one of the 30 happiest countries in the world. However, it scored 19th place and only just made the list when it came to work-life balance (28th). This was despite coming in the top 10 for salaries (9th). The top three happiest countries each had higher work-life balance scores than the UK’s:

  • Happiest nation: Finland (11th for work-life balance)
  • 2nd happiest: Norway (7th)
  • 3rd happiest: Denmark: (4th)

Elsewhere, it was reported that males born between the mid-1960s to early-1980s are the least happy working group. Public sector workers and those paid hourly as opposed to by salary also fared worse on their happiness scores.


Ready for the challenge of a new role? Check out the latest jobs in Bath & Somerset. You can also use these tips to take your job search to an expert level!



FAQ: not enough experience to write a CV?

Does your work history provide you with enough experience to write a CV? This question directly follows on from our last post. If you haven’t seen it yet, we asked whether traditional CVs could be usurped by social media applications.

LondonLovesBusiness also reported on this topic and shared an interesting stat:

65% of people aged 18-24 fear they don’t have enough experience to warrant a CV…

This equates to 172 respondents out of the 264 person pool. A small survey population, yet a sizeable concern.

It’s not only those fresh out of education who may share this worry. Perhaps you have spent little time in the workforce due to caring responsibilities, illness or other factors, or maybe you’ve had plenty of work experience yet just not within the field that you’re currently searching for work.

Whatever is at the root of your concern, don’t let it stop you from writing a CV. It remains the most popular way for employers to consider you for a role.

How to write a CV when you don’t believe you have enough experience:

  • You should still start your process with a spot of prep. This is the perfect starting point!
  • There’s no reason you can’t use the usual/classic CV layout either. You’ll find some pointers within our CV Advice PDF.
  • Now to write your CV…

1) Start by detailing your career/job history so far:

  • Not long left education? Part-time work undertaken throughout your studies is also relevant. Paper rounds less so! If you’ve never had a part-time job, read on for more ideas.
  • For those who aren’t recent graduates/school leavers, you would only usually look to detail the last 10-15 years. Again, it’s important to ensure you’re using a modern CV format (as linked above) to keep your curriculum vitae looking as accessible and appealing as possible.
  • If your job history is more broken, i.e. you’ve worked in recent years yet you’ve also had career breaks to undertake other responsibilities, this is the article for you.
  • Finally, if you’ve been in work consistently yet want a career change, head straight to this post.

2) Now for some deeper brainstorming. Consider all other ‘non-job’ roles that have bolstered your skill-set. Among other ideas, this may include…

  • Voluntary work: through your recent studies, through your child’s school/extracurricular activities, and/or via local organisations and charities, etc.
  • Any work experience placements or internships.
  • Personal or team projects. Again, whether this falls under curriculum-based projects or personal initiatives.

3) Make it clear, make it relevant!

  • Just as you saw when reading about the Skills & Achievements Master-list, your CV isn’t a place just to list what you’ve done. It’s the place to show off your transferable skills and attributes. To this end, make sure everything you’re discussing demonstrates this. Give examples and shout about your accomplishments!
  • If you’re sending your CV as a general applicant, make sure it’s relevant to the sorts of jobs that you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a specific role, ensure it is tailored to demonstrate the skills advertised.

So, do you have enough experience to write a CV?

  • Yes you do! Of course, you also want to make sure you’re targeting the right jobs. To really boost your application approach, read this in full (and follow as many of the tips as you can)!


Psychology for career success!

Understanding some simple aspects of social psychology could make all the difference to your job search. Not to mention your future career success and relationships!

Today we’ll explore two such elements: the type of confidence you should aim to display at work, plus how the ‘liking gap’ could already be affecting your career.

Psychology essentials: the ‘right’ sort of confidence

Our first focus comes from Thrive Global, quoting research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Arianna Huffington founded Thrive Global to help people boost their personal and business performance while avoiding burnout.

What we learned from this piece:

  • Perceived confidence is at the root of success. People choose to work with those they deem more confident. This is because a sense of confidence “increases our belief in someone’s competence.”
  • However, this isn’t to say that over-confidence wins. In fact when confidence appears unfounded, and actions don’t reflect words, it actually has the reverse effect. In this case, people choose to work with those who appear “more cautious but realistic”. You could say that this is the real takeaway from the article. But you’d be missing one major point…
  • Confidence (whether unfounded or not!) always wins when it is communicated through nonverbal cues as opposed to spoken means.

Nora Battelle, the post’s author, goes on to explain why. It all comes down to the fact that the nonverbal indicators don’t make any precise promises. Meaning one infers confidence without the risk of letting anyone down.

This can prove powerful at every stage in our careers. Knowing how to project confidence non-verbally can boost your interview success and make people want to work with you more often. This, in turn, could lead to further promotions and ongoing career opportunities. So how do you display this confidence?

Battelle shares 4 non-verbal psychology basics in her post. While these may not be new to you, you may observe new benefits from employing them!

Psychology essentials: are you victim of the liking gap?

How often do you meet someone new and come away convinced that they don’t like you? Perhaps you feel you didn’t show yourself in the best light, causing their first impression to be less than favourable?

Well, according to another team of psychologists hailing from Cornell, Harvard, Yale and the University of Essex, this is by no means uncommon.

In fact, when we meet someone new…

  • They actually tend to “like us and enjoy our company more than we assume.” They also come away with fewer negative impressions than our post-conversation ruminations would leave us to believe.
  • Furthermore, it’s normal for people to believe that they like their conversation partners more than they like us. This is the ‘liking gap’, as reported by Stylist.

So what does this have to do with careers? Potentially a lot, for those worst affected. After all, how keen are you to put yourself forward to those that you feel perceive you negatively? Will you willingly seek out that person and spark up another conversation, share an idea or volunteer for a project? Could you be put off from returning for an interview, already negatively predicting the outcome?

This is a powerful message to keep in mind at every stage of your job search and career. Re-read this post every time you find yourself dwelling on first impressions and that person you’re convinced didn’t warm to you!

Used together, these insights could be just what you need to boost your self-belief ready for your next round of interviews. We’re fascinated to hear your thoughts on these psychology findings; you can always keep in touch via TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Further reading:



Job-seekers missing out!

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

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

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

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

It’s not only job-seekers missing out…

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

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

Job-seeking candidates:

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

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

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

Recruiting businesses:

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

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

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

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



Career priorities: what matters most?

What are your career priorities? The Oxford Open Learning Trust has researched the factors deemed most important when looking for a new job…

The top five considerations currently include:

  1. Salary/pay (64%)
  2. Working hours (55%)
  3. Working location / Personal interest or enjoyment (tied at 50%)
  4. Job security (40%)
  5. Working environment (37%)

You can find the full top 10 over at HR News.

Career priorities: working hours

The second place spot particularly caught our attention. Not only because it was discussed by more than half of respondents, yet also the way it chimes with other research on this topic.

Over on the Independent, we hear how more than 1/2 of British workers would prefer to move away from the standard ‘9 to 5’ job. Instead, they would welcome the opportunity to either:

  • Start work before 9am, enabling them to finish before 5pm (57%)
  • Work longer hours in order to shorten the length of the working week (48%)

As HR News suggests, professionals would clearly like to carve out some extra time for themselves in a bid to achieve an improved work-life balance.

Looking outside the UK

Have other countries managed to achieve this balance? The stats would suggest so, with countries offering the most flexible working opportunities also scoring higher on employee happiness and engagement ratings.

Identifying your own career priorities

This is an aspect we highly recommend spending some time thinking about. Especially if you’re ready to search for a new job, or think you may be ready to do so soon.

Knowing your priorities really helps you refine your job search; especially if you’re considering one of a few possible career paths.

You’ll see this topic is discussed further in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips…an essential guide for anyone wanting to stand out from the (candidate) crowd!



Is there a best time to apply for a job?

Research claims to have found the best time to apply for your next job role. So when is this, and how does it fit with our own findings?

Job Today conducted the research in question. It has already received plenty of media attention and first drew our eye in Stylist Magazine.

They found:

  • 17% of companies list new vacancies on Wednesdays.
  • 47% of candidates receive an interview invite within 24-hours of a Wednesday-listed vacancy.
  • …SO, 9-am on Wednesday is said to be the ‘luckiest’ time in the week in which to submit a job application.

And as for the best time to apply for a job according to Appoint?

Well, let’s start by looking at when most openings are posted on our jobs page (and we were fascinated to see this ourselves!). Taking the last 60 job posts as our review sample we found:

  • Mondays: account for 12% of new vacancy listings.
  • Tuesdays: 30% of the total (our busiest time of the week for the sample period).
  • Wednesdays: another 12% day.
  • Thursdays: 28%: falling into close second place.
  • Fridays: account for 18% of the listings.

So, what does this tell us? Firstly, stats will vary! If we looked at the last 20 postings alone, you would think our clients never called or emailed in a new vacancy on a Friday. However, review the full sample of 60 and Fridays become our 3rd busiest day! Who knows how much the stats would change if we reviewed another 60 postings or more?

When it comes to such averages, these will likely also vary substantially by jobs board or recruitment agency website, season, industry, and a whole host of other factors.

We have yet to statistically explore whether the day a CV lands in our inbox influences the turnaround time for a client interview. However, years of experience would imply that this will also vary greatly.

Is there a best time to apply for a job or not?!

It’s time to talk skill over luck. As much as we would love to tell you a magic moment to hit ‘send,’ the best time to apply can surely only be the very moment your CV is at the ready for submission!

This can either be for consideration as a ‘general applicant’. In which case your CV should be drafted with the types of vacancies you’re looking for in mind (and it’s worth giving an overview of what these might be in your cover email). Or, this will be when your CV has been updated specifically for a particular vacancy/number of vacancies.

Either way, you’ll find some key advice under Day 6 of these job hunting tips. Let’s face it, the sooner your CV lands in our inbox the sooner you can be considered for our client vacancies!

We look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us by email or simply register your CV online.



UK salary news roundup

Sharing three of the latest salary news items from around the web. These pieces cover the national payrise forecast, the well-paid jobs that don’t require a degree, and the possible job-switch effect…

Salary news #1: a national pay rise

Source: HR News

Half of all employers surveyed intend to offer their team a pay rise of more than 2% within the next twelve months. It’s promising to read that these findings span businesses of multiple sizes and industries.

  • What’s more, the majority of the companies offering a pay rise will do so at 5% or more (32% of businesses).
  • 12% of companies plan to increase their salary levels by 2-5%.
  • While 18% will implement a 1-2% pay rise.
  • Sadly, 2% of businesses will be forced to decrease salaries due to their ‘increasing upfront business costs’.

The article references the skills shortage as an influence. This is also discussed in The September ‘Report on Jobs’.

Salary news #2: switching jobs may lead to a higher salary

Source: Recruiting Times

A new think tank study suggests that changing jobs can enhance your salary level. This article explores short-term pay rates and suggests that, within the next few months, salaries will rise at around 2.7% growth. Here it’s stated that the pre-financial crash average was in fact 4.5%.

Conversely, those that change jobs are currently more likely to experience an 11% salary increase, which is higher than any average observed within the past seven years.

Again, this brings to mind the above-linked Report on Jobs and ongoing skills shortage. Additionally, and as the piece cites, fewer people are presently switching jobs than they were prior to the financial crisis (therefore enabling such salary advantages).

It seems prudent to remind that we’d never recommend switching jobs until you have a secure offer in place. See Day 1 of our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips for more on this topic.

Salary news #3: the best-paying degree-free jobs

Source: HR News

Fear that not having a degree could stunt your salary prospects? Indeed has shared a round-up of jobs that don’t require a degree to earn more than the national salary average.

Note: the UK salary average is now £27,600 per annum.

Topping the list (and almost doubling the average salary) is the role of the Ethical Hacker. However, some more familiar commercial office openings also make the list, including the Executive Assistant, Sales Manager and Software Engineer.

We hope that this list will inspire you to feel more positive about your job search and future career prospects. Don’t forget to use this advice post to take your hunt to an expert level. You can also find out more about local salary levels by keeping a close eye on our jobs page.

For managers and business owners, you may be interested to read more about the influence that pay-rates currently have on our UK work culture…and how this could affect your search for your next employee!



Only for the money?

Do you only go to work for the money? UK workers are more motivated by pay rates than any other European country surveyed. What does this tell us about our culture of work; how could this affect your search for the perfect job or employee?

For the money: the research reveals…

  • For 62% of UK employees, pay is the primary driver to work.
  • This is the highest rate in Europe, where the average is just 49%.
  • UK workers are also the least likely to say they work because ‘they love what they do.’ (Accounting for 13%. This is half the number of respondents that proclaimed this in the Netherlands).
  • Additionally, UK employees remain the most likely to ‘feel like quitting’ their job, with almost 10% of those surveyed considering this ‘most days!’

What does this tell us about the UK work culture?

According to today’s source, HR Magazine, these stats reflect a low level of national employee engagement. Those most motivated by non-financial rewards consistently revealed greater ongoing engagement and job satisfaction.

Conversely, those driven to work for the ability to cover the costs of those things they want/need are actually likelier to experience frustration or disappointment on receipt of their pay.

There are some really interesting comments in the HR Magazine piece. It certainly provides food for thought, whether you’re a job-seeker or employer…

1) How this might affect your job search

If you truly want to find job satisfaction, it might be time to think beyond the money mindset. This is by no means to suggest you work for less than you deserve. Rather, you can really consider the ‘full package’ of a role.

What would it take for you to wake up and actually look forward to a Monday? What would inspire you to say ‘I love what I do’ and to get through a working week without considering moving on?!

This is such an individual consideration. It might include…

  • Entering a certain industry
  • Progressing to or taking on a particular role
  • Achieving your ideal work-life balance
  • Working with like-minded people
  • Being a part of a particular work culture/environment
  • Contributing to a greater purpose or joining a company with a shared ethos
  • Even just joining a business of a particular size or working closer to home

Naturally, these are just thinking points. You need to work out what really matters to you. Consider these factors as you peruse the latest vacancies and chat with your recruitment consultant.

To begin your job search, check out our current jobs listings and/or register your CV. We also have some excellent job hunting tips here.

2) How this might affect your search for a new employee

The savviest businesses can benefit from these insights. Firstly, understanding how many UK employees work for the money alone is an excellent driver to ensure you have a competitive salary offering. Perhaps you may also consider other financial incentives such as reward/bonus schemes.

However, you also want to be thinking beyond the money mindset! How can you communicate the additional benefits of working for your business?

Is there additional groundwork to do to ensure your team is actually on-board with a shared mission, that you have an enjoyable working environment, and that you demonstrate how much you value your staff?

Do you ask your team for (anonymous!) feedback on why they choose to work, what their experience of your company is, and what else would improve their workplace engagement, job satisfaction and similar?

Further reading:

For expert advice on attracting and recruiting the right team members for your needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.



What does that mean? CV advice!

What does that mean? Why this is the question you should be asking yourself when writing your CV…

We were interested to read the advice of Amazon’s head recruiter, Celeste Joy Diaz, as published by Recruiting Times. Her takeaway message is one that chimes so well with our own recommendations. Yes, this piece of advice is dotted throughout many of our news posts to date!

Your CV shouldn’t simply reel off a list of tasks that you’ve ticked off in previous jobs, it should be selling your proudest achievements. It should additionally showcase the relevance of all the skills and experiences that you’ve gathered so far.

Well, what does that mean exactly?!

Say you’ve been part of a busy project. You’ve played an important part in this – perhaps at an assistant level, or perhaps leading the team. Don’t just mention the project, yet detail your results. What did you help to accomplish?

Offer stats, describe the changes that occurred as a result and always be sure to link this back to your project role. Diaz says, “The best (CV) is when it’s grounded in data.”

This is just an example, of course. It doesn’t have to be a project, it could be something you’ve achieved across the longer term. How one of your ideas created change, how you helped bring on new business, how you paved the path for an internal promotion.

We’ve got a trick to help you with this…

You’ll see this results-driven approach is very much spotlighted in our post on what to do before you write your CV.

This feature contains somewhat of a trick that you can–and should!–read at any stage in your job hunting process. In fact, it’s one that you should share with friends and family that aren’t even considering job searching yet.

You may also find the following helpful: