What is meaningful work?

What does meaningful work really mean? Research suggests it could be much more accessible than you might think…

The term ‘meaningful’ often brings to mind jobs that save lives or at least make a great difference to the community and/or the environment. This is probably why so few people perceive their role as meaningful.

A 2019 CIPD report stated that almost 1/4 of people don’t think their job ‘contributes to society’ and 1 in 10 don’t even think it ‘contributes to their organisation!’

Yet most people can obtain meaningful work in reality…

ServiceNow has found that the top three factors that contribute meaning actually include:

  1. ‘Being part of a team’ (43%)
  2. ‘Learning new skills to advance your career’ (42%)
  3. And ‘having your contribution to the business recognised by colleagues and managers’ (39%)

Employers may feel reliant upon their business leaders to create this sense of meaning – a great reminder for anyone who is managing a team.

Currently, only 28% of respondents believe they’re part of a team, 17% think they have the chance to progress, and 18% feel ‘recognised’.

What can you do to bring more meaning to your job?

There are some changes you can make to improve each of the above factors.

  1. Unless you work entirely alone, you can take a look at the way you work with others. Are you open to receiving offers of help or ideas shared by colleagues? Do you remember to offer yours in return? Could you ever create a small project group or duo (management approval allowing!)?
  2. Where possible, approach your manager/s with suggestions for skills that would benefit your role and -vitally- the organisation. If you receive a firm ‘no’ but there’s something you really want to work on for the benefit of your career, see how you can build this skill in your own time, while respecting your personal time and budget constraints. You can always take your new skills to your next employer!
  3. Seeking recognition is perhaps the hardest element to ‘DIY!’ It can help to remember that your managers may be noticing and appreciating more than they share; it could just be their personal style. That said, there may also be times that they don’t know quite what you’re working on. If you suspect the latter, don’t be afraid of using small opportunities to share your progress and achievements. After all, your progress and achievements also directly benefit the company.

Still seeking greater meaning at work? Visit our jobs page to see the latest opportunities.



Latest employee finance news

Sharing two of the latest employee finance updates, alongside some extra tips…

1) Employee finance: the ignored payslip!

Our first article reveals that almost 1/3 of UK employees are failing to check their payslip on a regular basis. Yet 15% of people are concerned that their payslips aren’t accurate.

Perhaps most amusingly, finance and accounting professionals are some of the least likely to review the accuracy of their monthly income (41%)! ‘Media, marketing and sales’ employees, however, top this list (47%), followed by those working in education (42%).

Employees may want to rethink their approach, as the feature also cites a number of high-level payouts as a result of payroll errors.

TIP: as the article suggests, one of the main reasons that people fail to read their payslip is because it doesn’t make too much sense to them in the first place (finance professionals aside, hopefully)! Make sure you know what’s on your slip and how much tax you should be paying with the help of this post

2) Employee finance: avoiding festive debt

The second employee finance feature raises the topic of how to avoid debt this Christmas. An important topic to consider…even though we weren’t planning to discuss the festive season just yet!

Most people are said to be spending around £567 this Christmas, with 46% covering these costs through the use of ‘credit cards, store cards and overdrafts’.

We’ll leave you to read the advice in full. Many of the tips are somewhat straightforward, yet may serve as good as reminders. Also, there are some excellent nuggets within – including where to find a 2019 Christmas budget planner and who to speak to for further advice if you’ve already taken out a high-interest loan (AKA ‘payday’ loan).

TIP: if you have some time to spare this festive season, why not submit your CV for some temporary work? Many offices are looking for people to provide extra support and/or cover for annual leave or Christmas parties. You’ll find a list of current temporary openings on our site. Please note: due to the nature of temporary work, many vacancies are swiftly filled. Even if you can’t see relevant openings listed, it’s worth submitting your CV alongside an overview of your availability

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn to receive future employee finance news and tips.



The job skill of the future

Which one job skill do we all need to work on for the benefit of our future careers?

Most experts agree that automation will dramatically change the job landscape over the coming years. It’s recently been said that “white-collar jobs will be swept away faster by digital change than in any previous economic transformation.” White-collar jobs are those that primarily involve mental and/or administrative work, such as that commonly undertaken by office professionals.

As alarming as talk of job loss is, these digital changes will present benefits to employees and businesses. The above-linked feature also explores how many of our jobs will become easier. Automation is predicted to eliminate many mundane tasks and help us to complete our roles more efficiently.

Yet we also need to adapt as individuals. It’s no good simply letting AI sweep in and remove our jobs. Instead, we need to brush up on our skills and make sure we’re working well alongside new tech.

Certain attributes keep cropping up in these conversations…

…including the job skill discussed in today’s featured study:

Emotional Intelligence (‘EI’ or ‘EQ’) is the skill in question, as researched by Capgemini.

  • 83% of professionals agree that a ‘highly emotionally-intelligent workforce’ will be intrinsic to future success.
  • 61% of executive-level respondents think EI will be a ‘must-have’ career skill within the next 1-5 years. 41% of non-supervisory level employees agree.
  • 76% of executives also say employees need to develop EI to adapt to more client-facing jobs and to complete new tasks requiring skills that ‘cannot be automated’, including ’empathy, influence and teamwork’.

Many employees also believe their skills are replaceable…

  • Just under 2/5 of employees say their job skills will or already have ‘become redundant’ due to automation and/or AI.
  • Currently, only 42% of businesses are training their senior team on EI; this falls to 32% for middle management and just 17% for non-supervisory staff.
  • Yet 75% of business leaders think emotional intelligence can be increased.

Psychologists also agree…

One psychology professor likens EI to mathematical abilities, saying: “there is a certain amount of teaching and tutoring that can be helpful. We can acquire knowledge in the area that will increase the effectiveness with which people use their intelligence.”

Wondering which job skills you need right now?

  • Make sure you’re regularly reading job descriptions for openings in your target sector. Watch our for patterns in employer requirements (particularly when it comes to key skills and personal attributes) and see if there are any gaps you need to work on.
  • It’s always good to think ahead as well. Developing the skills highlighted in such studies may offer a competitive advantage in the future. It also demonstrates initiative – something that’s long been attractive to prospective employers. Ready to get started? Visit the ‘further reading for your future career and job skills’ section towards the bottom of this post.


Many more temps to be recruited

UK businesses plan to recruit many more temps, reveals the latest REC JobsOutlook…

On comparing their intentions against last month, employers are:

  • 10 percentage points more likely to recruit temporary workers within the short-term. In terms of REC data, this means within the next 3 months.
  • 9 percentage points more likely to recruit temps across the medium-term (4 to 12 month period).

Why this may surprise some:

You could think this is a mark of increased business confidence. However, companies report a further reduced confidence in the nation’s ‘economic prospects’.

In fact, this particular reading has now reached a record low – and currently sits 57 percentage points below its June 2016 findings.

Plans to recruit permanent staff have fallen by 1 percentage point for the short-term period and by 3 percentage points for the medium-term period. Although, both ratings remain positive overall: with a net balance of +16 and +19 respectively.

That said, businesses worry they won’t find the right temps:

  • 34% (1/3) of employers express concern about finding enough skilled candidates to fill their temporary roles.
  • 46% of businesses additionally worry about obtaining permanent employees.

These figures are less surprising when you consider that the UK has achieved record unemployment rates, with less than 4% of the population unemployed.

So, there’s great news for temps. But is temping for you?

Temporary work offers multiple benefits to employees. These include:

  • A flexible solution for those looking for work for a specific period – whether ad hoc assignments or longer-term bookings.
  • The chance to develop new skills and experiences and enhance your CV in the process.
  • A deeper insight into working cultures and local businesses. Helping you work out your priorities for permanent roles if this is a future goal.
  • Regular pay: you’ll be paid weekly (following those weeks worked), rather than monthly.
  • You’ll still accrue holiday pay, further enhancing the flexibility of your role.

Remember, there is no guarantee of finding regular temporary work, even though this is the case for many. To this end, it’s not recommended to leave a permanent role to temp unless you’ve got the financial backing to do so!

You can search for temporary and contract jobs using our job search dropdown tool. Due to the nature of temporary work, roles can be filled swiftly. So, it’s also worth emailing your CV along with a cover email detailing your availability. Here’s what else you should include

To book a temp, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us to discuss your requirements. 



How to showcase your achievements

Whether you’re looking for a job promotion or a brand new role, you need to know how to showcase your achievements to employers…

We’ll focus on targeting recruitment agencies and prospective employers today. However, if you’re reading this from the promotion perspective, simply use the tips to tailor your notes for an upcoming management meeting or appraisal.

Showcasing your achievements throughout your job search: 

The best CVs are those that spotlight your skills and successes – and manage to link these back to the position you’re applying for. Of course, when faced with a blank document, this can be much easier said than done.

Some of the best advice we’ve read on this topic comes from The Balance Careers. They explain how to:

  1. Define your past successes: looking back over previous roles and making sure you know ‘what success looked like in each position.’
  2. List your achievements: considering those moments in which you’ve excelled in your role and noting specific examples.
  3. Quantify your performance: using numbers to illustrate your achievements.
  4. Highlight any awards: as it sounds; we’ll come back to this shortly!
  5. Weave your findings into your CV and cover letter: suggesting powerful keywords, and how and where to reference your successes.

They even share some examples of their tips in action on a CV, cover letter and during an interview.

Please note: the above article comes from an American website, so watch that you don’t let any American-English slip into your CV. This can frustrate prospective employers!

Some extra tips for the list…

  • Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, get in the habit of following items 1-4.  It’s so much easier to recall your achievements when they’re fresh. Keep a dedicated list, so you’ll be able to select the most relevant examples for each job application.
  • Don’t worry if you’ve not been nominated for any awards! There are other ways to show recognition. Perhaps you’ve received praise from a boss or colleague, a promotion, or some form of prize/incentive for your work. Note these examples too.
  • Remember, the UK CV is ideally only around 2 pages long. It may be a single page for those with less work experience, or a 3-page document for more experienced professionals. However, there’s no reason you can’t get a bit creative and incorporate further details into a separate document to submit to your interviewer. Keep this snappy, using bullet points and graphics.
  • Remember, employers want to know how you can help them. Always draw your examples back to your company research. There’s more about this here.

Further reading: