The most irritating office habits

Which office habits do employees find most irritating? Interesting reading for anyone with colleagues!

It’s time for the third and final post in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series – and this post really explores those daily gripes. Don’t forget to catch up on the first two installments, which include…

  1. How many professionals would accept a promotion without a pay rise? Including which groups are most likely to do this and whether you should ever consider it.
  2. And would you recommend your employer to another job-seeker? Plus what stops people doing this and why it matters.

A bit of background…

As mentioned in the first post, the Vanquis survey is designed to explore ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

They raise the old adage that many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families, which means we really get to know their ‘quirks and behaviours’.

As well as wanting to understand what’s most likely to upset colleagues, they were intrigued by which grievances linger longest on the mind.

Office Habits to avoid:

  1. Rotten food left in the fridge/kitchen (85%)
  2. Colleagues leaving a mess in kitchens, bathrooms or other communal spaces (83%)
  3. Discriminatory or rude language, including swearing alongside racism and sexism, etc. (81%)
  4. Passive-aggressive notes left in communal spaces (74%)
  5. Loud music on work computers (74%)
  6. Colleagues changing heating or aircon settings (67%)
  7. People cooking ‘smelly food’ at work (66%)
  8. Colleagues being promoted ‘over you’ (61%)

Interestingly, the order changes when it comes to how long people spend feeling ‘bothered’ by each of these irritations…

  1. Other people being promoted (57.36 hours)
  2. Discriminatory & rude language (36.72 hours)
  3. Passive-aggressive notes (22.8 hours)
  4. Rotten food in fridges or kitchens (18.72 hours)
  5. Messy kitchens, bathrooms or communal spaces (15.84 hours)
  6. Loud music on work computers (14.64 hours)
  7. People changing heating/aircon (13.44 hours)
  8. Cooking smelly food (11.76 hours)

How do you mitigate irritating or offensive office behaviour?

The survey respondents engage in a number of responses; most of which are highly concerning…

  1. Verbal confrontation – directly to your colleague (40%)
  2. Complaining to your boss (32%)
  3. ‘Bad-mouthing’ colleagues and their work (27%)
  4. HR complaints (21%)
  5. ‘Embarrassing them’ in front of colleagues or clients (14%)
  6. Physical acts of confrontation, i.e. violence (12%)
  7. Deleting or adding mistakes to their work in shared documents (11%)
  8. Revealing personal information about them to their family/boss (11%)
  9. Career sabotage attempts (9%)
  10. Harassing them on social media, outside of work (9%)

You may recall that some of the same respondents also take nefarious routes to obtain their promotions at work. This may be a rather unusual pool and does not necessarily reflect the behaviour that’s normal in your office or industry!

Any irritating office habits should, of course, always be handled politely and professionally. Remember, your reputation is at stake.

Are you someone who truly values your reputation and is keen to explore a fresh environment and team? Please visit our jobs page



Leaving a job without another job?!

Have you ever left a job without another job at the ready? Would you consider doing so? We explore which professionals are most likely to say ‘yes’ to these questions and share some advice…

While still among the minority, more than 1 in 10 British employees (13%) are willing to leave their current job without having their next job lined up.

It appears that certain groups of professionals are more likely to take a risk. These include:

  1. PR and Marketing (22%)
  2. Sales personnel (21.7%)
  3. Manual labourers (18.9%)
  4. Retail employees (18.8%)
  5. Civil servants (17.7%)
  6. Accounts professionals (17.7%)
  7. Lawyers (17.6%)
  8. Teachers (17.2%)
  9. Operations employees (17%)
  10. And Finance professionals (16.1%)

The researchers also found that:

  • Employees aged 25 to 34 are among the most prepared to leave a role without another job at the ready.
  • Those in the 55 to 64-year-old age group are the least likely to do this.
  • Men are more likely to take a risk without knowing what they’re doing next.
  • However, women are marginally more prepared to leave their current job if they do know what they are going to do.

Should you take the risk and leave your job without another job at the ready?

  • In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is no! The jobs market is naturally unpredictable. Even with a wealth of experience and a wonderful personality, you may struggle to secure work as quickly as you hope. Especially if you work within a competitive industry.
  • By commencing your job search alongside your current role, you can enjoy your increased financial security while maintaining a ‘consistent’ CV.
  • There are, of course, some special circumstances. For instance, if you’re in the highly fortunate position of being able to financially support yourself for a potentially extended period of time. Even in this case, it’s advisable to follow Forbes’ approach – only take the leap if you have some sort of plan lined up. Even if this plan involves taking a break to travel, volunteer, study or take some ‘dedicated time for your job search.’
  • There are also occasions in which you won’t have much choice, for instance through redundancy, relocation and similar. In these times, specialist advice becomes all the more valuable. Seek out REC-accredited recruitment agencies that cater to your industry. We have long been proud members!
  • Remember, recruiters and employers pay close attention to your CV. It’s worth detailing your career breaks and any associated skills and achievements. For instance, courses undertaken to further your industry credentials, voluntary experiences, etc.
  • Temping can also enhance your CV through these periods, as well as introducing you to a variety of local employers/industries. While you can’t guarantee that you will find temp work immediately, employers are often looking for people who are readily available. Due to how quickly temp opportunities are filled, you may not see many temporary opportunities listed at any one time. Your best bet is to submit your CV to a suitable recruitment agency and keep in touch regarding any opportunities.

You can apply for the latest temporary, contract and/or permanent vacancies via our jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email for the latter!



More holidays and a pay rise

The New Economics Foundation is calling for more holidays and a pay rise for the good of the British economy!

This recommendation (and its accompanying report) focuses on ways in which to improve national productivity.

The idea being that if consumers are able to spend more money, and have more time in which to spend it, the demand for products and services will increase. This, in turn, will help bolster business productivity and the wider economy.

Do we need more holidays?

Few employees would decline the opportunity to have more time off. Especially on hearing that Britons receive fewer public holidays than many of their European counterparts.

While the UK minimum stands at 28 days, EU employees receive anywhere from 30 to 40 paid public holidays each year.

This report also reflects employees’ priorities, according to a separate study

When looking for a new job, British people prioritise:

  1. Their salary (98%)
  2. Holiday allowance (91%)
  3. A pension plan (89%)
  4. Promotion opportunities (78%)

Talking of holidays…

Therefore, while the ideas sound welcome, there may be additional issues to tackle in practise! In the meantime, don’t forget to use your jobs research as a chance to review your personal priorities. 



How secure are today’s jobs?

How secure are today’s jobs compared to those of twenty years ago? Plus to what extent do these findings even affect employees and job-seekers?

Before we delve into the latest stats, there’s one important question we should be asking…

What does job security really mean?

There was a time when job security was closely correlated with a ‘job for life’. Something now considered to be a feature of the distant past – and not expected to return, either!

In more recent decades (and as per the Oxford Dictionary), job security has become “the state of having a job…from which one is unlikely to be dismissed”.

How secure are jobs in 2019 versus 1998?

Due to the discussions surrounding the gig economy, you won’t be surprised to hear that most people think national job security is diminishing.

However, CIPD research suggests this is untrue:

  • The total share of non-permanent jobs has ‘not increased since 1998’.
  • Nor has the ‘under-employment rate’ of people requiring additional work.
  • The vast majority of national employees are in fact in ‘regular’ 9-5 jobs.
  • Any fluctuations that have occurred throughout this twenty-year period are additionally temporary in nature and relate to specific events, such as recessions.
  • While largely positive, the CIPD has called on the government to do more to tackle poor pay and discrimination issues.

Does it matter how secure your job is in 2019?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the growing gig economy and increase in ‘side jobs’ are signs that professionals are less concerned about job security…

Advice for those worried about job insecurity:

MindTools has issued advice to help people cope with the uncertainty of their work.

Two of the best tips from this piece also apply to your job-seeking process…

  • ‘Show your value’: not only does this approach help you stand out as an employee, yet it also helps set you apart from your job-seeking competitors.
  • ‘Stay current’: upskilling is sure to be a continued theme in recruitment news, as technology advances alter the jobs landscape. The way you market your skills should also be current…including regularly refreshing your CV!

Looking for a new job? You’ll find the latest temporary, permanent and contract openings listed here



Create more joy at work – for you & others

What are the top ways to create joy at work? Essential reading to support you and your colleagues…

Work and joy aren’t necessarily synonymous in your thoughts. Yet understanding what creates most happiness could help you to step closer to this notion. What’s more, knowing what makes most people feel happier could help you to become a better colleague – whether you’re managing employees or simply working alongside them.

It’s time to turn to a recent survey of UK professionals, which reveals that…

The greatest work joys include:

  1. Completing tasks without mistakes (52.6%)
  2. ‘Helping others’ (41.9%)
  3. Challenging your abilities with a tricky task (30.5%)
  4. Praise from your manager (27.7%)
  5. Compliments from colleagues (24.8%)
  6. Being awarded the ‘leading role’ on a project (18.8%)
  7. Leaving work each day! (17.3%)
  8. Arriving at work on time (15.3%)
  9. Taking your allocated breaks and heading home on time (5.4%)
  10. And not having too much work to do (3.8%)

Is this a good sign?

It’s promising that the most popular responses are those that pertain to doing a good job and being a great colleague, rather than escaping from work! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking forward to your personal time when you consider that most people are experiencing some work-life balance challenges.

If you do find yourself solely identifying with items 7, 9 and 10, it’s likely you’re not doing a job that aligns with your skills and interests. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the latest job opportunities.

Additionally, if you identify with a mix of these factors but really don’t get much opportunity to experience them, you may also want to do some research to see what else is out there.

How to bring more joy & be a better colleague

  • One of the benefits of this list is that it’s relatively simple to experiment with. While you may not be awarded any leading roles right now, you can more easily offer others your help; challenge yourself to really use your skills; offer genuine compliments to colleagues and make more of an effort to arrive and leave on time.
  • Of course, your colleagues are likely to appreciate those genuine compliments and your assistance. Yet they’ll also appreciate something you may not so readily do – accepting their offers of help.
  • And you never know, the more items you tick, the more likely you are to receive that praise from your manager and/or be assigned a more senior role or project.

Feeling happy at work yet ready for a new challenge? You’ll also want to head straight to our jobs page!



Are gap years good for your CV?

Can gap years actually benefit your CV? Is there a ‘right way’ to take one and is there an age limit on this sort of break? 

Today’s topic is inspired by this HR News post. Its headline states that gap years can ‘help applicants stand out.’

  • 63% of HR professionals think this is the case, according to YouGov.
  • As 44% of businesses rate ‘experience’ as more important than a degree, the gap year may also provide some valuable practical insights and skills.
  • This is all good news for the 88% of students who chose to take a gap year specifically to increase their employability.

There’s one important phrase that crops up several times in the post, however, and that’s the mention of ‘constructive’ gap years. This brings us to the following question…

Is there a right way to approach a gap year?

Of course, if you’re just looking to take a break from your studies or career (we’ll come to the latter shortly) you could spend your time doing whatever you please.

However, if you’re thinking along the lines of enhancing your employability, this is where the constructive bit comes into the equation.

The sort of break that looks best on your CV is one that features paid and or voluntary work. Each of which can increase your skill-set, confidence (alongside other attributes) and general experience in a variety of ways.

Is there an age limit on this sort of break?

Not when you consider that gap years can be referred to as ‘sabbaticals’.

Experienced professionals can also use this time to learn new skills and gain experience in sectors that they’re eager to pursue.

Is there a right way to feature your gap year on your CV?

Yes! Far from simply leaving a gap in your career history  – no pun intended! – you want to let prospective employers know how you used your time to their potential benefit.

Treat this as you would any other role. Provide the dates of your break, an overview of what you were doing, and real-world examples of your skills and achievements.

As ever, the specific details you provide should also be tailored to your applications.

But what if you can’t afford to take one?

We can’t all afford to take gap years, whether due to financial constraints or other life commitments. Don’t think this will hamper your applications and never force yourself to take one thinking it will definitely improve your employability. There are no guarantees of the latter! What’s more, there are so many other ways to make your CV stand out.

One of the best tips has already been shared above. Tailor each application with genuine examples of your skills and achievements from your employment, education and voluntary roles to date. Make it obvious to the employer why you’re the best match for their role; don’t leave anything to guesswork!

Ready to send your CV? You can apply for individual jobs directly or upload your CV as a general applicant. If you’d rather email your CV, here’s what to include in your cover note



Parents & the success versus happiness debate

Why do some parents crave success over happiness for their children? Is there any science supporting their approach – and which careers do they want their children to pursue?

The parents prioritising success

Earlier this year (and as reported by the Independent), a survey of UK parents revealed that…

  • More than 1/5 of parents would like their child to seek success over happiness, kindness or honesty
  • 1/6 currently have a ‘career in mind’ for their kids
  • And a 1/4 confess they actively discuss this career more frequently than others
  • Over 1/2 try to steer their children towards particular subjects, with the intention of helping them to secure these jobs in future

The parental divide:

When it comes to the jobs themselves, mothers’ and fathers’ opinions commonly differ.

  • Mothers most want their children to pursue ‘engineering and manufacturing’ roles (27% vs. 21% of fathers).
  • Conversely, dads most want their children to enter the world of ‘computing or coding’ (33% vs. 13% of mums).

Why would any parent pick success over happiness?

A spokesman for Siemens (the study’s author), suggests that most parents truly ‘wish for their children to be happy’, yet some parents think ‘money can buy that happiness’.

Are these parents right? Let’s see what the science says…

Which comes first, success or happiness?

The London School of Economics and Political Science has a great piece on this topic.

  • They open by discussing the old adage that you ‘work hard, become successful, then you’ll be happy’. However, they go on to discuss multiple studies that suggest the opposite is true.
  • They conclude that ‘taken together, the hundreds of studies we reviewed…provide strong support for our hypothesis that happiness precedes and often leads to career success’.
  • Forbes also supports this notion, stating that ‘Neuroscience and studies of positive psychology prove that happiness is a key driver and precursor of success, with two decades of research backing this up’.

So, whether you’re at risk of becoming a pushy parent, think your parent steered you towards your career, or you’re just trying to work out the best job for you, it’s time to start asking what will make you and/or your children happiest!

Visit our jobs page for the latest openings. 



The most Googled jobs…

Which are the most Googled jobs of the past year?

There’s always something intriguing about the ‘most searched for’ lists and there’s something all the more intriguing about the most frequently searched for jobs. It’s not just because we’re recruitment specialists either! Rather, it’s that intrigue about the careers that other people want to pursue and how much these ambitions vary throughout the world.

It’s clear that there are some geographical differences. Yet there are also some common themes, as revealed by research from Brother UK.

The most Googled Jobs in the UK:

Starting with the UK findings, we see that the top Googled roles of the past year include…

  1. Teaching assistant
  2. Estate agent
  3. Project manager
  4. Prison officer
  5. Accountant
  6. Social worker
  7. Councillor
  8. Photographer
  9. And graphic designer

You can see the differences in search numbers via Recruiting Times. We’re interested to read that a number of these openings also appear on the UK’s ‘Shortage Occupation List’.

Elsewhere in Europe and beyond…

As mentioned, these findings differ by country. Spain sees the most results for translation roles, while visual merchandising proves popular in Germany.

Most people research mechanical engineering jobs in India, which also happen to top the global list.

The most Googled Jobs around the globe:

You’ll see that four of the seven roles also appear in the UK list…

  1. Mechanical engineer
  2. Accountant
  3. Teaching assistant
  4. Chemical engineer
  5. Civil engineer
  6. Graphic designer
  7. And social worker

Ready to search for a new job? Here are the latest local openings



Forced into side hustles

Why do employees opt to work in so-called side hustles? Is it by choice or is there something else forcing their decisions?

If you read our recent salary news roundup, you’ll know that more than 1/2 of professionals are finding it difficult to meet their financial needs on a monthly basis.

So, it’s of little wonder that the majority of people who undertake side jobs are motivated by the chance to earn more money.

The top motivations for side hustles are:

  1. To increase income (59.9%)
  2. For personal enjoyment (14.1%)
  3. To ‘improve a hobby’ (10.4%)
  4. For better job security (9.4%)
  5. Or to enter a new career (6.3%)

The fact that 67.7% of respondents could be willing to stop their side jobs if their employer increased their salary adds further proof of their financial incentive.

That said, the remaining 1/3 of respondents intend to eventually turn their side gig into their career role.

Should employees and/or their employers be concerned?

There are important considerations for all parties…

  • As the Onrec post suggests, employees should have a good look at their employment contracts before embarking on any side jobs. Many businesses place restrictions on work that can be completed out of office hours.
  • Naturally, employers need to promote productivity and will be concerned if their team members turn up unreasonably tired or distracted. There’s also the chance of competitive overlaps and even public relation problems.
  • Yet, as the piece also mentions, businesses need to do more to attract and retain their employees; particularly in a time of continued skills shortage. Where possible, increased salaries can help professionals to better balance their work and home needs.
  • Business leaders can consult their recruitment agencies for more guidance on achieving competitive and attractive salary packages. We’re delighted to assist local employers with their recruitment enquiries – please call the office on 01225 313130 for more information.
  • Employees who feel overwhelmed with balancing extra work alongside their careers should consider whether their day job is the right role for them. If they’re not able to negotiate a salary increase, they may find their earning potential is greater in a new role. Regularly reviewing local job opportunities can help you to gauge your salary potential.


No time for a holiday?

Are you one of the many Brits that’s too overloaded at work to use your holiday entitlement this year? Or perhaps there’s another reason you won’t be booking much time off?

This is something of an annual issue. 44% of British professionals opted not to use their full holiday allowance in 2018 – and almost 1/4 (23%) had 6 or more unused days by the end of the year.

What’s more, a new national survey suggests 54% of people won’t benefit from their full entitlement this year either. So, why are so many employees reluctant to book a break from work?

Why many Brits aren’t using all their holiday allowance…

  • 1/4 of people report that they ‘feel guilty’ to use their contractual allowance, blaming their employer’s culture for this. In addition, respondents identified some more specific reasons that could be at the root of their reluctance…
  • Top of the list was being ‘too busy’ to book time off (38%), followed by:
  • Having ‘nowhere to go’ (23%)
  • Not needing as much allowance (19%)
  • Enjoying their job too much (8%)
  • A disapproving boss (7%)
  • And ‘peer pressure from colleagues’ (5%).

The article also explores some related issues. From the prevalence of unpaid overtime to being contacted by work while on leave.

But science says you need a holiday!

Research conducted on men found that those who took shorter holidays generally ‘worked more and slept less’. The post argues that this is perpetuating stress issues and the risk of burnout.

We’re assuming these findings would also apply to female employees, who last year missed out on even more paid leave than their male counterparts.

Perhaps it’s time to review your work-life balance and whether you’re happy with your current lifestyle. If you’re not, there may be better options for you.

Employers and managers should also look to create a culture that encourages everyone to use their holiday entitlement. Booking a temp to cover annual leave needs is a great place to start. Call us on 01225 313130 to discuss how this could work for your business.