Job vacancies: record highs or figures falling?

What does the number of job vacancies tell us about the state of the employment market? Well, the answer could depend on your chosen source…

Two different news items published only a day apart suggest that:

a) Advertised job vacancies are falling and reflect a ‘cooling off’ period 

Source: Recruiting Times & Adzuna

Adzuna has been recording its own data since 2012. However, it will not have access to the same quantity of data as our next source.

That said, it’s still of national interest as it considers the UK as a whole. Perhaps most interestingly, these findings also report on competition levels; stating that application numbers have fallen to an all-time low since Adzuna’s records began 6 years ago.

b)  Job vacancies have reached a record high since 2001

Source: HR Review & the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Conversely, the ONS reports that job vacancy numbers have reached the highest level recorded in 17 years. Although these figures are taken from the August to October 2018 period; Adzuna’s refer to the ‘latest data’ which may well be exploring the past month.

This report also reflects a talent shortage, stating that ’employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.’

What the REC has to say on this topic…

As you may well know, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation also conducts regular research.

Their latest press release explored October’s figures and found:

  • Staff appointment numbers rose at their fastest rate last month.
  • Job vacancies ‘expanded at the softest pace’ for almost two years in October, yet staff demand was ‘historically sharp’.
  • Overall candidate availability fell at its steepest rate in nine months.

Considering all these findings, it appears that there is greater consensus across the sources than it might have appeared at first glance.

Certainly, each agrees that businesses are facing skills shortages, with HR Review reporting that “employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”

Looking to overcome the skills shortage?

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!

September Report on Jobs: recruitment latest

The September Report on Jobs is now available, thanks to the REC and IHS Markit…

Each month IHS Markit and the REC team up to provide us all with the latest recruitment and employment insights. These stats are then widely reported upon throughout the national media.

The September Report on Jobs reveals…

  • Permanent employee placement numbers have seen a rapid increase. In fact, as of August, they rose at their swiftest rate in five months.
  • Temporary employee placements have also experienced a continued increase in demand. However, they’ve done so at their ‘softest’ rate since October 2016.
  • New employee pay rates across both permanent and temporary bookings have additionally increased throughout this period.

What is driving these increased pay rates?

As the September Report on Jobs notes, starting pay rates have risen at a time when inflation has actually softened. It’s the lack of ready candidate supply that appears to underpin this change.

Essentially, businesses are still struggling to source permanent and temporary employees at a time of low unemployment. Permanent staff availability has plummeted more rapidly than that of temporary workers.

How do these findings affect you?

It remains a promising time for job-searching candidates. With high employer demand and low national unemployment, you’re more likely to experience reduced competition for each advertised role.

This isn’t to say this is always the case. After all, certain vacancies naturally draw more applicants regardless of the national statistics.

Keep a close eye on the latest jobs listings to see what is happening in your current or prospective industry.

Businesses will want to consider all aspects of their staff attraction offering. HR Magazine discusses the need for companies to “develop a compelling proposition,” using flexible working, career development opportunities, and creative settings to appeal to more job-seekers.

For professionally tailored recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. 

[Source: REC Sep 2018]

Supporting workers in their over-50s

Employees in their over-50s appear in several news items this week. The question is, are they getting enough support?

You may have heard about Gail Smith, the 52-year-old Newcastle-based businesswoman who took voluntary redundancy last year. At the time, she thought it would be simple to handpick her next role. After all, she has decades of experience at a senior management level. However (and as what the Recruiting Times calls her ‘LinkedIn rant’ would attest!), this has been far from the case. One year on and Gail is actively seeking a role.

Are over-50s workers being discriminated against?

Of course, we cannot comment on the specifics of this particular instance. Yet the article describes a time in which Smith is told she was considered ‘too old’ for an interviewing role. If this is the case, it would be more than frowned upon under the rules of the Equality Act 2010.

What about being told ‘you’re overqualified?’

This is another reason Gail Smith has been given for her interview rejections. This is a separate issue in many respects. A younger worker can also be considered ‘overqualified’ if they have work experiences and qualifications greater than those that the role demands.

It is a tricky situation to be in. Let’s also consider the employer’s needs a mo. Businesses are understandably reluctant to hire someone who they think may be utterly bored or using a vacancy as a stopgap for something better. Although this may not be the case from the employee’s perspective. See below!

So, what can workers do to overcome this issue?

It’s important to communicate why you’re looking for vacancies that appear below your skill-set. Your recruitment consultant should be able to assist you with this. Perhaps there’s a good reason you want to take a step back from previous responsibilities. Explain this as clearly as you can.

Employers may also want to take a second look at the CVs in their inboxes. In times of a skills shortage, nobody wants to be overlooking someone great based on assumptions alone. The best recruitment consultants are experts at seeing which people make the best ‘fit’, should you benefit from some support.

Use your CV wisely.

Returning to the risk of age discrimination, we’d recommend that job applicants take a closer look at their CV. Remove your date of birth, education dates and any long-ago CV details that don’t add anything to your search. E.g. that part-time job you had 30 years or so ago. Keep things fresh and relevant. This is something many agencies will automatically do prior to submitting your CV to a client to ensure you’re judged on merit.

Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest CV methods. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all for every job application. Rather, you should be tailoring your CV to demonstrate exactly how you suit each job you’re applying for. You’ll find some great advice regarding this here.

We naturally wish Gail, and anyone else in her position, the very best with their job search. Hoping the right opportunity presents itself very soon.

A final note for businesses on the ability to support the over-50s worker…

Personnel Today has reported that over half of this age group feels unsupported at work. Yet they also feel more confident in their abilities and skill-sets than some of their younger colleagues.

May we also remind you that more than 2/5 of workers intend to work beyond 65 for reasons other than financial need.

By learning to better support the over-50s employee, you’re at a competitive advantage. An advantage that is so valuable during this ongoing skills shortage.

Looking for additional recruitment support and advice? Call the office on 01225 313130.

Job search rules: two essential tips!

If there were only two job search rules to remember, these are the ones…

On the whole, we far prefer to discuss job search tips or advice than we do rules. That said, you occasionally hear those words that truly apply to all, including:

Job search rules, no. 1: “do your homework”. 

Our first rule is inspired by this insightful post from The Muse. Anyone who struggles to speak up in team meetings should certainly read this one in full.

At the heart of this job search rule is the idea that you should always take the time to do your research.

This also starts long before your interview. You should have at least some knowledge of…

  • How the job market is looking. Even if this is only within your target industry and/or on a local level.
  • What employers are looking for from their applicants.
  • The types of openings that your CV may be suitable for.
  • How to write a decent CV!
  • What to research before an interview.

Feeling at a loss as to where to start? These simple tips will take you through most of the job search research process. And then this guide will help you to prepare for any upcoming interviews.

Job search rules, no. 2: “every interaction is an interview”. 

So many people have the potential to impact your job search in a positive way. Whether that’s a reception team member who’s asked to share their first impressions of interviewees, a recruitment consultant who’s meeting you ahead of submitting your CV, a prospective colleague you’ve previously met at a networking event, or even someone in your industry who happens to praise you in passing.

Learning to conduct yourself with courtesy is invaluable. As is knowing how to express your interest in learning more about the businesses that you’re applying to, your enthusiasm for your industry, and your ability to interact positively with people from a variety of working and life backgrounds.

This is simpler than it sounds! Being on time, remembering to say please and thank you, asking someone how they are, acknowledging someone’s time and assistance, and so on. By viewing all job search interactions (however formal they may be) as interviews, you reframe your outlook and hold yourself more accountable to your values.

That’s not to suggest you should fake your way to success though. Conversely, employers are looking to have genuine insights into their prospective team members. There’s more advice regarding this outlook in this excellent Changeboard post.

Note: not everything you read in the Changeboard article applies to the local recruitment agency setting. For instance, you shouldn’t contact any interviewing clients (or their staff!) directly unless this is under the specific advice of your recruitment consultant. This is with your job search success in mind and to ensure all stages of the recruitment process are conducted professionally.

How to combine these job search rules:

These two rules naturally complement each other. By doing your research you’ll feel far more informed when you have unexpected interactions throughout your job search.

You’ll also find it much easier to answer any questions at recruitment agency meetings and formal interview situations. What’s more, you’ll be empowered to ask more questions in return. Also making those less formal interactions even more powerful throughout your job search.

Time to get registering your CV for jobs in or near Bath? You can do so as a general applicant online.

Employer confidence increases!

Employer confidence is finally looking up. So, how will this affect your job search or recruitment plans?

Good news for employer confidence

Some of you (with incredible memories!) may recall us discussing reduced employer confidence among the recruitment predictions for 2018.

The Recruiting Times first raised this prediction – and it’s the Recruiting Times who also shared today’s stats…

  • Almost a third (30%) of employers believe the UK economy is improving. This marks the first positive reading since August 2017.
  • 32% of businesses additionally predict confidence rates will further rise.

What does this change?

  • An increasing number of businesses say they are looking to make recruitment and investment plans.
  • Yet a certain level of uncertainty around permanent recruitment remains. This underpins the 41% of companies using temporary staff at this time. A figure that has also increased (by 9%) over the past year.
  • As recently discussed, national starting pay rates have also risen as employers face greater recruitment competition.

And how do employer confidence levels affect you?

  • As a job-seeker: greater employer confidence tends to result in a greater volume of vacancies. Of course, these are national stats covering all sectors, so you will want to keep a close eye on what’s happening within your own industry. Our Jobs page is regularly updated with the latest roles. Word of increased vacancies can lure out hibernating job-seekers, meaning you won’t want to rest on your laurels and assume the job is yours! Make sure your strategy is up to scratch (and you’re not taking a scattergun approach to your search!).
  • As an employer: again, these are national stats. However, you might want to take a quick (and regular!) look at what your competitors are up to. After all, you don’t want them to snap up the best staff in your field before you get started. As Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of Policy, explains, concerns regarding the skills gap and candidate shortages remain. This means staff attraction has to be at the fore of your recruiting focus. For some expert support, please call a Consultant on 01225 313130.

Workplace happiness low in the UK

Take a quick look at and you’ll see two workplace happiness features have appeared in so many days. Together they house some illuminating statistics…

Workplace happiness: 1 in 4 workers are distinctly unhappy

Today’s article reports that just shy of a quarter (24%) of workers feel unhappy at work. Yet many are not seeking new roles due to concerns regarding their age and a general lack of confidence.

Sadly a vast number of workers (72%) regard their role as a ‘job’ rather than a ‘career.’ It may not surprise to hear that those falling into the career category are almost 20% more satisfied.

Employees perceiving their work to be a ‘job’ also regard this as a ‘means to an end’.

There is little difference between age groups other than the fact younger workers are more likely to view their role as a career.

It may shock to hear that 41% of workers feel ‘too old’ to make a career change once they’ve turned 34. Family needs, uncertainty and low confidence also prevent positive action.

Workplace happiness rates more valuable than salary levels

Two days prior to the above post we read that 60% of employees regard workplace happiness as more important than their salary.

The news piece talks of how a ‘collaborative and friendly atmosphere’ can enhance candidate attraction and retention rates, alongside creating a thriving output.

Friendship comes into play, with 57% of people saying a close friend made their work ‘more enjoyable’ – and others reporting increased productivity and creativity as a result of their friendships.

Again the stats are explored for demographic differences. This time gender alters the outcome, with 80% of women prioritising workplace happiness versus 55% of men. Job status also divides the responses; managers are far more concerned by salary than entry and executive level workers.

Workers aged 45 and over are also more likely to value workplace happiness.

Looking to increase your happiness at work? Sign up for our Business Brunch, a fortnightly email comprising the best career-boosting tips and tricks.

Feeling ready for a change? Time to refresh your CV; we suggest starting with a quick Skills & Achievements Master List!