Is your potential being squandered at work?

Do you believe you’re fulfilling your career potential? What the latest findings say about the nation’s confidence levels…

A recent City & Guilds survey of 5000 working-age people has revealed a number of concerning trends.

  • Firstly, only just over 1 in 3 employees (33%) feel ‘positive about their future career prospects’.
  • 60% say they have skills that are not being used ‘at least half of the time’.
  • Furthermore, only 53% have had any form of training at work within the past three years.
  • 34% of the group has never received any training at all or their last training took place more than five years ago.

Altogether, the findings suggest that large groups of employees are not being given the chance to fulfill their potential at work.

Advice for managers and employers:

These findings are positive for business leaders – providing as they act on the issues raised! You likely already employ individuals who can bring additional value and expertise to your business. They just need to be given the opportunity to do so. Why not ask your team about the skills they think you’re missing out on?

City & Guilds is calling on employers to help address this problem by:

  1. Exploring each job candidate’s ‘underlying skills profiles’ to find new talent for your business. In some cases, prioritising this potential and a solid skills match over sector-specific experience.
  2. Introducing flexible working practices to attract and retain these talented individuals.
  3. Additionally providing training opportunities to employees at ‘all ages and stages of their career’.

Advice for employees and job-seekers:

The survey’s authors also share some useful advice for you:

  1. Where possible, ‘put yourself forward’ for any training opportunities that arise.
  2. Explore out-of-work training to ensure you’re upskilling yourself for your future career prospects.

To add to this, you could also discuss your current unused skills with your management team. Offer practical examples of how your abilities could benefit your department/company and ask to take on new tasks and challenges.

Of course, there may also be other job opportunities that better employ your full skill-set. 



The most motivated age

When do employees reach their most motivated age? And what’s wrong with these sorts of findings?

The Independent’s latest careers news headline caught our eye. It states that ‘people are most driven aged 33.’ The article, based on research by Bupa Health Clinics, suggests that this is the age when people are likely to be more motivated, confident, energetic and positive.

This apparently applies to all of our goals from career intentions to healthy lifestyle plans. While the article and research are clearly well-intentioned, it’s important to note that these findings are also highly generalised and don’t reflect other research data.

Earlier studies have found that it’s the over-55s employee who is the most motivated. Plus it’s likely that we’ll soon hear Gen Z is leading the way on this front!

In reality…

There are extremely motivated individuals of every working age. Working closely with candidates across all career stages has shown us this time and time again.

Fear not if you’re only just embarking on your career and want to prove your motivation – or if 33 is a long distant memory – your individual drive can peak at any time. What’s more, there’s nothing to say you’ll only have one peak in your career.

What motivates you?

More detailed studies have suggested that the drivers that motivate employees may change throughout the career cycle.

For instance, older workers may be more inspired by roles that feature ‘autonomy and personal principles’ whereas younger employees may desire greater ‘competition and career progression.’

Even these drivers will naturally vary individually. With all this in mind, there are a few important questions to consider…

  • How motivated do you feel right now?
  • What actually motivates you?
  • And is there anything you need to change to increase your motivation at this career stage?

One example change is finding others to support you – something said to help 70% of respondents in the first survey piece.

A new opportunity may also prove to be an important driver for you.



4 signs you’ve found (or are) the right candidate!

How to know whether you’ve found (or are!) the right candidate for the job – a post for employers and job-seekers…

Last week, Onrec published a post that we knew we had to feature in our January series. It’s titled: ‘Think you’ve found the right candidate? 4 signs every employer should look for.’

While the piece is clearly targeted at employers and HR Managers, it also offers valuable reading for job-seekers. After all, one of the most vital tools in your job search is the ability to understand what businesses are looking for – allowing you to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Onrec’s advice is perhaps surprisingly simple. You may think that each of these four signs would be a given when attending interviews. However, it’s the people who can do these things particularly well (and most genuinely!) who really stand out.

The 4 signs that you could be the right candidate are…

1. Exuding enthusiasm:

True enthusiasm can really help you set you apart from your competitors. This includes an enthusiasm about your experience to date, alongside the opportunity to bring your experiences into the role you’re discussing. The best bit? The Onrec article highlights how achievable this is, regardless of your interview nerves.

Tip: before attending any interviews, spend some time considering what you’re most enthusiastic and excited about at this point in your career. What’ve you most enjoyed about your previous work and what are you looking forward to doing next? Make notes and discuss with friends if this helps you to become more comfortable in expressing your positivity.

2.  You’ve swotted up:

You need to show that you’ve swotted up on each business you’re interviewing for. This isn’t just about proving you understand the company and its purpose, yet also showing you’re proactive and prepared.

Tip: even if it’s a last-minute interview request, you can have a good look at the company website. Keep a close watch for any mentions of company goals, aims, working ethos or similar. Got longer to prepare? Visit social media feeds, research news items about the company, industry trends and more. This tip also ties into the ‘Proactivity’ point in this post.

3. Seeing flaws as growth opportunities

The most well-rounded candidates can take an honest look at themselves and see how their downfalls can be used as areas of improvement. It helps if you can give real-life examples of times you’ve turned a flaw or failure into a learning and development opportunity.

Tip: try to brainstorm something other than perfectionism (the most popular weakness that’s become something of an interview cliche!). Think of a challenge you’ve overcome, which trait this represented, and how you overcame it and/or the steps you’re currently taking to improve. Again, express enthusiasm for your personal development rather than shame for being human in the first place!

4. Communicating well

Onrec’s final point also ties in well with the ‘Empathy’ trait in this article. You want to communicate clearly and positively with every person you encounter throughout your recruitment process.

This goes beyond your interview conversations and extends into any emails, calls and/or texts you exchange. Not to mention those non-verbal communications with anyone you pass in the interview building.

Tip: always give yourself space to re-read any written comms before firing them off to a prospective employer. You can also stand out by sending interview thank you notes – here’s some advice on how to do this if you’re working with a recruitment agency.

Catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page to see the latest instalments. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn



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.


The upskilling crisis & its potential consequences

Are you receiving upskilling opportunities at work? If so, you’re among the minority of UK professionals…

The UK is the nation that’s least likely to provide new training opportunities to its employees, according to PwC research.

  • 51% of UK employees are not offered the chance to retrain or develop new skills.
  • This is well below the global average of 26%.
  • In comparison, only 33% of American employees and 31% of Germans have not been reskilled.
  • The stats are all the more impressive in India and China, where the figures fall to 5% and 3% respectively.

The education gap

There is a disparity between those respondents who have undertaken further education (post-school) and those who haven’t. Graduates receive 15% more training opportunities.

This HR Magazine report reveals many more findings, including the worrying trend to overlook changing digital needs.

Employees clearly crave development opportunities. 54% feel prepared to ‘learn new skills or completely retrain’ to boost their employment potential; this figure rises to 67% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

You can read the PwC report in full via their website.

Warning: a lack of upskilling could lead to a lack of employees!

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the desire to learn something new tops the list of career priorities for the nation’s professionals.

  • 44.6% of employees want to develop a new skill
  • This beats the 43.5% who prioritise a pay rise
  • And the 22.7% who long for a new job title

40.1% are prioritising the ‘move to another company’. This group may well also increase in time, as 64.1% say their employer doesn’t respond to their needs and 83.2% intend to find a new job ‘to achieve their dreams’.

This could be of concern to many of the employers who are already facing a skills shortage. However, this may also increase the availability of skilled employees. Employers would certainly be wise to review their recruitment approach. Please call the office on 01225 313130 for some professional support.

We’ve only just shared the stats on the number of people looking to change jobs this month and throughout the coming year. Visit our jobs page for the latest opportunities. You’ll also find a number of skills-related topics linked in this article.



Beyond 65: why will most people work at this age?

Do you expect to work beyond 65? Why this will be the case for most UK employees…

We now hear that 71% of people are on track to work after the age of 65. Furthermore, 2/5 of employees expect to still be working after they’ve turned 75.

This is according to research conducted by Canada Life Group, which also demonstrates a ‘long-term upwards trend’. In other words, the longer the research goes on, the more people predict they’ll be working in later life.

Why do so many employees think they’ll work beyond 65?

Some, but not all, of the top reasons comprise a clear financial component:

  1. An insufficient pension, requiring the employee to continue to earn an income (32%).
  2. Job enjoyment and an interest in ‘working for as long as possible’ (30%).
  3. No longer feeling able to ‘rely on a state pension/benefits’ (25%);
  4. Having saved for retirement but finding the ‘cost of living so high’ that additional income is required (21%);
  5. For other workplace benefits, such as social interaction (21%).

Considering the external financial factors:

Considering why finances bear such an impact…

  • 71% of respondents attribute this to the ‘rising cost of everyday necessities’
  • 63% say ‘rising inflation’ has chipped away at their savings
  • 62% blame a ‘poor return’ on savings
  • 58% put it down to ‘slow wage growth’
  • While 51% consider Brexit-related ‘economic uncertainty’ to be the cause.

The article includes recommendations for employers. Yet how can individuals benefit from this research?

Looking at reasons 2 and 5…

Let’s focus on the non-financial findings for now. It’s wonderful to hear that almost 1/3 of employees enjoy their job so much that they don’t want to retire. We recently shared the news that older employees report greater workplace wellbeing, so it wouldn’t be surprising if these feelings also increase with age.

What’s more, the social interaction element is also at the core of these findings. Workplace wellness is most affected by relationships with colleagues at every age.

So, perhaps the trick is learning how to get more out of your career over the longer-term. We say ‘career’ as we all know it’s rare to find one role that will take you straight through to retirement.

  1. Everything is pointing to the need to keep improving our transferrable job skills as the world of work rapidly transforms around us. Employers are already experiencing a skills shortage (struggling to find appropriately skilled employees for their existing vacancies), so the more you can do to refresh and update your abilities, the more valuable an employee you’ll be. Both now and in the future.
  2. Find ways to improve your workplace happiness – whether in your current or next role. Returning to the research on workplace wellness, it’s important that you understand your priorities. What makes you feel happiest and healthiest at work might differ from your colleagues and might change over time. It’s not always possible to tick every box, but taking steps towards this could increase your overall career enjoyment.
  3. Tap into local and industry experts. Going it alone in a job search can prove overwhelming; particularly if you know little about the employers recruiting in your field or area. A professional Recruitment Consultant is well-placed to advise on the roles that they’re recruiting for. Building a great long-term relationship with an agency also means that you can return for tailored advice at the next stage of your career.

Ready to find your next role? Take a look at our latest openings and/or upload your CV today