Do connections matter more than talent in recruitment?

Do your personal connections really make all the difference to your career success?

2,000 UK employees aged 18-65 have been surveyed regarding possible routes to career success and the results are illuminating:

  • 37% of employees think that they must know ‘influential’ business people in order to be recruited or promoted.
  • Conversely, only 26% see their ‘work ethic’ as bearing an influence on these decisions.
  • And only 21% say talent is key.
  • 7% of the group believes that ‘social background’ contributes to their promotion opportunities or lack thereof.

About this study…

These findings come from The Social Mobility Pledge, a group working to promote social mobility in business.

Their founder, Justine Greening, is quoted as saying “…how can our country move forward as a whole when so many people feel they’re excluded from making the most of themselves because they don’t know the right person or belong to the right network? Family or personal ties have no place on the list of considerations when recruitment or promotion decisions are made.”

How much do your connections really matter?

It would be a lie to say that nobody in the UK has ever benefited from their family ties. However, please be assured that there’s more than one route to career success!

We’ve been recruiting for more than 20 years in Bath. Our clients don’t come to us asking for well-connected individuals, rather they come to us asking for the best match for their roles.

When saying the ‘best match’, talent and work ethic should feature much higher on those stats. Clients are looking for people with relevant experience and transferable skills and who’ll bring the right attitude to their teams.

How to increase your confidence when you’re lacking so-called ‘connections’…

  1. Re-read the above! Sometimes our assumptions get in the way of our choices. If you’re not putting yourself forward for a role that you know that you’re suitable or qualified for, you could be seriously holding yourself back.
  2. Remember there are many forms of connections in business. For instance, as recruitment consultants, our clients value our candidate insights and expertise. Not all agencies work the same; look for an REC-accredited company in your field (we’re on the list!).
  3. Increase your knowledge. Make sure you’re aware of what’s happening in business and your industry. Our news articles are a great starting point for general business news and career advice. You can also connect with us via  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to receive links to the latest features.
  4. Increase your effort! Make sure that your CV is doing all it can to ‘sell your sutability’ to prospective employers and recruiters. As ever, tailor the content to match your individual applications. Here’s some simple CV advice and what to include in your cover email when contacting a recruitment agency for the first time.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your recruitment consultant can support you with any questions you may have regarding your suitability for a vacancy. Once again, don’t let your assumptions stop you from putting yourself forward!

Ready to apply for a new role? Visit our Jobs page for opportunities throughout Bath and Wiltshire.



A promotion without a pay rise?

Would you accept a promotion without a pay rise? Professionals in certain sectors are more likely to do this…

This is the first in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series. The survey is a nationwide office study exploring ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

For many people, the whole purpose of a promotion is that it allows them to step up the career ladder and increase their salary in the process.

Yet what if you were offered the bigger job title without the bigger salary?

  • 20.5% of British employees would definitely say yes to this.
  • 36.6% are sure they’d say no.
  • However, the largest group at 42.9%, would take the time to consider this offer further.

Professionals in certain job sectors are more likely to jump in with a definite yes. These include those working within:

  1. Marketing (58%)
  2. Agriculture & Environment (46%)
  3. Beauty & Wellbeing (44%)
  4. Art & Design (39%)
  5. IT & Digital Telecoms (29%)
  6. Media (24%)
  7. Construction (22%)
  8. Customer Services & Retail (20%)
  9. Science & Mathematics (20%)
  10. Security & Emergency Services (20%)

At the other end of the scale, only 11% of people working in legal or political services and 9% of those in hospitality would respond with a yes.

So, why would you accept a promotion without a pay rise?

This is perhaps the most interesting of all the questions. Not to mention the most important for anyone considering making or accepting such an offer.

  • The greatest incentive is the belief that this will help ‘secure a better job in the future’ (68.6%). Other responses included…
  • To have a greater ‘authority over colleagues’ (23.1%)
  • And to impress a ‘date or loved one’ (9.9%).

Perhaps this is why those in Marketing are so much more likely to say yes than other industry professionals – they understand the power of perception that the new job title can offer.

How are employees achieving their promotions?

This is where things get really worrying. While most respondents simply accept additional work in a bid to impress their seniors (32.5%), others are taking far less honourable routes, including…

  • Complimenting senior colleagues and/or bosses (25.1%)
  • And even flirting with them (12.9%) or wearing suggestive clothing (11.10%), which makes for alarming reading in a post-#MeToo world.
  • What’s more, some have admitted to sabotaging their closest working rivals (10%), bribery (9.6%) and blackmail (9.6%).

Across all categories, male employees were more likely to push for a promotion.

Of course, this is a national study conducted across a real range of sectors. Meaning the findings may not reflect what’s happening locally and/or in your industry.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people know that good quality work is the best way to garner a promotion.

Should you consider a promotion without a pay rise?

In some cases, this can be a savvy move when considering your longer-term job prospects. There’s certainly some truth behind the idea that a better job title can improve your future job opportunities.

Previous findings suggest that job titles do matter and can form a core part of your benefits package.

Naturally, you also need to consider your financial situation. If the improved job title comes with a salary cut, or you know that you’re unable to commit to the new role for a reasonable time, you’d be wise to rethink things.

It’s also worth staying on top of your local research. See how much other employers are paying for people in your prospective new role. You may find that you can negotiate a slight pay rise or that there are alternative opportunities that offer promotions in both job title and salary level.



Voluntary work: benefits for employers & job-seekers

More people are now searching for voluntary opportunities. We take a look at the benefits for employers, employees and job-seekers alike. There’s also advice regarding how to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV…

  • 40% of Brits are currently volunteering in some capacity, while 70% have done so at some stage, reports HR News.
  • What’s more, Google searches for the phrase ‘volunteering near me’ have increased by 124% throughout the UK over the course of a year.
  • Of the UK nations, England has seen the lowest search trend increase, with an 83% rise.

Voluntary work benefits: for employees and job-seekers

The above-linked article explores what’s behind this increased interest in volunteering. It appears that a number of psychological and physical benefits are driving this trend, including:

  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced loneliness
  • Better physical health
  • A feeling of ‘making a difference’
  • And the opportunity to meet new people

Of course, there are a number of additional benefits that can also enhance your CV, namely:

  • The chance to learn something new, both through the volunteering itself and via any associated training opportunities.
  • To gain practical experience that can bolster your CV; especially if you’re looking to enter a new role or industry.
  • An opportunity to gain new skills and/or to further your existing abilities.

Voluntary work benefits: for employers

It’s not only employees who gain something from volunteering. Employers who encourage their team to volunteer also experience a number of advantages.

Sage People suggests these include:

  • Increased employee retention rates through a ‘deeper commitment and connection.’
  • Greater external brand awareness and a sense of employee pride.
  • Employee empowerment; especially if team members can choose where/when they volunteer.
  • Better teamwork and more ‘connected’ teams.
  • The development of new skills (as above), which can be used in-house.
  • Another opportunity to see who holds internal promotion potential.
  • Alongside enhanced morale and reduced sick leave.

How to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV

There are several ways to effectively include your volunteering experiences on your CV. The best option for you will depend on the length of your CV/amount of relevant experience you have for the positions that you’re applying for…

a) If you already have ample industry/role experience (in addition to your voluntary roles):

  • Simply include a Voluntary Work section after your Career History.
  • Keep this brief. Provide a simple list of where you’ve volunteered (or the most relevant places if this list is too extensive to include in full!), alongside when you volunteered, your voluntary job title, and perhaps a sentence to summarise the most relevant skills or experiences obtained.
  • If you feel that your voluntary insights are especially relevant to your application and this method won’t suffice, then either follow the below guidance or consider creating an additional page to detail your Voluntary work alongside your Career History. Only do the latter if it’s particularly relevant to the jobs that you’re applying for.

b) If you have minimal industry/role experience other than your voluntary roles:

  • Include these within your reverse chronological Career History. This means listing your most recent role at the top and working backwards down your CV, whether the roles are paid or unpaid.
  • However, be sure to include the Voluntary nature of the role as part of your Job Title for any unpaid positions.
  • Treat these roles in the same fashion as the rest of your Career History: detailing your employer, your employer’s industry, job title (as above) and dates of employment.
  • You’ll also provide a more detailed overview of your experiences, skills and achievements from these positions.

Ready to look for a new paid role? Visit our jobs page. For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.



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. 



The over-50s & 60s employment boom

How employees in their over-50s are changing our current and future employment landscape…

Did you know that…

  • Professionals in their 50s and 60s are largely driving the nation’s record employment?
  • 76% of ‘eligible’ job candidates are currently working.
  • More than 80% of new UK roles were filled by employees aged over 50 ‘in the past year up to April’.
  • The number of professionals aged over 65 also increased by 80,000 people within this period.
  • Furthermore, the over-50s group may become the largest working demographic by 2030. 1/3 of employees will already be a part of this group by 2025.
  • More than 8% of people in their 70s are still working, which is significantly more than a decade ago.

Are there enough opportunities for the over-50s employee?

Although the above all sounds highly positive, the demographic is still experiencing challenges.

  • 41% of people aged over 50 say there is a ‘lack of opportunity’ to progress with their current employer.
  • 34% do not know what is required of them to receive a promotion.
  • And 1/5 of this group attributes a ‘lack of training’ to their limited career growth.

These are concerning findings. Especially as both reports suggest older employees could help overcome the national skills shortage.

There are a number of industries that express increased confidence and greater opportunities for respondents.

Also in the news…

Looking for a role that better suits your skills and experience? Visit our jobs page. For further recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. 



Working parents news roundup

There are have been a number of new articles regarding the challenges faced by working parents…

The part-time penalty

Source: Working Families & Bright Horizons

Our first news source cites stats from the ‘Modern Families Index 2019’. Both the summary and full edition reports are available for free download.

Working Families and Bright Horizons Family Solutions founded this annual report in 2012. The index explores how UK parents ‘manage the balance between work and family life.’ So what did this year’s index show?

  • Part-time working parents have a 21% chance of a workplace promotion over the next three years. This is compared to the 45% chance for full-time employees.
  • Mothers tend to have to wait two years more than fathers for promotions, which is largely due to the fact that more mothers work part-time hours.
  • Working parents are facing vast workloads. 78% work more than their contractual hours. 60% say this is due to their high workload, while 52% attribute it to the company’s working culture.
  • Flexible working opportunities are far from meeting demand. 86% of parents wish to work flexibly, yet only 49% currently do so.
  • Out of work, parents are finding their relationships and home life are being negatively affected. They’re struggling to find sufficient leisure time for their children (47%), their relationship with their partner is being impaired (48%), and these pressures are even sparking arguments with their children (28%).
  • Additionally, 47% of parents feel that work-life boundaries are being ‘blurred by technology.’

Further stats detail concerns regarding the physical wellbeing impact in terms of sleep, exercise and diet.

Both the government and employers are being called upon to help ease some of the pressures described.

Childcare as a barrier

Source: Personnel Today & Travelodge

Of course, there are also many parents who long to be working parents yet are struggling to find suitable employment. Research finds…

  • 86% of unemployed parents ‘want to return to work’.
  • 67% would like the chance to move up their career ladder.
  • However, 61% have lost confidence as a result of their career break.
  • And 59% say it is a challenge to find work that suits their school run schedule.

Personnel Today also share a number of insights regarding the personal motivations to return to work.

Facilities lacking

Source: Personnel Today & Slater and Gordon

Breastfeeding mothers are also facing additional workplace challenges.

  • 56% of women have been forced to express milk in unsuitable places, from the staff room (18%) to their car (14%), and even their desk (11%).
  • 70% of businesses have not discussed this matter with their employees prior to their return from maternity leave.
  • And 29% of employees feel too embarrassed to raise the topic.

A number of consequences are discussed in the piece, which also highlights the stress and anxiety experienced by breastfeeding mothers.

Safety concerns are also raised owing to the fact that the milk is not always expressed in a hygienic setting.

Any parents affected by issues relating to childcare or employment rights, or those who simply wish to understand more about the benefits and tax credits available to them, can visit the Working Families website. The organisation also offers a helpline service. 

To see our latest vacancies, please visit our jobs page.