Employers intend to invest in their teams

Two separate surveys highlight employers’ plans to invest in their teams; regardless of their economic expectations…

Survey 1: employers set to invest in new employees

Source: REC

Our first survey actually comes from our accrediting body, the REC. Confidence in the UK economy appears ‘negative’ for its fourth consecutive month. In figure terms, this equates to a survey score of -14.

However, despite this, hiring and investment plans remain positive and have even increased by a percentage point over the past month. Taking this particular score to +16.

  • 48% of businesses looking to hire permanent employees are worried that there will not be enough candidates available (+6%).
  • Likewise, 53% of those hoping to grow their temporary headcount are concerned about sourcing enough skilled staff.
  • The marketing, media and creative sectors are among the most affected by the skills shortage.
  • Overall, the number of companies planning to recruit agency staff within a short-term time frame has increased by 3% since October (to a total score of +19).

Neil Carberry of the REC suggests Brits are displaying their ‘pragmatic best’ in spite of their wider economic concerns – and are set to ‘invest in their own businesses to meet demand’.

These attitudes clearly reflect those of other sources, as recently discussed.

Survey 2: employers will continue to invest in staff benefits

Source: The CIPD via People Management

Looking to the next two years, most businesses (97%) additionally intend to either maintain or increase their employee benefits schemes.

  • 81% plan to spend the same amount.
  • 16% intend to increase their spend in this area.
  • Businesses predominantly wish to focus on professional development benefits (43%), including mentoring and secondments.
  • This is followed by health and wellbeing incentives, such as sick pay (29%).
  • 25% will mainly focus on financial schemes, including pensions and debt-related advice.

Once again, these figures are deemed promising when considering external economic factors.

Charles Cotton from the REC praises businesses for their efforts. He says ‘spending in these areas can help improve employee performance, and ultimately corporate performance.’

The two news items are extremely closely related, with benefits packages also providing valuable staff attraction tools.

Benefits also appeared in our last post, as we explored which Christmas gifts employees most hope to receive.

Looking to recruit permanent or temporary staff? Call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can apply for new jobs via the website, or upload a CV as a general applicant



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?



Job-seekers missing out!

Are you one of the many job-seekers missing out on career opportunities because of misunderstanding the skills required?

HR News reports that more than 1/3 of candidates have not made a job application due to not understanding the skills required for the advertised role.

An additional 46% say they struggle to identify which skills they should be honing in on throughout their recruitment approach. Right from their initial job applications to interview day.

8% don’t even know where to start (or wouldn’t make any effort whatsoever!) when considering the skills described in job ads.

It’s not only job-seekers missing out…

Employers are also potentially suffering as a result of this. After all, a fantastic candidate may not apply for a role that they would be more than suitable for, if only they could see that they were!

So, who’s responsible for this problem? Both parties have an opportunity to resolve it.

Job-seeking candidates:

We discuss how important this issue is in Day 4 of these job hunting tips. We also introduce you to a simple process to help get you started. If there are skills or phrases that you’re unsure about, why not research them before dismissing the vacancy entirely? Ask a trusted friend, Google the expression, and/or check with your Recruitment Consultant.

Furthermore, don’t shy away from making an application if you almost tick all the requirements. Perhaps there’s a computer program discussed that you’ve not used, yet you’ve worked with a competitor product. Why not highlight your success with this product, make sure you note how it relates to the advertised package, and promote how quickly you are able to adapt to new systems?  The same approach can also be applied to less tangible skills and experiences.

This isn’t to say you should apply for any old job you see! If you don’t understand most or any of the items discussed in the ad, it’s likely that you’re yet to gain the experience required (see Day 5 of these tips). Saving your time by not applying for these jobs presents you with more time to invest in the ads that you most closely match.

Recruiting businesses:

Are your job specs bursting with unnecessary jargon? Are your skills descriptions too vague, flowery or obscure for ‘outsiders’ to decipher?! And/or are you advertising nice-to-have skills as absolute musts?

If you respond ‘yes’ to any of the aforementioned, you may be missing out on some excellent candidates. Take another look at your job ads and see how you can tidy them up.

It’s not always easy to promote a job opportunity when you’re on the inside looking out. Why not consult with a trusted recruitment agency in your field to enhance your staff attraction offering? The Recruitment & Employment Confederation has a handy Member directory to make this process easier.

Call the office today on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.



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]



Permanent staff shortage & increasing demand!

The UK is predicting an increased permanent staff shortage, says the REC.

July’s REC JobsOutlook has just been released and, as ever, houses some illuminating stats…

Permanent staff shortage:

  • 50% of UK businesses expect to face a shortfall in permanent staff. In other words, there is national concern regarding a ‘shortage of appropriate candidates’.
  • 72% of employers are concerned about the ‘sufficient availability of agency workers,’ which is more than double the number of companies reporting the same in 2017.
  • Businesses are, however, highly satisfied by recruitment agency offerings. 83% of companies are pleased with their agency’s candidate pool.

Increasing recruitment demand:

  • Short- and medium-term projections see an increased intention to recruit temporary staff.
  • Almost 1/4 plan to increase their permanent employee numbers within the next three months.
  • Of those looking to increase their permanent headcount, medium businesses show the most growth versus the last survey period.
  • 76% of companies need to recruit new staff members in order to take on any additional business demand.

Partnering with recruitment agencies:

  • 45% of employers now use recruitment agencies to hire their permanent employees.
  • 53% utilise this channel for their temporary staff recruitment.
  • Interestingly, both figures have increased since 2017 (by 2% and 10% respectively).
  • It is the quality of service that matters most to the majority of businesses
  • (76%). Furthermore, 75% of employers are looking for management information from their recruitment agency.

The top reasons to recruit temps include…

  • To provide short-term access to key strategic skills (joint first: 63%).
  • Covering annual leave or staff absences (joint first: 63%).
  • To meet demand peaks (58%).
  • Responding to ‘fast-changing organisational requirements’ (56%).
  • As a cost-saving recruitment strategy (55%).

So how do we overcome the permanent staff shortage? 

The advice from last year’s Skills Shortage article very much still applies – whether you’re reading this as an employer or prospective employee.

[Source: REC July 2018]



Recruitment news round-up!

Sharing the latest in recruitment news from the REC. Including some great findings for those currently (or considering!) searching for work…

A reminder: who’s the REC?

This is our accrediting body, which also happens to be the leading voice in recruitment and employment. As well as holding a directory of approved recruitment agencies, the REC does an awful lot of work to champion the needs of the UK’s employment market…and its employees!

So, what’s the latest recruitment news telling us?

1) More people are in employment than ever before

Due to the record-breaking number of UK workers currently in employment, competition among businesses looking to fill vacancies is high.

As a result, Tom Hadley (the REC’s director of policy) says, “candidates are now in a better position; if moving jobs there is a strong chance of getting a pay rise.”

The official data supports this, suggesting that businesses are increasing salary offerings for their new employees.

This is fantastic news for job hunters, however, the skills shortage remains the primary recruitment challenge.  Hadley raises the concern that we do not have enough workers with the relevant skills and need to do more to “attract and recruit workers from the EU.”

2) Permanent staff placements slow

This statement may surprise you having just read the above! However, the greatest rise in national candidate placements has recently come from temporary bookings. These are said to have risen ‘steeply’.

Permanent staff placements also rose through April, yet at the softest pace seen this year so far.

Candidate availability keeps falling, and this applies to both temporary and permanent workers. At the same time, overall employer demand is high and has increased sharply.

Once again, this supports Hadley’s comments regarding the national Skills Shortage. Plus it demonstrates a distinct competitive advantage for candidates weighing up whether or not to commence their job search!

3) The REC continues its partnership with the DWP

As mentioned above, the REC works incredibly hard to champion the needs of our employment market. This includes teaming up with government forces to ensure change takes place on a national level, which naturally extends to the opportunities you see here in the Bath area.

Within this, the REC and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have agreed to continue their partnership through to 2025, which a view to “lead the debate on the future of jobs and good work.”

In another statement, Tom Hadley explains, “the world of work is rapidly changing, and many of the jobs being undertaken today will simply not exist in seven years. At the same time, new jobs are emerging.” He further states that there has never been a more pressing time for “experts to come together in pre-empting how the new world of work will impact on businesses and individuals.”

We’re excited to see how the world of work will evolve. If you’re also interested to read more about this topic, take a look at:

Each of these features tells us something about the future of work and employment, so we recommend popping on the kettle and having a good read!

But what about now?!

As you can tell, there are many businesses urgently recruiting for specific skill sets. If you’re wondering whether to commence your job search, now could well be the right time to do so.

To get the most out of this opportunity, please read our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips!

Looking for more recruitment news? You’re in the right place.

[Stats: REC May 2018]



The candidate shortage continues!

The UK’s candidate shortage continues, says the latest ‘Report on Jobs’. Yet, at the same time, employers are concerned that more staff will leave. What does the latest jobs news mean for you? Advice included!

We often report on the IHS Markit & REC Report on Jobs – a monthly national snapshot of what’s happening in staff placements.

Candidate shortage concerns…

The latest report shows that not only is the candidate shortage continuing, it’s actually worsened over the past month. In fact, Recruiter reports that candidate availability is now at its ‘weakest rate for a year’.

Interestingly, new job placement numbers continue to rise; both across permanent and temporary openings. This fact applies across the whole nation, with the South leading some of the growth on the temp side.

As Tom Hadley (REC Director of Policy) explains, ‘while more people are entering employment, it is not compensating for the shortfall of candidates for many roles’.

Employers fear workers are on the move!

At the same time (and as discussed by OnRec), 61% of businesses are also experiencing greater staff turnover, with more than half expecting this to worsen over the next few years.

Approximately 1 in 7 employees are now ‘likely to seek a new job’.

Returning to Tom Hadley’s comments, it appears many businesses are increasing new starter pay in an attempt to lure candidates from their current roles.  Temporary pay rates are said to have seen the greatest rise.

Hadley suggests that candidates who decide to make a job move are more likely to experience a growth in pay than if they ‘stay put’, noting the disparity between increases in new starter rates and in-role pay rises.

What does this mean for you?

The advice shared in our piece on the UK Skills Shortage very much still applies – both for employers and job-seekers.

  • Managers and business owners reading this news are encouraged to review their staff retention rates. This article explains why – and includes some key resources. Of course, steps to improve staff attraction also remain essential. Perhaps it’s time to review the top benefits that appeal to today’s workers.
  • Job hunting candidates may be at an advantage for now. However, this advantage can soon be lost if you’re not making yourself known in the right way. Refine your approach with these tips.

All parties are encouraged to seek the advice of an REC-accredited recruitment agency with plenty of experience in their field. Expert insights can really help guide you through your recruitment challenges.

Looking for more recruitment and career advice? Let us know what matters most to you.



When you’re both struggling with your careers

Have you hit that point when you’re both struggling with your careers and it’s taking a toll on your relationship? 

This is an issue that commonly crops up in our career conversations. Perhaps this is unsurprising, as we all know how life has that (not so!) funny habit of throwing everything at us all at once. So why aren’t we seeing this problem discussed more in the press?

Thankfully, The Muse has run an excellent article on this topic.

In summary, they recommend…

  • Respecting each other’s job hunting methods; recognising that these can often lead to the same result.
  • Using mutual encouragement to motivate you through the process – and teaming up for valuable interview practice.
  • Working out how best to support each other (as you may each be looking for a different response or support mechanism). Sometimes simply letting your partner vent without input!
  • Seeking external help where needed; whether from a career or relationship expert.

You can find all the advice in full here.

Some tips we’d like to add…

While The Muse piece is focusing on partners’ shared career struggles, experience shows this issue can crop up in other relationships. For instance, with housemates, siblings, parents and close friends. Even among similarly disgruntled colleagues!

We’d say the above advice all still applies…although you’re somewhat less likely to visit a relationship counsellor with your housemate or Jenny from Sales!

  • Buddy up: whatever the relationship, try to make yourself a job hunting ally. Where possible, chat through the elements that you’re each struggling with and where you would like some help and support.
  • Don’t let resentments build. When you’re in the job struggle bubble, you may forget to ask about their challenges. Try to check on them as much as (if not more than!) you vent. Arrange a regular catch-up slot if this works for you both.
  • Consult an expert. Just as The Muse suggests, this can help lessen the relationship burden. Although we’d like to add the idea of contacting a REC-accredited recruitment agency in your field. All member agencies have to adhere to a Code of Professional Practice, which means you get a best practice service along with your expert advice.
  • Find other things to talk about. It can become draining when all you think and talk about is finding a new job. Try to make some time together when you’re doing anything but this. And this doesn’t have to cost a penny – go for a walk together. Watch some shows or listen to some podcasts if you need work-free conversation fodder!
  • If necessary, create some space. This is less easy to do with your partner than in other relationships. However, if the buddy system’s not working you may want to invest your time and energy in other less strained relationships. Dependent on how things are going, you might want to explain your absence as a focused effort to avoid further relationship challenges. Let that person know you’re still there for them if they need you.

Bored of your job hunting strategy?

Refresh your approach. See if there’s anything you haven’t tried from our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips or make like the pros and think like a brand!

Let us know what you want to see more of in future for better-tailored career and recruitment advice.



Career catfishing: what is it & how can we avoid it?

Career catfishing is on the increase. So, what it is and how do we avoid it?

The term ‘catfishing’ is more commonly associated with online dating. This is the process of falsifying your digital identity; usually, with the aim of tricking someone into a relationship.

Career catfishing…

In the case of recruitment, the catfish is looking to fake their way into a new job. According to HR News, this tends to take the form of using someone else’s CV and qualifications. This is clearly a fraudulent act.

The article contains some great advice as to how to spot these applicants, which we’d encourage all employers to read.

There’s just a couple of items we’d like to discuss…

The piece suggests ‘overqualified candidates’ applying for lower paid roles as a potential warning sign. Now, while this can be the case, we’ve also had firsthand insight into the challenges some candidates can face when they’re legitimately in this position.

For instance, when an employee is looking to step back from a more stressful role; when they’re eager to enter a new sector and are happy to ‘work their way back up’ to achieve this; when they’re new to the area and/or they’ve had a career break and simply have new working priorities.

If you’re in doubt, you’ll definitely want to find more evidence to support your concerns before dismissing the candidate is a catfish.

Be mindful of social media snooping…

We’d also like to remind businesses to be aware of the risks of using social media in their recruitment processes, or at least to consult an employment law specialist before doing so. After all, GDPR legislation could make this risky. Especially if the candidate is authentic.

Use your recruitment consultant

REC-accredited recruitment agencies should always conduct applicant checks. Not only reviewing CVs on your behalf, yet also obtaining proof of personal identity and, in some cases, copies of qualifications.

In addition, your recruitment agency will conduct preliminary recruitment conversations (wherever possible this takes place in person), alongside referencing at the relevant points.

All in all, these steps should help to minimise the risk of falling for a career catfish.



FAQ: career breaks, reasons for leaving & your CV

Should you mention career breaks on your CV? And what about reasons for leaving each of your roles?

These are just two of the fantastic CV questions that regularly crop up in our office. We say ‘fantastic’ as it’s great to see so many candidates wanting to know how they can improve their CVs…and, with this, their chance of finding a new role.

We’ll start with the career breaks…

There’s a multitude of reasons that you might have had (or chosen) to take a break from the world of work. Whether this is through caring responsibilities, redundancy, relocation, studies, illness, travel, or something else entirely.

When it comes to whether to mention this on your CV, we say yes; wherever possible. Particularly when sending your CV to a recruitment agency. You see, this is an excellent opportunity to tell your recruitment consultant a little more about your life experience and, in many cases, current job search needs.

So how should you feature this information?

We’re big proponents of a ‘skills and achievements’ focused CV (in which you not only demonstrate that you have the appropriate skills for the role in question yet how you’ve already used them/your associated successes). Therefore, we’d recommend brainstorming the new skills you’ve fostered during your career breaks. You can follow the ‘all you need to do’ steps detailed in this post.

Look at the positives generated from your experience. Even challenging times can teach us new skills, or cause us to adopt new technologies/systems/organisational habits, etc.

Clearly detail the dates of your career breaks (keep things honest!), briefly outline the reason for the break, and then summarise your skills and achievements from there.

The amount you write will vary dependent on the duration of your career breaks. For example, if you haven’t worked for the past 10 years due to caring responsibilities, you are likely to detail more than if you haven’t worked for 6 months due to an injury.

Using the caring responsibilities as an example, think of all the coordination you’ve done on behalf of your dependents; the patience you’ve developed, any activities you’ve arranged, systems you’ve put into place, etc. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve done. Don’t forget to use this post to support the process.

What if you feel unable to detail the reason for your career break at this time?

Keep things simple. Don’t just leave a gap – your recruitment consultant will notice (and please don’t fudge the dates, this will make you look far less trustworthy come referencing time)! Instead…

  • State the dates and offer what you feel able to, e.g. ‘personal/family commitments’.
  • Welcome the opportunity to discuss this period in person with your consultant (if this is possible for you).
  • Add any positives that you can at this stage – e.g. any skills & achievements, as above. Again, if this feels possible to you.
  • Mention that you have personal referees available. It’s worth contacting at least two prospective referees in advance of stating this.

Your Recruitment Consultant is human and will have worked with people from all life experiences and backgrounds! Furthermore, when working with any REC accredited agency, your confidentiality will be respected.

REMINDER: if you’ve had a long working life, please don’t feel you have to include everything you’ve done since you left school! We still recommend a 2 page CV (possibly longer for higher-level openings where technical descriptions are more appropriate). You’ll find more CV advice in the PDF on our downloads page; please call the office with any other questions. 

How about including reasons for leaving your roles?

While not essential, this also offers some really useful insights for your recruitment consultant.

That said, a CV should never be a negative place! If you left a job because you ‘hated it’, think about what you were looking for in your next role. Be positive yet honest, e.g. ‘to experience a more creative environment’, ‘to gain experience in X industry’, ‘career development’, etc.

One brief line for each reason for leaving should be adequate. Be prepared to expand on this when meeting/talking to your recruitment consultant.

What if you’ve been made redundant?

This is nothing to be ashamed of! Stating redundancy due to company downsizing/restructure/merger or similar would suffice.

And what if you’ve been dismissed?

We totally understand that you may not feel able to provide this information at this stage. Remember, as above, reasons for leaving are not absolutely essential to your CV.

However, your recruitment consultant and/or prospective employer is likely to pose such questions at interview. Therefore, you are encouraged to prepare for these conversations. Think how you can answer honestly, positively, and non-defensively. ACAS offers free employment advice should you need such a service.