The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



Senior professionals are slacking off at work!

Are you one of the senior employees who’s slacking off at work? 

A new study suggests that almost 1/2 (45.5%) of senior professionals fall into this category. Please note: the study’s use of ‘senior’ refers to seniority of position, as opposed to age group.

In addition, the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘slack off’ as a phrasal verb, meaning to ‘stop working hard or putting effort into something’.

Senior professionals say that…

  • Despite, their reduced work efforts, they continue to provide ‘results’ (66.7%)
  • They’re primarily suffering from poor motivation (57.7%)
  • They’re not appropriately ‘challenged’ by their work (35.6%)
  • They’ve already reached their achievement potential (31.7%)
  • And they feel ‘bored’ (29.8%)

Furthermore, 95.6% of these senior professionals have never been spoken to about their behaviour at work and believe they can get away with more than their junior counterparts.

This is concerning news at every business level:

  • Business leaders are naturally looking for employees that they can trust to work effectively and who will push themselves to achieve business goals. Especially when these employees may be managing other team members and/or responsible for high-value tasks.
  • Colleagues can suffer the effects of slackened work efforts. For instance, suddenly having to take on extra workloads or reach unexpected last-minute deadlines, etc. Resentments may also build if colleagues observe their senior team members getting away with things that they wouldn’t.
  • Let’s not forget the senior professionals themselves. It is concerning for any employee to routinely feel unmotivated, a lack of challenge, loss of achievement opportunities and/or boredom.

What to do if you’re managing such a colleague…

Inc. has some realistic advice on managing those that are slacking off without become a micromanager. Or, as they say, ‘without running the office like a drill sargeant!’

It’s well worth getting to the root of why their efforts have lessened and how you can work together to reignite their motivation, create new challenges and/or increase their interest level. There may, of course, be other issues that the individual is experiencing outside of the above research findings.

There are so many possible solutions, from training opportunities to new projects and even a change of job role – which may help you to see more of your employee’s potential and achieve more as a result.

What to do if you’re the professional that’s slacking off at work!

As a senior employee, it’s also important that you can hold yourself accountable and review what’s going wrong.

Do you identify with any of the statements listed at the top of this post? Is there something else that’s bothering you, such as feeling too distracted, personal issues, burnout or similar?

Once you’ve identified what’s going wrong, set yourself some challenges to see how you can improve things. Take inspiration from all the many business experts out there. For instance:

Many of the above posts also discuss one essential topic: working out when it’s time to move on. If you’ve outgrown your role and you’re eager to apply yourself to a new challenge, please visit our jobs page



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.



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!



The most common career regrets

Sharing the most common career regrets…to help you avoid them!

Onrec has conducted its own research on this topic – and has a full report on its website. As this houses all their exclusive stats, you’ll really want to head there for a full and insightful read.

They explore:

  • How many people experience such regrets (this may surprise!)
  • The top 10 career regrets
  • Gender disparities
  • The actual risks that people wish they’d taken
  • Job satisfaction levels
  • The percentage of people whose jobs incorporate their ‘passions’
  • Alongside whether or not respondents feel they’ve left it too late to make a career change, among other topics.

Let’s take a look at those most common career regrets:

Out of respect for the exclusivity of this survey, we’ll only share five of the ten 10 regrets today. These include:

  1. Not ‘taking more initiative’
  2. A lack of mentorship or guidance
  3. Being too safe and ‘not taking more chances’
  4. Not keeping up a personal network
  5. Failing to leave a job you dislike sooner

What makes the findings so interesting:

Understanding others’ regrets can help you explore your own concerns and, potentially, avoid making the same mistakes in future. It can also help you to think more deeply about your career priorities. This is incredibly useful when deciding which industries you want to pursue, the jobs you should apply for and even the employers and teams you want to work with.

The above items aren’t necessarily those regrets you’d most expect to see and they may not have been topics you’ve ever considered. When did you last analyse how much initiative you take in your work? Or how much guidance you’ve had to get you to where you are today?

How to use these insights to your advantage…

  • Read the full list and see which items you identify with – both from past experience and what you most want to avoid.
  • For each item that concerns you, ask yourself what can you do to take control of this risk right now.
  • Make sure you stay smart. For example, leaving a job you dislike without having a better alternative lined up can leave you with yet another form of regret! Getting started with your job search while you’re still employed is usually a smarter option.
  • Tap into those you trust. By their nature, career regrets are personal and you’ll have to make your own decisions about what’s right for you. However, consider item 2 above. Where possible, seek out the advice and insights of trusted and experienced people. This may also include your family, friends and peers as well as industry professionals, including recruitment consultants who specialise in your target field. The REC will help you to identify professionally accredited Recruitment Agencies local to you.


Job Search September! Is everyone looking for a new job?

Will this new season also spell the start of a new job frenzy throughout the nation? Some of the latest findings suggest so…

Wix (the web development platform) has conducted its own research among professionals. They’ve found that:

  • 49% of British professionals intend to leave their job on return from their summer holiday.
  • September is one of the most popular times to change jobs, next to January.
  • A number of workers are deliberately missing return flights and hiding their holiday social media updates so their employers won’t see!
  • There is also data regarding the desire to set up new businesses, the industries people want to specialise in and the type of breaks that inspire a new job search!

Why are professionals feeling so fed up?

  • 69% of respondents experience a sense of ‘dread’ about returning to the office.
  • 42% of people crave more flexibility in their working lives.
  • 39% state that they feel ‘undervalued’.
  • In addition, 37% believe they’re underpaid for their role.
  • 34% say they either don’t like their boss or colleagues.
  • And 31% cite poor management at work.

Will we really experience a Job Search September?

It’s unlikely that the whole study pool will hand in their notice this month! While holidays often spark a period of reflection, many people won’t follow through on their ideas on return from their break.

That said, some of the group will, and the fact remains that this is a popular time to make a change. Other findings reflect some of the above sentiment, yet less dramatically(/imminently)!

For instance, a separate study suggests that just under 1/3 of office employees are ‘considering’ finding a new job within the next year.

Many of the triggers are the same…

  • 39% hope to achieve a better work-life balance, with 32% specifically wanting flexible working options.
  • 38% are looking for a pay rise.
  • This group also believe that their skills will be ‘more desirable in the coming months’ (32%) – and that they’ll still receive ‘multiple job offers with competitive salaries’ (33%).
  • The youngest age group (comprising 16 to 24-year-olds) appears most likely to search for a new role, with career progression and work-life balance the greatest incentives for this demographic. They also prioritise corporate culture over pay rates.
  • Employees aged 35 and over are 10% less likely to job search, yet place an increased value on salaries (42% versus 17% for 16 to 24-year-olds). This is unsurprising if you consider career stage and life factors, including average household and/or caring responsibilities.

Both articles mention the need for employers to prepare themselves for a period of change. Alongside exploring staff retention strategies, this may naturally include an increased recruitment focus.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment requirements or email the team directly. Job-seekers can apply for the latest openings via the jobs page, CV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re looking for a new job!



Interview thank you letters – should you send them?

Should you send interview thank you letters when working with a recruitment agency?

It’s always great to see careers and recruitment topics featured in the mainstream media. One of the latest examples is Cosmopolitan’s focus on whether it’s appropriate to send job interview thank you notes.

There’s some really helpful advice within the piece. However, this particular article only applies to those interviewing directly with employers.

What about when your interview has been arranged via a recruitment agency?

In this case, it’s not appropriate to communicate directly with the interviewer/s, unless your consultant has specifically asked you to do so.

The client (your prospective employer) has chosen to work with a recruitment agency for a number of reasons. This is often partially due to time restrictions and wanting to ensure that there’s a dedicated person who’s committed to you throughout the selection process.

They will have arranged specific check-in points with your consultant, who remains your primary point of contact for interview feedback and similar.

So when will you receive your interview feedback…and when can you provide yours?

The specific timings will vary by business and agency. Most reputable agencies will take a proactive approach and want to hear from you soon after your client interview.

They’ll be interested to hear your perspective; this may include aspects such as…

  • How you felt the interview went
  • Your perceived connection with your interviewer/s
  • Any concerns you had regarding challenging questions or items that arose
  • Your interest in accepting the role if offered

Your consultant will also be in touch with the client at the soonest opportunity; as dictated by the employer’s availability.

Alongside relaying your feedback and interest in the role (where applicable), they’ll also gather the employer’s feedback. At this stage, it may be a case of awaiting further updates regarding second interviews or other selection processes.

Your consultant should advise you of the above. In certain circumstances (for instance, client holidays/travel or the need to await in-house meetings) it may be the case that there’s a bit of a wait before the client will enter their decision-making process. Your consultant should also keep you updated on this.

But what if you’d still really like to send interview thank you letters?

Even though it’s not appropriate to contact the client directly, there is another option! Why not email a thank you note via your recruitment consultant, detailing those aspects you would like to send on to the client? Revisit the Cosmopolitan piece for advice regarding the contents of this.

That way, your agency can relay your feedback via their email or phone conversations with the client.

This will still enable you to highlight your interest in the role and could help you stand out from your competitors.

Ideally, this should be sent to your consultant soon after your interview so that the experience is fresh in mind…and your feedback reaches the client before their decision is made.

Of course, before you get to the interview stage you need to apply for suitable vacancies! Here are the latest local opportunities.



The skills shortage continues

Employers struggle to recruit, as the skills shortage deepens…

Businesses are facing some major recruitment challenges, as revealed by ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019‘.

At present, the UK is experiencing its highest total employment rate since 1971. The unemployment rate is also at its lowest level since 1974. This means that while there are still job-seekers out there, most of these candidates are conducting their job hunts from the relative comfort of an existing role.

This also means that it can take a lot longer for organisations to secure the right people with the right skills for their vacancies:

  • 63% of businesses report an existing skills shortage (up by yet another percentage point versus last year).
  • Companies are taking 1 month and 27 days more than expected to fill their vacancies.
  • Elsewhere, SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk has created a ‘Skills Map‘ to demonstrate regional differences in skills and job demand.  This reveals that the Financial Sector has the greatest vacancy demand in our local South-West region.

All of the above data is highly timely, with The Confederation of British Industry having called on the government to do more to tackle the national skills gap in this week’s spending review.

How are employers overcoming the skills shortage?

Returning to ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019,’ businesses are taking a number of different approaches to their recruitment crises.

  • Almost 1/2 (48%) of companies have made use of temps to fill skills gaps.
  • 44% have increased their spending on recruitment services.
  • 38% have offered higher salaries in a bid to lure more applicants.
  • While 31% have felt forced to recruit lesser skilled candidates.
  • 61% of employers believe they will need to focus on internal talent development skills to increase their productivity and efficacy.

Advice for candidates and employers…

Skills shortage advice for candidates:

  • This remains an opportune time to apply for new jobs. Dependent on your industry, you may find yourself competing against smaller candidate pools. This naturally increases your chance of securing an interview.
  • However, don’t rest on your laurels! It is misguided to think that a skills gap creates a pure ‘candidate market’ in which you don’t have to make any effort in your applications. Businesses are still looking for the right skills, personalities and attitudes for their openings and it’s your job to prove that you possess them!
  • You’ll find a regularly updated list of local openings here.

Skills shortage advice for employers:

  • Ensure you’re investing your time and budget in the best recruitment approach for your business. We’re proud REC members, which means that we’re working to the highest industry standards. In the REC’s words, it is about “making sure that employers get the best talent and right people to help their businesses grow”.
  • Don’t be afraid to join the 48% of companies working with temps while searching for your permanent team members. This offers a myriad of benefits, including the chance to tap into local talent, spotting candidates that may provide longer-term solutions, and even the opportunity to refine your search needs as the result of your insights.
  • It can help to review your candidate search criteria. Are there skills that you’re overlooking or candidates who could easily adapt to your needs?

We would be delighted to discuss your temporary, permanent and/or contract staffing requirements. Please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us today. 



Doing more of what you enjoy

Why we could all do with discovering what we really enjoy in life. Including how to discover your next hobby and find more enjoyment in your work…

How much of your day do you spend doing something you find truly enjoyable? A worrying new stat suggests that the average person only experiences this 42 minutes per day, which equates to just 3% of your daily life.

What’s to blame for our low enjoyment levels?

According to the study’s authors at City Lit (a London-based adult education college), this could be due to several lifestyle factors:

  • UK employees work an extra 2.5 weeks a year compared to the average European worker.
  • Our daily commutes have also increased, meaning few people believe they have enough spare time to pursue a hobby.

However, psychologists remind us of the importance of using hobbies to relax and de-stress.

City Lit additionally notes how many people don’t know quite what they enjoy. To this end, they’ve launched a new ‘Random Course Generator’ to help you track down your next hobby.

It’s rather like a quick magazine quiz in that you’ll answer a series of personality questions which will help identify your most dominant trait (from the Big Five OCEAN list). You’ll then be offered a list of courses that could suit your character.

You may see this as just a bit of fun, yet perhaps it’s a timely reminder to work out what you enjoy and how you can do more of it. This brings us to another thought…

Why should you only enjoy your hobbies?

It’s a fantastic idea to find more enjoyment out of work, though what about that large chunk of your day spent at work?

If you’re relatively happy with your job and not looking for anything new just yet, you may still benefit from making some small changes to your days.

  • TheMuse has a list of 37 ideas to get you started. Number 19 is particularly useful and achievable.
  • Number 37 is also incredibly important. There are certainly times that a new job is necessary for your ‘mental and emotional wellbeing’.

Why not add more enjoyment to your days and start your job search here?!



Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here