The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current. 



GDPR: are you unknowingly breaching the law?

What does GDPR mean to you? Perhaps you thought your role in it all ended when you received your last ‘we don’t want to see you go, please stay on our mailing list’ request last summer. Well, you could be unknowingly (and regularly!) breaching this legislation in and out of work…

How employees risk breaching GDPR legislation…

What’s the issue here?

GDPR requires personal data to be secure at all times. Personal data refers to all ‘information about a particular living individual. It doesn’t even need to appear especially private in nature; if someone accessing the data could identify its subject then you are most definitely dealing with personal data.

For this reason, it’s suggested that pseudonyms and encryption, and other such measures, are used to secure all personal data.

Transferring data to phones and laptops, which can easily be lost or stolen, and email accounts and apps, which could be hacked or accessed by third parties, increases your risk of a data breach.

It’s not just employees overlooking GDPR. The Independent reports that many small businesses remain ‘clueless’ about the legislation.

Could you be dismissed for breaching GDPR?

Serious breaches could indeed lead to dismissal; your employer’s disciplinary procedures may state this.

GDPR requires more serious breaches to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’). The ICO has a helpline which will guide you through the necessary measures to ensure the data breach is contained.

This isn’t to say that every breach must be reported to the ICO. Rather, it’s those that are higher risk.

What to do next…

  • Stop using personal accounts and tools to deal with work communications and/or data! If your employer is actually asking you to use these, direct them to the above links to ensure they are aware of the data breach risks.
  • Consult your employer’s GDPR guidelines and training materials.
  • Speak to your HR team or a manager if you have any additional concerns.
  • Visit the ACAS and ICO websites for legal information regarding GDPR.
  • Any employers would be wise to provide adequate training to all team members. Both to ensure you’re being responsible and to support your ‘learning culture’.


Ghosting in recruitment

Why ghosting may be a growing recruitment issue – and why you really want to avoid being a part of it!

Mostly, ‘ghosting’ refers to dating. It describes the act of ending a personal relationship suddenly and without any explanation…or further communication whatsoever!

This cultural phenomenon actually entered the Urban Dictionary back in 2007 and is now regularly discussed online.

The act of ghosting is also increasingly being discussed in relation to both recruitment and employment.

How candidates are ghosting employers:

In this case, a growing number of job-seekers are failing to get in touch to explain that they will not be attending job interviews or their first day of work. Some are even using this practice to leave their jobs!

Why is this phenomenon growing?

Sources suggest that there are a few factors at play here. Firstly, the fact the ongoing skills shortage has created what’s known as a ‘candidate-driven market‘. As the name implies, this is when there are more jobs than there are appropriate applicants to fill them. In such periods, applicants can enjoy a greater sense of choice and may feel less pressure to impress each prospective employer. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

The digital nature of many recruitment processes could also be facilitating this problem. Candidates who have had little if any real-life contact with prospective employers might perceive ghosting to be a more ‘acceptable’ practice.

Applicants who have already experienced or used ghosting in other areas of their life may additionally feel that it is normal.

Why you really want to think twice about ghosting prospective employers…

The employment market will not always be candidate-driven. Throughout our many years in recruitment, we have also observed lengthy employer-driven periods. During such times, candidates compete against vast quantities of applicants and must stand out to succeed.

Your reputation really is your currency. Prospective employers and recruiters are looking for candidates that they can trust. It’s far better to get in touch and explain you’ve had an alternative offer, or that your plans have changed than to simply disappear. This shows that you respect everyone’s time and all efforts invested in you to date.

Employers, managers and recruitment consultants may also move around. The person you ghost at one company that you don’t care so much about may very well become the person recruiting for a role that you truly want.

Keep those doors open – those five minutes needed to pick up the phone or tap up an email could make all the difference to your future career!

Are you the sort of candidate who always wants to make a good impression? Here are the latest jobs that we’re recruiting for! You can also register your CV via the website.  



Low candidate availability + workplace happiness

National candidate availability has fallen again. How does this affect job placement numbers and how does it relate to workplace happiness?

Low candidate availability

The latest REC and KPMG UK Report on Jobs (compiled by IHS Markit) reveals that…

  • The number of job-seekers reaching out to UK recruitment agencies and/or making applications for permanent roles fell at a ‘marked’ rate towards the end of 2018.
  • There were also fewer temps available for agency work. This decline is ‘softer but still marked’.
  • This affected UK permanent job placement figures in December – causing the most gradual growth levels observed in 20 months.
  • Conversely, temporary placements grew at a faster rate; managing to beat November’s ’25-month low’.
  • Demand for both temporary and permanent employees remains high and sits well above the average figures recorded throughout all surveys to date. There have been 21 years of surveys conducted in total.

There are also some variable factors:

  • The South of England has experienced the greatest number of permanent placements throughout this period.
  • Generally, England saw better placement levels than the rest of the UK. This was particularly true for temporary appointments.
  • There was most demand for private sector employees, both temporary and permanent, in December.
  • As for recruiting sectors, the Accounting & Financial and Engineering industries represented the highest demand for permanent employees.
  • On the temp side, executive and professional roles saw the slowest growth in demand.

Does low candidate availability spell high happiness at work?

Not if other studies are anything to go by! It appears that continued economic and political uncertainties are at the root of many of these findings.

In fact, 69% of individuals may currently be unhappy at work. Furthermore, 88% of employees are frequently undertaking personal or other non-work tasks in order to hurry the day along!

Popular distraction activities include:

  1. Gossiping with colleagues (61%)
  2. Facebook (45%)
  3. Personal email (44%)
  4. Drinks making/kitchen time (29%)
  5. Shopping and banking via apps (25%)
  6. Looking for a new job (19%)
  7. And unnecessary toilet trips (17%)

A number of more serious distractions are also discussed in the original post.

Advice for candidates & employers

Are these findings the motivation you need to finally take advantage of the skills shortage? Employers looking to do so will need to ensure they’re doing everything they can to enhance their staff attraction offering. Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.

Candidates can also visit our jobs page to see the types of openings we’re currently recruiting for (you’ll see this is regularly updated!).



Working with Gen Z

This year, Gen Z employees are expected to outnumber their millennial peers in the workplace…

Generation Z refers to the population born from about 1996 onwards and it’s a group also referred to as the ‘post-millennials’.

Gen Z differs from other employee groups in a number of ways. Let’s review some of the key findings:

Gen Z: career predictions

Source: HR News

  • This could be a highly mobile employee group. More than 1/2 (55%) intend to hold their first professional role for less than 2 years.
  • Staff retention tools could make all the difference to Gen Z workers. In fact, more than 70% of employees would remain in their job for up to 5 years if certain benefits were in place.
  • The most popular benefits include training and mentorship opportunities (76%), flexible working options (63%), and the potential for home working (48%). Although, they may not always want to use the latter. We’ll return to this topic shortly!
  • Prospective employees also want to see more job details provided up-front in job descriptions (68%).

Gen Z: ‘dropping out’ of the recruitment process

Source: Recruiting Times

  • 18% of this staff group are currently ‘dropping out’ of existing recruitment processes.
  • Gen Z employees crave a more ‘personal connection’ with their employers. And a lack of this may prove a barrier to their job application and acceptance decisions.
  • New technologies may attract and engage these candidates throughout the recruitment process. This could include everything from interview tools to digital exercises and even online mentoring schemes.
  • Efforts towards meaningful engagement can help improve the candidate experience. Any negative insights could also be publicised via digital platforms.

Gen Z: politically and socially aware

Source: Independent

  • Generation Z’s business perceptions are highly influenced by recent ‘social, technological and geopolitical’ change.
  • Employees are more attracted to companies who prioritise ‘diversity, inclusion and flexibility’.
  • Alongside a focus on tolerance, businesses should resolve any issues surrounding pay levels and workplace culture.

Gen Z: blurred lines

Source: HR News

  • The boundaries between work and play may be fuzzier for post-millennial employees. Many (65%) perceive a ‘fun environment’ to be a core component of a positive workplace culture. Conversely, only 22% of Baby Boomers (workers aged 55 and above) agree.
  • It’s a sociable group and 81% say communal areas are important at work.
  • A mere 8% of workers think they would perform better working from home (whereas the national average is 20%).
  • Many candidates value friendships at work (43% versus 22% of Baby Boomers).

A reminder about age discrimination…

These are fantastic insights for employers looking to attract a diverse workforce. Naturally, this type of data will always be somewhat of a generalisation and it’s important to get to know the specific needs and wants of all prospective employees – something an expert Recruitment Consultant can assist with!

In addition, it’s also vital that businesses remain aware of age discrimination laws. LawDonut has one of the best FAQ guides we’ve seen on this subject.

For further staff attraction advice, please call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can also search and apply for jobs here



What employees want & need in 2019

Do you know what most employees want from their employers?

It’s always interesting to see how your daily hopes differ from those of your colleagues. Of course, if you’re the employer it also becomes rather beneficial to know those factors that could be getting your team down.

Sometimes, the least expected concerns may be those that top the list. This could be said for the leading ‘want’ in Viking’s data, compiled from nearly 14,000 respondents…

What most employees want:

  1. Greater information regarding the possible health implications of their daily ‘display screen equipment’ use and sedentary working ways.
  2. Increased mental health and work stress support.
  3. Mental health training for all managers.
  4. Remote working opportunities.
  5. Protected lunch breaks…so employees actually get to take them.
  6. A four-day working week; working longer days Monday to Thursday to accommodate this.
  7. More artwork throughout the office space – to lift moods and reduce stress.
  8. Guidance on social media policies.
  9. Efforts to reduce ‘annoying office habits’.
  10. And for employers not to ban social media use (believing that this would actually hinder productivity).

It’s well worth reading the full article on HR News to see all the supporting stats. Alongside those irritating office habits that make 41% of people want to leave their jobs!

Elsewhere, employers are reminded of another specific need…

HR Magazine has a thought-provoking post regarding the impact of fertility issues on employees. A conversation that is rarely discussed in HR and recruitment media.

The feature highlights the emotional challenges experienced, as well as the logistical problems posed by treatment appointments and medication needs.

It also provides some well-informed suggestions for employers and HR professionals.

Now, what do you really want or need from your job?

This is a fantastic question to ask yourself at the start of a New Year. What would make your Monday mornings brighter in 2019? Do you look forward to a new challenge or setting? Have you outgrown your existing role and/or do your skills exceed your salary?

If the answer is ‘yes’, you’ll want to keep a close eye on our news and jobs!



UK faces employee performance crisis

If you take a look back over the past 12 months, how would you rate your employee performance? Are you giving your job your all, or do you know that you’re contributing far from your best?

The nation may be facing an employee performance crisis, with more than 1/4 of people knowingly underperforming at work. This particular stat comes from research conducted on more than 15,000 European and UK workers (as discussed by People Management).

Findings also reveal:

  • 1/3 of people do not feel stimulated by their job.
  • 2/5 additionally don’t believe they’re undertaking ‘meaningful’ tasks at work.
  • The UK is also falling behind the rest of Europe, where only 1/5 of employees believe they’re underperforming.

Why are employee performance levels so poor?

In addition to craving more meaningful roles, it appears that a lack of ongoing skills development may lead people to feel dissatisfied and rest on their laurels. Advanced IT training (61%) and problem-solving skills coaching (35%) are both cited as possible motivating factors to increase job satisfaction.

Of course, the individual motivators will vary by business and team. Which is why employers are also encouraged to get to the root of productivity problems within their own companies. Further advice is given in the piece.

Are professionals dreaming of other jobs?

These stats also call to mind a story shared by The Independent. There, we hear that 90% of people are not currently working in their dream job. What’s more…

  • 2/3 of employees don’t think they would be successful in achieving their ideal role.
  • Millennials represented the most optimistic survey group, with 64% thinking they could secure it within about six years.
  • The women most want to be authors (replacing the teachers of previous studies), while men hope to be ‘entrepreneurs’ (in lieu of their prior footballing aspirations).
  • People are most discouraged by a ‘fear of failure’ and/or lack of financial buffer.
  • Some simply do not know how they’d break into their target industry. Others are waiting for a different time in their life to attempt it, such as after becoming parents.

What these findings mean for you

Know that your own employee performance levels are lacking? It’s time to ask yourself why! Do you crave the chance to do a spot of training and update your skills? Are you feeling ready to leap into that long-imagined career (the one that always features in your party chat!)? There’s a good chance that you sit somewhere in-between and feel ready for that next step in your career.

If this is the case, it’s a great time to start looking at what’s out there. Employers are urgently seeking fresh skills for a variety of fantastic opportunities. You’ll find the latest jobs listed here.

To discuss your recruitment needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.



What the average working day looks like

Does your average working day reflect the national norm?

Read any business interview and you’re likely to hear that ‘every day is different.’ While largely true, it appears that there are some common working patterns.

The average working day in Britain now features: 

  • 8.5 hours spent working and commuting (Accounting for 35% of each working day. This equates to a 37-hour working week. Our commutes also happen to be the longest in all of Europe, averaging an hour per day).
  • Sleeping (28% of each working day…but of course, we’re now out of office hours!).
  • Leisure or personal activities (24%).
  • Unpaid work and ‘miscellaneous tasks’ (12.5%).

These stats were reported by HR News. Almost 1/2 the national workforce additionally undertakes some work en route to the office or while on their way home.

What type of unpaid work and miscellaneous tasks are people doing?

This section refers to everyday tasks or chores, including cooking, housework and caring responsibilities.

  • The average man spends 2.3 hours a day on unpaid tasks, with women contributing 3.6 daily hours. This creates a collective average of 2.9 hours.

There’s also a gender disparity when it comes to the value of work being undertaken during this time. Women’s out-of-office tasks are said to comprise higher value activities.

How do people spend their leisure time?

It appears that the nation is favouring solitary activities – and it’s suggested that this may be in response to our high-tech and ‘interconnected’ lifestyles.

  • Watching TV, listening to music and reading currently top the list of leisure activities.
  • Men are more likely to opt for watching TV or films, whereas women are likelier to pick a meal out with friends or indulge in a relaxing hobby, according to this particular study pool.

And are we getting enough sleep?

Even though it’s the second item on the average working day list, the answer is ‘no.’ What’s more, it’s this topic that is perhaps of greatest interest to the study’s authors – Mattress Online!

  • The most popular time to go to bed is between 11pm-12pm.
  • Men are more likely to go to bed sooner, selecting 10-11pm. Whereas women are more inclined to choose somewhere between 12-1am.
  • The British average is 6.8 hours of sleep, just shy of the recommended 7-9 hours.

So, how closely do you match the average? Let us know by TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Want to boost your workplace wellbeing levels? Head straight to our last post!



Workplace wellbeing: 4 ways to improve yours

How to improve your workplace wellbeing – whether you’re an employer, manager or employee…

There are multiple motivations for companies to increase their workplace wellbeing efforts. For many company owners, the productivity benefits will be of paramount importance. Yet it also provides yet another competitive advantage at a time when great job-seeking candidates prove more challenging to find!

Of course, if you’re reading this from an individual perspective you’ll need little convincing as to why it would be helpful for you to feel less stressed, more supported, and all-around healthier throughout your working weeks. With this in mind, let’s look at…

4 ways to increase your workplace wellbeing, according to recent news reports:

1. Use your lunch breaks!

Source: HR News

This topic crops up time and time again, which is why it’s less of a surprise to hear that British workers are giving up 19 million hours worth of lunch breaks per day!

10% of professionals are grabbing lunch at their desk on a daily basis and 22% will give themselves less than 10 minutes for lunch.

However, legally, all employees working more than six hours a day should receive 20-minutes of uninterrupted lunch-break. Lunch breaks also provide all sorts of health boosts – from lifting your mood to reducing stress and increasing your concentration.

  • Managers/employers: here’s yet another message to make sure all bosses are honouring this right! If you know your employees are regularly skipping their breaks, you need to act fast.
  • Employees: take your breaks! If there’s a major reason you don’t feel that you can, you should discuss this with your manager or HR contact.

2. Move more often.

Source: HR Review

81% of British office professionals spend somewhere between four and nine hours a day sitting at their desks. This tots up to 67 days per person annually!

Alongside this, few people feel comfortable in the chairs provided and many report daily aches as a result. Although, legally businesses must conduct regular ‘workstation risk assessments’.

Research conducted with ergonomic equipment and sit-stand desks across a four-week period led to increased workplace wellbeing, higher comfort and greater energy levels.

  • Managers/employers: let this be a nudge to conduct those risk assessments and find out how your team is feeling. Explore better desk and chair options. Encourage everyone to take short breaks to get up and move around.
  • Employees: we should all aim to stand up and move at least every half an hour. Even if that’s just to pop up and down a flight of stairs, take something over to a colleague, head to the loo or put the kettle on.

3. Introduce or become a Mental Health First Aider

Source: The Telegraph

About 1 in 6 of us will experience a mental health problem at work at some stage. Full-time working females are twice as likely to encounter something of this nature. That’s a lot of the working population and may contribute up to 12.7% of national sickness absence.

Younger workers can also experience additional challenges, including exam anxiety and social media pressures alongside workplace isolation.

  • Managers/employers: why not introduce a mental health first aid person or team, dependent on the size of your business? Visit Mental Health First Aid England or St. John’s Ambulance for training details and advice.
  • Employees: you could volunteer to be a mental health first aider at work. Share some of the research behind this, alongside some of the training course details and see whether this is of interest to your employer. Here’s a recent advice piece we shared on LinkedIn for workers experiencing anxiety or depression.

4. Watch your environment

Source: HR News

64% of HR professionals believe a poor workplace environment can have a ‘substantial’ impact on employee sickness rates.

Naturally, absenteeism is of national concern as it now amounts to a cost of £18 billion a year. Think it’s always been the case? Well, 59% of people now take more sick leave than they used to a decade ago.

A more positive workplace setting is believed to provide encouragement and a sense of purpose. Great news for workplace wellbeing levels!

  • Managers/employers: this may take a spot of anonymous surveying, but it’s important to find out how your team perceives your workplace. You should also watch out for any hints of staff bullying, chronic negativity and/or low spirits. Also monitor your own actions to make certain you’re leading in a positive manner.
  • Employees: this may feel out of your control, however, you can also start with your own actions. Watch that you’re not using every chat as an opportunity to grumble, say please and thanks to your colleagues and try to respond to new ideas in an open way. Where possible, speak to a trusted manager or HR colleague if you have any concerns regarding the atmosphere for yourself or your colleagues. Of course, sometimes a fresh environment is also the best solution!

Further reading:

Managers looking to do more to increase their workplace wellbeing rates may also be interested to read:

  1. The real reason employees are calling in sick via HR News.
  2. Job insecurities are hurting your employees on People Management.


The working parent: maternity, SPL & the untapped pool

Discussing some of the issues faced by today’s working parent…

Maternity returners are lacking confidence & left unsupported

Less than 1/5 of management-level professionals feel confident about re-entering the workplace after their maternity leave, reports People Management.

What’s more, over 1/3 of this group consider leaving their role due to feeling ‘unsupported and isolated on their return’. 90% additionally say their company provide no formal support or ‘returnship’ focus whatsoever.

The CIPD encourages businesses to provide senior level job-sharing opportunities, alongside increased flexible working, to further support these employees.

Shared parental leave take-up remains incredibly low

Of the 285,000 couples who qualify for shared parental leave (‘SPL’) annually, only 2% take advantage of this opportunity. Why is this and are employers to blame (asks HR Magazine)?

The article cites a variety of possible factors. These include:

  • Mothers not actually wishing to share their leave with their partners
  • Health factors, including the mother’s need to recover from pregnancy or birth
  • The perceived impact on fathers’ careers
  • Cultural values around ‘being the breadwinner’
  • Lack of SPL promotion at work
  • Complex workplace policies

The single working parent: the ‘untapped talent pool’

Single working parents are more likely to be unemployed than any other primary employee group, says HR Review. In fact, their unemployment rate is now two and a half times that of the British average.

Unfortunately, the new-employment rate for the single working parent has actually declined over the past five years.

These stats come from Indeed – and the company is advising businesses to consider the group as a major untapped talent pool. With 845,000 national vacancies to fill, and record national employment rates, they suggest this may be one possible solution to overcoming the skills shortage.

Once again, the notion of increased flexible and remote working is discussed.

They also reference disabled and minority ethnic employees as further talent pools. Positively, national employment rates for both of these groups have increased over the past five years.

Appoint welcomes recruitment enquiries from each of the discussed employee groups, as well as those looking to do more to attract and support them. For initial advice, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us via the bath.info address. Here’s what to include in your cover email as a candidate.