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.



Timing matters in recruitment!

Further proof that timing matters to job-seekers, right from the application stage through to interview feedback. A must-read for candidates and companies alike…

We’ve all heard it said often enough, time is our most precious commodity. The job searching process can take up a lot of time. Especially if you’re trying to go it alone in your search, you’re hunting in a competitive industry, applying for specialist roles, and/or you’re not quite looking in the right places. We’ll come back to this point shortly!

Meanwhile, we wanted to share two news items on the subject of recruitment timing.

Timing matters: at job application stage

Almost 3/4 of candidates are said to walk away from a job application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. This is according to large-scale research, as reported by HR Magazine.

The article cites ‘lengthy processes’ and ‘too many requirements’ as the primary factors that cause applicants to abandon ship.

There are several ways to look at these findings. Firstly, too many organisations are putting barriers in place that may drive job-seekers away. Not the wisest move when the nation is facing an ongoing skills shortage! Yet it could also be said that few candidates would abandon an application if they were truly drawn to the job in question. In other words, perhaps it’s only driving away those who aren’t overly interested in the first place.

As with many studies of this nature, the reality likely lies somewhere between the two.

Advice for candidates:

  • Before you walk away from a longer job application, take a moment to consider your true level of interest. If 73% of people will tend to abandon that process, there are likely to be fewer applications than for the average job. This gives you more chance of standing out. It can also demonstrate determination and dedication. Still, if you’re not drawn to apply, you can invest your time in other more interesting applications.
  • Let’s return to the point of whether you’re looking ‘in the right places’/for the right roles. If you keep applying for positions because they’re the only positions you’re really finding, or you just feel you might as well, then you may want to read these job hunting tips. They’re designed to help you invest your job search time in the most rewarding places.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Where possible or appropriate, divide lengthier job applications into stages. Meaning only candidates already shortlisted as potentially suitable have to enter into any extended (time-consuming!) processes. A CV and cover letter commonly still makes for the best initial shortlisting tool.
  • In addition, find a recruitment agency who specialises in your field. This allows you to tap into all of an agency’s candidate attraction tools. This usually includes their own online job application systems, as well as the use of any external jobs boards. It also allows you to utilise their expertise in candidate screening and selection. The REC Member Directory is a great place to start.

Timing matters: when it comes to interview feedback and job offers!

Yes, it’s not only in the job search phase that timing matters. 1/3 of job-seekers have also accepted their second preference role due to timing. Only, in this case, it’s due to ‘delayed interview feedback’.

This separate study, shared by HR News, also found that job applicants who’ve had delayed (or absent!) interview feedback may share their negative experiences with others, and could even cancel any services they hold with the company.

The South-West was the second slowest feedback region (after Scotland). Interviewers take an average of 29 days to provide interview feedback in the South-West, which is almost two weeks longer than the South-East region. Regional and sector differences have been illustrated on this map.

Advice for candidates:

  • If you’re working with a recruitment agency, your consultant will keep in touch with the recruiting client and obtain any interview feedback on your behalf. While some clients will still have an extended decision-making process, this will increase your chances of knowing where you stand sooner. It’s never recommended to contact the client directly without prior permission from the consultant, as it can undermine the agency’s approach. Should you wish to drop a thank you for your interview, or have any questions, simply contact your consultant. Remember, they will also be rooting for you so will be trying their best to keep you up-to-date!
  • When making direct applications, you may wish to drop a thank you to the organisation and/or contact the company to seek feedback. The Balance Careers has shared some advice on doing this in a professional manner.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Don’t want to lose out on an excellent candidate? Keep them in the loop and don’t forget that your consultant is there to help and discuss your options! Update your consultant on your decision-making process and allow them to take all the work out of feeding back to the candidate. Even if your update is simply to say decisions will be made on ‘X’ date, this is helpful to hear.
  • See what you can do to shave off some of the decision-making time. Just an extra day can make all the difference to an applicant who is considering several vacancies. Especially if the applicant is currently unemployed and cannot afford to wait when another great offer is presented.
  • Sometimes it helps to introduce a final round of interviews, allowing you to make a decision between two closely matched candidates. These can also be used to introduce applicants to another interviewer.

Ready to recruit? Call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130. 



Half of workers in the wrong job!

Is your job the right one for you? Two separate UK studies suggest that 1/2 of UK workers might be in the wrong job…or even the wrong career.

Study no. 1: almost half of UK workers in the wrong job

Our first study comes from the CIPD, as reported by HR Review. They found…

  • 49% of people don’t have the right skill-set to match their current role: either being under- or over-skilled for their job.
  • 37% fall into the ‘over-skilled’ category, able to take on ‘more demanding duties’ than their roles require.
  • Conversely, 12% are in positions that they are not fully equipped to carry out.

As you can see, this study views the right and wrong job as one based on an appropriate skill-set. The CIPD also shared some interesting findings surrounding educational level.

It is reported that we have one of the ‘most skilled workforces’  in the world, as 42% of people hold a degree-level qualification. That said, we are also the nation with the highest proportion of roles that do not require degrees (or, for that matter, any lower level qualifications!).

  • 1/3 of employees reported that although they need a degree in order to qualify for their job, they don’t actually need one to complete their role to an effective standard.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, even those with degrees could fall into the ‘under-skilled’ category for their particular role.

Do these findings matter? Does it all even out in the end? HR Review’s report would suggest that this skill-set disparity is an issue as it can have a negative consequence on employees’ satisfaction. And we all know how employees’ experiences also directly affect staff retention levels and business growth.

Study no. 2: half of British workers may be in the wrong career

Research conducted by First Direct (and published by the Independent) tackles the question of career satisfaction more directly. We hear…

  • More than 1/2 of respondents are unsure if they are in the right career. 47% do not enjoy their ‘current line of work’.
  • Additionally, 47% do not feel fulfilled by their career and 40% intend to change jobs within two years.
  • Many of the dissatisfied employees are considering alternative career paths.

These results are said to apply to all age groups/generations. What’s more, the motivation for change goes beyond pay rates and towards increased skills development and job satisfaction.

How to know whether you’re in the right job or career for you…

Here’s where things get really tricky. Do you measure how closely your qualifications and skills match your current job role? Do you look to how happy you feel on a Monday morning? Or do you read lists such as Forbes’ ‘10 signs you’re in the right job and 10 signs you’re not?!’

The chances are you know the answer if you’re at either extreme of job satisfaction level. So, for both those who are excited to get to work 99% of the time and those who spend most of their day miserably clock-watching. However, if you fall somewhere between the two, things may not be so black and white.

Only you know your individual measures regarding what matters most for your job and career, and how this translates into ‘right or wrong’.

  • Regularly browsing the latest jobs in Bath (and surrounding!) may help illuminate things further. Is there a position that better suits your current skills and goals? Do you feel excited to apply for a role?
  • If it’s a complete career change that you’re dreaming of, this is the guide to read. It offers realistic advice for anyone who doesn’t already have multiple qualifications/career experiences to casually switch between (not to mention those who don’t have an endless pot of money to fund the career change process!).

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on how you know when you’re in the right or wrong job. Is it an instinct or do you have set criteria to work to? Let us know by TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.



Should commuting time be part of the working day?

Do we all need to rethink our approach to commuting?

It’s almost a year since we asked how you felt about your commute. Then, the news explored the cost of travelling to and from work (both in terms of time and money). Employees also said they would leave their jobs in order to obtain a shorter commute.

So how have things changed since then?

Your commute could become part of your regular working day…

This research has been conducted by the nearby University of the West of England. On surveying 5,000 rail users commuting into London, they found:

  • Many people are using their pre-work journey to manage emails before they arrive at work.
  • The homeward journey offers a ‘catch-up’ opportunity for any tasks not tackled in time.
  • This activity has become more common as Wi-Fi accessibility has improved.

The mental and/or emotional benefits of train-based work also become clearer. Words such as ‘rely’, ‘important’, ‘sanity’, ‘buffer’ and ‘clear’ illustrate the value of this commuting time for employees.

Before we all agree that train journeys should automatically become part of the normal working day, it’s important to weigh up the prospective benefits and pitfalls. This should also encompass the technological, security, legal, and regulatory commitments required, of course.

Personnel Today shares some interesting commentary on these aspects.

Avoiding commuting is the main reason to work from home

Avoiding a commute is one of the primary motivators to work from home; both for those that already do so (51%) and those who are office-based (64%). Compiling the findings from both groups took this motivation to the top of the results chart.

This narrowly pipped flexible working opportunities (45% for home workers and 50% for the office-based employees). Being able to dress as you wish and undertake your work without interruption also proved popular responses.

Interestingly, 73% of non-home workers are potentially tempted to work from home in future.

How things have changed…

It doesn’t appear that employees’ attitudes towards commuting have changed greatly over the past year. For many, it is something to endure or avoid. However, a growing group clearly finds some working benefits. Time will reveal how these findings shape our future working culture.

We’re also interested to hear your thoughts and experiences via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

If your commute has been getting you down for far too long, you may want to review the latest jobs listings!



Is there a best time to apply for a job?

Research claims to have found the best time to apply for your next job role. So when is this, and how does it fit with our own findings?

Job Today conducted the research in question. It has already received plenty of media attention and first drew our eye in Stylist Magazine.

They found:

  • 17% of companies list new vacancies on Wednesdays.
  • 47% of candidates receive an interview invite within 24-hours of a Wednesday-listed vacancy.
  • …SO, 9-am on Wednesday is said to be the ‘luckiest’ time in the week in which to submit a job application.

And as for the best time to apply for a job according to Appoint?

Well, let’s start by looking at when most openings are posted on our jobs page (and we were fascinated to see this ourselves!). Taking the last 60 job posts as our review sample we found:

  • Mondays: account for 12% of new vacancy listings.
  • Tuesdays: 30% of the total (our busiest time of the week for the sample period).
  • Wednesdays: another 12% day.
  • Thursdays: 28%: falling into close second place.
  • Fridays: account for 18% of the listings.

So, what does this tell us? Firstly, stats will vary! If we looked at the last 20 postings alone, you would think our clients never called or emailed in a new vacancy on a Friday. However, review the full sample of 60 and Fridays become our 3rd busiest day! Who knows how much the stats would change if we reviewed another 60 postings or more?

When it comes to such averages, these will likely also vary substantially by jobs board or recruitment agency website, season, industry, and a whole host of other factors.

We have yet to statistically explore whether the day a CV lands in our inbox influences the turnaround time for a client interview. However, years of experience would imply that this will also vary greatly.

Is there a best time to apply for a job or not?!

It’s time to talk skill over luck. As much as we would love to tell you a magic moment to hit ‘send,’ the best time to apply can surely only be the very moment your CV is at the ready for submission!

This can either be for consideration as a ‘general applicant’. In which case your CV should be drafted with the types of vacancies you’re looking for in mind (and it’s worth giving an overview of what these might be in your cover email). Or, this will be when your CV has been updated specifically for a particular vacancy/number of vacancies.

Either way, you’ll find some key advice under Day 6 of these job hunting tips. Let’s face it, the sooner your CV lands in our inbox the sooner you can be considered for our client vacancies!

We look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us by email or simply register your CV online.



Work perks: the 9 most sought-after staff benefits

What’s topping the current list of sought-after work perks outside of a pay rise? See how your wish-list benefits compare to those of your colleagues(/competitors!)…

Employee benefits often appear in recruitment and HR news as they play such a primary role in staff attraction. Did you know 85% of candidates are more attracted to organisations that advertise their work perks?

It’s such an easy way to boost the results of your recruitment efforts.

Staff benefits are also one of a number of staff retention tools. And, if you’re reading this from a business perspective, there’s no debate over the importance of a staff retention strategy!

So, which work perks are candidates most hoping for?

SmallBusinessPrices’ research reveals that these are the top desired perks (outside of a pay rise):

  1. Extra annual leave, sabbaticals, or flexible working hours (26.28%)
  2. Travel benefits or a company car (16.41%)
  3. Staff discount packages (11.05%)
  4. Insurance offerings (10.80%)
  5. Wellness benefits (e.g. fitness memberships, massages & bring your dog to work days) (10.54%)
  6. Food and drink (9.18%)
  7. Luxury goods (7.31%)
  8. Events, company outings and ‘dress-down Fridays’ (5.36%)
  9. Staff training budgets (3.06%)

This research spans multiple industries and company structures and was conducted on 2000 employees. It’s interesting to observe the difference in popularity between the most popular option (more than 1/4 of respondents) and the ninth on the list (just over 3%).

Yet it’s also worth considering the context of this research. We’re specifically discussing most desired benefits outside of direct monetary rewards. Looking beyond work perks, we know employees remain highly concerned about their future training and development prospects.

Therefore, employers are encouraged to approach these as ‘workplace extras’; as part of a robust staff retention and development plan.

Returning to the research, let’s see what staff are actually receiving…

The top benefits currently offered outside of a pay rise include…

  1. Staff discounts (19.61%: 3rd most popular)
  2. The extra leave/sabbaticals/flexible working (18.82%: the most popular)
  3. Training budgets (11.82%: 9th most popular)
  4. Food and drink (11.25%: 6th most popular)
  5. Wellness benefits (e.g. fitness memberships, massages & bring your dog to work days) (10.38%: 5th most popular)
  6. Events, company outings and ‘dress-down Fridays’ (10.31%: 8th most popular)
  7. Insurance offerings (9.01%: 4th most popular)
  8. Travel benefits or a company car (5.98%: 2nd most popular)
  9. Luxury goods (2.81%: 7th most popular)

It appears that companies are already largely in touch with what workers want. As you can see, the ‘easiest wins’ may lie in offering additional insurance programmes and/or travel benefits, including company cars. Of course, this may not always be feasible for all organisations.

Pleasingly, the majority of employees surveyed report feeling happy with the work perks they currently receive, either saying they’re ‘somewhat’ (45.3%) or ‘very happy’ (13.86). Only 2.36% say they’re ‘very unhappy’ with their staff benefits.

Don’t forget to catch up on the latest insights into why these results matter, from staff attraction strategies to staff retention programmes.



How to Stand out this Season!

Whether we’re first-time job-seekers, ambitious employees or aspiring entrepreneurs, we all need to make our presence known from time to time. Ensure you do so for all the right reasons with today’s expert tips.

Stand out as a colleague:

Chris Guillebeau offers an insightful guide on how to shine as a colleague. Although caution may be applied around his ‘meaningful rebellions’, Guillebeau’s tips on gaining feedback, building teams, and accepting projects are as positive as they are realistic.

Stand out as an interviewee:

Transform your interview approach –and avoid the ‘single biggest mistake every job-seeker makes!’– with this feature from Career Girl Daily. The ensuing advice is pleasingly simple and highly applicable to our business community; especially for those looking to enter a new field.

Stand out despite being an introvert:

Or should we say, stand out because you’re an introvert? After all, a new study suggests introverts make the ‘most successful CEOs’. Discover the behavioural traits thought ‘most likely to signify success’ via Stylist.

Stand out in your communications:

Spring-Summer usually spells a fresh wave of business expos and other career-boosting events. Stand out as a communicator, learn to use a feedback loop, and minimise misunderstandings with the balance’s ’10 Simple Secrets’.

Stand out on the web:

We’re the first to attest what a difference it makes to have a fantastic website through which to share your company’s insights – just one of the reasons we’re pleased to throw the spotlight on Design for Digital in the latest Business Brunch. Dispel SEO myths and look to the future of Bath’s tech industry with Lawrence Tilley.

Stand out with our Spring shopping list!

Let’s round things off on a more personal note – sharing some desk-brightening, health-boosting finds to summon some eye-catching confidence and cheer. We’re especially amused by the Self Watering somethings for your desk..!

Hunting for a particular piece of advice? Why not tag us with your questions and requests on Twitter?