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



Reputation matters to job-seekers

Why any business looking to recruit new team members would be wise to take a good look at their reputation.

Today’s discussion rather neatly follows on from our last post. If you haven’t read it yet, it highlights the importance of job skills in relation to the ongoing skills shortage.

With many stats pointing towards both high staff demand and low application numbers, employers must appraise their staff attraction approach. And this is where brand reputation comes into the conversation…

Never more important than now:

It’s said that a brand’s online rep is more important now than ever before. Alongside the recruitment climate we’ve outlined above (and over the past few articles!), we all clearly possess the digital means to thoroughly investigate our prospective employers. The stats suggest:

  • 70% of people will always research an employer’s reputation before applying for a job.
  • 56% would not go on to make an application if the business had ‘no online presence’. 57% say they would distrust these companies.
  • As for what the candidates are searching for, employee satisfaction and how staff are treated top the priority list.

The power of word of mouth…

It’s not only low job application numbers that employers should be concerned about. Future buying behaviour may also be affected by their recruitment reputation.

Perhaps understandably, candidates who’ve been through an unpleasant recruitment experience are less likely to support that employer’s products or services. What’s more, word of mouth could further harm wider purchasing choices.

  • 69% of candidates would discuss their negative experience with others – 81% would do so through one-to-one conversations and 18% via social media broadcasting.
  • 47% who heard about such a negative encounter from a friend would be less willing to purchase the brand’s offerings.
  • The experiences most likely to influence buying behaviour included poor interview encounters, and ‘lack of transparency’ regarding salaries or job descriptions, alongside non-existent interview feedback.

A reputation for the positive:

Thanks to HR News, we’ve observed the importance of employer reputation and the consequences of a poor recruitment rep. Now, we turn to Recruiting Times and the draw of a positive impact.

Employees feel that working for these companies would increase their individual happiness and productivity. In addition, staff members would be willing to leave roles that didn’t prioritise a positive or meaningful ethos.

How companies can work with recruitment agencies to improve their employer reputations

  • As well as ensuring you have an up-to-date and easily found website, why not provide some extra details that support your employer reputation profile? This could include links to any awards you’ve received (especially those for staff management), links to review sites, and HR provisions you’re proud to offer.
  • If you have had any negative reviews as an employer, it may be worth discussing these with your Consultant. Perhaps it came from previous management and new methods are now in place. Honest conversations can help your Consultant to communicate openly with prospective candidates.
  • Sometimes it helps if candidates can meet with one or a few employees during the interview process. This also proves a useful tool for ascertaining potential team fit.
  • Recruitment consultants can advise on how to best conduct the interview process, support you in creating the most appropriate job descriptions and help provide interview feedback/updates.
  • The above can also include a focus on your impact statements and brand purpose. This must be authentic though, or else an excited applicant could soon become a disgruntled employee!

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.



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.



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]



Generation Z makes the recruitment news…

Generation Z has made it into the recruitment and HR news no less than 3 times within a week. And these are only the articles that we’ve spotted. So why are they hitting the headlines right now?

Who is Generation Z?

Millennials, Baby Boomers, and now Generation Z. It can all get somewhat confusing! While specific birth date ranges can vary by source, ‘Generation Z’ (also known as ‘Gen Z’ or ‘post-millennials’) refers to those born somewhere between the mid-90s and early-2000s.

Now let’s look at the news stories in question…

1. The workplace benefits Gen Z is hoping for!

Source: HR News

This first post discusses research conducted by Perkbox, which finds some significant group differences…

  • Over 1/3 of Generation Z consider staff benefits to be ‘one of the most important deciding factors’ when it comes to their career decisions. Possibly making all the difference in whether or not to accept a job offer.
  • They are the most likely to prefer small, frequent, year-round perks in lieu of one large annual offering. Again, this accounts for more than 1/3 of those surveyed.

Simple employee benefits prove most desirable, including: 

  • 86%: enjoying birthdays as annual leave
  • 85%: a ready supply of free hot drinks
  • 83%: flexible working hours (do you remember, this was also the top-rated benefit for Millennials?)

2. How SMEs can attract Generation Z talent

Source: HR Review

Employers are encouraged to use this time to attract the best post-millennial talent or ‘risk missing out’. After all, over 1/3 of this generation intends to commence a new job role or career path within the year.

Additionally, it’s this very month that is singled out as the time that many of the latest graduates will use to start their search.

There are 3 core categories discussed as attraction and retention tools:

  1. Money saving tips: this isn’t something we’ve seen discussed anywhere else in recruitment and HR news, so we read it with interest. The feature explores how Gen Z has been faced with a unique set of financial circumstances, which have created an increasingly budget-conscious generation. To this end, SMEs are encouraged to find ways to promote money-saving offerings such as employee discounts or schemes. They additionally explore the idea of helping new and existing colleagues stay financially aware through reminders, such as using the benefits on offer, as they get closer to Christmas.
  2. Tapping into tech: this generation is incredibly tech-savvy and will connect well with ‘clear and punchy online portals’ as well as mobile-optimised platforms. The idea of motivational staff contests around active wearables (possibly even combined with a rewards scheme) is also discussed.
  3. Health-aware. Gen Z is considered a health-conscious group, with a deeper interest in the foods they consume than ever before. SMEs are encouraged to appeal to these interests by arranging expert speakers on nutrition and wellness, creating company sports days, and even offering workplace health checks. Mental health offerings should also be considered.

3. Generation Z may be missing out…

Source: HR News

In our third and final Gen Z piece, we return to HR News. This article also refers to Millennials, with new data suggesting…

  • 1/3 of these groups wish to work for an SME.
  • Only 18% hope to join a micro-business.
  • Currently, over 1/2 of these groups plan to join a large business or the public sector, with just under 1/2 hoping to work for a ‘global multinational’.

This contradicts previous research on Millennials, raising the question: is Generation Z accounting for a large proportion of these findings, or have perceptions shifted among Millennials?

Why are younger people wanting to work for big businesses?

  • 56% believe SMEs offer reduced job security.
  • 46% perceive they will receive a lower salary level from a smaller business.
  • 33% expect fewer career progression opportunities within SMEs.

And how might Generation Z and the Millennials actually miss out?

As the article states, the greatest majority of UK businesses are in fact SMEs. This is also reflected by the strength of our local business community. What’s more, 70% of UK SMEs are actively searching for new employees to fill ‘entry-level roles’.

All in all, these news items make for thought-provoking reading. We’d be fascinated to hear the insights of Generation Z employees and job-seekers themselves. Do you feel this data applies to you? Let us know via TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn!



Only for the money?

Do you only go to work for the money? UK workers are more motivated by pay rates than any other European country surveyed. What does this tell us about our culture of work; how could this affect your search for the perfect job or employee?

For the money: the research reveals…

  • For 62% of UK employees, pay is the primary driver to work.
  • This is the highest rate in Europe, where the average is just 49%.
  • UK workers are also the least likely to say they work because ‘they love what they do.’ (Accounting for 13%. This is half the number of respondents that proclaimed this in the Netherlands).
  • Additionally, UK employees remain the most likely to ‘feel like quitting’ their job, with almost 10% of those surveyed considering this ‘most days!’

What does this tell us about the UK work culture?

According to today’s source, HR Magazine, these stats reflect a low level of national employee engagement. Those most motivated by non-financial rewards consistently revealed greater ongoing engagement and job satisfaction.

Conversely, those driven to work for the ability to cover the costs of those things they want/need are actually likelier to experience frustration or disappointment on receipt of their pay.

There are some really interesting comments in the HR Magazine piece. It certainly provides food for thought, whether you’re a job-seeker or employer…

1) How this might affect your job search

If you truly want to find job satisfaction, it might be time to think beyond the money mindset. This is by no means to suggest you work for less than you deserve. Rather, you can really consider the ‘full package’ of a role.

What would it take for you to wake up and actually look forward to a Monday? What would inspire you to say ‘I love what I do’ and to get through a working week without considering moving on?!

This is such an individual consideration. It might include…

  • Entering a certain industry
  • Progressing to or taking on a particular role
  • Achieving your ideal work-life balance
  • Working with like-minded people
  • Being a part of a particular work culture/environment
  • Contributing to a greater purpose or joining a company with a shared ethos
  • Even just joining a business of a particular size or working closer to home

Naturally, these are just thinking points. You need to work out what really matters to you. Consider these factors as you peruse the latest vacancies and chat with your recruitment consultant.

To begin your job search, check out our current jobs listings and/or register your CV. We also have some excellent job hunting tips here.

2) How this might affect your search for a new employee

The savviest businesses can benefit from these insights. Firstly, understanding how many UK employees work for the money alone is an excellent driver to ensure you have a competitive salary offering. Perhaps you may also consider other financial incentives such as reward/bonus schemes.

However, you also want to be thinking beyond the money mindset! How can you communicate the additional benefits of working for your business?

Is there additional groundwork to do to ensure your team is actually on-board with a shared mission, that you have an enjoyable working environment, and that you demonstrate how much you value your staff?

Do you ask your team for (anonymous!) feedback on why they choose to work, what their experience of your company is, and what else would improve their workplace engagement, job satisfaction and similar?

Further reading:

For expert advice on attracting and recruiting the right team members for your needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.



The side hustle is here!

The age of the side hustle is upon us, says the Henley Business School. We share the latest facts, what this means for you, and some of the ongoing discussion around this topic…

What is a side hustle?

Definitions vary but, according to ‘The Side Hustle Economy’ white paper, this counts as any “small business or secondary job that someone has taken in addition their main career.”

The motivations for taking such a path may range from sheer enjoyment or longer-term career ambition to a financial imperative.

How much of an impact are these side jobs having?

  • 25% of UK adults have adopted some form of a second job.
  • Here in the South-West, this figure increases to 27% of adults. The region shares ‘joint 3rd place’ with the East and West Midlands (while the North East is in first place at 30%, followed by Greater London at 29%).
  • The trend is contributing to a total income of £72 billion throughout the UK alone.
  • Of all the age groups studied, it’s people aged 25-34 who are driving most of the movement (37%).
  • The number of side workers may be set to double within the decade.

Businesses are also taking notice:

  • 80% of companies no longer perceive the ‘9-5 job’ as the standard.
  • 63% additionally believe employers will need to adapt to this change to ensure they retain their best team members.
  • That said, only 49% of companies have initiated any form of side-working policy. While even fewer (47%) believe enabling this trend will ‘attract the best talent’.

HR leaders say side hustle policies will become essential…

A number of HR leaders have discussed this topic, encouraging companies to get prepared and implement policies. They warn that a reluctance to do this could actually result in more staff leaving sooner.

It is argued that employees will eventually leave their jobs anyway and that it’s better to have staff that are engaged and happy while at work.

Another article on this subject has already received mixed comments over on HR Magazine. Several commentators attest those employees with a side hustle express a valuable skill set and positive attitude, and have been more focused at work. Others think this trend is nothing more than a survival strategy to make ends meet and that second jobs can lead to exhaustion and mistake-making.

And from the employee perspective?

Again, the response is mixed. While many feel excited and inspired by this movement, others are wary. Writing for Refinery29, Kate Bishop has called for people not to ‘normalise the side hustle’, highlighting the way work challenges may be doing more to drive the trend than the pursuit of the perfect job or lifestyle.

Bishop raises the issues of job dissatisfaction and career change fears. She highlights the number of people struggling to make ends meet versus the few ‘champagne-popping twenty-somethings with their own beauty lines.’

What about you?

If you’re considering setting up a side job, there’s plenty to think about. Your current work contract should be one of the first things to consider, as you don’t want to do anything to jeopardise your relationship with your employer. Crunch has an excellent article on this subject. As does the Money Advice Service.

You may also want to ask yourself what appeals about the second job. If it comes from a feeling of necessity, could there be a better day job for you? Further reading: a post for anyone craving a career change in addition to our essential job search tips.

From the business perspective, it’s worth swotting up on this topic to inform your business decisions. A proactive approach can be a powerful staff attraction and retention tool. Not to mention a major help in staying ahead in such a rapidly changing business and employment era.

We welcome your thoughts on the positives and pitfalls of the side hustle. You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn



Overqualified at work? You’re not alone!

Are you overqualified for your current job? A government survey suggests that this statement may now apply to 2.5 million UK employees. That’s 8.7% of the national workforce!

The latest ‘UK Employer Skills Survey’ finds…

Which skills remain most required?

  • ‘Task prioritisation’ and ‘time management’ abilities remain most-in demand, contributing towards 59% of skills gaps, according to People Management.
  • The need for advanced or specialist IT abilities has fallen by 8% points between 2015 and 2017.
  • It’s reported that 76% of skills gap needs are ‘transient’ and will be resolved over longer-term employment and the completion of staff training.
  • That said, poor motivation (32%), lack of performance improvement (31%) and lack of required training (25%) are each contributing factors.

A note for your CV…

  • Take advantage of these new findings and ensure to demonstrate your prioritisation and time management abilities on your CV. ‘Demonstrate’ is the key word here! Don’t just write these skills down as filler words. Instead, find fitting examples to show how you’ve utilised these abilities within your recent roles. Illustrate this with stats, achievements and/or results wherever possible.

A word for businesses on managing overqualified employees:

  • These research findings call to mind an earlier post on the reasons that so many workers ‘shut off their minds’ in order to survive each working week. Noticed any team members that not being used to their full potential? Watch out for these people – and then find ways to challenge them with new projects and responsibilities.
  • If you’re unsure how their skills could be utilised, why not ask? These employees are such a great asset to your future business growth. Learning to spot talent opportunities within your existing team is also another simple way to enhance your staff retention rates.


Fewer applications per job vacancy!

The nation is receiving fewer applications per job vacancy than ever before, according to the latest research. So, what does this mean for you as a job-seeker or business?

The national averages…

Only 0.38 applications were made per role in the UK this June. Naturally, this means that a number of openings haven’t received any applications whatsoever.

It appears that there is a regional disparity, with employers in Sunderland receiving 3.22 applications across this period. Cambridge saw the lowest level (0.06).

Unfortunately, we cannot see any figures for the Bath area.

Fewer applications: as a job-seeker

Think this sounds like good news? On the whole, you’re right! Employers should have more of an opportunity to consider your CV for the role that you’re applying for.

However (and unfortunately!), you’re not guaranteed the job. Businesses remain understandably selective about the skills and experience that they require.

So you also need to stay selective. Plus, you must ensure that your application is well tailored to each vacancy. Fortunately, we have 7 days of tips to help you with each of these elements!

Also recommended: how to beat procrastination in your job search. Helping you can take advantage of this record low level of competition while it remains.

Fewer applications: as a manager or employer

Half of UK businesses are expressing candidate attraction concerns, yet there are multiple actions that you can take. Scroll to the bottom of this UK skills shortage guide for some essential suggestions.

For some expert recruitment support, and to discuss any staff attraction concerns, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Also recommended: our latest guide to realistic staff rewards. Each candidate attraction tool is all the more valuable at this time.

[Source: Personnel Today]



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]