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!).



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.
  • Health and wellbeing incentives, such as sick pay (29%), follow this.
  • 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.

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.