The job skills special

As ever, we’re keeping a close eye on the job skills news. It’s vital that everyone involved in the recruitment process (candidates, clients and consultants included!) remains aware of the nation’s changing skills needs. Information that becomes all the more vital as the UK skills shortage becomes all the more prolonged…

What exactly is the skills shortage?

Quite simply, it’s the shortfall of suitable applicants for the number of job vacancies that the nation has to fill. It’s an issue that we’ve been exploring for more than 18 months.

The latest job skills news reveals that…

  1. Most businesses (79%) plan to increase their higher-skilled roles within the coming years. However, the majority of employers (66%) worry that they will struggle to find suitably matched employees.
  2. A Barclays LifeSkills survey shows that almost 60% of UK adults ‘lack core transferable’ job skills, including leadership and creativity. Differences are reported among demographic groups.
  3. 2/5 of people are being recruited for roles before discovering they do not have the right ‘soft skills’ required. More than 1/2 of workers have left a role on realising their personality or work style does not suit the position.
  4. SMEs face the worst of the skills shortage, with underperforming recruits costing an annual average of £39,500.
  5. Even when sources disagree on job vacancy figures, they agree upon these ongoing recruitment issues!

What are the solutions?

According to the reports, changes must be made at a formal education level. All future workers should be equipped with adequate skills for the modern workplace.

Alongside this, employers need to provide continued training opportunities. Therefore enabling existing workers to upskill on the job; aiding staff retention and business growth.

Businesses must also review their recruitment approach to ensure…

  • They are managing to attract enough applicants.
  • Employers also know how to best identify suitable skill-sets.
  • The job offering is additionally appealing enough to compete with those of other (perhaps better known) organisations.
  • Decision-making processes are swift enough to retain interested applicants.
  • While ample onboarding is provided to welcome new staff members.
  • Plus the list really does go on..!

What should you do now?

  • Employers & employees: keep reading articles such as these! We regularly share posts discussing the most sought-after job skills – useful insights whether you’re the one looking to fill these or the businesses competing to attract them! Re-read our skills shortage advice post.
  • Especially for job-seekers: do all that you can to ensure that you’re searching for the right jobs for you and you’re doing everything possible to highlight your skills. Follow these tips as closely as you can.
  • Especially for businesses: start working through that bulleted list above! Your Recruitment Consultant is the perfect person to call on to support you with this. For tailored recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.


Job vacancies: record highs or figures falling?

What does the number of job vacancies tell us about the state of the employment market? Well, the answer could depend on your chosen source…

Two different news items published only a day apart suggest that:

a) Advertised job vacancies are falling and reflect a ‘cooling off’ period 

Source: Recruiting Times & Adzuna

Adzuna has been recording its own data since 2012. However, it will not have access to the same quantity of data as our next source.

That said, it’s still of national interest as it considers the UK as a whole. Perhaps most interestingly, these findings also report on competition levels; stating that application numbers have fallen to an all-time low since Adzuna’s records began 6 years ago.

b)  Job vacancies have reached a record high since 2001

Source: HR Review & the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Conversely, the ONS reports that job vacancy numbers have reached the highest level recorded in 17 years. Although these figures are taken from the August to October 2018 period; Adzuna’s refer to the ‘latest data’ which may well be exploring the past month.

This report also reflects a talent shortage, stating that ’employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.’

What the REC has to say on this topic…

As you may well know, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation also conducts regular research.

Their latest press release explored October’s figures and found:

  • Staff appointment numbers rose at their fastest rate last month.
  • Job vacancies ‘expanded at the softest pace’ for almost two years in October, yet staff demand was ‘historically sharp’.
  • Overall candidate availability fell at its steepest rate in nine months.

Considering all these findings, it appears that there is greater consensus across the sources than it might have appeared at first glance.

Certainly, each agrees that businesses are facing skills shortages, with HR Review reporting that “employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”

Looking to overcome the skills shortage?



Temporary staffing trends & more!

Two news reports have caught our attention this week. The first shares the latest temporary staffing trends, while the second explores the link between employee stress and workplace inefficiencies…

1) Temporary staff plug the skills gap

Source: Recruiting Times

We’ve often shared news regarding the UK skills shortage due to the dramatic effect it has had on recruitment for some time (if you’re new to the Appoint site and/or you’re yet to hear about this topic, we highly recommend reading this post. Not only does it briefly explain what the skills shortage is, it shares strategies to overcome the challenges posed. Both for employers and employees).

Well, according to a survey conducted by the Resolution Foundation, almost half of employers (46%) are now using temporary staff to fill their company skills gaps.

Those companies that are most reliant upon temps (whose workforces comprise a quarter or more temporary staff) are most likely to be doing so as part of a dedicated ‘strategic approach’. This is also the case for businesses that have increased their use of temps over the past few years.

What do these temporary staffing trends tell us?

The more that businesses work with temps the more benefits they see to their place within the modern workforce. Only 19% of companies now use temps as a ‘last resort’ and few hire temporary staff as a ‘cheaper alternative’ to their permanent counterparts.

There will always be times when temps are used as emergency staff members. For example to fill unexpected absences or to lend a hand when projects go wayward! Yet it’s promising to see that an increasing number of HR leaders value temps’ specific skills. The decision to use recruitment agencies to fulfil needs ranging from staff training to payroll further supports this.

Temps contribute an awful lot to our local business landscape, so we can’t help but welcome this news!

2) Workplace inefficiencies could cause employees to leave

Source: HR Review

Businesses looking to boost their staff retention rates should review their workplace efficiency levels! After all, a third of workers (33%) have started job searching as a result of business inefficiencies.

This issue has proven to affect workers in the UK, France and Germany. Employees report feeling more stressed, less engaged, less productive and generally more unhappy as a result.

The stats suggest:

  • 59% of workers have experienced an increased workload since 2016
  • 69% are feeling more stressed as a result
  • 66% are expected to work faster than previously
  • 45% are experiencing ‘lengthy approval cycles’
  • 50% of employees feel undervalued

You can find more facts and stats in the original post.

Staff retention is perhaps a surprisingly important topic in recruitment. We’ve recently explained this in more depth (and included 4 resources to help boost Bath’s staff retention rates).

Such news reports clearly offer an excellent reminder to review internal practices. Is your company working as efficiently as it could? And could staff be invited to lend fresh eyes and thoughts regarding areas of possible improvement? TIP: this could actually have dual retention benefits!



Popular Posts of 2017!

Sharing 11 of our most popular posts of the year…

With less than two weeks until the festivities fully commence, we thought it the perfect time to reflect on the items you’ve all been reading this year.

In no particular order, we have:

1) Flexible working news. 

There’s something so intriguing about the concept of flexi working. Often we’re all wondering whether it’s actually working, who it’s working for, and whether it could work for us (business owner and workers included)! This post shares flexible working stats, alongside some local options.

2) Interview research: your must-know guide.

Experienced interviewers can fast tell the difference between a cursory glance at the corporate site and some detailed interview prep. Our interview research guide steers you towards the latter – helping you beat your competition along the way!

3) Millennials choose SME employers.

We hazard a guess it’s the local relevance that grabs the attention with this one. After all, the Bath business community is (rightly!) proud of its strong SME culture. Plus, it’s always interesting to see the differences in career ambitions among demographic groups.

4) What to take to a recruitment agency

One of our more practical posts for job-seekers. We help you feel more confident ahead of your visit, whether you’re doing the agency rounds, looking to register, or you’re booked in for a registration appointment.

5) What is it like to work in recruitment?

We always enjoy peeking behind-the-scenes of other industries, so it wasn’t a surprise to see this post among our most-read items. We also relished the chance to pop this one together – and to look back over our past 18 years in the city!

6) Career change advice

Who doesn’t like a fresh start from time to time? So many job-seekers are looking for ways to diversify their careers. We discuss whether it’s feasible to do so…plus steps you might want to take.

7) Tell me about yourself.

It’s back to interview advice and one burning question that can all too easily catch you out. Thankfully, there’s such a simple three-step formula when it comes to cracking this one!

8) What the Skills Shortage means for you.

This is the single post that we’ve referred back to the most this year, as the topic has remained so present in the national news. We explain what the skills shortage is and break down its meaning (and opportunities!) for job-seekers and employers.

9) Creative side projects

You don’t have to feel creative to be creative and there’s actually a good career/business case for developing your potential. This post also takes a local twist, with seven nearby pursuits for you to get involved with.

10) Social snooping

As GDPR creeps closer, everyone’s starting to ask questions about its future recruitment impact. Does this spell the legal end of candidate research by social media?

11) Welcoming new starters

Finally, we have our post on ‘onboarding’ new recruits – including the whys and hows of getting this right. It’s something we always advocate and would be delighted to assist you with.

We hope you enjoy catching up on these news items and look forward to sharing many more. Coming soon: job searching tips for anyone looking to use the festive break to their advantage. Plus a special New Year’s series that we’re eager to share!



Business confidence, the Queen’s Speech & flexible working

Exploring the HR and recruitment news headlines you may have missed from around the web…

Business confidence is surging!

Business confidence is at an 18-month peak – and this is despite the ‘most difficult recruitment situation for a decade’. This is based on a survey conducted by Lloyds Bank, as reported by City A.M.

Sales and profit expectations have risen to a ‘24% positive’, according to the Lloyds Bank Index. These findings follow a 12% fall shortly after the Brexit results.

Tim Hinton of Lloyds Bank suggests businesses are well equipped to work within such challenging times, “taking it in their stride and staying focused on what they can control.”

You can find out more about the national Skills Shortage (and solutions!) here

How the Queen’s Speech affects HR and Recruitment

You may have spotted many discussions regarding the Queen’s Speech. Well, the CIPD neatly summarises how this will affect HR.

Naturally, Brexit is at the heart of much of the forthcoming change. While HR Managers and business owners are recommended to read this in full, we can summarise that:

  • New policies will be established on immigration, yet employers are concerned by ‘access to talent’.
  • The National Living Wage (NLW) will increase.
  • However, a pay cap will be introduced for the public sector. This applies to salaried workers.
  • The government is looking to enhance workers’ rights and protections.
  • Additionally, the gender pay gap and discrimination will form the focus of ‘further progress.’

The article also references those pledges that didn’t make the speech.

Flexible Working this Summer 

Finally, the ‘Smarter Working Initiative’ returns to the UK. Its second year starts on the first day of the school Summer holidays.

Businesses are encouraged to offer employees one day of flexible working. This includes working from any location and at the hours of their choosing.

This is an awareness campaign to show the wider benefits of flexible working. And the approach holds clear economic potential, as 70% of employees say such opportunities would ‘increase the attractiveness of a job’.

The first campaign saw more than 100,000 workers (and 115 organisations) participate.

Full details can be found via LinkedIn.



Turning to temps: why more employers may be following suit…

Explaining why increasing numbers of employers may be turning to temps, according to the latest REC JobsOutlook…

89% of employers intend to increase or maintain their temporary staffing within the next three months. This figure represents a 9% increase since March. Clearly, a notable shift within such a short period.

So, why are we experiencing this change?

These findings are attributed to the continued pressures posed by the national Skills Shortage. Essentially, there are too few suitable job-seekers to fill the number of vacancies. Turning to the stats again, we see:

  • 1 in 3 businesses lacks ‘spare workforce capacity’.
  • Almost half of employers predict a shortage of candidates to fill job openings within the coming 12 months.

Furthermore, of those businesses already using temps…

  • 65% are working to manage peaks in demand.
  • 57% are responding to business growth needs.
  • 48% are using temps to access specific strategic skills.

Combining both sets of stats, it’s clear to see why increasing numbers of businesses are reportedly following suit.

If you’re concerned about the potential impact of the Skills Shortage, we encourage you to read our Special Guide. This contains expert insights for job-seekers and employers alike.

Wondering whether a temporary worker may be the best option for your business? We’d be pleased to discuss the benefits and possibilities. Call today: 01225 313130.

[Stats: REC 24 May 2017]