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.



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.



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?



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. 



UK salary news roundup

Sharing three of the latest salary news items from around the web. These pieces cover the national payrise forecast, the well-paid jobs that don’t require a degree, and the possible job-switch effect…

Salary news #1: a national pay rise

Source: HR News

Half of all employers surveyed intend to offer their team a pay rise of more than 2% within the next twelve months. It’s promising to read that these findings span businesses of multiple sizes and industries.

  • What’s more, the majority of the companies offering a pay rise will do so at 5% or more (32% of businesses).
  • 12% of companies plan to increase their salary levels by 2-5%.
  • While 18% will implement a 1-2% pay rise.
  • Sadly, 2% of businesses will be forced to decrease salaries due to their ‘increasing upfront business costs’.

The article references the skills shortage as an influence. This is also discussed in The September ‘Report on Jobs’.

Salary news #2: switching jobs may lead to a higher salary

Source: Recruiting Times

A new think tank study suggests that changing jobs can enhance your salary level. This article explores short-term pay rates and suggests that, within the next few months, salaries will rise at around 2.7% growth. Here it’s stated that the pre-financial crash average was in fact 4.5%.

Conversely, those that change jobs are currently more likely to experience an 11% salary increase, which is higher than any average observed within the past seven years.

Again, this brings to mind the above-linked Report on Jobs and ongoing skills shortage. Additionally, and as the piece cites, fewer people are presently switching jobs than they were prior to the financial crisis (therefore enabling such salary advantages).

It seems prudent to remind that we’d never recommend switching jobs until you have a secure offer in place. See Day 1 of our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips for more on this topic.

Salary news #3: the best-paying degree-free jobs

Source: HR News

Fear that not having a degree could stunt your salary prospects? Indeed has shared a round-up of jobs that don’t require a degree to earn more than the national salary average.

Note: the UK salary average is now £27,600 per annum.

Topping the list (and almost doubling the average salary) is the role of the Ethical Hacker. However, some more familiar commercial office openings also make the list, including the Executive Assistant, Sales Manager and Software Engineer.

We hope that this list will inspire you to feel more positive about your job search and future career prospects. Don’t forget to use this advice post to take your hunt to an expert level. You can also find out more about local salary levels by keeping a close eye on our jobs page.

For managers and business owners, you may be interested to read more about the influence that pay-rates currently have on our UK work culture…and how this could affect your search for your next employee!



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.


Supporting workers in their over-50s

Employees in their over-50s appear in several news items this week. The question is, are they getting enough support?

You may have heard about Gail Smith, the 52-year-old Newcastle-based businesswoman who took voluntary redundancy last year. At the time, she thought it would be simple to handpick her next role. After all, she has decades of experience at a senior management level. However (and as what the Recruiting Times calls her ‘LinkedIn rant’ would attest!), this has been far from the case. One year on and Gail is actively seeking a role.

Are over-50s workers being discriminated against?

Of course, we cannot comment on the specifics of this particular instance. Yet the article describes a time in which Smith is told she was considered ‘too old’ for an interviewing role. If this is the case, it would be more than frowned upon under the rules of the Equality Act 2010.

What about being told ‘you’re overqualified?’

This is another reason Gail Smith has been given for her interview rejections. This is a separate issue in many respects. A younger worker can also be considered ‘overqualified’ if they have work experiences and qualifications greater than those that the role demands.

It is a tricky situation to be in. Let’s also consider the employer’s needs a mo. Businesses are understandably reluctant to hire someone who they think may be utterly bored or using a vacancy as a stopgap for something better. Although this may not be the case from the employee’s perspective. See below!

So, what can workers do to overcome this issue?

It’s important to communicate why you’re looking for vacancies that appear below your skill-set. Your recruitment consultant should be able to assist you with this. Perhaps there’s a good reason you want to take a step back from previous responsibilities. Explain this as clearly as you can.

Employers may also want to take a second look at the CVs in their inboxes. In times of a skills shortage, nobody wants to be overlooking someone great based on assumptions alone. The best recruitment consultants are experts at seeing which people make the best ‘fit’, should you benefit from some support.

Use your CV wisely.

Returning to the risk of age discrimination, we’d recommend that job applicants take a closer look at their CV. Remove your date of birth, education dates and any long-ago CV details that don’t add anything to your search. E.g. that part-time job you had 30 years or so ago. Keep things fresh and relevant. This is something many agencies will automatically do prior to submitting your CV to a client to ensure you’re judged on merit.

Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest CV methods. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all for every job application. Rather, you should be tailoring your CV to demonstrate exactly how you suit each job you’re applying for. You’ll find some great advice regarding this here.

We naturally wish Gail, and anyone else in her position, the very best with their job search. Hoping the right opportunity presents itself very soon.

A final note for businesses on the ability to support the over-50s worker…

Personnel Today has reported that over half of this age group feels unsupported at work. Yet they also feel more confident in their abilities and skill-sets than some of their younger colleagues.

May we also remind you that more than 2/5 of workers intend to work beyond 65 for reasons other than financial need.

By learning to better support the over-50s employee, you’re at a competitive advantage. An advantage that is so valuable during this ongoing skills shortage.

Looking for additional recruitment support and advice? Call the office on 01225 313130.



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]