Is your potential being squandered at work?

Do you believe you’re fulfilling your career potential? What the latest findings say about the nation’s confidence levels…

A recent City & Guilds survey of 5000 working-age people has revealed a number of concerning trends.

  • Firstly, only just over 1 in 3 employees (33%) feel ‘positive about their future career prospects’.
  • 60% say they have skills that are not being used ‘at least half of the time’.
  • Furthermore, only 53% have had any form of training at work within the past three years.
  • 34% of the group has never received any training at all or their last training took place more than five years ago.

Altogether, the findings suggest that large groups of employees are not being given the chance to fulfill their potential at work.

Advice for managers and employers:

These findings are positive for business leaders – providing as they act on the issues raised! You likely already employ individuals who can bring additional value and expertise to your business. They just need to be given the opportunity to do so. Why not ask your team about the skills they think you’re missing out on?

City & Guilds is calling on employers to help address this problem by:

  1. Exploring each job candidate’s ‘underlying skills profiles’ to find new talent for your business. In some cases, prioritising this potential and a solid skills match over sector-specific experience.
  2. Introducing flexible working practices to attract and retain these talented individuals.
  3. Additionally providing training opportunities to employees at ‘all ages and stages of their career’.

Advice for employees and job-seekers:

The survey’s authors also share some useful advice for you:

  1. Where possible, ‘put yourself forward’ for any training opportunities that arise.
  2. Explore out-of-work training to ensure you’re upskilling yourself for your future career prospects.

To add to this, you could also discuss your current unused skills with your management team. Offer practical examples of how your abilities could benefit your department/company and ask to take on new tasks and challenges.

Of course, there may also be other job opportunities that better employ your full skill-set. 



Supporting your team’s emotional wellbeing

Do you feel committed to supporting your employees’ emotional wellbeing and, if so, how are you going about this?

Research has found that most employers (88%) believe they have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees’ mental wellness. The survey of HR leaders has also uncovered a number of popular ways in which employers can provide emotional support.

These include:

  • Flexible working opportunities (43%)
  • Supporting work-life balance (33%)
  • Allowing employees time off for their mental health (31%)
  • Creating more social events (31%)
  • Offering access to counsellors and other health professionals (27%)
  • Supporting a stress management focus (19%)
  • Mental health programmes (18%)
  • The support of ‘specialist providers’ (18%)
  • And offering mental health first aid training (15%)

HRreview also highlights the results of their own poll, which suggests flexible working is the most attractive of all employee benefits (71%).

For those companies who don’t prioritise emotional wellbeing…

Katherine Moxham, a spokesperson for GrID who commissioned this research, says there can be consequences to ignoring a team’s emotional wellbeing.

These consequences may include:

  • High absence rates
  • Reduced productivity
  • Alognside lower employee retention rates

Moxham, furthermore, states that: “no forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional wellbeing of its most valued asset.”

To conclude, some of the nation’s most valuable companies attribute their success to their staff over anything else! Therefore, the failure to address this issue could prove costly.

Ready to build the best team for your business? Call Appoint on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs or email a consultant today



Staff over tech for high growth companies

It’s all a question of staff over tech, according to high growth small businesses in the UK…

Before we get into the stats, it’s important to understand the value of high growth small businesses. These are the companies that:

  • Account for only 2.9% of UK businesses, yet contribute to 84% of ‘net employment growth’ (employing a total of 1.9 million+ workers).
  • Alongside this, they’re 24% more productive than lower growth small companies – producing an additional ‘3 months of economic output’ for the nation each year.

Clearly, these are incredibly valuable companies that we can all learn from.

It’s about staff over tech for business success:

When Octopus Group asked high growth small businesses what most contributes to their success, they said…

  1. Great staff (60%)
  2. A great idea or product (53%)
  3. Tech helped make the product development cheaper/easier (29%)
  4. The web helped them to market the business more easily (29%)
  5. An ability to secure funding at the right time (24%)

Even the business’s idea or product, considered fundamental to more than half of the companies, isn’t deemed as critical as its employees.

It’s always rewarding to see firms recognise the value of their teams in this way. We’ve long witnessed the difference that a truly effective team makes to a business.

Are you an employer struggling to recruit?

You’re far from alone! 1/4 of UK employers are currently struggling to recruit the talent they need.

Recruitment should never be about simply filling seats by job title and/or years of experience alone. It’s about finding people with the right personality, mindset and skillset to complement the rest of your team and business goals.

Sometimes it’s also about being able to see what others haven’t. Spotting that person who doesn’t come from the same career path or industry yet who has all of the skills and attitude you’re looking for and is ready to learn the rest.

Why not find a recruitment partner who will work closely to understand your business and team goals? You can call Appoint on 01225 313130 to discuss your local recruitment needs today.

Are you a candidate who’s struggling to enter a new career?

This is the post for you.

Remember to keep an eye our News page for further career news and advice updates. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for local opportunities



A year of big change & a positive start!

2020 looks set to be a year of big change for employees and businesses.

We’re dedicating the next month to a number of positive news posts to help inspire your 2020 career plans. We’ll explore everything from personality traits to coping with SAD, pay rises, career changes, and the value of career plans themselves.

Before the series officially launches tomorrow, we’re going to focus on why such a focus is necessary…

Big change is ahead!

The latest findings suggest that:

  • Around 1/2 of British employees plan to change jobs this year.
  • This could come at a cost of approximately £195 to businesses each day.
  • In addition, businesses are already struggling to recruit with unemployment levels remaining exceptionally low.

As for the customer services industry…

  • Almost 40% of customer service professionals intend to find a new role.
  • January is considered the worst month of the year for this group’s happiness levels.
  • As a result, 5% of respondents will leave their customer service job this month alone. This figure may not sound vast, yet could cost UK businesses £201,757,500 in January!

Employers are already worried:

  • Only last month 2/5 of business leaders reported a ‘constant battle’ with staff retention.
  • Almost 1/2 of HR professionals expect to lose 10% of their team during any business year.
  • What’s more, 14% of the nation’s new recruits leave their roles within their first 30 days, and 39% do so within the first six months.

Let’s turn to some positives…

If more professionals make these job moves as planned, more candidates will be available for existing and new job opportunities. This could help to shake up the skills shortage the UK has experienced over recent years.

What’s more, the research data also presents some additional (and valuable!) insights.

  • The study that said 1/2 of British people will change jobs this year also identified the number one employee retention tool – working for a company with a purpose. Or ‘the positive reason the organisation exists, what drives it forward and what it stands for.’
  • A separate study found that 90% of employees working for businesses with ‘clearly defined and motivational purposes’ feel engaged at work. That’s 58% more employee engagement than companies that don’t have clear and positive purposes!
  • On the customer services side, it’s found that employee retention levels can be enhanced through ‘regular and timely feedback, non-financial rewards, and healthcare and flexitime.’ Pay rates also hold influence for 53% of these respondents.

If you’re reading this as a current or prospective job-seeker…

  • This sort of research data has multiple benefits for your job search. Firstly, it’s helpful to know what other employees prioritise as it can help you understand and clarify your own goals.
  • You may also feel it’s time for you to seek out a company with a greater purpose, or you may be looking to work with more likeminded people, increase your salary, and/or seek experience in a new sector. There are no rights and wrongs – these are your career goals!
  • In addition, knowing that application numbers may increase can you help you focus your efforts on those roles you are most interested in.
  • Visit our jobs page to apply for the latest opportunities. You can also upload your CV here.

If you’re reading this as an employer or manager…

  • You can also use this data to your advantage. Even if you know your business serves a positive purpose, you need to find ways to clearly communicate this to your team (and any customers or clients you serve).
  • It’s helpful to review your staff retention levels and strategies as a whole. Ever high or increasing employee turnover levels often indicate something is going wrong – whether that’s down to an unhappy working environment, absent staff retention strategy, or even recruiting the wrong people in the first place.
  • Even businesses used to steady staffing levels will likely see an increase in employee departures if the above stats ring true. This knowledge can help you get prepared and proactive in your recruitment plans.
  • Be sure to find a trusted recruitment partner to support you. For further advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.

We hope you all enjoy this month’s features and it helps you start your own year of big changes! 



Will you get a Christmas bonus this year?

Most people think it’s unlikely they’ll receive a Christmas bonus this year. Why are they falling out of fashion with employers?

It’s hard to track down the origins of the work Christmas bonus. The New York Times has archive articles dating back to the 1920s, so it appears that there is a significant history behind this concept.

Though it certainly looks as if times are changing here in Britain. The majority of employees (73%) don’t believe they’ll receive a bonus this year and 1/3 of professionals never have.

Why are employers shying away from the Christmas bonus?

  • 40% of people think it’s due to their industries making ‘constant cutbacks’
  • 36% say their companies are simply too profit-focused
  • While almost 1/3 don’t think their employers ‘care enough’ to offer such a gift

What can employees expect?

  • Even those who are likely to receive a bonus may be awarded much less than they have in previous years. The average sum has fallen from £792 in 2016 to £363 this year.
  • Employees seem to be grateful for any offerings, with 95% of people happy to receive a ‘£50 shopping voucher’.

Are employers missing a trick?

  • Most people (89%) think they deserve a bonus and say it would also make them feel ‘valued and appreciated’ for their efforts (60%).
  • Over 1 in 5 respondents think they’d even work harder as a result.
  • Worryingly, 15% of employees also admit they feel ‘particularly angry’ about their job in the lead up to Christmas.

There may of course be an excellent business case for employers foregoing the annual tradition. Yet in a time of skills shortage, and when ‘being recognised’ is a marker of meaningful work, business leaders may want to consider their incentive options.

It could even be worth communicating why you’re unable to provide a Christmas bonus this year, alongside finding other non-financial ways to convey your thanks and appreciation.

Looking to create your own little bonus?

If you’re actively looking for work and have prior office experience, why not register your CV for temporary opportunities? Alongside the financial incentive, temp work can help you gain experience with new employers and industries and (in some cases) may lead to longer-term opportunities.

You can search for current temporary vacancies via our jobs page. Please note: temp jobs can be rapidly filled so it’s always worth registering your CV as a general applicant even if you don’t spot a suitable vacancy straight away!



The group fuelling employment growth & pursuing career progression

Can you guess which age group has fuelled 90% of UK employment growth over the past year? 

You’ll see that we always cover a mix of career news affecting employees across all age groups. From the young professionals driving the flexible working movement to the over-65s leading the way on the wellbeing front…and the working parents juggling everything in-between!

In many ways, each item is relevant to us all. We’re now experiencing greater age diversity in the workplace than ever before (thanks to our longer and healthier working lives). This means we each need to gather insights from different professional groups, so we can all learn from each other and create greater business success.

Now, back to our opening question – have you guessed which age group is fuelling the UK’s employment growth?

According to Aviva’s research, it’s the over-55s employee group that has contributed to 90% of UK growth over the past year.

It’s especially interesting to read the rest of their data…

  • Almost 1 in 5 employees aged 55-59 plan to move jobs to further their career progression.
  • This figure falls to 1 in 10 for the 60 to 64-year-old age category. However, most of these participants plan to make their move within the next year.
  • What’s more, professionals want to keep learning and deepening their skill-set. More than 1/3 of the 55-59 group hope to participate in employer training and 1/5 want to pursue their own course or qualification.
  • 14% are additionally shadowing other employees to gather more knowledge and experience.

Commenting on our nation’s working lifestyles, Aviva’s Alistair McQueen says: “forward-thinking employers will respond to this changing world, and they will be rewarded for doing so, securing and retaining the best of this booming population”.

We agree; it’s also about overcoming stereotypes regarding which employee groups want to receive training and progression opportunities. Getting to know and support all team members can only benefit your employee attraction and retention rates, alongside your business success.

Please call 01225 313130 for further recruitment advice, including how to attract the best team members to your business.



At breaking point + common job complaints

As two separate studies say employees are at breaking point, we take a look at what this means. Also sharing the most common job complaints…

An issued shared by 61% of male professionals:

The first survey (conducted by CV-Library and reported by Recruiting Times), reveals that…

  • 61% of men have reached their breaking point. In this case, saying they wish to leave their role due to its impact on their mental health.
  • Female respondents are more likely to admit to experiencing mental health issues in general. However, men are more likely to experience the ‘effects of poor mental health’ at work (81.8% of men versus 67.8% of women for the latter).
  • Sadly, 60.9% of men also feel unable to raise their concerns with their boss for fear of being negatively judged and/or misunderstood.
  • Men would actually be most likely to discuss their mental health experiences with their GP. Conversely, women tend to seek out their friends for support.

The findings also contain a number of proactive recommendations from male professionals. These include:

  • Efforts to ‘promote’ a better work-life balance
  • Counselling service referrals
  • ‘Reduced pressure’ regarding long working days
  • Enabling employees to ‘take time out’ when needed
  • More open discussions about mental health

2 in 5 UK employees are nearing their breaking point…

Separately, the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) has carried out research on employee stress levels. This shows that:

  • 40% of all UK employees are nearing breaking point due to increasing stress.
  • Professionals are losing an average of 5 hours’ sleep each week due to work pressure.
  • Respondents also feel stressed for a third of each working day.
  • 70% have ‘vented’ to someone about their experiences, yet 46% have done nothing beyond this – hoping the issues would simply disappear in time.

CABA’s findings also include the most common job complaints:

  1. General workload levels
  2. Poor sense of recognition and reward
  3. Salary/pay rates
  4. Their colleagues
  5. The day-to-day job role
  6. ‘Company culture’
  7. Long working days
  8. How their workload compares to their colleagues’
  9. Their clients
  10. Progression or career path potential

What does this all mean for employers and employees?

  • Both sets of data reflect recent findings regarding job satisfaction in general. Only last month we reported on the swathes of professionals planning to switch roles.
  • Poor work-life balance, high stress and a sense of not being supported all keep cropping up.
  • Employers need to be reading such data and working out how they can do more to listen to their team, reduce pressure levels and make everyone feel more supported. This is all vital for longer-term employee attraction and retention.
  • Employees also need to look at what they can do to improve their own working lives. At the lighter end of the scale, there are ways to increase levels of joy at work and make sure you’re doing enough of what you enjoy outside of your job too.
  • In more serious cases, when you (or someone close to you) see that work stress is really starting to affect you, you may need to seek the support of your GP.

Everyone reaches those times when they simply need to find a fresh environment more suited to their life and career goals. Visit our jobs page to see the latest vacancies. 



Young workers lead the flexible working movement

How younger professionals are driving the flexible working movement. Also featuring some of the latest flexible work news…

Over the weekend, The Independent shared an interesting post titled ‘Young workers are leading the way out of the office.’

It describes some of the current business trends for young professionals both in America and Britain. This includes:

  • Changing jobs for improved work-life balance (as opposed to a title change or step up the career ladder).
  • Prioritising flexible work opportunities; allowing employees to focus on other needs, such as their children, hobbies, and pets.
  • In fact, increasing numbers of employees are actually ‘demanding flexibility’ in their roles.
  • Requesting benefits such as paid paternity leave, ‘generous’ holiday allowance, the chance to work remotely, etc.

A mixed response…

Some may perceive this as a push towards less work or softer working lifestyles. However, proponents argue that this approach says ‘I will work harder and/or more’ if you support a more balanced lifestyle.

The article cites a number of reasons why younger employees are driving this work-life balance focus:

  • They’ve been born into a highly technological world in which they can see other ways of working rather than staying at one desk for set working hours.
  • Other lifestyle choices, such as marrying and babies, are happening later meaning they are ‘more invested’ in their career path by the time they make these decisions and, therefore, know what they want to ask for.
  • Millennials represent the first generation to observe large numbers of women, including family members, live professional working lives. Many have also observed the challenges their parents have faced due to ‘inflexible employers or unstable jobs’.

The piece also raises the notion that more flexible work and other work-life balance improvements could benefit all working generations – saying ‘change the system so we can all succeed’.

Also in the flexible working news…



The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



Choosing company culture over salary

Which is more important, your company culture or your salary? Why the former may mean more to job satisfaction…

Employers may think a competitive salary is all that’s needed to attract and retain talented team members. Yet, while salaries are clearly important, this way of thinking can be risky in times of skills shortage.

After all, the latest findings indicate that:

  • 57% of people believe their company culture has more of an effect on their job satisfaction than their salary level.
  • 75% would ‘consider’ an employer’s culture before even making a job application.
  • 63% think it’s one of the primary reasons they remain in their role.
  • And 70% of employees would start looking for a new job if their working culture ‘deteriorated’.
  • In addition, respondents favour businesses that represent a ‘clear mission and purpose’ (89%).

It’s not the first time we’ve read such stats. Back in the Spring, it was reported that employees would sacrifice their work-life balance in order to enjoy a positive environment.

Respondents even say they’d choose to work a 60-hour week rather than be a part of a business that ‘doesn’t value culture’.

What contributes to a positive company culture?

Business leaders will want to read this HR News post in full. In summary, there are many elements that contribute to a strong working culture. These include…

  • Respecting – and being fair to – the team
  • Displaying ‘trust and integrity’
  • A culture of teamwork
  • Being flexible/open to improvements
  • Using ‘pre-boarding’ strategies, such as workplace buddies and mentoring for soon-to-be employees
  • Providing continued support/guidance
  • Offering recognition and incentives
  • Flexible working opportunities
  • And strong working relationships (including those with management)

Recognition is also prioritised ahead of pay rises…

Once again, the above list calls to mind another research report.

  • More than 3/5 of employees would rather work for a company that expresses praise and thanks than to be paid 10% more without it.
  • Yet there’s a clear gap between hope and reality, as only 16% of managers think they’ve been given the tools and know-how to ‘recognise colleagues effectively’.

How do you learn more about an employer’s company culture?

Naturally, it can be hard to truly understand a business’s working culture until you’re actively a part of it. Yet there are some great clues to help you decide whether it’s the sort of place that you’d like to work…

  1. Have a really good look at the company’s website. This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people just have a quick glance at the ‘about’ page. Take the time to really read what the business is highlighting about itself and its team.
  2. As well as reading the business’s latest news via their website and social feeds, see what others are saying about them. How do their employees talk about their work on Twitter, etc? Has anyone reviewed their experience of working for the company? The latter tends to be more common for larger regional/national employers. Of course, reviews can be subjective yet they can be helpful if you read them with a critical mind.
  3. Job advertisements can also provide some useful insights. Especially if there are mentions of team outings, company events, employee benefits, charity initiatives, etc.
  4. Search for the business in the actual news – whether local, national or industry publications.
  5. Use interviews as a chance to find out more about the working culture and environment.
  6. And, of course, don’t forget to ask your recruitment consultant for their insights. This is just one of the many benefits of working with an agency who specialises in your field.

Ready to discover a new company culture? Here are the latest jobs