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



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.


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. 



Training as an incentive

Why we all need to see training as an incentive at work…

Currently, HR Review reports that only 25% of HR professionals believe their employers provide a ‘learning culture’ for their staff. The remaining three quarters say:

  • They’re still working towards creating a learning environment (59%:).
  • Such a culture is completely absent (11%).
  • This isn’t considered a business priority (5%).

Yet these businesses may want to rethink things. After all…

Employees see training as an incentive to stay in their roles!

In fact, in an HR News post, we hear that 90% of UK employees consider training as ‘vital to furthering their career’.

  • 42% go as far as to say they ‘strongly agree’ with its importance.
  • 95% of respondents aged 55 and over deem this to be ‘crucial’.
  • Alongside this, 86% of people think that continued training will reduce staff turnover levels.

Time is the main barrier for team members choosing whether or not to attend a course. Many employees express worry about having to be away from their desks for too long.

Which takes us onto the question of training strategies…

It seems that out of those who actually offer staff training, many businesses are predominantly focusing their attention on:

  • Trainee level programmes (38%).
  • Coaching style training (35%).

Conversely, the following training types are considered to be ‘low priority’:

  • Online training courses (32%).
  • Onboarding initiatives (27%).
  • ‘Knowledge sharing’ (29%).

But are these businesses making a mistake? The article would suggest so. Referencing the continued focus on the ‘skills economy’ (and the fact 2/3 of employees have resigned due to the absence of training opportunities!), it calls for companies to prioritise ‘modern training practices’.

It’s not only the digital courses that are promoted within this, yet also the need to encourage knowledge sharing so that vital information isn’t lost when employees move on to other roles.

You may also see training as an incentive to attract new staff members in the first place. We can help you shout about the learning and development benefits offered to employees. For further support, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Related reading:



Job-seekers missing out!

Are you one of the many job-seekers missing out on career opportunities because of misunderstanding the skills required?

HR News reports that more than 1/3 of candidates have not made a job application due to not understanding the skills required for the advertised role.

An additional 46% say they struggle to identify which skills they should be honing in on throughout their recruitment approach. Right from their initial job applications to interview day.

8% don’t even know where to start (or wouldn’t make any effort whatsoever!) when considering the skills described in job ads.

It’s not only job-seekers missing out…

Employers are also potentially suffering as a result of this. After all, a fantastic candidate may not apply for a role that they would be more than suitable for, if only they could see that they were!

So, who’s responsible for this problem? Both parties have an opportunity to resolve it.

Job-seeking candidates:

We discuss how important this issue is in Day 4 of these job hunting tips. We also introduce you to a simple process to help get you started. If there are skills or phrases that you’re unsure about, why not research them before dismissing the vacancy entirely? Ask a trusted friend, Google the expression, and/or check with your Recruitment Consultant.

Furthermore, don’t shy away from making an application if you almost tick all the requirements. Perhaps there’s a computer program discussed that you’ve not used, yet you’ve worked with a competitor product. Why not highlight your success with this product, make sure you note how it relates to the advertised package, and promote how quickly you are able to adapt to new systems?  The same approach can also be applied to less tangible skills and experiences.

This isn’t to say you should apply for any old job you see! If you don’t understand most or any of the items discussed in the ad, it’s likely that you’re yet to gain the experience required (see Day 5 of these tips). Saving your time by not applying for these jobs presents you with more time to invest in the ads that you most closely match.

Recruiting businesses:

Are your job specs bursting with unnecessary jargon? Are your skills descriptions too vague, flowery or obscure for ‘outsiders’ to decipher?! And/or are you advertising nice-to-have skills as absolute musts?

If you respond ‘yes’ to any of the aforementioned, you may be missing out on some excellent candidates. Take another look at your job ads and see how you can tidy them up.

It’s not always easy to promote a job opportunity when you’re on the inside looking out. Why not consult with a trusted recruitment agency in your field to enhance your staff attraction offering? The Recruitment & Employment Confederation has a handy Member directory to make this process easier.

Call the office today on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.



Skills of the future: do you have them?

Do you have the career skills of the future? For that matter, do you have the skills you need right now?

70% of employees lack both, according to research by Gartner.

In a report published by Personnel Today, concerns primarily centre around an inability to keep up with the pace of digital development. Development considered essential for continued business progression.

The article does not explore specific skills (we discuss these below!). Yet businesses are more generally advised to ‘determine the skills their market and clients are calling for’ before finding ways to meet these.

They also break the process down into three core stages.

Skills of the future: what job-seekers should look to develop

Prefer to dig into some specifics?

  • These are the 9 most important career skills of the future, according to the World Economic Forum. This link is also an essential read for anyone considering how to better promote their existing skills.
  • Empathy has separately been singled out as a valuable asset. In fact, we’re apparently already living through the ‘Empathy Economy’, a business era characterised by the strength of this uniquely human trait.
  • You may recall that the ability to continually ‘reskill’ could also take you from 3 possible career paths to your choice of 48.

Companies are already paying more to source skilled employees

We recently shared a brief mention of this feature when discussing the REC’s September jobs report. However, it feels fitting to raise this point again.

With unemployment levels notably low, businesses are struggling to find the right candidates to fill their vacancies. This is pushing companies to increase their starting salaries to attract candidates with the appropriate skill-set.

If you’re a job-seeker struggling to find work, are you doing enough to highlight the skills that you have? Are you even applying to the right people in the first place? You may benefit from a more focused strategy.

Businesses have so many opportunities to create an appealing staff attraction approach. For some expert employee attraction and recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130.



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



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]