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



Forced into side hustles

Why do employees opt to work in so-called side hustles? Is it by choice or is there something else forcing their decisions?

If you read our recent salary news roundup, you’ll know that more than 1/2 of professionals are finding it difficult to meet their financial needs on a monthly basis.

So, it’s of little wonder that the majority of people who undertake side jobs are motivated by the chance to earn more money.

The top motivations for side hustles are:

  1. To increase income (59.9%)
  2. For personal enjoyment (14.1%)
  3. To ‘improve a hobby’ (10.4%)
  4. For better job security (9.4%)
  5. Or to enter a new career (6.3%)

The fact that 67.7% of respondents could be willing to stop their side jobs if their employer increased their salary adds further proof of their financial incentive.

That said, the remaining 1/3 of respondents intend to eventually turn their side gig into their career role.

Should employees and/or their employers be concerned?

There are important considerations for all parties…

  • As the Onrec post suggests, employees should have a good look at their employment contracts before embarking on any side jobs. Many businesses place restrictions on work that can be completed out of office hours.
  • Naturally, employers need to promote productivity and will be concerned if their team members turn up unreasonably tired or distracted. There’s also the chance of competitive overlaps and even public relation problems.
  • Yet, as the piece also mentions, businesses need to do more to attract and retain their employees; particularly in a time of continued skills shortage. Where possible, increased salaries can help professionals to better balance their work and home needs.
  • Business leaders can consult their recruitment agencies for more guidance on achieving competitive and attractive salary packages. We’re delighted to assist local employers with their recruitment enquiries – please call the office on 01225 313130 for more information.
  • Employees who feel overwhelmed with balancing extra work alongside their careers should consider whether their day job is the right role for them. If they’re not able to negotiate a salary increase, they may find their earning potential is greater in a new role. Regularly reviewing local job opportunities can help you to gauge your salary potential.


Sustainability + staff retention

A focus on sustainability could increase employee retention rates for younger professionals…

Thankfully, topics such as recycling, sustainability, and climate are now well and truly in mainstream discussion. The public has voted the environment as the ‘third most pressing issue facing the nation‘ in a recent YouGov poll.

Brexit and health top the list. However, those in the 18 to 24-year-old age group actually place the environment as second behind Brexit (almost 1/2 of this group prioritise environmental concerns, versus 27% of the population as a whole).

So it’s not surprising to hear that younger professionals would like to see a greater environmental focus at work.

Exploring core priorities:

The article also explores a number of priorities regarding the work setting itself.

Ideas for individuals, employers and managers wanting to do more to support sustainability… 

  • Cultivating Capital has a list of 25 tips to help create a greener workplace. While an American post, it houses multiple ideas that could easily be adopted in the UK. Why not be the person that suggests some of these strategies in your business? Not only would this offer clear company benefits, yet it’s the sort of personal achievement that shines on your CV.
  • Business owners will also want to read all about the ‘environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses’ available via the gov.uk website.
  • For further inspiration, articles from the likes of the Telegraph and Forbes detail how some companies are achieving excellent environmental progress.
  • If your existing employer isn’t open to green initiatives, there may be another company that more closely fits your values. Don’t forget you can always ask more about an employer’s sustainability efforts and objectives during the recruitment process.

To explore openings in Bath and the surrounding area, please visit our jobs page. You will have the opportunity to ask more about recruiting companies if your CV is selected for possible submission. This is just one of the many benefits of working with an accredited recruitment agency



The employee experience: what matters now?

Employers should be more aware of the employee experience, suggests national research…

What is ’employee experience?’

Forbes defines this as “the sum of all interactions that an employee has with their employer during the duration of their employment relationship.”

This comprises an employee’s ‘feelings, emotions and perceptions’ regarding every experience they have along the way; starting right from the initial recruitment stage. It also includes daily interactions and the experience of eventually leaving an organisation.

Why is this such an issue?

Few UK employers are discussing the topic. Which also means that few businesses are managing to meet their employees’ changing expectations.

We know that 48% of employees have even left a role due to a job not meeting their expectations, so this could be a costly problem.

How could an employer improve their approach?

Company owners, business managers, and HR leaders need to have a good look at things from their team’s perspective, considering:

  • Recruitment activity: everything from interviews to keeping the candidate informed throughout the process.
  • Welcoming new team members: who does this and how efficient are initial training procedures?
  • Solving any ongoing issues, with an approachable point of contact for any concerns.
  • Whether the company is making the best use of technology.
  • Creating a pleasant work environment.
  • How staff members are recognised and rewarded for their work.
  • Ensuring individuals are treated well right through to their final days with the company.

Recognising and rewarding the team:

This is a vital area – and one that forms the focus of the People Management feature. Research shows:

  • 90% of people deem ‘recognition and rewards’ to be important to their employee experience.
  • 62% ‘hardly ever or never’ feel appreciated, yet 72% would ‘work harder’ if they did.
  • 48% of respondents say a ‘simple thank you’ makes them feel valued.

The article also recommends a more flexible approach. Rather than offering all employees the same incentives, businesses can find ways to provide truly attractive rewards. Ideas include flexible working and time off for childcare needs.

We’re delighted to support the first stage of your employee experience. Helping to make applicants feel welcome from their initial recruitment experience, providing regular updates, and keeping in touch with candidates through to the start of their employment with you. Please call the office on 01225 313130 for further advice.



How digital skills increase your salary

Are your digital skills as good as they should be? How increasing your technical abilities could make a great difference to your salary; regardless of your job role…

Before we discuss the salary side, it’s important to note that a lack of digital skills has long been an issue in the UK.

  • In fact, poor technical expertise is said to have ‘fuelled skills shortages‘ across the nation for the past 20 years.
  • 51% of today’s employers continue to experience unfilled vacancies as a result of this problem.
  • These unfilled vacancies also come at an annual cost of £63 billion.

It’s not just stereotypical tech roles that require digital skills…

  • Yourmoney.com reports that possessing the necessary skills could enhance your salary by an additional £12,500 per year.
  • You don’t need to be working directly within IT for this to be relevant to you. Currently, professionals working in ‘finance, insurance, and property’ display the greatest ‘digital literacy’.
  • However, there are many adults still struggling to undertake basic technical tasks. The Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index survey (which featured 1 million UK adults) finds that…
  • 21% of adults struggle to use search engines to find information;
  • 27% have difficulties in managing money online;
  • And 34% don’t have the basic knowledge to stay safe online.

Why are these numbers so high in such a digital era?

  • 8% of respondents haven’t even accessed the internet within the past three months – and 48% of this group is under the age of 60.
  • It appears personal finances are a factor, with 47% of those who’ve not accessed the internet recently falling into the ‘low income’ category.
  • Yet the absence of skill training is also significantly contributing to this issue. Most employees (63%) haven’t been offered any digital skills training by their employers.
  • This issue affects personnel of all levels. 54% of managerial employees are yet to receive technical skills training.

It may be time for employers to explore further training within their staff attraction and retention tools.

Meanwhile, employees looking to expand their abilities could consider free training courses. Lloyds Bank Academy has listed one such digital skills training programme.



Does your job title matter?

How important is your job title – and should(/can) you change your job title on your CV?

Recruiting Times has recently released a list of some of the newest job titles appearing on business cards. You might already know a people partner, graduate brainbox, or conversion optimisation wrangler, without even realising it.

After all, many of these titles are playful takes on existing roles. With the idea being to help employers attract new team members. Those in favour of title changes see them as part of an increased focus on employees’ skills and strengths. Conversely, those against them perceive the titles as a way of making ‘mundane roles’ sound better than they are; while paying less for people to do them!

Does your job title even matter?

Margaret Neale (a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business) argues that job titles are a ‘signal both to the outside world and to your colleagues of what level you are within your organisation‘ and should embody part of your benefits package.

It’s something you might discuss and renegotiate in an appraisal context. Though you’ll want to carefully consider the way in which you approach this, as the above-linked post explains.

Think of your CV…

The Balance Careers also agrees that ‘job titles are badges of authority‘ and goes as far as to say that the wrong job title could ‘hinder your pursuit of future career opportunities’. So, it’s very much about obtaining the title that is most appropriate to your skills, experience and role wherever possible.

This all raises a number of additional considerations…

What if your job title doesn’t mean anything to outsiders?

  • Perhaps your title is one that’s exclusively used by your organisation and you’re now looking for a new role.
  • The simplest step is to state your role as it stands, then use two or three words to clarify your position to outsiders. For example, ‘Job Title: People Partner (HR Team)’.

What if your job title doesn’t even reflect your existing role? Or you don’t think it sounds ‘good enough’ to attract a new one?

  • Let’s not forget that embellishing a job title falls under the realm of CV fraud…and that CV fraud is a criminal offence!
  • You always want to make sure that what you state on your CV would be confirmed by your former employer on a reference.
  • Most of the time it would be best to simply state the title and then add further details to clarify the strength of your experience. You could also write a few lines to highlight your expertise in your cover email.
  • However, if your everyday role vastly differs from your title, you could highlight the organisation, team and duration, as per The Balance Careers advice. For example, ‘X Organisation, Finance Team – 3 years’. If you take this approach, tread carefully to ensure that you remain truthful regarding the details of your role. In other words, don’t make it sound as if you’re a finance manager when you’ve only undertaken entry-level responsibilities.
  • What’s more, be prepared to discuss your job title fully with your Recruitment Consultant and any prospective employers.

Ready to look for a new role? You’ll find the latest job vacancies here.



SMEs express recruitment confidence

How SMEs perceive their recruitment abilities – and how they’re looking to attract new employees. Plus what the rest of the employment market stats are saying…

SME stands for ‘small and medium-sized enterprises.’ This refers to any business with fewer than 250 employees. Together, these companies employ more than 16 million people, which accounts for half of the UK’s working population.

The findings show:

  • SMEs are confident in their abilities to recruit over the coming year; regardless of the wider business climate. 61% of these companies express this sentiment, versus 53% of global businesses.
  • Business owners are looking to increase their investments in training and development, alongside ‘demonstrating a commitment to ethical and social values’ in order to attract more employees.
  • Salary remains the most regarded employee attraction tool among business leaders, with the aforementioned training and development in second place.
  • Employers are no longer placing the same level of focus on ‘long-term service’, however, a ‘competitive salary’ is also deemed the most effective tool for promoting staff retention.

Each of these stats come from this Onrec report. The research itself was conducted by Oxford Economics in association with American Express.

What about the latest ONS labour stats?

Over on the REC website, it’s stated that the national unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been since November 1974 to January 1975, at just 3.9%.

  • 32.72 million people of working age are now in employment. 475,0000 more people than over the previous year.
  • The number of job vacancies has also increased by 32,000 to a total of 852,0000 for January to March 2019.
  • As positive as these figures appear, this poses a continued challenge for employers looking to recruit new team members. The REC describes this as a ‘big risk’ to future economic growth.

How do these findings compare to the current KPMG and REC Report on Jobs?

  • These figures also reveal a ‘steep decline in staff availability.’ This is partially attributed to a ‘Brexit-related uncertainty’.
  • The Report on Jobs also suggests the ‘fastest decline’ in permanent employee placements since the middle of 2016.
  • However, these figures additionally show employee demand has increased at its ‘softest pace’ since August 2916 – both across temporary and permanent recruitment.

What does this all mean for you as a job-seeker or employer?

For job-seekers:

There are some fantastic opportunities out there for you. When you consider that 85% of local businesses are SMEs, their confidence becomes all the more newsworthy.

What’s more, these businesses are competing for people with the relevant skills, attributes and experience for their companies.

Low unemployment means you may experience reduced job-seeker competition in your field. However, you cannot rely on this! Appealing roles have a habit of attracting greater numbers. You must still ensure your CV and applications are doing all that they can to demonstrate your suitability for a job.

Take a look at the latest local openings and/or email your CV to our Consultants. Here’s what to include in your cover email.

For employers and managers:

The challenge of standing out from your competitors continues.

As per the SME discussions, employee attraction strategies are now of the utmost priority. The following posts share some useful considerations:

Work closely with your Recruitment Consultant to ensure they’re aware of your individual recruitment needs as well as your complete employee offering. Get the most out of the agency’s staff attraction tools, honed through years of recruitment expertise.

You can call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130 or reach a Consultant directly via email.