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



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:



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!



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]



Staff rewards: realistic ways to show thanks

You may remember that an increased focus on staff rewards appeared in our 2018 recruitment predictions – and it’s made the national news multiple times since!

We’ve already discussed how important it is for businesses to promote their work perk offering. The UK skills shortage certainly makes it all the more vital for employers to hone their staff attraction strategies.

In addition, we’ve compared the most sought-after (non-monetary!) benefits against those that employees are currently receiving.

Realistic staff rewards…

Well, today we’ll consider a number of realistic employee benefits that businesses might be overlooking. The rewards in question come from an HR Review article, featuring LondonOffices.com.

1) Increased annual leave

The article references the growing trend towards unlimited holiday offerings. (When we say growing, HR News recently reported on this and state that 9% of global businesses are using such an incentive. So, it’s right at the emerging sense of the word).

However, as they suggest, few SMEs will feel able to factor this into their benefits package. Yet they are far more likely to be able to offer an additional day or two of leave. Whether that’s as thanks for another year’s service, a well done for hitting a particular target, or appreciation of efforts made.

Let’s not forget that this perk also came number one on the most desired of all non-monetary benefits.

2) Healthcare packages

Private healthcare is a reassuring bonus for single workers and those with families alike. It is also said to benefit businesses, by helping to minimise absenteeism.

3) Fitness incentives

Our city’s offices aren’t all set up for on-site gyms (however lovely they may sound!), yet budgets can often extend to a monthly gym membership or similar. CIPHR has an excellent article on why this is so worthwhile for employers.

4) Free food!

This suggestion often crops up in the news, as we all appreciate the easy availability of some fresh food and drinks on a busy working day. There are a variety of companies that offer fresh fruit and snack boxes throughout the area… Google ‘Office fruit bowls Bath’ and you’ll soon see!

5) Flexible working opportunities

When we said increased annual leave came top of the work perk wish-list, the number one spot was also shared by sabbaticals and flexible working hours.

This is an element that is widely considered to enhance staff attraction and retention while increasing employee happiness.

6) Home working opportunities

The HR Review piece suggests this can help ‘break the monotony of the working week and increase levels of productivity‘. It can be healthy to get a change of scenery from time to time. Plus, this is about as realistic as staff rewards come, as it shouldn’t cost the company anything if work is still being completed.

7) Letting the weekend start early

Research suggests Friday afternoons are the least productive time of the working week, so it’s surely the best day to allow employees to finish work an hour or so sooner. If this wouldn’t work for all staff on a weekly basis, you could experiment with a fortnightly or monthly incentive. Or perhaps a rota for early finishes in micro businesses.

8) Team outings

Featured suggestions include regular staff drinks or meals or even trips further afield. Simply offering employees the chance to let their hair down and interact outside of the standard business setting.

9) Staff training 

We know ongoing training is imperative for the success of businesses as we look to the future world of work. Offering individual training budgets is also an excellent way to show appreciation for your staff – and express a continued interest in their personal development and future with your company. Tailoring training to individual needs takes this a big step further.