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.


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:



Overqualified at work? You’re not alone!

Are you overqualified for your current job? A government survey suggests that this statement may now apply to 2.5 million UK employees. That’s 8.7% of the national workforce!

The latest ‘UK Employer Skills Survey’ finds…

Which skills remain most required?

  • ‘Task prioritisation’ and ‘time management’ abilities remain most-in demand, contributing towards 59% of skills gaps, according to People Management.
  • The need for advanced or specialist IT abilities has fallen by 8% points between 2015 and 2017.
  • It’s reported that 76% of skills gap needs are ‘transient’ and will be resolved over longer-term employment and the completion of staff training.
  • That said, poor motivation (32%), lack of performance improvement (31%) and lack of required training (25%) are each contributing factors.

A note for your CV…

  • Take advantage of these new findings and ensure to demonstrate your prioritisation and time management abilities on your CV. ‘Demonstrate’ is the key word here! Don’t just write these skills down as filler words. Instead, find fitting examples to show how you’ve utilised these abilities within your recent roles. Illustrate this with stats, achievements and/or results wherever possible.

A word for businesses on managing overqualified employees:

  • These research findings call to mind an earlier post on the reasons that so many workers ‘shut off their minds’ in order to survive each working week. Noticed any team members that not being used to their full potential? Watch out for these people – and then find ways to challenge them with new projects and responsibilities.
  • If you’re unsure how their skills could be utilised, why not ask? These employees are such a great asset to your future business growth. Learning to spot talent opportunities within your existing team is also another simple way to enhance your staff retention rates.


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.



Training for the future: what’s needed?

What training is required to secure future work? And what’s stopping employees from pursuing further education right now? 

Training for the future

If you’ve already visited the website this week, the future of work may be on your mind! We now return to this topic, having read HR Review’s post on preparing ‘for the jobs of the future‘.

The article describes a ‘tension’ that exists between the needs of future work and the training offered to employees to cope with this. In other words, will there be enough people with a solid understanding of smart technology?

HR Review highlights businesses’ responsibility to ensure employees receive ample training. And how this training must go beyond the traditional degree route and into the direction of lifelong learning.

91% of workers, job hunters and students surveyed support this notion. Yet many fear employers will still place too much value on traditional education systems. Therefore, business owners, managers and HR professionals may need to put their heads together to establish new approaches to staff attraction, selection and development.

Unable to afford adult education

Over on HR News, further education is also being discussed. This time exploring the barriers preventing British adults from pursuing further education.

The top reasons include:

  • The cost (35%)
  • Lack of time (19%)
  • Lack of need (18%)
  • Low motivation (17%)
  • Low energy (17%)

Due to these barriers, only 27% of people are likely to pursue adult learning.

Worrying stats when you consider how fundamental the ability to develop new skills will be to the sustainability of future work.

Does this mean that businesses will need to do more to ensure staff receive regular training? Or do workers need to prioritise their continued professional development? Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Let us know your thoughts via Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn.