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 unproductive month + top December stresses!

Do you suffer from unproductive Decembers when work and festive commitments collide? If so, which elements do you find most stressful?

It appears that 1/3 of British professionals struggle to maintain their productivity during the run-up to the Christmas break.

Almost as many (30%) also regret using their holiday entitlement early in the month, as they’ll then miss out on the festive atmosphere at work.

Other December regrets include…

  1. Drinking excessively at the office party
  2. Leaving ‘too much work’ until after Christmas – and then feeling depressed on their return!
  3. Missing the office party due to personal commitments

The challenge of juggling work and social needs brings additional stress. Professionals most struggle with:

  • Picking the perfect presents (35%)
  • Trying to finish their work before the end of the year (21%)
  • Budgeting for gifts, food, and travel (14%)
  • The number of social commitments (12%)
  • Deciding what to wear to the office Christmas party (5%)

It’s not all negative though…

13% of employees don’t find December stressful. Plus respondents clearly find joy in the season, with these items topping their list:

  1. ‘Drinking with friends’
  2. ‘Eating delicious food’
  3. ‘Celebrating the years’ success’
  4. And ‘seeing directors having fun’

Want to boost your productivity this month? Havard Business Review has a free guide to help you avoid distractions ‘at work and in life!’ You can read the transcript or listen to the conversation in full. It’s less than half an hour long, so also offers a great way to make your commute more productive!

Tip: if you want to boost productivity in your workplace this December, why not hire a temp or two? Whether to cover your phone lines for your Christmas party day or to help handle a surge in seasonal demand. Please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us to discuss your needs. You can also register your CV for temporary (and/or permanent!) work.



Leaving a job without another job?!

Have you ever left a job without another job at the ready? Would you consider doing so? We explore which professionals are most likely to say ‘yes’ to these questions and share some advice…

While still among the minority, more than 1 in 10 British employees (13%) are willing to leave their current job without having their next job lined up.

It appears that certain groups of professionals are more likely to take a risk. These include:

  1. PR and Marketing (22%)
  2. Sales personnel (21.7%)
  3. Manual labourers (18.9%)
  4. Retail employees (18.8%)
  5. Civil servants (17.7%)
  6. Accounts professionals (17.7%)
  7. Lawyers (17.6%)
  8. Teachers (17.2%)
  9. Operations employees (17%)
  10. And Finance professionals (16.1%)

The researchers also found that:

  • Employees aged 25 to 34 are among the most prepared to leave a role without another job at the ready.
  • Those in the 55 to 64-year-old age group are the least likely to do this.
  • Men are more likely to take a risk without knowing what they’re doing next.
  • However, women are marginally more prepared to leave their current job if they do know what they are going to do.

Should you take the risk and leave your job without another job at the ready?

  • In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is no! The jobs market is naturally unpredictable. Even with a wealth of experience and a wonderful personality, you may struggle to secure work as quickly as you hope. Especially if you work within a competitive industry.
  • By commencing your job search alongside your current role, you can enjoy your increased financial security while maintaining a ‘consistent’ CV.
  • There are, of course, some special circumstances. For instance, if you’re in the highly fortunate position of being able to financially support yourself for a potentially extended period of time. Even in this case, it’s advisable to follow Forbes’ approach – only take the leap if you have some sort of plan lined up. Even if this plan involves taking a break to travel, volunteer, study or take some ‘dedicated time for your job search.’
  • There are also occasions in which you won’t have much choice, for instance through redundancy, relocation and similar. In these times, specialist advice becomes all the more valuable. Seek out REC-accredited recruitment agencies that cater to your industry. We have long been proud members!
  • Remember, recruiters and employers pay close attention to your CV. It’s worth detailing your career breaks and any associated skills and achievements. For instance, courses undertaken to further your industry credentials, voluntary experiences, etc.
  • Temping can also enhance your CV through these periods, as well as introducing you to a variety of local employers/industries. While you can’t guarantee that you will find temp work immediately, employers are often looking for people who are readily available. Due to how quickly temp opportunities are filled, you may not see many temporary opportunities listed at any one time. Your best bet is to submit your CV to a suitable recruitment agency and keep in touch regarding any opportunities.

You can apply for the latest temporary, contract and/or permanent vacancies via our jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email for the latter!



Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here



Many more temps to be recruited

UK businesses plan to recruit many more temps, reveals the latest REC JobsOutlook…

On comparing their intentions against last month, employers are:

  • 10 percentage points more likely to recruit temporary workers within the short-term. In terms of REC data, this means within the next 3 months.
  • 9 percentage points more likely to recruit temps across the medium-term (4 to 12 month period).

Why this may surprise some:

You could think this is a mark of increased business confidence. However, companies report a further reduced confidence in the nation’s ‘economic prospects’.

In fact, this particular reading has now reached a record low – and currently sits 57 percentage points below its June 2016 findings.

Plans to recruit permanent staff have fallen by 1 percentage point for the short-term period and by 3 percentage points for the medium-term period. Although, both ratings remain positive overall: with a net balance of +16 and +19 respectively.

That said, businesses worry they won’t find the right temps:

  • 34% (1/3) of employers express concern about finding enough skilled candidates to fill their temporary roles.
  • 46% of businesses additionally worry about obtaining permanent employees.

These figures are less surprising when you consider that the UK has achieved record unemployment rates, with less than 4% of the population unemployed.

So, there’s great news for temps. But is temping for you?

Temporary work offers multiple benefits to employees. These include:

  • A flexible solution for those looking for work for a specific period – whether ad hoc assignments or longer-term bookings.
  • The chance to develop new skills and experiences and enhance your CV in the process.
  • A deeper insight into working cultures and local businesses. Helping you work out your priorities for permanent roles if this is a future goal.
  • Regular pay: you’ll be paid weekly (following those weeks worked), rather than monthly.
  • You’ll still accrue holiday pay, further enhancing the flexibility of your role.

Remember, there is no guarantee of finding regular temporary work, even though this is the case for many. To this end, it’s not recommended to leave a permanent role to temp unless you’ve got the financial backing to do so!

You can search for temporary and contract jobs using our job search dropdown tool. Due to the nature of temporary work, roles can be filled swiftly. So, it’s also worth emailing your CV along with a cover email detailing your availability. Here’s what else you should include

To book a temp, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us to discuss your requirements. 



Low candidate availability + workplace happiness

National candidate availability has fallen again. How does this affect job placement numbers and how does it relate to workplace happiness?

Low candidate availability

The latest REC and KPMG UK Report on Jobs (compiled by IHS Markit) reveals that…

  • The number of job-seekers reaching out to UK recruitment agencies and/or making applications for permanent roles fell at a ‘marked’ rate towards the end of 2018.
  • There were also fewer temps available for agency work. This decline is ‘softer but still marked’.
  • This affected UK permanent job placement figures in December – causing the most gradual growth levels observed in 20 months.
  • Conversely, temporary placements grew at a faster rate; managing to beat November’s ’25-month low’.
  • Demand for both temporary and permanent employees remains high and sits well above the average figures recorded throughout all surveys to date. There have been 21 years of surveys conducted in total.

There are also some variable factors:

  • The South of England has experienced the greatest number of permanent placements throughout this period.
  • Generally, England saw better placement levels than the rest of the UK. This was particularly true for temporary appointments.
  • There was most demand for private sector employees, both temporary and permanent, in December.
  • As for recruiting sectors, the Accounting & Financial and Engineering industries represented the highest demand for permanent employees.
  • On the temp side, executive and professional roles saw the slowest growth in demand.

Does low candidate availability spell high happiness at work?

Not if other studies are anything to go by! It appears that continued economic and political uncertainties are at the root of many of these findings.

In fact, 69% of individuals may currently be unhappy at work. Furthermore, 88% of employees are frequently undertaking personal or other non-work tasks in order to hurry the day along!

Popular distraction activities include:

  1. Gossiping with colleagues (61%)
  2. Facebook (45%)
  3. Personal email (44%)
  4. Drinks making/kitchen time (29%)
  5. Shopping and banking via apps (25%)
  6. Looking for a new job (19%)
  7. And unnecessary toilet trips (17%)

A number of more serious distractions are also discussed in the original post.

Advice for candidates & employers

Are these findings the motivation you need to finally take advantage of the skills shortage? Employers looking to do so will need to ensure they’re doing everything they can to enhance their staff attraction offering. Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.

Candidates can also visit our jobs page to see the types of openings we’re currently recruiting for (you’ll see this is regularly updated!).



FAQ: understanding your payslip & tax code!

Wish you understood your payslip and tax code? You’re far from alone! Here’s a helpful guide complete with links to make sure you’re earning what you should be…

If you’re an Appoint temp, you’ll receive your payslips directly from us. Payslips are issued on a weekly basis (and are sent the week after you last worked).

Essentially, each payslip details…

  1. Your earnings prior to all legal deductions. This is your ‘gross pay’.
  2. A breakdown of all deductions made. This includes your tax and National Insurance contributions, alongside any Student Loan repayments and similar. See a deduction that you don’t recognise on your slip? The Gov.uk website details the deductions that may be processed by your employer.
  3. Your total earnings after deductions. This is your ‘net pay’.

How much tax should you be paying?

Money Saving Expert has a handy calculator to help you estimate how much tax you should be paying…

  • Don’t forget to check the ‘Use Advanced Options’ box to obtain a more accurate result. This will enable you to enter your Tax Code and state whether you have any student loan repayments to make, etc.
  • The results are then detailed in a summary box, which rounds up your annual income, plus tax and National Insurance totals.
  • Rather more helpfully, you’ll also receive a more detailed breakdown. This includes your gross (pre-tax) wage, how much of your wage is taxable, how much tax should be paid, your tax-free allowance, and National Insurance contributions, and similar. You will see results listed by year, month and week.

Please note: Money Saving Expert advises you to check your Tax Code to ensure your results are more accurate. So, let’s take a look at this next…

Are you on the right tax code?

Your tax code will vary by your personal circumstances.

Other useful tools!

Looked at the above and still have questions? You may find the following links handy…

  • The Income Tax calculator from gov.uk. This is the most accurate way to calculate your Income Tax for the current tax year. However, unlike the Money Saving Expert link above, you’ll have to sign in to access the service.
  • All contact details for gov.uk Income Tax general enquiries. You can use these contact details to check your tax code, seek information on the details HMRC holds regarding your employment, and to obtain an estimation of the tax you owe. Such a great help if you’re struggling with either of the online calculators!

We hope these links help and you feel much more confident the next time you look at your payslip! If you’re temping for Appoint and have any additional questions, please get in touch