The upskilling crisis & its potential consequences

Are you receiving upskilling opportunities at work? If so, you’re among the minority of UK professionals…

The UK is the nation that’s least likely to provide new training opportunities to its employees, according to PwC research.

  • 51% of UK employees are not offered the chance to retrain or develop new skills.
  • This is well below the global average of 26%.
  • In comparison, only 33% of American employees and 31% of Germans have not been reskilled.
  • The stats are all the more impressive in India and China, where the figures fall to 5% and 3% respectively.

The education gap

There is a disparity between those respondents who have undertaken further education (post-school) and those who haven’t. Graduates receive 15% more training opportunities.

This HR Magazine report reveals many more findings, including the worrying trend to overlook changing digital needs.

Employees clearly crave development opportunities. 54% feel prepared to ‘learn new skills or completely retrain’ to boost their employment potential; this figure rises to 67% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

You can read the PwC report in full via their website.

Warning: a lack of upskilling could lead to a lack of employees!

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the desire to learn something new tops the list of career priorities for the nation’s professionals.

  • 44.6% of employees want to develop a new skill
  • This beats the 43.5% who prioritise a pay rise
  • And the 22.7% who long for a new job title

40.1% are prioritising the ‘move to another company’. This group may well also increase in time, as 64.1% say their employer doesn’t respond to their needs and 83.2% intend to find a new job ‘to achieve their dreams’.

This could be of concern to many of the employers who are already facing a skills shortage. However, this may also increase the availability of skilled employees. Employers would certainly be wise to review their recruitment approach. Please call the office on 01225 313130 for some professional support.

We’ve only just shared the stats on the number of people looking to change jobs this month and throughout the coming year. Visit our jobs page for the latest opportunities. You’ll also find a number of skills-related topics linked in this article.



Future career changes

Young people expect to make multiple career changes in their working lives…

You won’t be surprised that the majority of young people expect to change jobs at least once during their careers. After all, it’s incredibly rare for large groups of people to work in the same roles and for the same companies forever.

However, almost 1/4 (23%) of young people also expect to make multiple career changes; in other words, also switching professions and/or industries rather than just jobs.

Considering their future career changes…

The above findings have been shared by Survation on behalf of the AAT. The pool consisted of just over 1000 16 to 24-year-olds (all considered as ‘Generation Z’).

They reveal that:

  • Nearly 1/3 (32%) of young people expect to make one to two job changes during their careers.
  • In addition, 23% expect to change their career path twice in future.
  • 14% of respondents think they’ll experiment with a greater number of professions, making three career changes.
  • Only 9% of people think they’ll work for the same company for their entire career. While 16% think they’ll at least remain on the same career path.

How they’ll prepare for their future roles:

  • It’s great to see that these respondents are prepared to take a proactive approach, with 52% saying they’d undertake a new qualification in order to progress their careers.
  • What’s more, 61% believe they’ll have to ‘upskill’ throughout their working lives. This is especially important as it so closely reflects the experts’ thoughts on the future of work and automation. Please see below for articles that further explore this topic.

The relevance of this data for employers:

As HR Magazine discusses, business and HR leaders will need to work hard to retain Generation Z employees. Especially the 43% that say they’d like to create their own business one day.

This may involve nurturing the creative potential of employees, so they feel able to challenge themselves and pursue their own ideas within the business.

Further reading for your future career and job skills:

  1. Future job skills & work portfolios for all: find out whether you possess the three most vital future job skills. Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role.
  2. What employers want: six key skills that employers want to find in their future team members.
  3. Are you being upskilled at work? What to do if you aren’t receiving the opportunity to refresh your job skills.
  4. The top most wanted trainee skills: 10 abilities that will benefit trainees…and everyone else!
  5. The future skills framework: the major new taskforce set to decide which skills we’ll all need in future. Plus why students sre feeling unprepared for their careers.

Ready to discover your next job? Visit our vacancies page to apply for the latest openings. You can also upload your CV here.



Perks & pay: for employees earning less than £30K.

What’s more important, perks or pay for employees earning less than £30,000 a year? 

If you keep your eye on the jobs news, you’ll spot a common theme. Researchers always want to know more about your working values and how these compare to each other. The perennial question tends to include ‘what matters more to you, your salary or your…!’ (As a case in point, we recently reported on the topic of company culture versus salary level.)

Today’s source specifically explores the parity of the work benefits package and salary for the ‘under £30,000 workforce’.

Perks or pay?

In this instance, the title suggests that they’re ‘just as important’ as each other – and many of the employees surveyed place more weight on other work-life benefits.

  • 45% of respondents are happier when offered learning and development opportunities
  • 36% value flexible working hours, including ‘leniency in start times and/or breaks’
  • 26% already enjoy non-typical work schedules
  • ‘Frequency of pay’ is briefly mentioned as an additional motivator
  • Candidates are also eager to source jobs local to home (27%)

The income issue:

This sample explores the ‘Hidden Heroes’ workforce: those who earn an average salary of £16,403. This comprises employees in multiple sectors and across a variety of working ages.

So, from the above findings, you may think this group just isn’t as reliant on their income. However, many of the respondents express financial concerns.

  • Over 1/3 are ‘unsure or worried’ about covering their general bills
  • While 72% do not think they’d be able to fund ‘a large unexpected’ payment
  • Alongside this, 54% of this employee group report feeling ‘underpaid’
  • Millennials most often relate to feeling ‘overqualified’ (45%) for their roles
  • And the hospitality and catering industries contain the greatest number of workers who feel overqualified (54%)

What this tells us…

Employers looking to attract candidates for openings of this salary level would be smart to explore their wider benefits packages. What else could be offered to motivate and incentivise employees? Small changes could prove invaluable to professionals.

Naturally, extending benefit schemes across the entire workforce helps companies to maintain a competitive advantage.

For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130. 



The over-50s & 60s employment boom

How employees in their over-50s are changing our current and future employment landscape…

Did you know that…

  • Professionals in their 50s and 60s are largely driving the nation’s record employment?
  • 76% of ‘eligible’ job candidates are currently working.
  • More than 80% of new UK roles were filled by employees aged over 50 ‘in the past year up to April’.
  • The number of professionals aged over 65 also increased by 80,000 people within this period.
  • Furthermore, the over-50s group may become the largest working demographic by 2030. 1/3 of employees will already be a part of this group by 2025.
  • More than 8% of people in their 70s are still working, which is significantly more than a decade ago.

Are there enough opportunities for the over-50s employee?

Although the above all sounds highly positive, the demographic is still experiencing challenges.

  • 41% of people aged over 50 say there is a ‘lack of opportunity’ to progress with their current employer.
  • 34% do not know what is required of them to receive a promotion.
  • And 1/5 of this group attributes a ‘lack of training’ to their limited career growth.

These are concerning findings. Especially as both reports suggest older employees could help overcome the national skills shortage.

There are a number of industries that express increased confidence and greater opportunities for respondents.

Also in the news…

Looking for a role that better suits your skills and experience? Visit our jobs page. For further recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. 



Fantastic reasons to work in finance

How the finance and financial services industries are leading the way, according to three recent news reports.

This is promising reading for anyone considering a new job or career within these sectors – which have long served as prominent local employers.

1) Training and development potential

The finance sector currently tops the list for professions providing training and skills development opportunities.

  • Finance scored 88%
  • The rest of the top five included: HR/recruitment (82%)
  • Civil servant roles (81%)
  • Law (78%)
  • And Accounts (77%)

In addition, you’ll see that other great commercial office employers receive top ten scores.

This is all the more impressive when you consider that almost 1/3 of businesses do not offer any employee training or development. We discuss some of the reasons why this is the case here.

2) Fastest growing sectors for women

Finance and financial services also appear in the ‘top ten fastest growing industries for women‘.

This data explores the rate of growth over the 20-year period from 1998 to 2018.

  • ‘Support for finance and insurance’ has increased by 124.18%, which places these industries in 9th position.
  • Other high-scoring roles, such as head office management (showing a 191.27% increase) and Information services (up 146.15%) could be conducted both within and outside of these sectors.

3) Workplace happiness

The industry once again scores in the top ten of the ‘Workplace Happiness League Table‘.

  • Finance achieves a 68% score for employees who rank themselves as ‘happy or very happy’ in their jobs.
  • Legal, IT and telecoms, property, media/communications and the medical industries all also score impressively.

80% of people rank happiness as ‘important’ at work, versus 58% for salary, according to the survey. Another fantastic reason to work within this sector!

You can find our latest finance jobs here and financial services roles here. Do keep an eye on the jobs listings page in general, as it’s regularly refreshed with new opportunities. 

Read next: is salary the most important factor in your job search?



Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


Are you being upskilled at work?

Employers may be failing to ensure their team is regularly upskilled. And their employees may pay the price with their future career…

What is upskilling (and is upskilled even a word)?!

It might sound like just another marketing buzzword. However, ‘upskilling‘ has entered the Cambridge Dictionary and is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills”.

The latest findings from the City & Guilds Group (as reported by HR Review) reveal that:

  • 76% of professionals feel it is important to continually refresh their skill-set. Vitally, this is stated as ‘regardless of age or career position’.
  • 81% predict some degree of change in their job skills requirements within the next five years.
  • Yet only 46% of people are receiving adequate training support from their employer to ensure they’re prepared for these changing needs.
  • What’s more, 1/4 of respondents say they are not receiving enough feedback regarding their skills development priorities.
  • Certain employee groups are less likely to be upskilled. 48% of employees aged 55 and above did not receive any skills training in 2018.
  • 42% of all part-time workers additionally report the same.

Why aren’t workers being upskilled?

  • It appears employers are most concerned by their staff taking time out of their usual working day (42%).
  • The cost of training is also proving to be a barrier for employers (29%).
  • While few individuals feel they can fund training themselves outside of work (28%).

How can you ensure you’re being upskilled?

These are concerning stats and there are some great comments regarding the importance of prioritising learning and development at work. Yet what do you do if you’re the employee and your skills haven’t been refreshed for some time?

  1. Where possible, use appraisals as an opportunity to ask your employer how you can keep your skills relevant to the changing needs of the organisation. This will help plant a seed and could point you in the right direction, even if the company is unable to finance training at present.
  2. Do your own research. Explore articles and podcasts regarding the future of your industry. See if there are any common themes or predictions.
  3. Use your findings to research ways to upskill at home. These don’t always have to be costly. Again, podcasts, websites and books can teach you a lot.
  4.  Explore how a new job role could help you upskill. It may be that you’re ready for your next career step. Keep an extra close eye on any job descriptions that closely match your experience yet also offer the chance to learn something new.

You can always email your CV to one of our Recruitment Consultants (here’s what to include in your cover email). Alternatively, you’re welcome to upload your details via the site today. 



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page



The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current. 



7 days of employee attraction tips!

Are your employee attraction strategies up to scratch? Check your progress against our top tips – we’ll be sharing something daily over the next week…

The latest skills shortage stats show just how vital this information is to employers. After all, you’re currently competing against a greater number of companies for a smaller number of candidates.

Ready to get started?

DAY 1: your culture and ethos

Could you (and your existing team) describe your company culture and brand values/ethos? If so, how do you promote this to prospective employees – is it on your website? Do you include any blurb on your job descriptions? If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above, it’s time to get brainstorming!

Working for brands with a positive purpose is becoming increasingly important to emerging generations of professionals.

Communicating your company culture can also help attract like-minded individuals to your business. And we all know the value of a positive team fit!

What’s more, well-aligned values also appear to boost later productivity and workplace relations. Please note: the ‘well-aligned’ is key here! It’s important that anything you communicate is truly reflected in your workplace. Whether that’s comments about the positive atmosphere, your people-centred approach, or your attitude to progression and diversity.

DAY 2: building your benefits package

You might not think you’re in the position to create much of an employee benefits package, however, you really don’t need to have a vast budget in order to do so. It could also be a costly mistake not to at least explore your options.

Where possible, detail some of your employee benefits in your job descriptions. 85% of candidates are more attracted to organisations that do this. Or, at the very least, make sure candidates know that there are a number of benefits on offer.

Do your competitor research to see what other companies are offering their employees. Also, swot up on the latest research surrounding job-seekers’ priorities. We reguarly share such news findings, including our recent post on what most employees want and need in 2019.

DAY 3: be more flexible

It’s time to discuss flexible working. Yes, this is featured in some of the staff benefit discussions, yet it more than deserves its own employee attraction spotlight.

People are increasingly drawn to companies that provide flexi-working opportunities. There are multiple plus points to consider here:

  1. It may help you attract large and in many cases untapped talent pools, such as maternity returners and working parents.
  2. Again, emerging worker groups are also more attracted to jobs with flexible and home working potential.
  3. Your team may become happier and your business may better keep up with rapidly changing workplace needs.
  4. What’s more, as the UK lags behind other nations in this respect, you may gain a distinct competitive advantage in your field.

DAY 4: be a rarity!

In order to attract the most valuable employees, you need to offer and promote something that few companies ever even consider.

Something that will also help retain your employees once on-board – and help overcome some of the most worrying national workplace trends (the employee performance crisis; high levels of disengagement and a general sense of unhappiness at work)…

This something is only offered by approximately 19% of businesses and is best described as ‘an experimentation culture’. It’s all about enabling your employees to share their ideas without criticism, actively encouraging innovation and creativity, and all-around greater team and individual involvement. You’ll need to have the right management approach in place to make this possible. You’ll also need to communicate this message to prospective employees. However, just think of the possibilities for your business!

DAY 5: make a path

Again, this is somewhat touched upon as an employee benefit. Yet did you know that 90% of UK employees deem training to be ‘vital to furthering their career?’ All the while, only 25% of HR professionals say their employers provide a ‘learning culture’.

You may not have the sort of business that enables a clear route of progression, yet you can certainly help your employees to see a path of personal progression and development. What a helpful tool to include in your job adverts.

As we’re now deep into a ‘skills economy’ period, it’s great to consider all training avenues – from online learning and knowledge sharing to in-house coaching and external courses. This is all discussed in the above-linked post.

DAY 6: now for the salaries!

It’s hard to deny that salary levels are important. UK employees are more motivated by pay than those of any other European country, with 62% of professionals saying that their salary is their primary driver to work.

In addition to this, average national salaries grew by 7.6% last year. This is driven by the skills shortage and saw a boost in December when candidate availability numbers fell again.

Make certain that your salary levels are as competitive as they can be to attract more job applicants. Monitor your competitors’ job adverts and be sure to seek salary guidance from your Recruitment Consultant.

DAY 7: bringing it all together

You’ve put in all the work to create an attractive employer offering, now you need to make sure you’re reaching out to as many candidates as you can; as effectively as you can!

This means crafting an appealing job description – and making sure that this is actually getting in front of your target audience.

Contact an expert recruitment agency in your industry for support with both elements. From job description guidance, through to regional industry insights, and ready access to the most effective candidate attraction tools, there are so many benefits to working with a dedicated recruitment consultant. They may even have the perfect person on their database waiting for a job such as yours!

Thanks for joining us for this week of tips. We hope you’re feeling ready to execute your newly refined employee attraction approach! To discuss your recruitment needs, please call Appoint on 01225 313130.