Debbie Walton
Debbie Walton
Over-specialization adding to skills shortage
Finding, attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent in technology continues to be a challenge as we enter the new year.  The resultant trends post pandemic that have enabled the necessity of a wide-spread workforce have become a Pandora’s Boz that will likely stay open forever.

Recruiting top professionals in technology is one area that has long been in flux. According to Ryan Kellner, Head of Data Science for Hudson Gate Partners, adjusting to talent needs in the sector should be nothing new.  He believes that, like in each year, there are some very specific trends that have come to light as well as some challenges that continue to be seen.  Mr Keller said, in reading the tea leaves of the technology world, that one thing is certain, and the recruitment industry must pay heed, and that is: many people are never returning to the office full time again.

“Growing up in Indianapolis in the 80s and 90s, all the tech firms were downtown, and everyone lived in the suburbs and made the commute back and forth every day,” said Mr Kellner. “Then some companies got wise and said, ‘We can get better talent by building our headquarters in the suburbs because we will get the talent that doesn’t want the long commute!’ They were right. All the good developers flocked to solid companies that were a five- to 10-minute drive from where they lived. They could get their kids out to the bus, participate in after-school programs, and everyone’s work/life balance got a bit easier.”

This same thinking is where we are at now post-COVID, he said. “The factor that seemingly dictates my response rate to recruiting calls and emails the most these days is not the company, it’s not the salary, it’s not the perks. It is whether the job is fully remote or not,” he said.

What you’re up against 

According to Mr Kellner, the job market is so hot these days for good people in tech that candidates seem to be looking for reasons not to continue with the interview process. “I was recently working with a strong developer with an MS in computer science and five years in financial software development who was interviewing with some of my clients,” he said. “I asked him where else he was actively interviewing and he listed every FANG company, Tesla, Robinhood, etc. If you want to hire some good developers in 2022, this is what you’re up against.”

To hire top talent, employers need a plan on how they are going to make that person pick their company over the current batch of trendy tech companies. “If you aren’t selling why your company is great in the first interview, it’s not happening,” said Mr Kellner.

Once again, this highlights the importance of the employer brand and is a trend to watch in 2022.

Double-edged sword for recruiting

Mr Kellner reported another noticeable trend of the last two years and that is those with traditional software engineering backgrounds increasingly wanting to specialize into fields like data science, machine learning, AI, blockchain etc. Keller believes that this variety of specialization options is a double-edged sword for recruiting because while it’s creating a great number of hyper-specialized individuals, it’s also draining the core demographic of pure software developers.

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The Great Escape and The Great Resignation result in mass exodus of workers
According to a new report by Kincannon & Reed, the disruption and upheaval caused by the pandemic during the last two years has resulted in a dramatic ripple effect across many industries, including those that ensure a safe, secure and abundant food system. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, implementation of safety equipment and protocols, along with the fact that stay-at-home orders upended standard operating procedures and forced on-the-spot decision making for all levels of the workforce. This, coupled with endless Zoom calls and dealing with on-edge customers and consumers, and simply supporting teams manage the ‘new normal’ made for an environment that business leaders have never seen before. It’s enough to make a person throw in the towel. And many have.

The pandemic has forced members of the workforce to take stock and re-prioritize their lives and careers – leading to a mass exodus of staff that the HR industry has dubbed “The Great Resignation”.

Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media, has called it the ‘Great Escape.’ Older workers have also taken advantage of early retirement as part of the normal employment work cycle. According to the New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, roughly two million more people than expected have joined the ranks of the retired during the pandemic.

With skills shortages and The Great Resignation hammering the market, questions we should be asking are: How should company leaders manage an unexpected exodus? How can they attract new talent while also retaining the great leaders?

Kincannon & Reed’s Carolyn Schubert, Managing Director, and Jim Gerardot, managing partner, say leaders should consider five key points as they navigate this constantly evolving environment:

1. Prepare Talent for Leadership

“Many senior leaders retire for various reasons,” said Ms. Schubert. “It’s a double whammy for an industry that has also been a victim of the Great Resignation. The problem is the industry hasn’t done a very good job of succession planning and preparing others within their ranks to take on leadership roles. Companies need to put a solid succession plan in place to train, keep and promote talent.”

2. Treat Recruits Like CEOs

Ms. Schubert says the fact that there simply aren’t a lot of people changing jobs has created a talent war. “To attract and retain the best of the best, you must be forthcoming with candidates and let them know what’s possible beyond the job you’re recruiting for,” she said. “Act like you’re recruiting for a CEO job because the candidate you’re interviewing could be your next one.”

“During the recruiting process, share your financials, strategic vision and long-term goals; give candidates an opportunity to interact with board members,” said Ms. Schubert. “Make them feel important and let them know they’ll be a part of the organization in a larger way.”

3. Show Them the Money

Mr. Geradot says that today’s candidates are looking at total compensation – short and long term. “They are seeking and comparing specifics on benefit packages, relocation incentives, signing bonuses, as well as long-term incentives – all considerations when looking to attract top candidates in today’s market,” he said.

4. Be Transparent

“Be fully transparent about company culture, structure, and benefits, and the future,” said Mr. Geradot. “The current war for talent means the brightest prospects are inundated with opportunities, so they’re being selective and doing their homework to better understand a company before they step foot in the door (or log onto Zoom) for an interview.”

5. Prepare to Sell Yourself

There was a time when companies, particularly legacy companies, had the attitude: “The top candidates will want to work for us,” said Mr. Geradot. But that’s not the case anymore.

“Instead of potential employees having to sell companies on the value they can bring, the tables have turned,” he said. “Companies are in the hot seat – having to prove themselves – and start-ups seem to have a leg up on speaking to culture, values, purpose, and perks.”

 

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Emails are most monitored form of communication
A recent study by Instant Offices revealed that there are a number of different employee monitoring trends happening in the new hybrid workplace.

According to the study, new hybrid working models have led to an increased need for employee surveillance software, with demand for the software skyrocketing in 2020 by almost 60%.

Similarly, according to Google Trends, worldwide searches for ‘employee monitoring software’ increased by 35% in 2020 compared with the year before. Key findings from the survey revealed that 78% of companies have reported using employee monitoring software to track worker performance and online activity; 73% say they have stored the recording of calls, emails and messages and these have affected team members’ performance reviews. Frightening findings have revealed that over 50% of employers have implemented non-traditional monitoring techniques and 94% of employers track emails.

The business areas using surveillance tools include financial, legal, retail, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and government sectors.

Common surveillance methods and practices include:

Keylogger software on company equipment (alerts supervisors when workers use devices for personal activities); webcams to track biometric data; screen monitoring and screenshots to gauge productivity and stress levels and employer-provided smartphones equipped with geolocation software to track employees’ whereabouts.

The only way to successfully implement these tools is through complete transparency. More than half of workers feel anxious about their companies surveillant communications. Still, when the employer explains the reasons for the monitoring, over 50% of employees say they are more at ease with it.

 Mark Turner, Chief Technology Officer at the Instant Group commented: “The rise in remote working and an influx of new technology means monitoring has ramped up. When used strategically, this tracking benefits all– businesses can identify resourcing issues, streamline processes and identify gaps, while employees can use the data to prioritize, manage workloads and track productivity. The key to using monitoring tools successfully is transparency and communication. If you can show your teams that using a piece of tracking technology not only benefits the business, but them too, then you’re on the right track.

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35% of employees leave for more money

Energy business Gazprom Marketing and Trading released the results of its recent survey which have enabled the company to create a profile of the average UK job hunter, discover the most common reasons for moving job, and determined how important company reputation really is.

Findings stated that 60% of respondents look for a new job because they want new challenges and better progression which a bigger motivator than more money (24%). Despite this, the biggest factor for workers accepting their current role was revealed to be an attractive salary (35%). With culture being the third reason employees seek out new roles.

Three quarters of candidates said a company’s reputation is important when looking for a job, which emphasises the importance of employer branding. A staggering 84% of job seekers find a new role within the first six months of beginning their search with almost half (49%) finding one in the first three months.

We’ve heard time and again that the onboarding process is key to retaining staff and the survey revealed that 95% of applicants attend fewer than five interviews during the selection process before securing a new role, while only 5% attend six or more. Employers need to ask themselves if five interviews are too many interviews because remember, while you’re interviewing a potential candidate, so are other employers.

Interestingly, more jobseekers use employer websites directly (57%) than job posting sites (54%), with only 12% working directly with recruiters. Professional networks (40%) and social media (26%) also play a role.

A Resourcing Partner at GM&T commented: “If a business effectively builds its reputation, their dream candidates will soon start knocking on their door. And while this takes time, it’s a worthwhile investment that will ensure relevant, high-quality candidates, while helping to lower an organisation’s recruitment overheads in the long-term too.”

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Workers’ health and wellbeing were last year’s biggest challenge
According to analysis conducted by HIVE360, a specialist in outsourced PAYE payroll, employee benefits and engagement, two thirds of UK workers actively sought help and support with their mental and physical health last year.

HIVE360 analysed 2021 data usage of its mobile employee pay and benefits app called Engage and it was revealed that 60% of requests for support via the app’s services were health related. User requests focussed on access to employee assistance services, counselling services, health and fitness advice, GP and doctor support services, and carer support and guidance for those workers also looking after an ill or elderly relative or friend at home.

David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360 commented: “Obviously, 2021 presented its own unique challenges thanks to the pandemic and the restrictions on people as a result of it. Analysis of the Engage user data confirms this, and that one of the knock-on effects on workers was a profound, negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing throughout the last 12 months.

David continued: “Providing the tools and benefits that support employees’ happiness and wellbeing must be at the heart of a company’s culture, and not considered a token gesture,” says David. “The key is creating an employee benefits programme and portfolio that is in-tune with what they want, when they want it.”

 

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Is the four-day week the way to solve attrition?

MRL Consulting Group, a UK recruitment firm, has seen an incredible 95% retention rate and productivity levels increasing by 25% since introducing a four-day work week. Improvements in employee wellness also reportedly improved.

Almost 90% of employees in the company reported improvement in their mental health and a marked reduction in workplace stress while a further 95% reported that they feel more rested after having a three-day weekend. Short-term absence was reported to have reduced by almost 40%.

The six-month trial implemented for all employees is now a permanent fixture within the company due to the huge success.

David Stone, Chief Executive Officer at MRL, commented: “We are driven by results, rather than the amount of time people spend at their desks. I trusted my staff to have enough self-motivation and discipline to be able to manage their time in order to fit five days of work into four. The results generated during the six-month trial have led us to implement a four-day week working model on a permanent basis.”

Kelly Robertson, Operations Director at MRL also weighed in: “During the trial, and since implementing the four-day working week, everyone has really ramped up their activity, and people feel a lot more prepared for the week ahead after having three days to rest at the weekend.  Now, the team has more time to spend on themselves, on their mental and physical health and with their families and you can really see the difference in the mood in the office.

“I can’t think of any reason why other businesses wouldn’t want to invest in its employees’ wellbeing, as there are so many positive outcomes. If you’re an output-based organisation and you are realistic about what you want your team to achieve in the given timeframe, there’s no reason you can’t have a four-day week.”

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Mass exodus of workers expected by June

“The Great Resignation” continues to make the news with new research from talent solutions agency Robert Half finding that 32% of employees will search for a new role in the first six months of the year.

According to new research from the specialist talent solutions nearly a third (32%) of employees will search for a new role between January and June this year – the equivalent to 9.4 million workers across the UK.

Analysis of Robert Half’s internal data revealed that job applications surged in Q1 for the past five yearsand this year looks to be no different. According to findings, nearly a quarter of candidates (23%) will begin their new job search in the next three months – with trend data suggesting that the uptick usually begins in the third week of January.

The research found that around two fifths (42%) of workers seeking new employment are looking for a higher salary, but money is not the only factor they’re considering. In order to retain staff employers should focus on career progression opportunities and benefits which are triggers for 25% and 21% of jobseekers respectively.

Aquent, the innovative recruitment agency for creative, digital and marketing roles have announced the results of its 2021 Talent Insights Report and the key takeaway from the report echoes that of Robert Half’s research: There is going to be a significant impact on the post-pandemic supposed “Great Resignation” and the driving factors are access to flexible working and increased salaries.

Following the rise of hybrid working throughout the pandemic, 24% of those looking for a new role are seeking more flexibility in their working arrangements on a permanent basis. The findings reiterate what we already know that is that flexible working is an essential offering if employers want to attract and retain their talent.

But it must be stated that dissatisfaction with remuneration, opportunities and working arrangements are not the only push factors for employees, the study found. The pandemic had 23% of job-seekers saying lockdown gave them time to re-evaluate priorities, with more than one in five (22%) saying they want to change career path or move into an entirely different field. Aquent’s findings also reflect this and worryingly, job dissatisfaction increased to almost 33% in 2020 and 2021, compared to 22% in 2019. This unhappiness was most likely influenced by poor leadership and layoffs. While trying to find a new work-life balance in the middle of a global pandemic, talent was frequently expected to maintain the same level of production, if not more, especially for middle-management roles (VP, Director, Manager). Talent in this category are facing increased pressure from above and below, with 54% to 59% of middle-management employees considering leaving their role in the next three to six months.

It remains a candidates’ market with the industry seeing a dramatic shift in what talent expects from their employers. Over the past few years, the job market has seen an unprecedented shift towards employees expecting more from their employers, and they are showing more confidence to leave if they don’t get it.  Although the number of people actively looking for a new role in 2021 has fallen by 10% compared to a year ago, talent are clearly still in the driver’s seat as millions of job openings remain vacant.

Aquent’s survey revealed that candidates are now choosing flexible working arrangements almost as much as higher compensation (28%). Further, career advancement slipped from a high of 25% last year to 17%, indicating changing priorities post-pandemic.

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, commented on the findings: “While we always experience a sharp increase in job applications at the start of each year, we are anticipating unprecedented levels of UK workers looking for a new job this year. Despite an uptick in the number of employees looking for a new role, demand from employers will still outstrip supply – placing the cards firmly in the hands of candidates.”

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Manpower Group recently launched Talent Solutions, combining three of its offerings. TI sat down with Talent Solutions to learn more about the launch of their Talent Solutions Brand in 2021 and how it came about. Here’s what they had to say.  

TI: Can you tell me a little more about Talent Solutions (size, number of employees, locations served etc)? 

With 40+ years of experience delivering client-focused, technology enabled, innovative workforce solutions to the market, Talent Solutions delivers expertise to organisations across the talent lifecycle.  

We manage over £10 billion of spend in our Managed Service Programmes; we deliver 250+ Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions to clients around the world; and we’re supporting some of the world’s largest organisations on their journey towards Total Talent Management. 

Our ability to capitalise on new thinking, new workforce models and new possibilities has made us the most recognised and respected workforce solutions provider in the world – as benchmarked by leading industry analysts. 

Across the UK, we have over 550 people working for Talent Solutions, with offices in Altrincham, Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Southampton, as well as client sites throughout the UK. 

TI: ManpowerGroup recently launched Talent Solutions (combining three of its offerings). What was the company’s reasoning behind that? 

Talent Solutions combines three of ManpowerGroup’s global offerings – RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing), TAPFIN MSP (Managed Service Provider) and Right Management – providing innovative solutions and end-to-end, data-driven capabilities across the talent lifecycle through one brand.  

TI: What opportunities does the new offering bring to the group? 

This new combination of offerings will leverage deep industry expertise and a strong understanding of what talent wants, delivering new solutions to address organisations’ complex global workforce needs. 

TI: Were there any challenges when it came to launching it? 

Talent Solutions was introduced in the UK on the 31st March 2020, a week after the UK was put into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we took the decision to adjust our plans in the UK, taking a much lower-key approach to the introduction of the new brand.  

Whilst this wasn’t how we envisioned sharing the new brand, it was appropriate given the difficult times everyone was facing. Since then, we have been working on raising awareness of our new brand and the value we can bring to our clients.  

TI: What makes this offering unique? 

With the combination of RPO, TAPFIN MSP and Right Management, Talent Solutions is able to provide seamless delivery of end-to-end workforce solutions that help clients to navigate risk, cost, efficiency and quality while facing changing and uncertain markets.  

Employer brand 

TI: How has the company been developing its employer brand in recent years? 

With the launch of Talent Solutions, we’ve introduced new imagery which focuses on learnability and the opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds to progress in the organisation. Across the wider business, we highlight the breadth of opportunity for new experiences across the organisation, whether that’s with our different ManpowerGroup brands, or working directly with our clients across the UK. 

TI: What role does employer brand play in the attraction and retention of talent? 

An effective employer brand strategy is one of the most important aspects of a successful recruiting function and we believe that this will become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To build a compelling employer brand, you should focus on being authentic in sharing communication of your purpose and the connection that you develop with your candidates, and being consistent in your communication and approach with every candidate. 

Attracting and retaining talent 

TI: What are you looking for in a potential member of staff for your team? 

Whilst knowledge of the industry is an important attribute, with any new employee, we look for individuals with high levels of learnability and adaptability. This increases the likelihood that they can adapt to new opportunities and changing environments and job requirements. 

Given the size of our organisation and the different brand structures, it’s also vital that a potential member of staff demonstrates a positive attitude to team working. A collaborative approach helps to drive better results in our business. 

We also don’t just recruit those with experience working for recruitment organisations, considering the relevance of their external knowledge to our market and the market of our clients. 

TI: How does the company go about attracting emerging talent? 

We have a wonderful Talent Team that operates across ManpowerGroup, helping us to attract the right talent for our organisation. In 2021, we also launched our internal talent academy, designed to bring people with no experience of recruitment into the business, put them through an initial training programme and support them as they start their career with ManpowerGroup. 

TI: How does the company use training and development to retain staff? 

We’re very fortunate that ManpowerGroup puts a considerable amount of investment into training and development to help employees progress in their careers.  

As well as having access to an extensive library of online training, we also offer our employees access to Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships as well as leadership programmes with organisations such as Harvard Business School and INSEAD. 

Outsourced hiring 

TI: What benefits does outsourced hiring bring to a company? 

Run correctly, outsourced hiring can offer companies a number of benefits. At Talent Solutions, we focus on providing customers with greater predictability and flexibility of costs, a more efficient recruitment process, an improved candidate experience and importantly, improved talent quality.  

TI: How do you ensure you’re delivering maximum value to your clients? 

Across ManpowerGroup, we focus on the 4 B’s – Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge – when working to develop effective talent strategies and deliver maximum value for our clients. Each stage involves: 

  • Build – Invest in learning and development to grow your talent pipeline 
  • Buy – Go to the external market to find the best talent that cannot be built in-house in the timeframe required 
  • Borrow – Cultivate communities of talent outside the organisation, including part-time, freelance, contract and temporary workers to complement existing skills 
  • Bridge – Help people move on and move up to new roles inside or outside the organisation 

Enhancing hiring 

TI: Where do you think improvements are needed in the hiring process? 

One of the areas that we see most frequently which needs improving is how organisations manage their silver medallists through the hiring process. Whilst that individual may not be the best candidate for the specific role businesses are hiring for at the time, companies could benefit from reviewing whether there are any other suitable roles for them in the organisation. If nothing is available, then they should be kept on file (subject to data restrictions) for any future relevant roles. 

Crucial here, as with all hiring, is getting the candidate experience right. This is often something which is neglected in our busy work environments. Candidates are ultimately consumers too, so even if they’re not the right fit to work in your organisation, they may still be a customer, but only if you treat them with respect throughout the process. Introducing technology at the right stages of the hiring process can help you to streamline the process more effectively, allowing more time to provide the human touch.  

TI: How could technology be used to enhance hiring further? 

From Robotic Process Automation, to our Talent Solutions PowerSuite, which creates the flexibility to tailor our offerings to meet evolving client and candidate needs, we’re continuously developing our technology capabilities and working with our partners to provide clients and candidates with the best technology to support their hiring processes.  

Some of the key areas where we see further opportunities to enhance the hiring process using technology are through improved use of chatbots, On-Demand Interviewing and Search and Match technology. 

Hiring trends 

TI: What hiring trends has the company been witnessing recently? 

The most obvious trend having an impact on hiring at the moment are the talent shortages we’re seeing across the board. We’re seeing a continued increase in hiring intentions, with a 30 year high of +32% (ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, Jan 2022). However, in many cases, clients are unable to meet their hiring needs due to a shortage of talent. We’re working closely with our clients to help them find the skills they need, by thinking differently about their talent strategies.  

TI: How do hiring trends and patterns differ across the countries you operate in? 

Operations in each country are assessing the changing trends in every location to make sure they are aligned to the customer needs.  

TI: What is Talent Solutions doing to counter skills shortages in certain sectors? 

Talent Solutions has a number of different solutions to support clients facing skills shortages. We support our clients to develop talent pipeline management, to ensure they have the individuals they need, when they need them. This can be done through a range of techniques including bridging their current employees into other areas of the business through training or providing Employed Consultants. Employed Consultants are highly skilled specialists who are permanently employed by Experis (part of ManpowerGroup), and then supplied on an interim basis.  

We also work with clients to build Train to Fit programmes, taking individuals who already have a range of technical and functional skills which are valuable to their business, and have the aptitude to develop further. We create a training programme in partnership with the client, helping individuals advance their knowledge to the right level and meet the needs of the role over an agreed period of time.  

On top of these solutions, Talent Solutions also has the benefit of skills development programmes across the wider ManpowerGroup business, including the MyPath programme in Manpower, which helps associates upskill and develop along their career path. MyPath associates are provided with personalised guidance, career development, training and continuous access to jobs – helping them to achieve their ambitions and meet employers’ needs today and in the future.  

Diversity and inclusion 

TI: Are companies doing enough to be truly diverse and inclusive? 

There is always room for improvement in this area. But it’s clear that businesses are waking up to the need to be truly diverse and inclusive. It’s now on the agenda for every leadership team, with many businesses taking big steps towards active inclusion, rather than just paying lip service. At ManpowerGroup, we created seven steps to conscious inclusion in the workplace: 

  1. Change yourself first 
  1. Leadership has to own it; don’t delegate it 
  1. Flip the question – ask, “Why Not?” 
  1. Hire people who value people 
  1. Promote a culture of conscious inclusion: programmes alone don’t work 
  1. Be explicit; when and where?  
  1. Be accountable; set measurable and achievable outcomes 

Managed correctly, one of the potential opportunities to come out of recent turbulence could be the removal of some of the barriers to the workplace for more diverse groups. For example, the increased acceptance of remote working and flexible hours could help businesses to become more inclusive for those with care responsibilities. 

TI: What is Talent Solutions doing to support improvements in this (both internally and for clients)? 

We’re working with our clients to share advice around implementing the seven steps to conscious inclusion. We’re also advising them on strategies for reaching and attracting diverse groups when advertising for new roles. 

We’ve also recently strengthened our commitment to inclusion and diversity globally, committing to: 

  • Reaching our primary global diversity goal of 40% female leadership by 2024 
  • Investing in our inclusive culture to retain and develop diverse talent 
  • Advancing employment security for the long-term; reskilling, upskilling and improving wellbeing and employability for all 

In the UK, we’ve also launched our Supplier Diversity Initiative, a commitment to developing relationships with diverse suppliers who enhance the solutions we offer to our clients. We will be supporting diverse suppliers to accelerate their growth and ability to succeed in the marketplace, as well as helping others to become more diverse and inclusive. The result is optimal client solutions and partnerships within a world of diverse and high-performing talent. 

Looking to the future 

TI: What are your plans for the company over the year ahead? 

As building talent increases in importance in workforce planning and development, we will continue to support our clients and candidates through the further development of our Academy offerings – ensuring that we are upskilling individuals for the jobs of the future and providing the skills that our clients need to grow and progress. 

Using our expertise in ESG, we’ll enhance our support for clients around Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, helping them to improve in these vital areas at the same time as accessing potentially untapped talent pools as part of the strategy for overcoming skills shortages.  

In response to ongoing volatile market conditions, we’ll also continue to increase the flexibility of our solutions, using our Centres of Recruitment Excellence (CoRE) to ramp requirements up and down as needed and supporting across the Total Talent Management lifecycle. Our Agile RPO solutions will continue to expand, meeting the need for short to medium term support for internal recruitment teams. 

We will also continue to work with our new and existing clients to help them meet changing workforce requirements post COVID-19.  

TI: What outsourced hiring trends do you expect to see in the year(s) ahead? (Will there be an increase in in-house hiring?)  

With the increased pace of change in customer demands impacting upon workforce strategies, we anticipate an increased need for businesses to speak to external experts for advice to help them continue to run their organisations as efficiently as possible. This will provide them with an outside in perspective from people who have a view of the wider market.  

Understandably, we also expect to see demand for flexibility from candidates continue, as many will have experienced the potential benefits during lockdown.  

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UK region in every sector outstrips job postings for 2020

The latest reports from Reed.co.uk, have stated that over 3.3 million jobs were added onto its website in 2021 – that’s a whopping 1.5 million more than 2020 which equates to a year-on-year rise of 97%!

Reed.co.uk also reported a 25% increase in new jobs posted last year compared with 2019, when 2.7 million jobs were recorded before the start of the pandemic.

September saw the most amounts of job postings with 357,489 created which was an increase of 150% compared to 2020 and 60% compared to 2019.

Similarly in December which is month where job postings usually fall in the lead up to the holidays and new year recorded nearly  350,000 new live vacancies. December was the second most active month of 2021 and a 151% and 132% increase on 2020 and 2019’s figures respectively.

Job postings in every sector on Reed.co.uk were up year-on-year compared to 2020, with Customer Service (510%) and Transport & Logistics (337%) seeing the highest percentage increases, followed by Banking (305%), Strategy & Consultancy (255%), Hospitality & Catering (176%), Retail (170%) and Manufacturing (136%).

In terms of the number of new jobs created, Transport & Logistics was the most active sector in 2021 with 376,000 jobs posted, followed by Customer Service (338,954), IT & Telecoms (264,184), Education (256,301) and Health & Medicine (168,558).

Further evidence of a jobs boom was reported by Reed.co.uk through its regional analysis of job vacancies on the site. Every region across the UK saw job vacancies for last year outstrip 2020 and nearly all saw more jobs added than before the pandemic. South East England and London were the most active regions for job postings with both seeing over half a million new vacancies added last year, a 77% and 108% increase year-on-year, respectively.

Recent analysis of Reed.co.uk’s jobs data also suggests that the ongoing jobs boom will continue into 2022, with over 32,000 jobs live on the site in 24-hours on the first Tuesday of the new year – a new record.

James Reed, chairman of Reed Recruitment commented: “As we move into 2022, the momentum which has built up in the jobs market is showing no signs of slowing down either. It is now the best time in fifty years to look for a new job. In this newly established sellers’ market, jobseekers hold all the cards and should feel empowered to find new opportunities whether to explore different industries, improve work-life balance, increase wages or boost career prospects. I urge anyone thinking of switching career to explore the opportunities available to them.”

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TUC should be lobbying for statutory compliance

According to HIVE360, the recent blanket on umbrella companies will escalate the current war on talent and worker shortages, put pressure on pay rates and penalise both good and bad operators. The government’s call for evidence invites views from stakeholders on the role that umbrella companies play in the labour market, and how they interact with the tax and employment rights systems. It sets out the concerns that have been raised by some stakeholders, as well as government action already taken to tackle tax non-compliance and improve protection for workers, and closes on 22 February 2022.

David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360 has stated that the government’s current call for evidence on the umbrella company market – recruitment companies in particular – are already reeling from the effects of Brexit and the pandemic and the consultation’s timing could not be worse.

McCormack said: “A ban would penalise legitimate transient workers. It would put immense pressure on pay rates for umbrella workers, who struggle to understand the implications and will seek their current rate of pay as a PAYE rate, meaning higher pay rates that many companies simply can’t afford at this time. For the recruitment sector, this would mean vastly increased processing costs – which their clients would understandably be unwilling and unlikely to pay to cover the higher labour costs.”

McCormack, who has first-hand experience of the various payroll models used today and was the head of his own umbrella business before setting up HIVE360, believes that there is widespread misunderstanding of all umbrella companies, and people are tarnishing all umbrella businesses with the same brush. Commenting further, David said:

“The proposed total ban on the use of umbrella companies, would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Rarely does a blanket approach address the real issues, and an all-out ban on umbrella companies would be no exception. The TUC doesn’t appear to understand the roll of umbrella companies, or that there are multiple types. Rather than lobbying government for a total ban on their use, the TUC should be lobbying for statutory compliance and an independent statutory body that administers and polices clear rules and consequences, and which governs the industry in an effective, consistent and unbiased way.”

He added in a statement: “Companies have to take part in the government’s call for evidence on umbrella companies, which closes on 22 February. They must understand that HMRC doesn’t appear to be effective in curbing the multitude of ‘mini’ umbrella companies, which is the side of the industry that predominantly gets the whole industry a bad name, and involves the use of multiple companies to access multiple amounts of employers NI allowances and effectively removes the obligation to pay one of employment’s core statutory taxes.

“IR35 has tried to address this – but failed.  The simple solution is to require the end user and the recruitment agency to answer one simple question (and this could apply to labour only supplies or all agency supplies only) that simply asks: ‘Are you accessing the employers NI allowance yourselves or is your NI bill over £100,000?’ If the answer is yes from either party, then the agency should be liable for any unpaid employers NI.”

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