Debbie Walton
Debbie Walton

31% of candidates have a negative application experience

Despite the war of talent challenging the recruitment market, new research commissioned by Reed.co.uk, has found that almost a quarter (24%) of workers that have applied for jobs since the start of the pandemic have had no response to their applications.

Long wait times were reported by those who did receive a response and transitioned through the hiring process, with 17% of workers made to wait more than two weeks between interviews.

Poor candidate experiences raise concerns for businesses

There were over 300,000 jobs live on Reed.co.uk at the end of September. This is a 158% year-on-year increase. In stark contrast to the hiring freezes at the start of the pandemic, the shift from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market has led more than one in ten (13%) workers to report receiving contact from companies they had previously applied to.

Reed.co.uk looks at how a poor candidate experience affects businesses:

  • 31% of workers are unlikely to apply to a company again after a negative application experience
  • 30% of workers are unlikely to recommend a company to a friend after a negative application experience
  • 23% of workers make perceptions of the company based on their experience with the recruiter

Reed.co.uk’s research also suggests ways to improve:

  • Streamlined hiring processes
    • 29% of workers are put off by the length of an application and interview process
    • 31% of workers are put off by the complexity of an application and interview process
  • Salary transparency
    • 50% of workers believe it’s important that employers list the salary in the job description.
  • Company culture transparency
    • 31% of workers believe it’s important for recruiters to give an impression of the company culture
    • 27% of workers believe it’s important for recruiters to provide information on development pathways in the company

Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, commented on the research: “The labour market has drastically changed since the start of the pandemic, with the shift in power transferring from employers to workers due to the sheer volume of job opportunities available. It’s therefore a concern that candidates are reporting negative experiences during the hiring process, especially for those businesses for which candidates are also potential customers.

“In the fast-moving world we live in, we’ve all become accustomed to high quality consumer experiences, instant access to goods and services, alongside seamless communication channels – and candidates’ expectations during their job search are no different. Therefore, businesses should prioritise delivering quality, timely feedback during all stages of the hiring process.”

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75% of women with dependent children are in employment

The gender pay gap among full-time employees fell from 9% in 2019 to 7.4% in 2020, but there is still a 20% salary discrepancy between working mothers and fathers. Bionic, a business comparison company, published data that revealed where in the UK has the biggest pay disparity.

Employment rates of mothers across the UK 

Around the UK (2019) Men with dependent children Women with dependent children Percentage difference between men & women in work with dependent children
Scotland 93.10% 77.20% 18.67%
Wales 89.90% 77.20% 15.20%
England 92.70% 74.80% 21.37%
Northern Ireland 93% 75.70% 20.51%

The number of employed mothers in Scotland and Wales is the highest in the UK with 77.20% of women reported to have children dependent on them while being in work. In Scotland the figure is at 18.67% more women with children dependent on them vs men with dependent children. In Wales this discrepancy is smaller at 15.20%.

The highest percentage difference throughout the UK was between fathers and mothers in England. Over 21% more mothers have dependent children on them in England vs fathers.

Employment rates of mothers fall 20% lower than fathers

Between April and June in 2019, three in every four mothers with dependent children (75.1%) in the UK were in work. This is compared to 92.6% of fathers with dependent children.

April to June 2010 to 2019, UK Men with dependent children Women with dependent children Percentage Different for Men and Women
April-June 2010 88.60% 67.80% 26.60%
April-June 2011 88.90% 67.40% 27.51%
April-June 2012 89.80% 68% 27.63%
April-June 2013 90% 69.30% 25.99%
April-June 2014 91.30% 69.70% 26.83%
April-June 2015 91.10% 70.80% 25.08%
April-June 2016 92.30% 72.10% 24.57%
April-June 2017 92.10% 73.80% 22.06%
April-June 2018 92.80% 74.20% 22.28%
April-June 2019 92.60% 75.10% 20.87%

Almost 30% of women with a child aged 14 years and under reported that they had reduced their working hours because of childcare reasons. This is compared to just 5% of fathers.

Glyn Britton, Chief Customer Officer at business comparison expert Bionic, offered some insight into what businesses can do to bridge this gap:

“As more businesses have been forced to adopt some form of remote working, more employees have come to appreciate the importance of a healthy work/life balance. None more so than parents.

“If businesses want to attract and keep the best talent, they need to offer more than a competitive salary, and having attractive maternity and paternity policies in place can make all the difference for prospective and current employees.

“As a minimum, mothers can take up to 52 weeks leave after giving birth, the first six of which must be on at least 90% pay. Fathers can take up to two weeks on the lower of £151.97 a week or 90% of their wages. If your business can offer more attractive terms, it could give you an edge over others.

“Other ideas include offering flexible, hybrid working and creating a maternity and paternity strategy to offer support and advice to parents. And, if you’ve not done so already, closing the gender pay gap will give the clearest indication of your support for equality in the workplace.”

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42% of companies allow buying and selling holidays
According to Gallagher’s 2021 Benefits Strategy Benchmarking Survey report, companies are changing benefit policies to align with post-pandemic priorities in a bid to attract and retain talent in a very competitive market.

More than 230 UK organisations responded to the survey, and almost half (46%) plan to change their current benefits offerings with 71% planning to enhance them.

 

“The pandemic has prompted a mass shift in working habits and companies are beginning to reflect this accordingly when it comes to their benefits strategy,” said Nick Burns, CEO of Gallagher’s Employee Benefits Consulting Division in the U.K. “As the survey reveals, areas such as health and wellbeing and ensuring a family-friendly approach to benefits are increasingly viewed as central to the employee experience.”

Key trends found in the report include:

Employee health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing continue to be a major focus as a resilient workforce will be more agile when adapting to change. That said, one-third of organisations added new benefits in this space.

  • Three quarters of organisations (76%) reported offering an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
  • There has been an increase in fitness-related benefits such as a discounted gym memberships (69%) in order to accommodate the different ways people have been exercising during the pandemic.
  • Annual leave has become more important to support employees’ mental wellbeing.
  • Holiday or annual leave is a statutory benefit in the UK (minimum of 20 days plus eight bank holidays for a full-time employee) and just over half of organisations (51%) have applied the same holiday entitlement to all employees.
  • The ability to buy or sell holidays (36%) is up slightly compared to last year.
  • Of those who offer flexibility, around 42% allow both buying and selling of holidays.
  • It is most common by far to allow five days to be bought or sold where trading is offered, although a few organisations allow 10 days. The highest cited response was 15 days.
  • In addition, organisations are offering different kinds of leave packages outside of family leave, including: bereavement/compassionate leave (93%), study leave (58%), volunteering leave (36%), carers’ leave (22%) day off on birthday (10%).

Equalisation and fairness of benefits

Organisations are endeavouring to provide more family-friendly benefits.

  • Accordingly, maternity and paternity pay has improved – with 88% increasing enhance pay compared to 62% two years ago.
  • Forty-one per cent of respondents offer shared paternal leave on the same basis as maternity, with paid paternity leave increasingly becoming the norm.
  • The extended duration of leave has also risen among 32% of respondent organisations, compared to just 17 per cent two years ago.
  • The adoption policy matches the maternity policy for the majority of organisations (88%).
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Older workers suffer a chronic underinvestment  

In a bid to stave off an unemployment crisis, the Government has announced a new £500m support scheme to help workers who came off furlough at the end of September.  

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to announce new measures that will include prioritising those coming off furlough for one-to-one support from jobcentres and extending the £3,000 incentive for employers to take on apprentices until the end of January 2022.  

Sunak is expected to continue with his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to support people through the crisis. According to news reports, Sunak will announce more plans for investment in the nation’s infrastructure and skills network, including tech. 

Following the announcement that Sunak will be “throwing the kitchen sink” at helping unemployed Britons, industry experts have weighed in on Sunak’s plans and there have been mixed comments. APSCo for example, doesn’t feel that this will solve the skills crisis.  

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo commented: “While the additional funds are a welcome move, our concern is that these initiatives need to have the appropriate financial support, backing and processes that are required to make them wholly successful. The Kickstart Scheme, for example, received a wealth of interest initially, but the success has been limited, largely due to the over-lengthy processes that are in place. As a case in point, of the roles APSCo submitted on behalf of its members to the scheme, just 22% were filled, with a number of staffing companies still waiting on any referrals at all.  

“We are also concerned that many of the initiatives – including the investment in skills and the changes to visa requirements – remain focused on the creative industries. There needs to be a clear plan that supports core skills development across all professions in the UK.” 

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO at City & Guilds Group weighed in, too: “Last week, the furlough system came to an end, leaving the jobs of a million people across the UK hanging in the balance. Half of those were workers aged 50 and over. Whilst unemployed young people saw interventions and safety nets put in place during the pandemic, unfortunately the same could not be said for older workers. Our recent Skills Index research highlights that older workers also suffer from a chronic underinvestment in training, meaning many will struggle to re-enter the workplace despite their wealth of knowledge, skills and experience.  

“Today, we have seen Rishi Sunak announce an extension to the Kickstart scheme as well as the introduction of an AI scholarship plan. Whilst these announcements are a positive step for the economy, they are once again tailored towards supporting young people. It is disappointing that the anticipated £500m support package for displaced workers, including support for older workers, was not mentioned in the Chancellor’s speech.  

“We still need to see more action from both Government and employers to recognise the value and potential of older workers. At a time where critical skills gaps plague the UK economy, it’s never been more important to support the full workforce, from those just starting out on their career through to those aged 50 and over.”

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Staff hired will be on fixed term contracts only 

Sainsbury’s, the UK-based supermarket giant, is creating 22,000 seasonal jobs to help it meet higher demand around Christmas, reports revealed. The group, which also owns Argos said it will be hiring store staff, delivery drivers and logistics workers as part of its “biggest ever Christmas recruitment drive” – a bold move considering the current skills shortage in those industries. Roles will be available across the UK from Friday as the group makes plans to get ahead with Christmas period preparations. Among the positions available will be 14,500 new Sainsbury’s and Argos store roles, including 500 customer and trading manager positions. Sainsbury’s will also hire 3,000 online delivery drivers, as well as offer 4,500 warehouse and logistics positions, which include agencies and third parties. Staff hired as part of the seasonal recruitment drive will be on fixed-term contacts of between three and 12 weeks, with staff working until the 8th of January next year. 

“By recruiting 22,000 temporary Sainsbury’s and Argos colleagues on an attractive pay package, incentivising online drivers and offering additional hours to existing colleagues over the festive season, we will deliver what our customers want – great food and fantastic service,” Clo Moriarty, Sainsbury’s retail and digital director, said. 

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Hiring teams find better ways to keep candidates engaged 

JobAdder, the global recruitment software provider has released a new integration with LinkedIn Recruiter System Connect (RSC) to improve hiring workflows, time to hire and the candidate experience – at a time when the war of talent is raging.  

The integration provides a seamless process for recruiters and candidates that connects users to the RSC platform and JobAdder without switching platforms.  

This functionality adds to JobAdder’s offering. It allows recruiters to find quality candidates quickly, know instantly which candidates from LinkedIn are already in their JobAdder account and engaged with, see all In Mail messages from both platforms in one place and cross-reference data from both sources. 

Rob Brodie, Head of Corporate Sales at JobAdder believes this new integration will speed up hiring processes at a crucial time for employers. He said: “With skills shortages rife, hiring managers need real time information quickly in order to fill resourcing needs and keep applicants engaged. The challenge for many is that information is often hosted in numerous locations – with communication going out via emails, LinkedIn, company applicant tracking systems and much more. By integrating LinkedIn RSC, we can help save recruiters time in shortlisting candidates, aid the nurturing of a database of high-quality candidates, maximise efficiency across hiring processes and enable hiring teams to continue using the tools they already value, all in one place. This not only improves efficiencies for employers, but also enables hirers to get to the best talent quickly – a critical benefit given the limited availability of top skills at the moment.” 

Adam Gregory, Senior Director, Talent and Learning Solutions at LinkedIn said: “We are delighted with the JobAdder integration into LinkedIn Recruiter. Businesses are looking to fill roles as quickly and effectively as possible, and this integration provides recruiters better visibility across the entire candidate process in a single view and can reduce placement time.” 

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Talent solutions industry supports economic recovery 

The winners of the 2021 TIARA Talent Solutions Awards Europe were revealed in a glittering live ceremony attended by over 250 senior leaders of Europe’s leading Talent Solutions, RPO and MSP companies. 

The Awards evening also saw the presentation of a very special award – the first TIARA Talent Solutions Europe Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises a leader who has made a long-term and significant contribution to the industry. This was presented to Rosaleen Blair CBE, Chair of AMS. “It is hard to understate Rosaleen’s contribution to the sector. From AMS’s relatively modest beginnings in 1996 to a global leader with over 4,500 employees, operating in 100 countries, Rosaleen has been at the helm” said Ken Brotherston, Managing Director of TALiNT Partners. 

Following the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award, 11 winners were crowned, with seven highly commended finalists, which highlights the high standard of the entries this year. 

“In only our second year, our Talent Solutions Awards Europe have established themselves as the pre-eminent recognition campaign in the sector and are a perfect platform to showcase the best work the sector has to offer. All of the finalists shortlisted for the TIARA Talent Solutions Awards Europe are an inspiration to the talent solutions sector, from nimble, fast moving new scale ups looking to re-imagine what is possible, to the world’s largest and most successful players delivering game changing work for their clients and a range of mid-market operators with a clear focus and high levels of agility. They all showed why they are so important in helping their clients find and keep the people they need” commented Ken Brotherston, Managing Director of TALiNT Partners. 

“The quality of entries across each category was very high, with the winners’ entries being nothing less than outstanding. This makes a TIARA Talent Solutions Award a powerful and prestigious endorsement.”  

The judging process for the Awards was designed around the varied and complex demands of employers based on key performance metrics, case studies and testimonials. The 2021 judging panel brought together some of the leading practitioners in talent acquisition from organizations such as Balfour Beatty VINCI, Rolls-Royce, NatWest, MindGym and Tetra Pak.  

“The Talent Solutions sector has shown itself to be resilient and innovative throughout the pandemic. Our finalists have shown that they can not only respond to rapidly changing client requirements, but in a way that is commercially viable for their own sustainability and long-term success. The sector has a big part to play in how we recover from the pandemic, and I am excited in what the future holds.”  

Reed Talent Solutions was crowned the overall winner and received the Talent Solutions Provider of the Year Award, having also picked up the Candidate Experience Award and the Long-Term Partnership Award – Enterprise. Judges praised Reed Talent Solutions for “excelling and having a positive impact across each key area of service delivery.      

The TIARA Talent Solutions Awards Europe 2021 campaign was supported by headline sponsor Cornerstone OnDemand and award sponsors eTeam, Sonovate, giant group, iCIMS, Parasol, Horsely Analytics and Nétive.  

The full list of Talent Solutions Award winners and highly commended finalists is as follows:   

The Best Early Career Initiative 

  • Winner – Bright Network 
  • Highly Commended – AMS 
  • Highly Commended – GTI Recruiting Solutions 

The Horsefly Employer Brand Award 

  • Winner – Hays Talent Solutions 
  • Highly Commended – Cielo 

The Parasol Candidate Experience Award 

  • Winner – Reed Talent Solutions 

The Nétive Diversity & Inclusion Award 

  • Winner – AMS 
  • Highly Commended – Bright Network 

The Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use Of Technology Award  

  • Winner – Guidant Global 

The Sonovate Best Talent Solutions Firm to Work For 

  • Winner – AMS 
  • Highly Commended – Join Talent 

The eTeam Client Service Award 

  • Winner – Lorien 
  • Highly Commended – Gattaca 

The Giant Group Best New Talent Solutions Provider 

  • Winner – Join Talent 

The iCIMS Long-Term Partnership Award – Challenger 

  • Winner – Page Outsourcing 

The iCIMS Long-Term Partnership Award – Enterprise 

  • Reed Talent Solutions 
  • Highly Commended – Gattaca 

The Talent Solutions Provider of the Year 

  • Reed Talent Solutions 
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38% of employees are looking to change roles  

Almost all HR leaders are concerned employee turnover will skyrocket in the coming months, according to a Gartner survey of 572 HR leaders.  

Another Gartner survey of 1,609 candidates between May and June 2021 found that nearly half of today’s applicants are considering at least two job offers simultaneously. 

Talk of “The Great Resignation” is still dominating the news, despite no concrete evidence of its existence. According to data by Personio, close to two-fifths (38%) of employees are looking to change roles within the next six to twelve months.  

To gain competitive advantage in today’s war on talent, employers need to focus on retention strategies such as the following:   

  • Ensure career progression plans: empower your staff to be the CEO of their careers and ‘grow your own’ instead of hiring externally.  
  • Implement mentorship programmes. These foster a sense of belonging in the workplace.  
  • Emerging talent is very focused on diversity and inclusivity. Ensure your business is inclusive.  
  • Promote a work/life balance. Wellbeing is a key focus for employees now more than ever.  
  • Widen your business’s talent pool. Hire outside of the normal parametres of the preferred skillset. It’s not always about skills, it’s about potential, too.  
  • Offer flexible working that aligns to employee and work needs: flexibility is no longer a perk, it’s a prerequisite for employment since coming out of the pandemic. If you’re not prepared to offer your workforce flexibility, they will find an employer who does.  

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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75% of companies have suffered confidence-damaging cyber-attacks

A new report by FTI Consulting indicates that more companies are coming under scrutiny for their business practises and behaviour.

The top three areas of investigation worries are: business conduct and the treatment of customers, sustainability and ESG practices, and the relationship with public bodies and government contracts. According to the report, a quarter of UK respondents identified each of these areas as major concerns. The services sector and financial sector were the most likely to report experiencing regulatory or political scrutiny over the past 12 months (23% each).

Potential emerging crises

 According to The Resilience Barometer the nature, severity and potential trajectory of these threats are forcing companies to embed resilience on more fronts:

Growing cybersecurity threats: 75% of companies surveyed suffered a cyber-attack in the past 12 months, with a rise in phishing attacks among the most prevalent type with 25% experiencing a loss of customer/patient data, and a further 23% reporting a loss of third-party information.

Class actions and mass consumer claims: 13% of respondents experienced these in the past 12 months, and 12% expect this to continue in the next 12 months.

The “Great Resignation”: Over the last 12 months, 28% of companies surveyed have experienced a shortage of talent and skills, and 72% have reported increased mental health issues in their workforce since the start of the pandemic.

Edward Westerman, Global Investigations Initiative Leader at FTI Consulting commented: “The ever-changing landscape will put the onus on companies to take a proactive stance regarding investigations. Leveraging new technologies and data and analytics can help companies efficiently manage an ongoing investigation and help mitigate the risk of future crises.”

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Luton has best business survival rate

  • Fasthosts reveal the top cities in the UK for start-up businesses by looking into a large variety of regional metrics from business survival rates to the cost of office space.
  • Luton is the UK’s top city to start a business right now, study finds.

The arrival of the pandemic saw a 12.3% increase in new businesses – the highest increase on record.

By analysing average download speeds, business birth and death rates, five-year survival rates, office renting costs, and average working productivity across the nation, Fasthosts’ conducted a survey that revealed the top 15 cities for business opportunities.

Based on the benchmarks, Luton was crowned as the best all-round UK location to start a new business with an overall index score of 3.375. The city proved to have one the best rates of production, office prices, and business survival rates out of any other UK city.

In second place was Reading which boasted a super high productivity rate – even higher than Luton – but falls short at office costs and internet speeds. The Bedfordshire town ranks marginally higher than fellow southern start-up hotspot Reading (3.312).

In the battle of the capitals, Edinburgh outperformed Central London by the slimmest of margins, to rank as the survey’s fourth best city for overall enterprise opportunities, while the English metropolis took fifth.

The top 15 UK cities to launch a business can be seen below:

Ranking City Average download speed (Mbit/s) Business Death rate Business Birth rate 5 Year Survival Rate Cost of Office Space per sq. ft. (£) Productivity level
1 Luton 63 1040 1455 410 22 102.97
2 Reading 54 930 1145 435 38 126.9
3 Nottingham 69 1410 1510 20 14.88 86
4 Edinburgh 63 2540 2885 1150 35 104.8
5 Central London 51 5750 5190 32895 112 132.3
6 Liverpool 62 2445 3110 805 23 91.7
7 Portsmouth 55 845 1275 320 16.9 94.3
8 Coventry 58 1410 1620 605 18.5 91.6
9 Wolverhampton 61 1110 1245 380 16 84
10 Bristol 60 2370 2895 1140 35 97.6
11 Birmingham 58 5970 7870 2080 34 91.5
12 Newcastle upon Tyne 56 1105 1295 455 24 90.9
13 Stoke-on-Trent 53 810 965 385 16 85.5
14 Northampton 44 1275 2000 520 13.6 93.6
15 Bradford 49 1875 2305 945 14.6 86.2

Michelle Stark, Sales and Marketing Director at Fasthosts commented: “Even in a vastly increasing digital world, choosing the right city to launch a business is an important decision. And it’s great to see such a variety of cities across the country among the top 15 from Portsmouth to Edinburgh and Bradford to choose from. It’s important to be strategic when deciding in your business location and we urge all start-ups to check out our rankings before choosing their desired location for business.”

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