Category: Employers

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.

Share this article on social media

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.”

Share this article on social media
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.”

 

Share this article on social media

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.”

Share this article on social media

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.”

Share this article on social media

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.”

Share this article on social media

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.”

Share this article on social media

3 in 5 UK professionals are unhappy with their current salary 

CV Library’s latest survey has revealed that a staggering 61% of professionals are unhappy with their salary, with the 1,500 surveyed professionals showing that lawyers, teachers and new graduates were the most unhappy with their current salary packages.

Despite this, the majority (54.6%) of respondents stated they had never tried to negotiate for a higher salary.

Results demonstrated that the reason respondents hadn’t negotiated a higher salary was that 51% feared it would risk losing their job, while 40% replied that they didn’t want to be seen as too pushy and finally 31% saying they didn’t know how to negotiate.

The pandemic appears to have worsened the issue as 29% of respondents said they were even less likely to ask for more money in 2021 than they were before the arrival of COVID-19. However, the landscape has change with record numbers of job postings in the last six months and confidence among the UK workforce has grown as we enter into 2022.

According to CV Library, the salary shift is already reflecting in the 2022 job market with average salaries on the rise in 16 sectors in January 2022 so far, compared to January 2021. The top 5 sectors with salary increases are:

  1. Hospitality/hotel +65.8%
  2. Marketing +12%
  3. IT +11.6%
  4. Administration +10.3%
  5. Management +9.4%

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library comments: “When the pandemic first struck, businesses held all the power and competition for top jobs was tougher than ever. However, in the last few months we have seen this power shift back in favour of candidates and the year-on-year salary increases we are seeing across many industries already in 2022, substantiates this. As such, candidates should feel able to negotiate on salary without fear of losing out on an exciting opportunity.”

Biggins continued: “The key to negotiation is to be prepared. Be sure that you know what you’re worth and what you can bring to the business that will justify a higher salary. To successfully negotiate a salary increase, it’s vital that you take the time to think about what you want, and you check out the latest salaries on offer for your specific role. This will give you the supporting evidence that your expectations are realistic for the 2022 job market.”

Share this article on social media

58% of remote workforce believe resilience is a key skill  

According to a survey by workingmums.co.uk in partnership with The Changing Work Company, 80% of regular remote workers have not been promoted since beginning remote work with 44% having not been given access to changing.

The qualitative survey highlighted the experience of respondents who were working remotely or in a hybrid manner (half of whom did so before the pandemic) and its aim is to give those workers a voice on how to improve the new and different ways of working.

The study found that most respondents worked for smaller companies with under 250 employees with figures showing that smaller companies were more likely to offer remote working. Just less than half (41%) worked for companies with fewer than 25 employees and 20% for employers with between 26 and 250 employees.

The top reason for choosing to work remotely was better work/ balance according to 28% of respondents, with COVID-19 and carer responsibilities other reasons given. Just under a third of survey respondents (30%) said they found it difficult or very difficult (8%) to negotiate remote working.

Results also showed that employers didn’t ask advice from those who’d been working remotely pre-pandemic and could have benefited from doing so in order to do it better.

More than two thirds of respondents (68%) had not been asked about their experience of working from home to help others who switched during the pandemic.

Participants were also asked what helped them when it came to isolation at home. Keeping in touch, planning social interactions outside work and keeping to a routine were popular choices. To keep in touch one respondent had started a virtual lunch chat. Others had created Teams chats and other forums for communication.

Asked what skills respondents believe are needed to work remotely successfully:

  • 85% answered that self-motivation is a vital skill
  • 68% answered that independent thinking is important and
  • 58% responded that resilience is a key skill.

The majority of respondents (74%) said they had honed these skills through remote working and 22% had developed them due to homeworking.

The survey asked what would improve their situation and respondents stated that better communication and appreciation of what they do would do so, while 58% felt as valued and listened to as office-based people, the rest mostly didn’t or were unsure.

Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People, the umbrella group for  workingmums.co.uk,  workingdads.co.uk  and  workingwise.co.uk, commented: “We know that employers who seek feedback from their employees through employee network groups or other forums, listen to what they are saying and take action are the most innovative and attractive and have the highest engagement scores. Too often remote workers have been left to their own devices to make the best of remote working, but this one-sided approach means neither the employee nor the employer overcomes the biggest challenges or reaps the full benefits.”

Bridget Workman of The Changing Work Company also commented: “68% of those surveyed said their employers had not asked them to share their knowledge to help colleagues suddenly switching to homeworking nor have they been consulted for their special insights on how to make the hybrid mix of office, home and remote working work. Although usually provided with equipment, the majority had to learn the hard way, through trial and error, having received no training. They know the pitfalls and have learned the necessary skills and tricks through their own resourcefulness and resilience.”

Share this article on social media

A big headcount increase is planned for 2022

Arctic Shores, the psychometric assessment company, have announced that it has received £1.5m in venture debt funding from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

The raise is said to be used to support Arctic Shores’ aim of ‘changing the way the world sees potential’ in a time where 91% of employers are struggling to find talent amid the skills shortage. The investment will position Arctic Shores to enable employers see more in people that previous experience, with a platform that ‘is built to look beyond past experience, and uncover true potential at work.’

The funding will allow further growth and Arctic Shores is said to be increasing their headcount by a further 20 staff throughout the year.

Arctic Shores joins Wise, HelloFresh and GoCardless as the latest high-growth, tech-enabled organisations supported by SVB.

Robert Newry, CEO of Arctic Shores, commented: “The global skills shortage shows that it’s never been more vital to hire for potential. But, for employers, that requires one big step – scrapping the CV. It might feel like a tough ask. But unless we free ourselves from irrelevant and outdated experience, we’ll never unleash the vast potential of the untapped many, who have the quality but lack the experience. That’s why, with SVB’s support, we’re excited to show the world that it’s not only possible to see more in people, but, with our Talent Discovery Platform, simple and affordable too.”

Ben Tickler, Director of Venture & Growth at Silicon Valley Bank UK Branch, also made comment: “Arctic Shores is an exciting Manchester-based innovation company, and it has been great to be able to support them on their impressive journey of rapid growth. We look forward to a continued partnership with the team as they look to scale further.”

Share this article on social media