Category: Employers

Employers are prioritising plans to improve productivity

Since the start of the pandemic, rising financial stress due to an uncertain economy has created a downward spiral on employee wellbeing that has impacted employee performance. A study by borofree revealed that an average of 3.05 working days were taken off by workers in Great Britain last year due to the financial stress felt by employees.

The study examined the plans that companies across the UK now aim to implement in order to improve employee productivity, financial wellbeing and increase morale in the workplace as business recovery begins to take shape.

The research, which was conducted online by YouGov, highlights that HR decision makers are feeling optimistic about building stronger employee productivity as the economy settles into a ‘new normal’ with over half (57%) believing that employee productivity is set to  increase over the next 12 months.

Action taken from businesses to increase employee wellbeing over the next year will be critical for them to regain strong post-pandemic productivity growth and recover from a challenging 18 months. In fact, 83% of HR decision makers surveyed revealed that their business will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year. Improving pay and working conditions for employees is high on the agenda for companies looking to regain lost morale due to the pandemic, with almost a third (31%) stating that this will be a business priority for them this year.

Across Britain the study highlights that employers are searching for new ways to increase productivity. The research shows that wellbeing is now a vital part of ensuring that teams remain productive, with over one in five (23%) companies looking to introduce new or improved health and wellness benefits for employees to improve morale and productivity over the next two years.

Despite financial worries among the UK workforce being a cause of emotional stress, the study shows that offering financial wellbeing initiatives as part of a businesses’ productivity recovery plan is still being overlooked. Whilst financial stress is a contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace, only 12% of HR decision makers are looking to introduce personal finance coaching and training to employees to improve morale and productivity amongst teams within the next two years.

Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, comments: “Whilst it’s great to see that businesses are prioritising incentives to build stronger employee productivity following a challenging 18 months, it’s critical that they do not overlook initiatives to promote better financial wellbeing amongst teams.

Our findings show that financial stress can lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace and the effect of this will hit a company’s bottom line. For employees that seek a certain degree of financial security from their employer such as being able to absorb an unforeseen financial shock, only one in ten (10%) businesses surveyed have stated that they are looking to introduce earnings on demand and paid weekly options for employers within the next two years and just over one in ten (14%) confirmed that they’ll be introducing salary advance facilities (e.g., a loan a company can give an employee from their future salary).”

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Gender pay gap in the UK is 16.01%

New research from William Russell revealed the countries around the world that are the most empowering countries for women to live and work – and the UK didn’t make the list.

To score countries and rank them, the team at William Russell looked at a number of factors to create the Female Empowerment Score including:

  • Gender Pay Gap
  • The proportion of women who achieve tertiary education
  • The length of paid maternity leave
  • Female representation in government

The 10 best countries for female empowerment: 

Rank Country Female Empowerment Score 
1 Iceland 7.64
2 Finland 7.62
3 Ireland 7.22
4 Belgium 7.12
5 Denmark 7.04
6 Canada 6.83
7 France 6.77
8 Norway 6.73
9 Sweden 6.67
10 Lithuania 6.64

 

  • Iceland topped the list as the most female-friendly place to live and work, with a female empowerment score of 7.64. This Nordic island nation is well known for its progressive views and welcoming culture with more than half of adult women having achieved tertiary education such as a university degree.
  • Finland took second place with a score of 7.62. Finland has achieved excellent representation for women in its government, with 50% of all ministerial positions occupied by women.
  • Ireland takes third place, with a female empowerment score of 7.22. Ireland has a relatively low gender wage gap of 7.99% and a very competitive 182 days of paid maternity leave for new mothers.

The research also revealed the following:

  • The average gender wage gap around the world is 28%, the UK is above that with 16.01%.
  • The length of paid maternity leave is different all around the world, the average is 6 days. The UK is less than half of that with 42 days, Slovakia gives the most with 238 days.
  • The % of women who achieved tertiary education in the UK (47.7%), is higher than the global average (40.7%). Israel is at the top with 88%.
  • The global average for the proportion of women in ministerial positions is 34.44%. The UK is beneath that with 23.81%, whereas Belgium comes out on top with 57.14%.

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Over half of employees feel undervalued

Research released by Firstup, a digital employee experience company, revealed that employees are unhappier in the workplace now more than ever post-pandemic. The survey showed a mounting dissatisfaction among employees across the UK, US, Germany, Benelux and the Nordics, with talent feeling undervalued, uninformed, and un-unified.

Lack of communication from leadership was cited as a main contributing factor to unhappy employees with almost a quarter of respondents to the survey agreeing that better communication will lead to increased productivity and work satisfaction.

Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO of Firstup, said: “Businesses need to provide more valuable working experiences or remain responsible for the career reboot of the decade that some are calling The Great Resignation of 2021. This research is a clear and urgent call to action – an organisation’s employees are its most valuable asset with employee satisfaction having a direct impact on the bottom line. Business, HR and Internal Comms leaders must act now to stem this workforce dissatisfaction and engage their teams with personalised information that helps them do their best work.”

Research from the 23,105 workers found that 56% don’t feel valued in their role and 38% want employers to ‘create better lines of communication between executives and employees’.

It appears that remote workers seem to feel these complaints most keenly, with a growing tension between desk based and deskless workers. It found that 25% of respondents felt they get more attention from their employer when they are physically at the office, only 30% of deskless workers think that their employers listen to them, and 39% of desk-based workers felt that their deskless colleagues could learn from them about ‘how to communicate with colleagues and ‘how to work as a team’.

The great temptation

This comes off the back of research from Reed.co.uk which found that almost three-quarters of Britains are actively looking for a new job or are open to opportunities. The survey, which canvassed 2,000 employers attempting to attract new talent and retain restless employees, suggests that businesses will need to adapt their offering to align with new employee priorities that have been shaped by the pandemic.

Salaries remain a top driver with 39% of respondents stating that they would stay should their employer offer a high salary. Flexible working hours is also at the top of the list. Other suggested incentives from the survey included: more annual leave (25%), a promotion (21%), and 18% asked for increased training and development opportunities.

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, said: “We are in the midst of a sea change in the labour market, with it very much having shifted from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market due to the sheer – and record-breaking – number of job opportunities available.

“After a challenging 18 months for jobseekers which gave rise to a culture of uncertainty in the labour market, workers are now mobilised by the prospect of new and exciting opportunities with better rewards. Employers must find creative solutions and adapt to the new market conditions following the pandemic in order to maintain the resurgent economy’s trajectory.”

Following LinkedIn’s recent research highlighting 6.8 times the number of recruitment roles posted on its site in June compared to the same time last year, is the Great Resignation spreading to the staffing sector?

“There is a lot of potential for ‘revenge resignation’ for all those who were put on furlough through successive lockdowns, in the wider economy but particularly in recruitment, but it’s less likely to impact employers who offer flexibility and authenticity with a client-centric culture,” said Tim Cook, Group CEO of nGage, who will be speaking on this topic at the World Leaders in Recruitment conference on 5th October.

Commenting on the growing debate about the Great Resignation, TALiNT Partners Managing Director, Ken Brotherston said: “In general it is always wise to treat dramatic headlines or simple phrases with a large pinch of salt. My general rule of thumb is this: does the person promoting the headline have an interest in it being true? If so, approach with caution.”

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Employing older adults improves diversity in business 

A new study has shown that 10% of over 70s are choosing to go back to work or delay retirement as a result of the pandemic. This is a trend that could see billions of pounds poured back into the economy.  

According to the results from the study called “Back on Track”, by Retirement Villages Group slowing down is the last thing on the minds of older adults with one in three (36%) over 70s saying that they have spent the last 16 months reflecting on their life goals, leading to an increased desire to now make up for lost time in both their personal and professional lives. 

Going back to work, whether for financial reasons or in pursuit of a more purposeful and active lifestyle, has become important to many with 7% looking to return to work and 3% wanting to delay retirement.   

With skill shortages in mind, Retirement Villages Group has calculated that 10% of over 70s heading back to or staying in work could add as much as £1.8billion to the UK economy each year. Also importantly, as the older generation are overlooked during talent acquisition processes, this promotes a much-needed shift in perspective when it comes to the value and experience older candidates bring to a business.  

The study showed that continued employment for the older workforce comes with many personal benefits such as improving financial or mental health. Among those that have or plan to go back to work, over half (52%) agree that the main motive is to boost their finances, while a third would like to alleviate boredom and a 21% would like to continue to contribute to society.  

Over one in three (39%) said that seeing more age diversity in the workplace would give them greater confidence to consider working opportunities themselves. Yet, encouragingly, the research also found that one in four (27%) older adults believe the pandemic has led to a more widespread view that older people have valuable life skills that society can benefit from. 

Will Bax, CEO of Retirement Villages Group, commented: “Today’s research confirms that older adults have a critical role in ensuring the ongoing diversity and vibrancy of our society and economy. The pandemic has brought this reality into sharp focus, with many people over 70 forced to isolate for prolonged periods, curbing the active, independent and sociable lifestyles they would normally lead and temporarily separating them from communities. 

“It’s vital, as we unlock from the pandemic, that we continue to reappraise how we view the great contribution of people over 70 to our culture and economy. Independent, positive ageing matters – not only to the long-term health and wellbeing of individuals, by keeping people out of hospitals and care homes for longer – but also to our society which is enriched by older people playing an active part. 

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Collaboration and communication are key skills  

According to new research from LinkedIn, 87% of UK business leaders stated that young workers have been plagued by a “developmental dip” because of long periods of time working from home during the pandemic.  

250 C-level executives in the UK (from companies with 1,000 employees and more and with an annual turnover of £250+ million) who were surveyed for the study, found that almost 30% of business leaders feel that onboarding from home has been a challenge for young employees. A further 42% of leaders believe that young people’s ability to build meaningful relationships with colleagues while working remotely has been difficult. 

Out of practice  

A complementary survey of young professionals showed that they agree. 69% of young people (aged 16 – 34) believe their professional learning experience has been impacted by the pandemic. More than half of those asked to return to offices feel their ability to make conversation at work has suffered, and 71% say they’ve forgotten how to conduct themselves in an office environment. 84% of young workers ultimately feel “out of practice” when it comes to office life, especially when it comes to giving presentations (29%) and speaking to customers and/ or clients (34%).  

Missing out 

Business leaders say the key development experiences that young people have missed out on during the pandemic include learning by “osmosis” from being around more experienced colleagues (36%), developing their essential soft skills (36%), and building professional networks (37%).  

Skills to succeed 

Business leaders believe that for hybrid working to be a success, collaboration (59%) and communication (57%) are the two most important skills employees need. Nearly half (49%) of leaders say working closely with experienced team members is the best way for young people to catch up and build these soft skills.  

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said:  It’s positive to see leaders recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on young people as they consider their future workplace policies. To help young people develop the skills they need to succeed, companies must understand where the skills gaps are, introduce mentoring schemes and bolster learning experiences that cater for a hybrid workforce to help younger workers get back on track.”

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Starting salaries for permanent candidates rise 

KPMG and the REC’s latest UK Report on Jobs was compiled by IHS Markit and was based on responses to questionnaires completed by approximately 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.  

Due to a sharp rise in economic activity in the last few months, along with a solid demand for staff, a considerable increase in permanent placements took place, while the number of temporary placements also rose.  

The report revealed a decrease in candidate availability, which isn’t new news considering skills shortages. The reduction in candidates, according to the report, meant there was a dramatic increase in starting salaries for permanent staff and a large increase in salary for short-term positions.  

 Availability of workers falls  

The availability of candidates dropped to a record low this month and, according to the report, underlying data revealed that unprecedented falls in permanent candidate numbers and temp staff supply had driven the latest deterioration in overall availability. The declines were widely associated with a reluctance among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic, fewer EU workers, furloughed staff and skill shortages. 

The combination of Brexit and COVID-19 and the resultant skills shortages have led to increased competition for staff amid the dwindling labour supply. This placed upward on starting salaries. A notable finding in the report stated that salaries for newly placed permanent staff increased at the fastest rate seen in almost 24 years.  

Increased competition for staff amid shrinking labour supply placed further upward pressure on starting pay. Notably, salaries for newly-placed permanent staff increased at the fastest rate seen in nearly 24 years of data collection, while temp wage inflation was the second-quickest on record. 

Regional and sector changes  

All four regions monitored in England, recorded faster rises in permanent placements when compared to the latest survey period. The increase was led by London. Unprecedented upturns were also seen in the North and South of England. London registered the fastest rise in temp billings during August.  

The private sector continued to record much stronger increases in vacancies than the public sector halfway through the third quarter. The steepest increase in demand was signaled for permanent staff in the private sector.  

Claire Warnes, Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, commented on the survey results:  

“Candidate shortages continue to plague businesses, who are all recruiting from the same pool of talent and struggling to fill gaps. While record high permanent placements and higher starting salaries mean it remains a job seekers market, recruiters and employers have seen the most severe decline of candidate availability in the survey’s history and will be thinking about how to attract and retain new staff.  

“This crisis isn’t going away, and the winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of September – while potentially bringing more job hunters to the market – could also add fuel to the labour shortage fire. Many businesses will have changed their business model during the pandemic, and so significant numbers of staff returning from furlough may need reskilling to rejoin the workforce in the same or another sector. 

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC also commented: “Recruiters are working around the clock, placing more people into work than ever as these figures show. Switching the entire economy on over the summer has created a unique demand spike, and a short-term crisis. 

“But it would be a mistake for businesses to think of this as only a short-term issue. A number of factors mean that the UK labour market will remain tight for several years to come. Business leaders should be looking now at how they will build their future workforces, in partnership with recruiters, including the skills and career path development.”

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Increase to NI tax will hit lower earners hardest

The government announced yesterday that National Insurance will increase by 1.25% to fund health and social care reform. There will also be an increase in taxes on share dividends.

APSCo responded to the announcement by warning of the impact these increases will have on the workforce and businesses.

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo commented: “While we recognise the need for social care and NHS integration and reform, this manifesto breach is a concern in more ways than one. With 1.25% payable by both worker and employer – 2.5% in total – this will only serve to drive umbrella and PAYE agency worker costs up, which will exacerbate the on-going shortage of workers that UK employers are currently struggling through.

“The increase in dividend tax will only add more pressure to already stretched businesses. While the worst of the pandemic may appear to be over, many organisations are still trying to find their way out of a deep financial hole that they’ve been stuck in for the last 18 months. And with skills shortages impacting the bounce back for firms, adding an extra financial burden too soon could have a detrimental impact on the recovery of a significant proportion of UK businesses.

The REC’s Chief Executive, Neil Carberry also weighed in on the decision:

“It’s vital that the social care system is properly funded – this has been a long time coming. But the 1.25% rise in National Insurance, the UK’s biggest business tax, is the wrong choice. As a tax on jobs, and a tax on activity rather than profits, rising National Insurance will fall more heavily on the labour-intensive sectors most affected by the pandemic. It also disproportionately affects lower earners. We all agree that social care needs more funding but increasing labour taxes as we try to recover from the pandemic is not the fairest way to do it.”

Have you got news to share with us? Please email debbie@talintpartners.com

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70% of employees unhappy with leadership  

The Adecco Group reported results of its global study called Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work. The report was said to examine the change in attitudes to work over the last year, as well as highlighting issues that companies need to address to stay agile in the current landscape. 

The study highlighted poor mental health as an emergent issue with more than half of young leaders (54%) suffering burnout. A third of workers also stated that their mental and physical health had declined in the last 12 months. The study stated that companies must re-evaluate how they support their staff and should provide wellbeing resources to their employees within the new hybrid working model.  According to the report, 67% of non-managers say that their leaders don’t meet their expectations for checking on their mental wellbeing.  

Leadership falling short  

Satisfaction with leadership is low, with only a third of non-managers feeling they are being recognised for the work in the business, and only half of all workers said that their managers encouraged a good work culture.   

Findings from the report stated that motivation and engagement is low with less than half of employees being satisfied with their career prospects in the company they work for with nearly 2 out of 5 considering new careers and moving to jobs with more flexibility.   

The Adecco Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Alain Dehaze, said: “For those who are not bound to being physically present to perform their work, it is obvious that we will never return to the office in the same way and that the future of work is flexible.  

Our research clearly shows that “one size will not fit all” when it comes to addressing employees’ needs and we’re increasingly seeing a leadership struggling to balance remote working and care for their teams. Now is the time to start bridging this gap by developing and equipping leaders and workers alike with the skills and capabilities they need to reignite motivation and build a cohesive company culture that maintains and develops a successful, resilient and healthy workforce.” 

In summary of the report:  

  • 82% of the workforce feels as productive or more so than before the pandemic 
  • Globally, 53% of workers want a hybrid working model where more than half of their time spent working is remote 
  • Long hours increased by 14% in the last year, with more than half of young leaders reporting that they suffered burnout  
  • 73% of workers and leaders are calling to be measured by outcomes rather than hours, while only 36% of managers are assessing performance based on results  
  • Satisfaction with leadership is low with an increasing disconnect with employees made evident. Only a third of non-managers are believed to be getting the recognition they deserve  
  • Anxiety about returning to the office is highest in Australia (53%), followed by the UK (52%) and Canada (51%). 

Do you have news to share? If so, please email debbie@talintpartners.com

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35% of millennials likely to take a pay cut  

A survey by Hitachi Capital UK revealed that over a quarter of office workers are willing to take an 8% cut in pay to switch to permanent home working, with 2% prepared to forgo 20% of their salary to work from home permanently.  

According to the survey, those earning in the lower salary brackets are driving the trend with a third of office workers earning less than £40,000 per annum most willing to accept a pay cut to work from home. This compared to 20% of those earning over £40,000.  

39% of Generation Z want a permanent work-from-home solution compared with 16% of millennials who also want to work from home permanently; this despite 31% missing interpersonal interactions in the office.  

Millennials are most likely to consider taking a pay cut (35%), followed by over 55s at 25% and 45 – 54-year-olds (24%) if it meant the reduction was less than their usual travel spend and were given increased flexibility by their employer. 

Meanwhile, the ability to balance household and family responsibilities alongside work is driving half of female decisions to work from home (49%) compared to 37% of men. 

Spending time with family is a key incentive for over a third of males (34%) to work remotely compared to 26% of females. 

The report revealed the following regions are most ready to return to the office: Yorkshire and the North East (21%), as the office environment and access to a conventional desk allows increased focus and productivity. While, Northern Ireland (37%), West Midlands (35%) and South West (31%) are the strongest supporters of the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working. 

Theresa Lindsay, Group Marketing Director at Hitachi Capital UK PLC said, “The pandemic has led to a seismic shift in the way people want to work to effectively manage their work and home life commitments. It’s clear that most employees have adapted very well to remote working whilst actually enhancing productivity.”  

 

Have you got news to share with us? Please email debbie@talintpartners.com

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Most secure jobs are medical practitioners   

Technology is expected to put 1.5 million people out of work as AI takes over roles performed by people. 

Research conducted by Utility Bidder analysed 369 jobs to determine which jobs are more likely to become automated.  

Routine and repetitive tasks in the workplace are easily replaced by AI as an algorithm is more likely able to carry out these tasks more quickly and efficiently than humans. Waiters are most at risk of losing their jobs; since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen restaurants implement online ordering directly from tables resulting in fewer waiters needed to take food orders.  

Shelf fillers can also be replaced by a robot counterpart as AI systems can easily be programmed to carry out repetitive tasks. Robots also don’t require an hourly wage.  

Gender inequality in the workplace continues as women are more at risk of losing their jobs to automation with 70.2% of the roles threatened by automation currently occupied by women.  

Young employees are also at risk as job roles for 20- to 24-year-olds are more likely to be automated than any other age group.  

The most secure jobs include medical practitioners, higher education and teaching professionals, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, dental practitioners, and psychologists.   

 

Have you got news to share with us? Please email debbie@talintpartners.com

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