Category: Employers

Employers advised to revisit their skills requirements and train people on the job

The UK labour market is looking buoyant with the Net Employment Outlook rising to +21%. The latest number is up two 2% since last quarter but down 10% on Q2 2022. This is according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

With record low unemployment and a historically tight labour market, employers are still struggling to attract skilled talent. In response, workers can’t find employers that fit their pay and skills needs. ManpowerGroup suggests that employers revisit their essential skills requirements and consider what can be learned on the job.

In the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, 2,020 UK employers were questioned about whether they intend to hire additional workers, maintain their current headcount, or reduce the size of their workforce in the next quarter (April to June 2023). The survey is a key economic indicator by the Bank of England and the UK Government.

The report revealed that employers across all sectors are planning to increase headcount. The IT sector tops the list, with a Net Employment Outlook of +48%, an increase of 14% from last quarter and 8% up on Q2 2022. The figures for the IT industry are more than twice the national average Net Employment Outlook.

Next on the list are:

  • Communication Services (+36%)
  • Transport, Logistics, and Automotive (+27%)
  • Financials & Real Estate (+27%)

Regionally, East Midlands is in the lead with a Net Employment Outlook of +29%, up 23% from last quarter, followed by the South West (+26%) and London (+24%).

Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK, commented: “Our survey continues to show strong hiring intentions despite the economic climate, but hiring intentions are not translating into filled vacancies.”

 “There is a mismatch between what workers want and what employers are offering. Employers across the country are still keen to take on new talent, and workers want to take on higher paying roles with greater development opportunities. However, they aren’t seeing these jobs advertised. Job descriptions are going unread because they aren’t offering the skills growth workers want. Employers need to be clear about the progression opportunities and the training they are providing.”

“In a time of economic uncertainty and a cost-of-living crisis, we’re seeing that existing employees are reticent to move to new jobs and would rather take on more over-time or a second or third job to make ends meet and continue to develop. We have to be looking to bring those inactive back into the workplace and this requires structural changes to make this a realistic option. Government has an opportunity in this week’s Budget to help make this happen – an improved childcare offer and support for over 50s and long term sick could make a real difference.”

“Demand for highly-skilled tech talent continues to grow and we see this across all sectors. This growth is positive for workers, as businesses continue to deliver today while transforming for the workplace of tomorrow. This growth has a knock-on effect as new and different roles emerge, from project and change managers to newly skilled production workers. The opportunities are numerous as British industry works on future-proofing itself. To meet the demand, employers must re-evaluate what is essential and what is desirable in a candidate, and consider whether the role could be filled with a candidate who is 60 to 70 per cent fit for the role, and could be trained for the future.”

 “We are encouraged to see demand for workers the length and breadth of the UK – employers in all regions plan to expand headcounts. This is true especially of the East Midlands, which has seen hiring optimism surge since last quarter. Our insights tell us that a great deal of this demand stems from small and medium sized businesses which continue their optimistic streak in the region.”

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The move is part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency” management theme 

 Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that it will be conducting another round of layoffs as early as this week, with the aim of cutting thousands of employees, this according to various US news agencies.  

The move is part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency” management theme for 2023, according to a statement by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report on February 1. 

The technology firm has already been giving buyout packages to managers and cutting “nonessential” teams, with the largest round of layoffs to date occurring in November 2022 when 13% of the workforce, more than 11,000 employees, were cut. In addition, the company has reduced discretionary spending and extended its hiring freeze through the first quarter of 2023. 

The new round of layoffs was expected after Meta reportedly issued “subpar ratings” to thousands of employees in their recent performance reviews, with approximately 10% of workers receiving ratings indicating that they were underperforming. Furthermore, the social media giant cut a bonus metric to 85% of its target. 

“We’ve always had a goal-based culture of high performance, and our review process is intended to incentivize long-term thinking and high-quality work, while helping employees get actionable feedback,” said a Meta spokesperson in response to the performance review ratings. 

“In this new environment, we need to become more capital efficient,” Zuckerberg said in a letter to employees in November. “We’ve cut costs across our business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint. We’re restructuring teams to increase our efficiency. But these measures alone won’t bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve also made the hard decision to let people go.” 

Meta gave many of its employees a month to apply for different positions within the company in September, with re-organizing departments expected to be merely the first step toward larger staff reductions. In July, engineering managers at Meta were tasked with identifying anyone on their team who “needs support” and reporting them in an internal HR system. 

Maher Saba, the company’s Head of Engineering commented: “If a direct report is coasting or is a low performer, they are not who we need; they are failing this company. As a manager, you cannot allow someone to be net neutral or negative for Meta.” 

Meta’s upcoming round of layoffs will continue its efforts to become a more efficient organization and achieve its long-term goals. 

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Labor market remains historically tight

According to Reserve Bank of Richmond President Tom Barkin, inflation will fall back in line over time, but the process won’t be quick, he said in a speech Friday at the 2023 Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Annual Economic Summit at Stanford University.

Barkin said: “Monetary policy plays an important role here. We have raised rates and reduced our balance sheet aggressively in the last year in an effort to bring demand and supply back into balance. Inflation is likely past peak. But I think it will take time to return to target, and as a consequence, believe we still have work to do.”

Additional rate increases have been forecast and the [Summary of Economic Predictions] has made clear it doesn’t anticipate rate cuts this year.

Returning prices to the stability of the last 30 years will likely take a lot more time and effort, and the Summary of Economic Projections shows inflation not returning to 2% until 2025. Barkin said he sees the fight against inflation lasting longer for several reasons “partly because some of the dislocations we saw in the pandemic are enduring. Over a trillion in excess savings are still funding consumption, as are continuing fiscal outlays like the infrastructure bill. New auto inventories and houses for sale remain near historic lows, supporting prices in those sectors. Supply chain challenges remain, for example, in switchgears and cabinets.”

China’s reopening and the war in Ukraine is also putting pressure on commodity prices.

In addition, Barkin noted the labor market remains historically tight and workers, whose real wages fell, are pressing to catch up.

Barkin continued: “The Fed’s objective isn’t to hurt the economy, it’s to reduce inflation. And if there is one thing we’ve relearned over the last two years, it is that everybody hates inflation. High inflation creates uncertainty. As prices rise unevenly, it becomes unclear when to spend, when to save or where to invest. Inflation is exhausting. It takes effort to shop around for better prices or to handle complaints from unhappy customers. And inflation feels unfair — the wage increase you earned feels arbitrarily taken away at the gas pump.”

But the experience from the inflation fight in the 1970s must not be repeated, Barkin said.

“If you back off on inflation too soon, it comes back stronger, requiring the Fed to do even more, with even more damage.”

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Compensation top of mind despite recession concerns

According to a survey by iHire, 77.9% of US employers gave pay raises in the past six months, despite economic downturn concerns. The pay raises were given due to merit, performance, pay compression or the rising cost of living.

Lisa Shuster, Chief People Officer at iHire commented: “Compensation is top of mind for employers and their workforces. Now is the time for organizations to ensure they are compensating employees fairly while avoiding pay compression. The good news is that most employers do not appear overly worried about a recession and continue to invest in their most valuable business asset: their people.”

Of the 436 employers surveyed, just 22.1% had not given raises recently. Of that 22.1% that did not give a raise, 69.6% said they couldn’t afford to give raises, and 32.6% said they were preparing for an economic downturn or tightening their 2023 budgets. In addition, 13.0% reported poor or stagnant employee performance, and 13.0% were unsure how to determine fair compensation.

iHire also surveyed 305 workers and found that 23.9% of respondents had asked for a raise in the past six months, and 60.3% got a raise upon asking, according to the report. Of the 76.1% of workers who had not asked for a raise, 50.0% already received a raise recently and 25.6% did not know how to negotiate their salary. In addition, 23.2% were afraid to ask or approach their supervisor for a raise and 11.0% did not think their performance was deserving of a raise.

For the report, iHire surveyed 436 employers and 305 workers in 57 industries across the US in February.

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Employers need to re-evaluate job perks for women

Less than 3% of jobs offered by UK employers advertise benefits necessary to help women thrive. This is according to new research from the job search engine Adzuna.

The company looked at more than one million job ads in March 2023 to find out how many postings promoting perks aimed at women. The results revealed the dire need for employers to step up.

In Adzuna’s analysis, they found:

  • 29,501 of the 1,043,451 job ads cited perks aimed at retaining and supporting women.
  • only 17,638 ads promoted enhanced maternity or parental leave.
  • just 6,410 postings offered some support with childcare costs.
  • only 821 job ads mention menopause support; of those, just 30 postings offer paid HRT therapy. This is despite evidence showing that 1 in 10 women aged 45-55 leaves the workforce due to symptoms of menopause.
  • only 5 UK job ads offered menstrual leave.

Recent research by YouGov found that almost half of Brits favour of the introduction of menstrual leave legislation. A further 40% of women said they regularly get period pain which is severe enough to affect their ability to work. Some countries have realised the negative impact that this time of the month has on women in the workplace. For example, Spain recently introduced legislation allowing three days per month of state-paid menstrual leave for those with incapacitating periods.

Adzuna’s research also found that fertility benefits such as egg freezing and IVF support are rare, with only 51 job ads mentioning these perks. Various large tech companies offer these benefits, but hiring in large tech companies is currently depressed, so there are limited options for women seeking fertility benefits from employers.

In contrast, many employers are offering popular perks such as duvet days (619 job ads), unlimited holidays (953 ads), and free gym membership (3,912 ads).

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Women remain woefully undersupported in the UK workplace. Instead of duvet days or free gym membership, employers need to focus on benefits that support female employees. In particular, evidence shows menopause and menstruation are top factors making it harder for women to thrive at work, even leading many to drop out of the workforce. Women shouldn’t need to suffer in silence; employers need to step up, introduce open dialogues around these topics and add more flexibility for women juggling their health with work. Furthermore, keeping women in the workplace is key to filling skill gaps, so introducing benefits that help attract, support and ultimately retain women makes sense from a business as well as a societal perspective.”

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Businesses less keen to respond

People do not want to use their personal credit cards for work expenses due to their concerns about tight personal finances. Companies, however, are slow to respond to this demand.  This is according to research commissioned by Emburse.

The survey looked at expense processes within UK-based businesses, questioning employees about business policy enforcement about spending and employee preferences around business travel expenses and other related costs.

According to the research conducted by Censuswide, 16-34-year-olds were most likely to prefer corporate cards over personal cards (55%) compared to just 41% of those over 55.

Of these younger respondents, 47% said the cost-of-living crisis is the key factor. This is unsurprising considering that 78% of 16-24-year-olds reported cost-of-living increases, compared to 42% in January/February 2022.

The reasons that 94% of young employees want a corporate card include the following:

  • Long expense reimbursement processing time incurring the risk of late fees
  • Preference for not mixing personal and business spend
  • Streamlining the expenses process
  • Concerns about their own finances
  • Low credit limits
  • Ease in managing expenses at the end of a trip.

The data also revealed a limited desire to use personal cards for air/hotel points which can later be used for personal leisure and travel – only 10% of employees mentioned this as a reason to use personal cards.

According to the survey, only 6% of employees are required to use corporate cards at mid-size and larger companies. The majority of organisations do not use corporate cards. This is likely due to increased fraud cases due to cost-of-living hikes.

Jamie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer at Emburse, commented: “We’re all feeling the impact of rising prices, so it’s more important than ever for companies to listen to employees and understand how best to support them. This is even more important for younger employees who often earn less and may not have large amounts of credit available. When almost half of young workers say that the cost of living makes them want a company-paid card for their expenses, it’s something that companies should seriously consider. It’s an easy – and free – way to show employees you care.

 “Giving employees credit cards also makes sound business sense. By setting restrictions on how and when, and where they can be used, it’s much easier to control purchases in advance, instead of having to wait for expense claims to come in after the fact. They also give much easier, accurate and timely insight into corporate spend, and the rebates that come back will also benefit the corporate coffers.”

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The luxury retail stores must also pay superannuation

Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that Australian retailers David Jones and men’s fashion company Cicero Clothing, trading as Politix, have been ordered to pay back AUD 1.9 million (1.28 million USD) and AUD 2.1 million (1.41 million USD), respectively to 7,000 underpaid employees.

In addition to back pay, the luxury retail stores must also pay superannuation and have each signed an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

According to the regulator, Politix underpaid about 850 employees a total of AUD 2.06 million (1.38 million USD) in wages and AUD 45,000 (30,332 USD) in superannuation between November 2016 to September 2020. David Jones underpaid about 2,800 employees a total of AUD 480,000 (323,548 USD) and AUD 1.4 million (943,663 USD) in superannuation to approximately 6,100 employees between April 2014 to September 2020.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said the underpayment were caused by failures in manual payroll processes, payroll system set-up errors, annual salaries that were insufficient to cover all entitlements, and failure to compensate training and classification secondments.

These failures resulted in employees being underpaid their minimum wages, evening, weekend and public holiday penalties, overtime rates and entitlements where they did not receive a 12-hour break between shifts as owed.

Both companies are part of South African-based Woolworths Holdings Limited’s Australian operations. Politix is part of the Country Road Group.

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A person or company can be liable for sexual harassment conducted by an employee or agent

Australia’s Fair Work Act has been amended to prohibit or ban sexual harassment in connection with work, including in the workplace.

The changes took effect from 6 March 2023 and expand the previous protections around sexual harassment in the workplace.

The protection applies to workers including employees, contractors, work experience students and volunteers as well as future workers, and people conducting a business or undertaking. The protection will not apply to sexual harassment that starts before 6 March 2023.

A person or company can be liable for sexual harassment conducted by an employee or agent in connection with work, including if they were involved in the employer’s contravention. This applies unless the person or company can prove that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment.

The Fair Work Commission now has greater powers to deal with workplace sexual harassment.

In addition to its existing ‘stop sexual harassment order’ powers, the Commission can deal with disputes about sexual harassment by conciliation, mediation, or making a recommendation or expressing an opinion.

The Fair Work Ombudsman stated: “Where a dispute cannot be resolved these ways, the Commission may also be able to deal with the dispute by arbitration if the parties agree. If this happens, the Commission can make an order: for compensation or lost wages; requiring a person to do something that’s reasonable to remedy any loss or damage suffered.”

The changes are part of the Australian Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation.

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28% of workers hope that their monthly salary will increase

According to a survey from Yes123 Job Bank, approximately 93.7% of office workers in Taiwan said that they are dissatisfied with the salary of their current job, an increase from last year’s 93.2% rate.

The 93.7% rate is the highest rate in ten years, the survey found.

Yang Zongbin, spokesperson of Yes123, said: “In order to truly evaluate the salary satisfaction of office workers, one should not only look at the ‘absolute value’ of salary, but also consider the length of working hours and workplace pressure.”

In terms of raising salaries, 28% of workers hope that their monthly salary will increase by at least TWD 5,000 (USD 163.83) this year. The overall expected value of the average salary adjustment stood at TWD 5,831 (USD 191.1), which is TWD 151 (USD 4.95) more than last year’s TWD 5,680 (USD 186.15), an increase of 2.7%.

Meanwhile, 59% said their salary had remained unchanged for at least three years, including 12% who said they had already been waiting at ten years for a salary raise. On average, it took 4.2 years before an employee received a raise, the longest period in 10 years.

The survey also found that the average office worker can tolerate a stagnant salary for 1.7 years. This exceeded the 4.2 years’ wage raise average the survey showed.

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71% of workers desire a stable job with a good work/life balance

According to a recent from Seek’s Jobstreet and JobsDB the Boston Consulting Group and the Network, 2023 will remain a jobseekers’ market in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, despite a possible economic slowdown.

The study, which surveyed 97,324 respondents in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, found that 34% of talent surveyed are actively looking for a new job.

The top three motivations for searching for a new job are: looking for a more interesting position or higher seniority (49%), lacking opportunities for upward career progress at current place (30%) and unsatisfied with salary and benefits at current job (27%).

According to the study, workers feel confident to look out for new opportunities despite fears of recession as majority surveyed are aware of their attractiveness to employers. It also found that 74% of talent around the region are approached multiple times per year about new job opportunities, and 36% of those are approached every month. In Singapore, these numbers are equally high at 75% and 31% respectively. In addition, 70% of the region’s respondents and 62% of Singaporeans feel that they are in a strong negotiating position when looking for a job.

Peter Bithos, Chief Executive Officer, Asia, Seek, commented: “When faced with a possible recession, the balance of power in the labour market tends to shift towards employers as hiring tightens. However, we believe the situation is different this time as many organisations in Asia are still recovering from the jobs lost during the pandemic. While hiring growth may slow down during times of uncertainty, there is no doubt that it is still a jobseekers’ market right now, and so it’s important for employers to know how to attract, recruit and retain talent.”

Among top priorities, the study found that 71% of workers stated that they desire, above all, a stable job with a good work-life balance. This preference is dominant across job roles, countries, and age groups.

This is in line with jobseekers’ deal breakers​ when​ looking for a new role, with 17% citing work-life balance as a deal breaker, ranking second only after financial compensation (22%). The amount of paid time off and job security is also important to jobseekers, with both categories ranking third.

The report showed that those working in IT roles are the most coveted talent across Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, as they are frequently approached with job opportunities on a weekly and monthly basis.

“Despite the waves of layoffs by tech companies in the region and around the world, the demand for tech talent still remains based on the report’s findings. This is consistent with Seek’s observation of a 29% YoY (2021 vs 2022) increase in job ads for tech roles in the region, based on data from our JobStreet and JobsDB platforms,” added Bithos.

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