Category: Employers

Workers across Britain are missing out as the UK lags the rest of the world when it comes to public holidays, with the lowest number in a comparison of more than 170 nations.

This was the finding of research by digital coaching firm Ezra, which cross-referenced the number of public holidays on offer with average daily net income to work out where workers received the most amount of money per year for not working on public holidays.

Taking both measures into account, the UK moved significantly up from the bottom of the table, but it still failed to make it into the top 30, with workers having an average income of £570 for bank holidays.

Switzerland, on the other hand, offers the biggest benefit to workers. With the average person in the country earning a net income of £130 per day and with 24 public holidays per year, the average public holiday pay check is an impressive £3,131.

Luxembourg came in second, with its 15 public holiday days per year and average earnings of £120 per day equating to £1,802, while in Israel, the 24 days of public holiday led to a total of £1,796 in earnings for time off.

Commenting on the findings, Nick Goldberg, Founder of Ezra, said: “Public holidays are a great way to boost national sentiment and offer an opportunity to come together and celebrate as a nation, whether it be in memory of a historic moment or simply a long weekend.

“It’s interesting to see that those nations offering some of the highest levels of income also offer a good level of public holidays and it goes to show that motivation and productivity aren’t solely dependent on working all hours of the day.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has launched revised Codes of Compliance, which it says are tougher and even more transparent than previous versions.

Following a review that took five months, the new codes provide added assurance to agencies, hirers and contractors, according to the FCSA.

In particular, member firms must now provide more transparency to contractors, particularly in relation to holiday pay in umbrella employment contracts and on payslips.

Umbrella companies have come under repeated fire this year, with claims some unscrupulous providers withhold holiday pay and other benefits owed to workers. In April MP Ruth Cadbury went as far as to call for umbrella firms to be banned due to “significant malpractice” in the industry.

Legitimate umbrella providers have argued, however, that especially given the introduction of new IR35 rules earlier this year, there’s a clear need for such structures.

“As market conditions change so too must our codes,” said Phil Pluck, the FCSA’s Chief Executive. “This is to ensure the highest standards of compliance are continued to be met by our member firms. Which is why now, we’re announcing the launch of our latest Code revisions.

“The most comprehensive and compliant set of evidence-based standards now exist in our sector. No one else in the sector can give contractors or the supply chain this level of assurance.”

The FCSA has also introduced new pre-requisite and due diligence checks on all new applicants, which must be passed before proceeding to the accreditation assessment stage.

It said each step in the assessment process is conducted by independent and regulated accountants and solicitors, all with considerable experience in the sector. No member of FCSA staff, the board or membership are involved in this process.

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E-current account provider Unizest has launched a new service to help international candidates open a bank account in the UK and enable recruiters to offer a better start to new overseas workers by arranging payments.

Supported by Mastercard and Railsbank – and recruiters including Response RecruitmentAustralasian Recruitment Company and Tri Consulting – Unizest allows workers and students coming to the UK to open an e-current account before they leave their home country and they receive their Debit Mastercard upon arrival.

“On a daily basis, we have overseas workers walking off the street into our office looking for employment,” says John Devine, MD at Response Recruitment. “Many can’t open a traditional UK bank account but obviously need to set up a basic banking service. We can now offer Unizest’s new e-current account. It’s a win-win for recruiters, their clients and candidates,”.

Matt Oldham, co-founder of Neofin Ventures – the company behind Unizest’s launch – says; “Our aim with Unizest is to ensure that all newcomers to the UK, whether that be for work or for study, are given the best start when embarking on their new life here. We want to help smooth the transition by removing one of the biggest hurdles they face – setting up basic banking services. By kick-starting the process of getting an account, before new hires even arrive in the UK, Unizest enables businesses to focus on the many other processes and aspects of recruitment.”

Unizest, which has attained Pending B Corp® status, has become an approved service partner of the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), which promotes responsible recruitment. “We are pleased to welcome Unizest as an ALP service partner and look forward to their e-current account helping to promote good practice,” says David Camp, chief executive of the ALP.

It has also partnered with Just Good Work to provide overseas workers with independent advice and guidance on work and life in the UK – including rights and obligations, recruitment and employment information directly on the app.

“People coming to a new country to work or study are making a big life change,” says Quintin Lake, director of Just Good Work. “By partnering with Unizest, Just Good Work provides practical help and support at every stage in multiple languages. Whether that be understanding how things work here or getting sound advice in avoiding deception or exploitation. We are excited to be supporting Unizest, who share our desire to protect and support people newly arriving in the UK”.

Unizest customers can manage their money through the Unizest app – available to download on iOS and Android. Onboarding includes five steps, linking to the Home Office Share Code to ensure customers have a confirmed right to reside in the UK, making the set up simple for Unizest users.

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The quest for ‘meaningful work’ is the most important factor in choosing a job, according to a new survey by leading financial recruitment company Core-Asset Consulting.

In a survey of professionals working across the financial, accounting and legal sectors in Scotland, people were asked to rank the importance of eight factors in choosing a job.

Key findings:

  • ‘Meaningful work’ was most frequently ranked as the top reason in people choosing a job
  • ‘Pay & benefits’ was the most commonly cited 2nd, 3rd and 4th factors
  • ‘Flexible working’ was most frequently cited as the least important factor

Factors:

  • Career progression
  • Company reputation
  • Location/length of commute
  • Flexible working
  • Meaningful work
  • Pay & benefits
  • Work-life balance
  • Working culture

Commenting on the survey, Betsy Williamson*, Managing Director of Core-Asset Consulting, said:

“It may come as a surprise to many that ‘meaningful work’ is the most common number one factor in people choosing a job, particularly as this is a survey of financial, accounting and legal professionals.

 

“But however you interpret the term ‘meaningful work’, it seems clear that white collar professionals are now seeking much more from their career than material rewards. The implications for employers is far reaching.

 

“To retain valuable employees, companies need to clearly articulate the driving purpose of its firm beyond the simple pursuit of profit, and how a particular department, team and individual fits into this bigger picture. This can include things such as the creation of a financially secure future for customers, tackling environmental issues and transforming local communities.

 

“Failure to do so not only means employers will have staff retention issues, they will also struggle to attract the very best talent.

 

“It’s very much a candidate-driven market now – particularly in hard-to-fill areas such as risk and compliance. Companies that recognise the importance of ‘meaningful work’ will do better in attracting and retaining the best people.

 

“But all this comes with a caveat: ‘over-selling’ roles comes with a similar risk of creating disillusioned employees. A delicate balance must be struck between aspiration and authenticity.”

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61% of people looking for a new job in 2017 say they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code.

Meanwhile, the majority of UK workers say they would feel more productive and put more effort into their appearance if there wasn’t a dress code, according to a study by Stormline.

78% of respondents said that even without a dress code, they’d still make an effort to dress well and would make a clear distinction between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’.

Of those, 91% said they felt the quality and condition of what they wore was more important than whether it complied with a dress code and they would be more likely to spend more on clothes if they had more choice in what they wore.

68% said they were more likely to trust a well-dressed colleague to do a good job than someone in the same position who ‘didn’t make an effort’, but clothing style and formality didn’t have a significant influence on perceptions of competence. This suggests that we want to dress to impress, but resent being told what to wear.

Of those who are required to observe a dress code which is sometimes relaxed (for example on ‘dress down Friday’), 61% say they feel more productive when the dress code is relaxed.

Attitudes to company dress codes between the sexes

Women Men
A strict dress code would give me a negative perception of a business 60% 62%
A strict dress code would give me a positive perception of a business 22% 24%
A strict dress code would not change my perception of a business 18% 14%
I believe workplace dress codes are discriminatory to the opposite sex 63% 77%
I believe workplace dress codes are discriminatory to my sex 81% 61%
I am more productive and happier when I can dress how I like (only respondents who work somewhere with a dress code that is sometimes relaxed, for example on ‘dress down Friday’ answered this) 58% 64%
I don’t believe workplace dress codes are useful (only respondents who work somewhere with a dress code answered this) 78% 82%

When asked to select the dress code requirement – from a list of common requirements –  that gave the most negative impression of a business, people were most likely to select something that affected themselves due to their sex.

The most commonly selected dress code requirement among women (59%) was being asked to wear high heeled shoes. Among men, the most commonly selected item was being required to wear a tie (41%).

Other requirements that created a negative impression of a business were restrictions on piercings (men – 12%, women 19%) and requiring tattoos to be covered up (men 17%, women 10%).

Occupational health expert, Sir Cary Cooper CBE, professor of organisational psychology & health at the ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, believes that formal dress codes have had their day. He said, “Uniforms and workwear that protect the wearer or help them be identified have obvious utility, but I don’t see the point in asking someone to wear a tie around their neck or to specify the colour of their shoes.

“Employers should trust their people enough to let them dress how they please. They may wish to advise on items they don’t want to see in the office, but to specify what they must wear is highly patronising.

“We must also consider the challenges of a formal dress code for people with disabilities, both hidden and visible, and chronic illnesses. Psoriasis sufferers, for example, may struggle wearing a buttoned up collar but may not feel confident in asking for exemption from the dress code.”

Regan McMillan, director of Stormline, thinks dress codes are useful to some industries and a hindrance in others and commented, “I think there’s a big difference between workwear, uniforms and dress codes. If you’re working in a dangerous environment, for example fishing, then the rules are about safety. If you’re public-facing, a uniform can help people identify you when they need you, but I can’t really think of a good reason why a web developer or a project manager would want – or need – to be told what to wear.

“Yet businesses in the UK still seem oddly keen on making their talent dress in specific, often very restrictive ways. Our research suggests that this sort of attitude could actually be harming businesses and their ability to attract the top talent, while creating some low level disgruntlement among their teams.”

Case Study

One respondent to the study, who didn’t want his name to be published, said that the dress code in place at his current place of work is the primary reason he is looking to move on.

He said, “I work in the I.T department of a financial services business, so on the one hand we’re a regulated company in a serious industry, but on the other hand, myself and my team spend a lot of our days in server rooms or under desks unplugging equipment, so wearing a suit just means we waste a lot of time taking our jackets off and putting them on again.

“The company policy here is strict, to the point that shoes must be black, men must be clean-shaven and shirts must be plain, not patterned. Ties are compulsory. I resent being told how to dress, especially when a lot of my friends who have similar jobs can dress how they like, doing the same work, but for more progressive companies.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Claire Leigh, managing director of Brampton Recruitment, shares her thoughts on holiday pay and how temporary workers can ensure they receive what they are entitled to.

Temporary workers have a contract with an agency, but work on a temporary basis for an employer. This differentiates them from full-time employees and the self-employed.

The Agency Worker’s Regulations (2010) which details a worker’s rights, state that all temporary workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday a year, pro rata.

As temporary workers may not have consistent hours, many do not understand how to calculate their holiday pay and entitlement.

Holiday pay is accrued at a rate of 12.07 per cent of gross pay, therefore it is important that workers keep a detailed record of their earnings.

To put this into context, if a temporary worker is paid £7.50 per hour they will accrue holiday pay at the rate of just over 90p per hour.

Keeping a record of how many hours they have worked may also be useful for temporary workers, but is not essential for calculating holiday pay.

Twelve weeks

Although holiday pay begins accruing immediately, after twelve weeks a temporary worker is entitled to the same working conditions and basic pay, or to be paid within the same salary bracket as a permanent member of staff doing comparable work.

In terms of holiday pay, this means if permanent workers are entitled to more than the minimum of 28 days paid holiday, a temporary worker should receive the same if they have been working for more than twelve weeks.

However, employer benefits which are calculated through a payroll system, such as healthcare might not be offered to a temporary member of staff. After twelve weeks if a temporary worker is with the same agency they will be enrolled onto an autoenrollment pension.

Help and advice

Recruitment agencies should be the first point of contact for any temporary workers concerned or confused about holiday pay or benefits. At Brampton Recruitment, we explain these rights upon registration and again upon placing a candidate in a role.

Temporary workers who have found their role through Brampton Recruitment will have this information in writing in a new starter pack, however we encourage anybody registered with us to get in contact for further advice if it is required.

Alternatively, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides advice on all areas of employment law, on its website and helpline.

As more people are turning to temporary work, it is essential that this growing pool of workers are aware of their rights. Although legislation can be confusing, help is available to ensure temporary workers fully understand their entitlement to paid holiday and other benefits.

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Digitisation, strategic workforce planning and more agile HR are among the most pressing people management issues HR leaders should focus on during the post-pandemic phase.

That was the finding of a large-scale study carried out by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).

The two organisations surveyed more than 6,600 respondents in 113 countries and interviewed more than 30 executives at leading companies and start-ups worldwide for the report entitled Creating People Advantage 2021: The Future of People Management Priorities.

“Our results offer critical guidance for CHROs, senior people management executives, and all other leaders – including CEOs – aiming to build a future-proof workforce and workplace to support execution of their company strategy,” said Jens Baier, a senior partner at BCG and co-author of the report.

Key focus areas
The report considered 32 people management topics, ranking them according to the future importance of each topic, as well as companies’ current capabilities for addressing each one.

The authors then came up with a list of three key priority topics, broadly defined as areas that respondents recognised as being highly important in future, but where their current capabilities were lacking.

The first was digitisation, including the use of new technologies such as people analytics, cloud-based applications, AI and robotics.

The authors noted that ‘digital, AI, cloud and robotics in HR’ was the capability ranked lowest by those surveyed, and by some way.

“This is a distressing result, given the prevalence of technology in all aspects of a company’s operations, including people management,” said the report.

The second was talent, including strategic workforce planning, leadership development, upskilling and reskilling, and working with an ecosystem of employees, contractors and other types of labour.

Within that, a key finding in the report was the need to create personalised experiences for employees. Of the survey respondents, 85% said focusing on employee needs and expectations was a key factor in succeeding in the increasingly intense war for talent.

“Companies today must navigate an exceedingly challenging business environment – and strong, proactive people management is the only way to ensure that companies have the right talent in place to succeed,” said Bob Morton, President of the WFPMA and co-author of the report. “A data-driven, objective approach that places people at the front and centre of work can help HR leaders allocate scarce resources to the most urgent priorities.”

The final topic identified was the future of work, including more agile HR, the incorporation of ‘smart’ work, and change management.

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The recovery of family businesses from the pandemic will be crucial in the rebuilding of the UK economy, according to not-for-profit membership organisation IFB Research Foundation (IFBRF).

 

The IFBRF’s latest report revealed that family firms were in rude health before the onset of the pandemic. Its research found that in 2019, family businesses made up almost 30% of the UK’s national income.

 

In the same year, more than 100,000 new family businesses were created across the UK, with 5.2 million family firms in total, employing more than 14 million people.

 

Sir Michael Bibby, Chairman of the IFB Research Foundation, said: “This latest report from the IFB Research Foundation shows how, before the Covid-19 pandemic, family businesses were playing a critical role in the UK economy. The evidence highlights how the sector had been performing well and was largely optimistic about the future.

 

“The pandemic is likely to have had a dramatic impact on the outlook, and expectations of many UK small and medium-sized enterprises and this report will give us a great base from which to analyse the changes especially given some of the sectors in which family firms are most concentrated have been those hardest hit by Covid-19.”

 

IFB Director General Elizabeth Bagger added: “This report from the IFB Research Foundation clearly shows how significant family businesses are to the strength, stability, and success of UK private enterprise. Before the pandemic, family businesses were growing exponentially. Family firms are the driving force across all regions, communities, and sectors of the UK and as such, are pivotal to the future prosperity of the country as we emerge from the pandemic. We must therefore ensure that family businesses are supported to recover and grow.”

 

She said that government-funded initiatives such as Evolve Digital, run by the Lancaster University Management School and part of a national research study aimed at feeding into government policy on small family businesses, should prove useful in helping businesses navigate the changing landscape.

 

“Supporting the adoption of new technologies can help family firms improve their processes and foster innovation, with the move towards these new technologies a trend which has been accelerated by the pandemic.”

 

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The combination of the large-scale downsizing of recruitment teams last year and the huge hiring surge this year has led to a significant increase in the number of companies using project RPO.

For a report commissioned by talent outsourcing and advisory firm AMS, Aptitude Research surveyed 342 TA and HR leaders at director level and above to understand the key drivers of project RPO.

Some 42% of survey respondents said needing help to face a hiring surge was the biggest reason for using project RPO. A similar percentage (40%) reported that their recruiting teams had been downsized in 2020.

“The challenge for many employers globally is that hiring hasn’t just increased slightly, many TA teams are dealing with significant spikes in hiring, while doing so with fewer internal resources in a highly competitive talent environment,” said Maxine Pillinger, Regional Managing Director for EMEA at AMS.

“We’ve been working with our RPO clients globally on a project basis for years, but now we’re seeing an increased level of demand for a partner to help them meet their short-term demands while they still support the ‘business as usual.”

Multiple secondary drivers

The second largest driver of firms’ decisions to opt for project RPO was reducing the time taken to fill vacancies, with 75% responding that with project RPO they were able to reduce their time to fill to less than 30 days.

Expanding into new markets (31%), supporting high growth (27%) and having fewer recruiters and resources (23%) were the other main drivers.

The report outlined that while traditional RPO partnerships often lasted more than two years, project RPO engagements are most commonly for less than six months, and for more than 70% of firms they are for less than six weeks.

But as is outlined in a new TALiNT Partners white paper, this lower level of commitment, combined with the current high demand, has led many RPO providers to become increasingly choosy about which projects they take on.

The report, entitled: The art of saying ‘no’ and the rise of ESG’, presents insights from an event co-hosted by TALiNT Partners and Cornerstone-On-Demand, with views from leaders at Gattaca, IBM, Lorien, Reed Talent Solutions, PeopleScout, KellyOCG, Hudson RPO, Green Park Interim & Executive Ltd, Aston Holmes, Armstrong Craven, Manpower Group Talent Solutions, LevelUp HCS, Datum RPO, Group GTI, RGF Staffing, Page Group, Resource Solutions and Comensura.

Providers get picky

A number of guests at the event said the high level of demand in today’s marketplace meant they were having to push back on some clients, either turning down work or tempering expectations about when projects could start.

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director at Lorien, said: “The market is exceptionally busy, especially on the tech and professional side. We’re starting to notice more urgent requests from customers looking for recruitment team augmentation or a head to manage workload. Sometimes the ask is just for a price rather than a detailed proposal, which can indicate they may not have a clear idea of exactly what they need, just that they know they need help”.

Several providers said the sector’s own talent shortages have become a barrier to taking on all the work currently on offer. “The market challenge is always quality of workers in recruitment to support growth and enable the flexibility for new offerings. We haven’t learned from past downturns and upturns in demand,” said Adam Shay, Global Marketing Director of Resource Solutions. Nick Greenston, CEO of Retinue Talent Solutions agreed, adding that the industry has focused on growing outsourced juniors instead of attracting and retaining more experienced talent.

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There are encouraging signs that the recent rebound in hiring extends beyond crisis-hit sectors such as hospitality and retail, with skilled vacancies also on the rise.

According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker, postings for jobs in hospitality and leisure have started to level off, but adverts for professional and skilled occupations rose at the end of June.

In particular, demand was high for education staff, likely due to seasonal fluctuations within the sector. In the week of 21-27, there was a 13.6% rise in adverts for teaching and other education professionals and a 6.3% rise in demand for school secretaries.

The occupation that saw the highest weekly increase in job postings was market research interviewers, with demand up 15.7%.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, welcomed the positive data, but warned there was a need for a plan that “reforms the skills system”.

“Sustained momentum in our jobs market is great news, but vacancies and unemployment don’t just resolve themselves – it takes support to help people find their new role. Rising job adverts for roles that require key skills to get hired – from IT to haulage – highlight the ongoing need to put the skills and job search support people need in place.

“Tackling this mismatch, in the context of a tightening labour market, should be a priority for government and businesses, working together. We need to act now to make sure we do the right thing for jobseekers and our economy.”

Critical roles unfilled

His view was echoed by a report published last week by the Professional & Business Services Council and the Financial Services Skills Commission.

Research for its report, entitled Skills for future success, found that almost one-third of employers in the sector reported skills shortages that resulted in vacancies, with thousands of critical roles in areas such as data and technology going unfilled.

This was leading to increased workloads for staff, higher operating costs and firms struggling to innovate or meet quality standards.

The report said the pandemic had exacerbated trends already in play, with factors such as automation, digitisation, globalisation and changing workforce demographics meaning the skills gap was widening.

Another key finding was that regional employers often struggled to find the talent they needed and the report’s action plan made several recommendations aimed at improving skills across all of the regions.

It suggested that addressing the skills gap within the sector could boost its yearly output by 12%, equivalent to an annual rise of £38bn by 2038.

Mark Hoban, Chair of the Financial Services Skills Commission, said: “Urgent action is needed to build an enduring skills culture across the UK and build a sustainable pipeline of high-level skills. Not only is this vital to delivering on the government’s aims on levelling-up, doing so is essential to developing the digital expertise we need to drive forward industry’s priorities such as improved customer outcomes, realising the full benefits of investment in digitisation and fostering far greater diversity and inclusion in our industry.”

Diversity play

While not in the same industry, a unique virtual work experience programme launched last week by National Grid and HR tech firm MyKindaFuture aims to do just that.

The week-long initiative, available to Year 12 and 13 students in South London, has been designed to give students insight into the energy sector, which needs to fill 400,000 roles by 2050 if the UK is to reach its net zero target.

One of the key goals is to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director at MyKindaFuture, said: “Covid-19 has caused uncertainty for everyone, but those from disadvantaged backgrounds have been the hardest hit, and it is time to give back to them. Gaps in social mobility have grown and school closures have led to far greater inequalities in accessing education resources than we have ever seen. By being virtual we are able to get to these underserved communities and help those that need it the most.”

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