Category: Employers

Half of employees don’t want to pay for activities themselves

According to a survey by Just Eat for Business, called The Lunch Break Bonding survey,  the majority of UK workers (82%) want their workplace to provide more team-building events.

Over 200 UK-based organisations were surveyed, and results were segmented by role (executive, management, CEO), region, and business size.

The survey reveals that after 18 months of largely remote working workers are desperate to reunite with their teams with 75% saying they would enjoy their workplace more with more regularly-scheduled team building events. According to results, larger organisations are interested in getting to know their colleagues better with 93% of organisations with 300+ employees wanting more frequent socialising opportunities.

The majority of workers (62%) said they’d enjoy their workplace more with increased team social events in order to create a friendlier working environment. When it comes to how workers like to socialise, the survey found team lunches were the favourite work perk (40%), followed by escape rooms (31%), team vs team competitions (31%), lunch & learns (26%), mixology classes (21%) and quiz or trivia nights (20%).

More than half of office workers (51%) said they were less likely to attend a team building event if they’re required to pay for all or a portion of the cost. Within teams, it’s management-level employees that are the most put off by having to contribute financially.

The study focussed on gaining an understanding of how team building events can improve the workplace. For CEOs and business owners, the most important outcome was creating a friendlier work atmosphere (67%), while executives valued showcasing company culture.

Robin Dunbar, Psychologist at the University of Oxford, comments on the study said: “This whole process of creating a bonded community depends on engagement in various activities, one of which is eating together, and that just creates a sense of belonging. It has huge knock-on consequences for your health, physical health and mental wellbeing, by virtue of forming friendships. In addition, it fosters a sense of loyalty to the organisation.”

Matt Ephgrave, Managing Director of Just Eat for Business also weighed in on the findings.  He said: “It’s encouraging to see that office workers at all levels are eager to increase the frequency and quality of team building activities, particularly given that many organisations are either heading back into the office, or learning to operate remotely.”

Share this article on social media

Lack of transparency around salaries hinders women

A recent survey from Glassdoor, the jobs and insights agency, has found that women across the UK are at a disadvantage because of a lack of transparency around salaries. A mere 25% of full-time employees in the UK strongly agree that their employer is transparent about pay with 54% of workers admitting they aren’t comfortable discussing their salary with their boss.

The survey suggests that the lack of discussion around pay is contributing to inequality for women. Sixty-seven percent of female workers didn’t ask for a salary increase in 2020, which equates to 30% more than men. In the last year, 35% of those working in the female-dominated industries of education, healthcare, and hospitality asked for a wage increase compared to 62% of those working in the traditionally male-dominated world of finance and 56% in tech.

According to the results of the survey, women are also 26% less likely than their male counterparts to ask for more money in the next 12 months, with 37% of women planning to ask for a pay rise next year.

The survey revealed that over half (56%) of women admit they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise and as a result, only 33% of female workers negotiated the salary of their last job offer (compared to 45% of men). Two in five (43%) women revealed that they simply accepted the salary that was offered to them (compared to 35 percent of men).

Nearly three in four of all employees (73 percent) got the wage increase they asked for last year, indicating that women will continue to miss vital opportunities to increase their earning potential.

Jill Cotton, Career Expert at Glassdoor commented: “Workplace transparency is a hallmark of many successful companies and more transparency is needed in the future. One in two women admit to lacking confidence at work – companies should open an honest discussion around salary from the point that the role is advertised and throughout the person’s time with the organisation. Having clear salary bands limits the need for negotiation which, as the Glassdoor research shows, has a detrimental effect on female employees’ ability to earn throughout their career.

Share this article on social media

80% of industries reporting record job vacancies

According to the latest labour market stats from the ONS, October saw 29.3 million employees, up by 160,000 on the revised September statistics. However, it was noted that it’s possible these figures may change while furloughed staff, who were made redundant, work out their notice period. But responses to the ONS survey suggest that redundancy numbers are likely to be a small share of those still on furlough when the scheme came to an end.

The Labour Force Survey estimates that for July to September 2021 the employment rate increased 0.4 percentage points on the quarter, to 75.4%. ONS reported that the increase in employment was because of a record high net flow from unemployment to employment. Total job-to-job moves also increased to a record high, largely driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during the same period. The rise is also driven by an increase in part-time work and an increase in the number of people on zero-hour contracts, driven by young people.

The unemployment rate decreased 0.5 percentage points to 4.3% while the inactivity rate remained unchanged at 21.1%.

But we have yet to see the full effects of the end of the furlough scheme and the relevance of zero-hour contracts in these figures. David Head, Director at TALiNT Partners commented: “Zero-hour contracts, if implemented ethically between employer and employee, are perfect because they allow flexibility in the workforce and allow businesses to expand and contract whenever necessary. However, having vast numbers of people on zero-hour contracts will inevitably mask the true numbers of the unemployed.”

The latest figures show that the number of job vacancies in August to October 2021 continued to rise to a new record of 1,172,000. This is an increase of 388,000 from pre-pandemic numbers of January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the 18 industry sectors showing record highs.

During the quarter, annual growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.8% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.9%. Annual growth in average employee pay has been affected by temporary factors that have inflated the headline growth rate. These factors are now waning and will have a smaller impact on growth rates, according to the report.

James Reed, Chairman of REED commented on the continued increase of job vacancies: “This ongoing rise in job vacancies is a positive sign of the economy’s continued revival. Rapid job creation means there are plenty of opportunities to go around, and not just for those recently off furlough, but also for others who have faced long or short-term unemployment as well as those already in work who are seeking a new challenge.

“After experiencing a cautious labour market during the pandemic when job opportunities were restricted and workers were less incentivised to move, there has never been a better time to look for a new role than now.”

Share this article on social media

Does your company suffer from toxic positivity?

A recent study by Leadership IQ, an employee engagement and leadership training company, found that an organization that pretends everything is fine or sends companywide memos avoiding topics that can’t be positively spun might be suffering from “toxic positivity”.

Toxic positivity in organizations is often seen when leaders avoid sharing or discussing the tough challenges they’re facing. The study showed that only 15% of employees believe that their organization always openly shares the challenges facing it. By contrast, 42% said their company never or rarely shares its challenges.

There’s a long-standing belief among many leaders that talking about tough issues scares people and worsens the situation where the reality is the opposite. The study found that if an employee believes their company openly shares the challenges facing it, they’re about 10 times more likely to recommend it as a great employer.

It’s not just sharing organizational challenges where toxic positivity appears, however.

In a complementary study, The State of Leadership Development, more than 21,000 employees were asked to what extent their leader responded well to hearing about problems. Disturbingly, a mere 26% of employees said that their leader always responds constructively when employees share their work problems.

Developing resilience

The key to developing resilience, optimism, self-efficacy, and a host of other emotional-wellness skills is to acknowledge reality, not to deny, avoid, or dismiss it. Wallowing in misery will, of course, increase negative feelings. But denying misery or tough challenges is even worse.

To avoid toxic positivity, leaders need to accept that their employees are not clueless and can’t handle reality. In fact, ignoring or dismissing reality is one of the fastest ways to undermine employees’ trust in leadership. Instead, leaders should acknowledge reality and then focus their efforts on developing and explaining plans to make that reality better.

“Toxic positivity is an excessive and distorted form of positive thinking. It’s putting a positive spin on all experiences, no matter how dire or tragic,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Burgio-Murphy. “For example, you could be experiencing toxic positivity when a friend or boss minimizes or refuses to acknowledge your negative feelings. Or perhaps they go further and try to spin your dire situation in a positive way, like ‘this is a blessing in disguise’ or ‘all things happen for a reason.”

Please share any newsworthy content with debbie@talintpartners.com 

 

Share this article on social media

Reskilling workforce key to plugging skills shortage hole

The newest McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling has highlighted the urgency needed to address massive skills gaps across all industries. The accelerated move towards digitization and remote work has placed new demands on employees who now require different skills to support significant changes to the way they work and to the business priorities their companies are setting.

Most of the survey respondents said that skill building (more than hiring, contracting, or redeploying employees) is the best way to close skills gaps and that they have accelerated their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the start of the pandemic. The results also pointed towards a shift in the most important skills to develop, which leaned towards being social and emotional in nature, for example, empathy, leadership, and adaptability.

The survey suggested that the need to address skill gaps is imperative with most respondents (58%) saying that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. And of five key actions to close these gaps – hiring, contracting, redeploying, releasing, and building skills within the current workforce – skill building is more prevalent now than it was in the months preceding the pandemic. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that their organizations do more skill building now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

The redeploying of talent to new roles often requires some degree of skill building and has become more commonplace over the past year with 46% of respondents reporting an increase in redeploying talent within their organizations.

Additionally, the results of the survey suggested that this commitment to skill building represents more than a one-time investment. More than half of respondents said that their companies plan to increase their spending on learning and skill building over the next year, compared with their investments since the end of 2019.

 

 

Share this article on social media

As we come out of the pandemic, the economy has bounced back faster and stronger than anyone imagined and the number of jobs available are at record levels.

In general, it is always wise to treat dramatic headlines or simple phrases with a large pinch of salt. My rule of thumb is this: does the person promoting the headline have an interest in it being true? If so, approach with caution.

Likewise, any survey that takes ‘intent’ and translates it into ‘certainty’ should also be handled with care. For example, a statement that ‘60% ofcandidates intend to change jobs in the next six months’ does not mean that is what’s going to happen. For the last 10 years I have fully intended to lose 10kg and do a triathlon and yet both are but still unachieved!

Which brings me to the ‘great resignation’. Despite the ubiquity of the phrase, it’s been surprisingly hard to find compelling evidence to support that it’s actually happening.

Let’s look at the evidence in favour. As we come out of the pandemic, the economy has bounced back faster and stronger than anyone imagined and the number of jobs available are at record levels. It is also a fair assumption that there is an element of catch up from candidates who have wanted to change jobs since last year but were nervous about doing so. Another factor is that September is historically an active month for jobs changes.

It is also increasingly understood that employers who refuse to consider more flexible working patterns or who appeared indifferent to the challenges of their employees during the pandemic may suffer some sort of backlash. But the ‘great resignation?’ I’m not so sure.

Let’s consider the other side of the argument. Many industries are still very challenged with employees terrified, not just about changing jobs in their sector, but about losing the one they have. There are still around one million workers about to come off furlough which will have some impact on re-dressing the imbalance in the labour market.

And if we are to talk about the ‘great resignation’, we must also look to its equal and opposite force ‘the great retention.’ The vast majority of HR and TA people can not only read, but they can count and think and figure out that something needs to be done. Whether that’s increasing salaries (around20% should do it) creating more flexible working patterns even for employees who are still required to be on site for 100% of their jobs, looking at innovative learning and development initiatives and so on and so on, they know they need to respond, and they are.

So yes, we do have a truly unique labour market right now, and no, the mismatch between supply and demand won’t last forever. In the meantime there will be a higher degree of market movement than usual but ‘the great resignation?’ I don’t think so.

Whilst the pandemic has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the fact that the best employers attract and retain the best talent but that doesn’t make much of a headline.

Share this article on social media

55% of businesses make use of the contract workforce

Based on a survey of over 4,500 people, Sonovate’s Future World of Work report reveals that freelance and contract work is on the rise post-pandemic, but 31% of SMEs routinely pay them late; with more than half of those freelancers and contractors stating that late payments impact their ability to pay their bills on time.

While small and medium sized SME owners are keen to attract contractor workers to address skills gaps failing to pay them on time could lead to them missing out on talent opportunities.

The survey revealed that 74% of SMEs said they see the benefits of hiring freelance or contract workers for specialist support over having to invest in a permanent workforce.

Over 40% of SMEs that use freelance labour admitted they often wait until the last day the payment is due before paying contractors. However, this isn’t necessarily the business owners’ fault with half (50%) saying that late payments from clients or customers impact their ability to pay their workforce on time. 

Sonovate’s research shows that over half (55%) of SMEs that use freelance labour have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of people looking for temporary or contract work since the start of the pandemic with nearly four in ten workers (36%) saying they would like to move to a more flexible way of working but are worried about the uncertainty of pay. Over half (56%) said they would only work for a company which had a track record of paying wages on time and 64% think the Government needs to do more to enforce the prompt payment of invoices. Almost half of freelancers (48%) refuse to continue to work with businesses that are late to pay them. 

Richard Prime, co-founder and co-CEO at Sonovate, commented: “The Report shows us that freelance and contract workers have spiked in popularity since the start of the pandemic, with the crisis opening our eyes to new ways of working.” 

Share this article on social media

2.7 million workers to set up their own business  

According to a study recently published by Aviva, two thirds of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months. This number indicates that 22 million workers are seeking some kind of change to their careers.  

The intended changes range from reducing hours, to moving roles within an organisation, to choosing a different career path completely. 

The number of people planning to set up their own business is now around 2.7 million* workers (8% of workers) while the proportion planning to get a similar role in a different company has risen from 5% to 8% over the same period. 

The proportion of workers planning to reskill now stands at 11%. However, this figure increases to 15% among those aged 35 to 44, suggesting people are taking stock of their careers; with 9% of workers wanting to take a different career path.  

Planned career change over the next 12 months  Percentage of workers July 2020  Percentage of workers February 2021  Percentage of workers October 2021 
I plan to find a role which will allow me to work from home  10%  10%  10% 
I plan to retrain / learn new skills  9%  10%  11% 
I plan to gain more academic qualifications  8%  8%  9% 
I plan to follow a completely different career path  7%  9%  9% 
I plan to find a role which helps others / makes a difference to those in need  6%  8%  8% 
I plan to set up my own business / work for myself  6%  7%  8% 
I plan to increase my working hours (e.g. part time to full time)  6%  7%  8% 
I plan to reduce my working hours (e.g. full time to part time)  6%  7%  9% 
I plan to move companies but stay in the same industry/role  5%  6%  8% 
I plan to find employment after losing my job  4%  4%  4% 
I plan to retire  4%  6%  7% 
I plan to find a new role but with the same organisation  4%  6%  7% 

Nicki Charles, Retail MD, Customer, Aviva General Insurance says:“Benefits that were once seen as luxuries are now being viewed as essentials. While the pandemic has been devastating in so many ways, people are seeking out silver linings and a more progressive approach towards working is just one of these outcomes.” 

Share this article on social media
Two thirds of businesses intend to increase tech spend 

According to the Digital Leadership Report, a collaborative study by The Harvey Nash Group, CIONET and Massachusetts Institute of Technology CISR, the positive economic growth in the UK tech sector is under threat as massive skills shortages continue. This comes as companies signal their intentions to increase technology investment (61%) and headcount (66%) – record levels – but have limited talent to support it.

The study found that the UK’s tech skills crisis is at its highest with 8 in 10 digital leaders reporting that following the pandemic, new life priorities of staff is making retaining talent even more difficult. Forty percent of leaders in the UK admit they can’t keep key people as long as they’d like because they’re being lured away by offers of more money. Only one in three organisations (38%) have redesigned their employee offer to make it attractive to staff in the new hybrid working world.

Other findings included:

  • There has been record tech investment and headcount growth rising by over a third (36% and 37% respectively) since 2020.
  • The impact of skills crisis on business growth means that 66% of digital leaders in the UK are now unable to keep pace with change because of a lack of the talent they need.
  • Cyber security is the most sought-after tech skill in the UK with 43% indicating a shortage, followed by big data/analysts (36%), and technical architects (33%).
  • A lack of developers (32%) has been identified amongst the three jobs with the worst skills shortages in the UK behind HGV drivers and nurses. Harvey Nash Group says that this shortage correlates with the report’s finding that companies are focusing on creating new products and services, and therefore need developers to do that work.

Bridging the skills gap 

Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group commented:  “With businesses planning record levels of digital investment, we could be standing on the verge of a ‘second renaissance’ for technology. Organisations are looking to push their digital transformations further and faster than ever before, putting technology at the very heart of how they operate. This will take them beyond being merely ‘tech-centric’: technology will literally be dispersed throughout the business, everywhere.

“But these ambitions are coming under threat from the acute skills shortages that are now worse than ever before. In fact, businesses face a triple whammy. They lack the supply of skilled resource they need; they have not yet evolved a new and effective employee proposition for the hybrid working world; and the skills they need are themselves changing as technology develops at pace. Digital leaders need to rapidly assess their needs and find solutions if their plans are not to be derailed by this potent cocktail of challenges.”

Bev White will be sharing some of these insights and what that means for recruiters at the TALiNT PointSix Lunch & Learn: Post-pandemic tech priorities for recruiters: How to build the best business case for the next phase of tech transformation on 24 November.

 

Share this article on social media

Nearly half of UK employees have suffered from excessive stress over the last year, leading to 10% leaving their jobs

According to Google search data, the last three months have seen a 221% spike in searches for “signs of burnout”. Experts are warning that we’re seeing a “burnout build-up” for employees, which is likely to grow as we move into the winter months.

This is the culmination of a year of heightened risk of burnout among employees, with the latest data showing a 31% overall increase in searches for “signs of burnout” over the last 12 months – when compared to the previous year.

Today, National Stress Awareness Day, experts are urging HR and leadership teams to pay attention to the issue, particularly as winter approaches; it’s a time of year when mental health concerns often surge.

Excessive stress is a major predictor of burnout and other mental health impacts. A mental health and employee stress study, speaking to employees from over 500 companies in the UK, found that almost half of employees in the UK (47%) experienced excessive stress at work in the past year. This is a big challenge for employers who are trying to retain their talent, since one in eight have considered leaving their current role because of excessive work-related stress. Statistics show that one in 10 workers have in fact resigned in the last 12 months for this reason.

The research revealed some of the biggest impacts of stress. These are an inability to sleep (reported by 41%), physical health impacts (30%) and withdrawal from social interactions and relationships (26%).

What can HR teams do to tackle excessive stress?

When employees were asked about the support received from their workplace, one in every eight employees felt they didn’t receive the required support. A quarter of employees reported that the greatest cause of excessive stress in their job role was an unmanageable workload. This was followed by financial concerns, with 24% saying the excessive stress was a result of inadequate pay, which left them struggling to pay their bills. Dissatisfaction with employers and managers was also a significant contributing factor, with 18% of employees saying that management was poor or lacking, and 17% reporting a lack of support from their company.

Claire Brown, qualified life and career coach, says: “Employees should be encouraged to prioritise their health and wellbeing above productivity by taking regular breaks from the screen and getting fresh air where possible. Providing alternative and innovative ways for connection and communication between team members is also valuable.

“By adopting a flexible attitude and approach to how and when work is completed, this alleviates some of the pressure and mental strain. As always, communication is key. It’s important for employers to be fair and realistic about what is possible and to seek opportunities to provide practical support to help team members manage their workload.”

Share this article on social media