Category: Employers

The latest ONS labour market figures remain stable

The highlights of the period between June and August 2022 show an employment rate of 75.5%, 0.3% lower than the previous quarter. The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.5%, 0.3% lower than the previous quarter and the lowest rate since 1974.  It is worth noting that the previous quarter (March to May 2022) had a notably higher employment rate than other recent periods meaning that the employment rate drop appears more significant.

The number of job vacancies in July to September 2022 was 1,246,000 a reduction of 46,000 from April to June 2022.  Vacancies fell by 3.6% in July to September and is the third consecutive fall.

Joanne Frew, employment law expert and Interim Global Head of Employment & Pensions at DWF, commented: “Although the so called ‘Great Resignation’ remains an issue for many employers, these figures indicate that the labour market is starting to slow down after a particularly volatile period.

“It will be interesting to see what impact the change of government may have on the labour market. With all EU-derived employment law under review following publication of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill and suggestions that the Government may be considering introducing “no fault dismissals” for higher earners, many employees may feel more hesitant to move jobs until it is clear what impact the new bill may have on workers’ rights.

“The ONS figures show a fall in regular pay by 2.9% for the period between June and August 2022. With the cost of living crisis biting, employers will need to consider new and innovative ways to help support their workforce during this difficult period – from increased flexibility to help reduce childcare costs to one off bonuses (where financially possible) to help with rising costs.”

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54% of organisations struggling to recruit say hybrid working models aid attraction and retention

Omni RMS has warned that financial incentives are not a long-term solution to the UK’s skills challenges, this in response to reports from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which have revealed a 6% increase in average total pay – including bonuses – between June and August this year.

Louise Shaw, Managing Director, Omni RMS commented: “While the ONS has reported a decline in vacancy numbers in September, these levels remain higher than pre-pandemic jobs, which suggests that competition for top talent is still rampant across the country. When recruitment gets tough, it’s easy to look at the financial incentives that can be offered to attract top talent. But on a longer-term basis and with general costs rising across the UK, this isn’t sustainable for all businesses.

“There will certainly be a need for pay rises as the cost-of-living crisis worsens, but for employers and HR teams there’s a range of other tactics that can be implemented to attract and retain top talent. In fact, in our own research with the CIPD we found that 30% of employers who had recruited in the past 12 months indicated that advertising roles as ‘open to flexible working’ is amongst their most effective recruitment method.

“More than half (54%) of organisations who have had recruitment difficulties are offering greater work flexibility to address this, while a further 49% say their use of hybrid/remote working has greatly or somewhat increased amid hiring struggles.

“There is a constant battle for top talent, and it’s important that businesses assess what they can realistically offer candidates and what they can improve upon to retain existing employees. Unrealistic salary inflation is not only unsustainable for employers, but will also have limited success long term, with retention rates likely to drop as financially-driven individuals jump ship to gain further pay increases.”

Vacancy numbers still up on pre-pandemic figures

While vacancy numbers have declined according to the ONS, APSCo agrees that the recruitment is still tough despite this fall.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo commented: “While there’s certainly a slowdown in hiring activity that doesn’t mean that the recruitment struggles the UK has been experiencing have eased. The continued decline noted in unemployment levels alongside vacancy levels which are still up on pre-pandemic numbers, shows that the labour market is still struggling through a shortage of highly skilled individuals.

“The uptick in the number of self-employed workers further supports the idea that there is a shortage of experts across the professional recruitment sector. While this will certainly be aided by the repeal of Off Payroll announced in the Chancellor’s Mini Budget, the full impact of this won’t be felt until Q2 2023 when the legislation itself is repealed.

“Reliance on the contractor market alone won’t be enough to fill the skills void being felt across the UK. Just this week we saw reports of the country facing a ‘brain drain’ of scientists and engineers as Brexit continues to drive highly skilled individuals out of the country over funding concerns.

“The UK’s labour market needs strengthening on a number of levels. Up-skilling the workforce is a long-term solution but it will take time and won’t help resolve the immediate challenges employers are facing. We need a dynamic, flexible workforce that recognises the nuances between self-employed contractors and agency workers on lower wages who require greater legal protection to prevent exploitation. International trade negotiations also need to focus on skills and services as much as products to allow UK firms greater and easier access to globally mobile talent.

“There also needs to be complete co-ordination between education institutes, employers, industry bodies and relevant Government bodies to drive a more sustainable and future-proof skills strategy for the country.”

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Mentions of “burnout” increased by 86%

Even though the pandemic brought the mental health of workers into sharp focus it’s two years on and new data from Glassdoor has revealed that employee discussions around burnout, overwork and mental health are continuing to increase.

According to the survey of 2,000 workers by Glassdoor, one in two (52%) people consider work/life balance a key contributor to good mental health and a priority when job hunting. So to help job seekers understand what it’s really like to work at a company, this World Mental Health Day Glassdoor has revealed the top 20 companies that employees say are the best for work/life balance in the UK.

THE COMPANIES GETTING WORK/LIFE BALANCE RIGHT

The research2 by the Glassdoor Economic Research team found a steep increase in mentions of burnout, overwork and mental health in employee reviews between 2019 and 2022. Burnout saw the largest increase, soaring 86%, while mental health mentions climbed 21% and overwork 15%, indicating many workers are still struggling to find a good work/life balance.

Glassdoor economists also analysed more than 400,000 reviews by UK-based employees who each shared anonymous feedback and ratings on their employer’s approach to work/life balance to compile a list of the  UK’s highest rated companies for work-life balance.

For the second year running, employees ranked The Office for National Statistics (The ONS) as the best company for work-life balance in the UK, scoring 4.6 out of 5. The ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is the recognised national statistical institute for the UK.

The top 10 UK companies for work/life balance are:

  1. The Office for National Statistics (4.6 Glassdoor Work-Life Balance rating out of 5)
  2. Heron Foods (4.6)
  3. Fidelity International (4.5)
  4. ServiceNow (4.5)
  5. AND Digital (4.5)
  6. Hyperoptic (4.5)
  7. Bank of England (4.4)
  8. Sage (4.4)
  9. MBDA (4.4)
  10. Schroders (4.4)

Analysis of ratings by industry found that employees ranked tech as the best sector for work-life balance, with a rating of 4.0 out of 5. Aerospace & Defence (3.9), Media and Communication (3.9) and Legal (3.8) followed.

Industries with the lowest work/life balance ratings are Transportation & Logistics (3.3), Retail & Wholesale (3.3) and Restaurants & Food Service (3.1).

FLEXIBLE WORKING HELPS EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE 

When it comes to job satisfaction, Glassdoor’s Economic Research team found that work/life balance is more important to employees than pay. Furthermore, the study showed that flexible working – whether from home, the office or hybrid – can help achieve greater work–life balance as flexibility allows employees to work in a way that best suits their lives.

The survey found that most flexible workers surveyed report better work/life balance (59%) and improved general happiness (60%). These employees also feel better able to attend to personal responsibilities, such as caring for children or life-admin (59%) and have more autonomy over their work (70%). More than half surveyed (53%) also say flexible working has helped with the rising cost of living.

Jill Cotton, Career Trends expert at Glassdoor commented: “The stigma around discussing mental health in the workplace is lessening, and there is increased awareness of how our mental state can affect our productivity at work and our overall happiness. The Glassdoor list showcases amazing examples of companies which have implemented multiple initiatives to help protect their employees’ wellbeing. This includes offering flexible working which allows employees to balance their home and work lives in a way that works for them.

“However, there is still a way to go – UK workers remain overworked, and burnout is on the rise. Employers need to create a transparent culture and provide a range of support to protect employees’ wellbeing.  Workers who are struggling with their mental health or work-life balance should feel comfortable to be open with their team or line manager and ask for support and help in setting boundaries.”

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It’s the biggest deceleration in salary in a three-year history

According to the ADP National Employment Report, US private-sector employment rose by 208,000 jobs in September compared to August, but growth remains below the three-month average. All of September’s job gains were in the service-providing sectors. In addition, the job gains in August of 185,000 was revised upward from the 132,000 initially reported.

ADP’s report also found mixed news in terms of pay data in September.

Nela Richardson, Chief Economist at ADP commented: “We are continuing to see steady job gains. While job-stayers saw a pay increase, annual pay growth for job-changers in September is down from August.”

ADP noted September’s job gains appeared as schools reopened and pandemic concerns faded.

In terms of pay, job-changers’ annual pay rose 15.7% in September, down from a revised 16.2% in August — it’s the biggest deceleration in the three-year history of the report’s data. For job-stayers, annual pay rose 7.8% in September, up from the 7.7% in August.

Here are the jobs added in September by sector:

  • Goods-producing, down 29,000
    • Natural resources/mining, down 16,000
    • Construction, 0
    • Manufacturing, down 13,000
  • Service-providing, up 237,000
    • Trade/transportation/utilities, 147,000
    • Information, down 19,000
    • Financial activities, down 16,000
    • Professional/business services, up 57,000
    • Education/health services, up 38,000
    • Leisure/hospitality, up 31,000
    • Other services, down 1,000

The ADP National Employment Report is an independent estimate of change in US private employment and pay derived from actual, anonymized payroll data of client companies served by ADP. It’s produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab.

The report was recently revamped and is no longer a forecast of the private payroll numbers produced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS is slated to publish its report on August jobs data on Friday.

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Younger demographics vying for in-person learning and development opportunities

Though no strangers to a digital life, research from global workforce creation company Unispace  has revealed that Gen Z rely heavily on the professional and social structure of the office, with 78% finding it easier to bond with colleagues in the workplace and 81% feeling disconnected from their peers when working from home.

Gen Z crave in-person socialisation 

The data, taken from a study of 3,000 office workers, a third of which were in the earlier stages of their career, also revealed that the majority (79%) of Gen Z respondents felt more active when working in the office, while among older workers this figure sits at 66%. Most early careers professionals (60%) also admitted that work-from-home restrictions made them value the office more whereas this figure stood at just 43% for older workers. This suggests that Gen Z values the structure, socialisation, and support that a physical office provides more than older members of the workforce.

A lack of peer-to-peer learning

According to the study, younger demographics are also vying for learning and development opportunities from peers, but want to be able to access this in person. The vast majority (80%) of Gen Z respondents indicated that access to training would encourage them back to the workplace. The same percentage said they would be happier to return to work if they knew their team was going to be in the office, underlining the importance of face time for those in the earlier stages of their careers.

Despite the evident value that the younger generation put on the physical workplace, just 11% say they are happy with the way their office is set up, which is indicative of a huge opportunity to better support Gen Z in the workplace and subsequently bolster early career recruitment and retention.

Stuart Finnie, Head of Design at Unispace, commented: “With Gen Zers now accounting for around a third of the global population, for employers looking to beat the competition, considerations must be made to improve the quality of the environments they provide. Those employers who consider their workplace and generational needs, will be able to not only engage and retain their best talent, but also attract new staff in our current candidate-led jobs market.”

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The average person spends around 23 days a year commuting to and from work

With 24% of Brits hybrid working and 14% working from home exclusively, a large part of the workforce still travels to and from work daily with evidence stating that even an extra 10 minutes of commuting can drastically reduce overall job satisfaction. New research from the flexible working company Easy Offices ranked the worst commutes across the UK.

Who has the longest commute?

It comes as no surprise that Londoners have it the worst, with research showing the average Londoner spends 80 minutes travelling to and from work by car, train or bus daily, racking up around 27 hours a month of travel time.

Outside of the Capital, residents in the Surrey town of Guildford face the second longest commute in the country, at 58 minutes a day and 19 hours a month.

The research, conducted by the ONS, looked at the median commuting time across the country and all transport types to determine who spends the most time travelling to work.

Of the top 10 regions with the most extended travels, East London has it the worst, with commutes in places like Chelmsford, Luton, Cambridge and Huntingdon taking up to 19 hours a month.

On the opposite end of the scale, residents in North West London have it the best, with those in Carlisle and Burnley travelling for just 28 minutes a day or up to 11 hours a month.

See below for the top 20 longest commutes:

City Minutes Spent Commuting Per Day Hours Spent Commuting Per Month
London 80 27
Guildford & Aldershot 58 19
Chelmsford 56 19
Bridgend 56 19
Luton 52 17
Eastbourne 52 17
Nottingham 52 17
Cambridge 50 17
Huntingdon 50 17
Reading 50 17
Barnsley 48 16
Bedford 48 16
Bristol 48 16
Birmingham 48 16
Canterbury 48 16
Leeds 48 16
York 48 16
Coventry 48 16
Derby 46 15
Worcester 46 15

The future of flexibility

It’s alarming to note that the average person spends around 23 days a year commuting but rising costs and a difference in how we work is changing this.

Half of Brits (46%) would like to work from home more often to avoid mounting fuel costs, and 30% would prefer their companies to offer a flexible hybrid approach, which enables people to choose which days to work remotely vs in the office.

With that in mind, more companies can help their teams combat increased costs and improve workplace satisfaction by offering more flexibility, not just in how they work but where they work too.

John Williams, Chief Marketing Officer at Easy Offices said: “With an extensive portfolio of coworking space, serviced and managed offices in the UK, Easy Offices can help commuters find an office that is flexible, affordable and ideally located to shorten the daily commute or even cut it out. We know that commuting can add stress to the workday and at Easy Offices we are committed to helping reduce the workday stress across the UK.”

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90% of executives say skills are becoming the way their organizations are “defining work”

According to a recent report published by Deloitte, organizations that use skills-based practices, such as career mapping for skill sets and hiring that focuses on ability instead of degrees, outperform their peers that don’t do so. However, many organizations are struggling to make significant changes amid calls for workplace agility, Deloitte noted in its report.

Some of the changes mentioned in the report extend to the function of the job itself; with 60% of executives surveyed saying that “fractionalized work,” or work that allows workers to flow between tasks based on their skills or interests, would create better value for an organization. And a number of workers said that “broadened work,” or work that is structured around broad problems to be solved, would be the best way to organize work.

While almost 90% of executives surveyed reported that skills are becoming the way their organizations are “defining work, deploying talent, managing careers and valuing employees” — and 90% of organizations said they are “actively experimenting” with skills-based programming — 59% of workers surveyed said their organizations still value degrees and job experience over “demonstrated skills and potential.”

There was however a disconnect noted by various organizations, even as President Joe Biden made public calls for workers to consider “skills not degrees.”

According to a Cengage report from July, a majority of employers surveyed still require degrees for entry-level jobs, due in part to questions over the value of credentials and other nondegree signals of skill. But many recognized that removing that requirement would help them find workers.

Similarly, 72% of employers in Morning Consult survey data released in August reported that they didn’t see degrees as reliable signals for candidates possessing the right skills, but just over half admitted they still hired from degree programs because it felt less risky. Young workers are also wary of the risk; only 31% surveyed said nondegree programs were a better long-term investment than a degree, and 65% were worried about choosing the wrong path altogether.

Surveyed employers who have pushed for skills-first programming noted that it required a complete rebuild of their job descriptions and positions. But by doing so it helped them remove barriers to significant sources of talent, one organization said during a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs virtual event in July.

As agility once again comes into focus with employers entering the post-pandemic era, skills will likely remain a top priority for organizations, Deloitte’s report noted.

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Employees avoid working from home due to concerns over increase in energy costs

A new report published by Global expenses app, ExpenseOnDemand, shown that as the cost-of-living crisis starts to impact millions across the UK, travel expense claims are surging, as employees start to reduce time working at home to keep energy bills down. The data revealed that mileage and travel expense and claims have increased by 21% while entertainment claims by 15% showing that employees are spending more time out visiting contacts, clients, and colleagues.

According to the report, the trend for working from home is starting to shift as employees are leaving the house to keep energy costs down, however, the cost of the commute to the office doesn’t make going back to the workplace a viable option. Hence, many employees are focussed on meeting and entertaining clients and contacts as a way to spend time away from their home office during the working week. For those with cheaper commutes, many are heading back to the office for the majority of the week and this trend is expected to continue throughout winter.

Sunil Nigam, Founder at ExpenseOnDemand, commented, “We could be looking at a situation where workers want to spend more time meeting clients or in the office to better manage their domestic energy and electricity costs.

This trend is naturally causing a surge in employee expenses. Companies need to ensure they are equipped to manage claims and also monitor dubious expense claims, as employees may try to increase their income. We use advanced tech solutions to make managing expenses seamless, minimise bogus claims and help our clients ensure they aren’t overpaying on expenses.”

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69% of employees feel as though they have a good work/life balance

According to research from HR software company Personio, has found that HR teams are most at risk of budget cuts, with half (52%) of HR managers stating that their HR department often loses out most when budgets are trimmed, and a further 55% already having seen budgets cut, or expecting cuts, in the coming months.

As tougher economic conditions loom, contracting HR budgets could significantly limit UK businesses’ performance and their ability to remain resilient.

Also, despite much talked about concerns about staff retention, 50% of UK HR managers reported that their senior leadership team doesn’t prioritise their employees with 56% saying the business doesn’t place enough value on the HR function.

With the research revealing that only just under a quarter (24%) of UK HR managers feel that they are prepared to help their business remain resilient in an economic downturn. In its report Personio advised businesses to avoid sudden HR department budget cuts and short-term decision making that could potentially damage organisational competitiveness, employee morale and productivity, just when businesses need it most.

Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio, commented: “HR should be even more of a priority now, not less. Successful businesses put their people and culture as central to critical business operations, one that will protect their company, and their customers in tougher times.

“We’ve just come out of a period when many employers have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at their people in an attempt to hang onto them. If they are not thoughtful before they rush to scale back efforts now, their teams will realise it was never really about making their business a great place to work at all. Businesses need to foster a sustainable, long-term approach to looking after their talent, one that works in both good times and more challenging periods.

“But this more strategic HR role can only be achieved when organisations have the technology, data and systems in place that free HR managers up to focus on their people while providing them with the insights they need to be effective. Budgets may be under threat, but people strategy is an area that absolutely must remain a focus.”

The research, which surveyed 500 HR professionals and 1,000 workers across the UK and Republic of Ireland, found that as businesses have prioritised the employee experience during the recent pandemic, positive progress has clearly been made by HR teams with 69% of employees feeling as though they have a good work/life balance, and 73% rating their company culture as good.

Yet the research also highlighted the HR functions’ concerns that budget cuts will be detrimental to employee performance, with 61% of HR managers concerned that budget cuts will negatively affect employees’ motivation and productivity – putting HR’s valuable work and progress at risk.

And with HR managers citing a good company culture (38%), a sustainable, long-term approach to people strategy (37%), and efficient processes (37%) as the top three most important factors in navigating an economic downturn, it’s clearly never been more important that HR departments are equipped with the tools and financial support that they need.

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The Top 100 Staffing Companies issue of TALiNT International is out now! This latest edition of the go-to read in the total talent ecosystem is a true collaboration that not only celebrates the incredible growth that staffing firms have yielded over the last year, but is also a culmination of commentary and insight from members of TALiNT Partners’ membership programme, guest contributors and more.

The jewel in this crown is most certainly the the Top 100 Staffing Companies rankings. TALiNT Partners ranked staffing firms in the UK according to turnover and they’re delighted to see several TALiNT Partners members come out on top!

We spoke to Ben Kaminsky, Founder and CEO of EVA.AI | Powering HR 4.0, and discussed the conversational and predictive AI that engages users from a friendly process automation platform that personalises the digital experiences of candidates.

Other features include Harnessing the hidden workforce which unpacks how recruiters can bring more marginalised talent into the workforce and help employers remove unnecessary barriers to more diverse, resilient, and loyal talent; how DE&I has become an important differentiator for recruiters and why ESG is fast moving to centre stage for recruiters and their clients and much more.

Read the full magazine here: https://hubs.ly/Q01m_cXL0

This issue of the magazine will also be printed in limited numbers and distributed to our members and delegates at the World Leaders in Recruitment Summit on 13th of October.

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