Category: news

Flexible working encouraged as a solution to staffing issues

Constant staff shortages across all industries in recent months have resulted in chaos across all sectors from logistics to hospitality, including disruption within food production and airports such as Manchester.

Staffing agency GIG is countering this by encouraging businesses to embrace new ways of working and offering people the chance to find jobs that fit their lifestyles. They’re increasing their reach in the North West by reopening and expanding their Manchester office.

The British Chamber of Commerce advised that 76% of businesses faced recruitment difficulties in the second quarter of 2022. The manufacturing, logistics, and hospitality industries experienced some of the biggest struggles.

GIG is a staffing agency focused on maximum flexibility for its workers and clients. They see a model where workers can pick when and where they work, how many shifts they need and how often, and training to take on new roles.

Tony Carnall will lead the new office. Carnall has a long background in hospitality and is familiar with the challenges of keeping the sector and others like it well staffed.

Antony Woodcock, MD at GIG, said: “The recruitment crisis we’ve seen in the past year isn’t going away on its own, we’ve got to rethink what we offer potential workforces.

“Central to our ethos is understanding that everyone is different and the types of work they will want to do varies – there’s no one size fits all.

“Parents might want shifts that fit around childcare, more young people are looking for travel and new experiences and need a job to match – these opportunities aren’t always readily available and so we’re excluding valuable workers from the labour force.”

“But that flexibility can be a tricky path for many businesses to take, as they fear uncertainty – we wanted to create a system that gives businesses the opportunity to use flexibility in new ways”

Tony Carnall, Regional Manager, GIG’s Manchester office, commented: “I’m excited to be back working with the Team at GIG and getting our Manchester Office set up and running. Manchester has grown so much over the last few years that now feels the right time to bring what we offer at GIG to the city.

“My aim is to grow a strong, reliable workforce through regular recruitment and interview days, and building strong relationships with both our clients and candidates past and new.

“Having worked with sectors such as Hospitality, Warehousing and Events, I know how challenging staffing can be – but building strong relationships with our clients and workforces will help combat those issues.”

 

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HR profession becoming a priority for recruitment 

Recent research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has found that HR vacancies are likely to be up by 13.5% on 2021. The HR profession is becoming a priority area for businesses to recruit for.

According to the data provided by business intelligence specialist, Vacancysoft, internal recruiters are the most wanted specialists. Thirty-five percent of all HR vacancies this year have been for internal recruiters. Training/learning is sitting at 14% of total vacancies.

The specialism which is growing both in volume and share is HR generalists, at an increase of 64% as the monthly average between last year and this. The total share rose from 13% to 14.3%.

In terms of the sectors recruiting for HR, technology has had 3,994 vacancies so far, with 17.5% of the total number of HR jobs. Second on the list is Retail, with 3,833 roles so far (16.8%). Despite the importance of Banking to the UK economy, it is only responsible for 7% of HR vacancies in the HR sector. This is possibly linked to the cost-of-living crisis and the inevitable impact on the UK economy.

When looking at the different regions, London dominates with 8,995 vacancies this year, accounting for 39.6% of the total HR vacancies posted. The South East follows with  2,637 vacancies, accounting for 11.6% of HR vacancies.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, comments: “As the UK’s economic pressures mount, a decline in vacancies is to be expected. However, since the UK remains in the grips of a skills shortage, hiring teams and recruitment professionals alike will continue to be in high demand. While HR will have a key part to play in narrowing the skills gap, we will also need to call on the country’s policymakers to implement an internationally viable approach to boosting the UK’s access to skills, alongside building a more attractive entry route into the country for highly skilled self-employed professionals.”

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Only 6% likely to enter the Metaverse in the next 12 months

A new study has revealed that business leaders are enthusiastic about Metaverse working (the Metaverse is generally regarded as a network of 3-D virtual worlds where people can interact, do business, and forge social connections through their virtual “avatars.”) According to the study, two-thirds of leaders say Metaverse is the next step for hybrid working. Millions of workers, however, are concerned that their companies will be late adopters of the tech, and only 6% think their company will enter the Metaverse in the next 12 months.

The research undertaken by Regus found that 48% of businesses are looking for or building office space in virtual technology.

Leaders believe the Metaverse will significantly change how we work by enabling workers in different locations to interact via 3D avatars. Seventy percent think it will increase demand for flexible working by reducing the need for staff to work from the same office location.

It is also believed that the flexibility offered by the Metaverse will bring with it various other benefits, such as

  • More diverse workplaces (62%)
  • Improved mental health (57%)
  • Reduced presenteeism (54%)
  • Better relations between removed and office-based staff (54%)
  • New business opportunities (71%)

Despite bosses’ enthusiasm for the Metaverse, many office workers fear that businesses will be hesitant to take the plunge on the new tech:

  • 63% think their employer will wait to see how other businesses fare before investing in themselves
  • 46% think their company will be an early adopter of the Metaverse
  • Only 6% think their business will adopt the tech in the next 12 months
  • 33% expect it to take 3 to 4 years.

Employees appear to be enthusiastic about the quick adoption of the tech due to its perceived benefits such as:

  • Communication between team members (44%)
  • Teamwork (41%)
  • Remote working opportunities (40%)
  • Creativity (39%)

Concerning implementing the new tech, 56% of business leaders agree that shared office space will be key. In addition, 61% believe it will become essential for communications between different company offices.

In a different study, Regus found that three times as many FTSE 250 companies are planning to use a hybrid office model compared to those who plan to carry on as they were pre-pandemic. This suggests that the desire to work in the Metaverse will only increase.

Mark Dixon, Regus Founder and CEO, said: “Change in the world of work is almost always driven by technology. In the 90s email transformed the way we did business, while during the pandemic we turned to video conferencing to enable more effective working.”

“This data shows that business leaders expect the Metaverse to have a similarly transformative effect on hybrid working. It will enable better collaboration for people working all over the world, reducing the need to commute and allowing greater flexibility in people’s day to day working schedules.”

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First firm to achieve status for entire company

Digital media and marketing recruitment firm, Aspire, is the first staffing company to put its entire team through the APSCo Inclusive+ Recruiter training programme.

The course deals with the challenges that recruiters face in supporting their clients to attract and retain a more diverse workforce, including:

  • Building confidence and making the business case for ED&I
  • Supporting clients on their ED&I journey
  • Unconscious bias and how it impacts the recruitment process
  • Attracting diverse and underrepresented talent through inclusive job ads and building an inclusive brand
  • Inclusive recruitment practices, what they are, and how to implement them
  • An introduction to the Equality Act and the most important elements to consider before and during recruitment.

The training programme is designed for the recruitment sector and delivered by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). Adam Tobias from Inventum Group designed it.

Paul Farrer, Founder of Aspire, commented: “As a business, diversity and inclusion is part of our core. Not only have we inserted diversity clauses into our client terms, but we’ve also built diversity into our own people development and culture. As a sector that is so heavily involved in, and responsible for, building diverse workforces, it makes absolute sense that recruiters themselves should have an understanding of diversity, inclusion, biases and equality. Historically we’ve had a diversity task force in place to both audit our business and keep ED&I at the top of our agenda, for this reason our new starters are also required to go through our own diversity training. We also support the APSCo Embrace Forum to help drive diversity across recruitment and I am sure those members will take a lead and follow suit.”

“While diversity training is a must for recruiters working directly with candidates, we put all staff forward for Inclusive+ Recruiter as it is our responsibility as business leaders to embrace and encourage diversity for all, therefore all our UK people regardless of level or job role are now accredited. I would highly recommend this training for others in the staffing sector. It’s tailored specifically to recruiters, which means it’s not only highly targeted, but it also provides tangible takeaways that staff can implement. Hats off to Adam Tobias and APSCO for developing this practical initiative.”

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo added: “Recruiters have a crucial role to play in improving diversity, equity and inclusion in global workforces. We developed this training to help equip staff in the sector with the tools to be more diverse and I’m delighted with the response we’ve had since Inclusive+ Recruiter was launched. To see Aspire put its entire business through the training is testament to the firm’s commitment and passion to the cause.”

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Infinity Consulting Solutions has vast experience with interim professional placement offerings and expertise 

Korn Ferry has announced that it has acquired Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS).

Headquartered in New York, with nine offices throughout the United States, ICS offers substantial interim professional solutions expertise which will further enhance Korn Ferry’s industry-leading portfolio.

ICS is a widely regarded provider of senior-level IT interim professional solutions with additional expertise in the areas of compliance and legal, accounting and finance, and human resources.

The firm brings to Korn Ferry a vast network of senior IT professionals, a rigorous data-driven recruitment process, and deep relationships with a diverse mix of clients across multiple industries. ICS has also been recognised with the Best of Staffing Diamond award for 10 consecutive years.

Korn Ferry’s brand, vast intellectual property and five decades of organisational consulting expertise are a firm foundation for growing scale in today’s highly segmented executive and professional interim solutions market.

Gary D. Burnison, CEO, Korn Ferry commented: “Infinity Consulting Solutions will be a great fit, with interim professional placement offerings and expertise that are highly relevant for the new world of work. Today, Boomers are retiring and career nomads are looking for change – early and often. Our clients have entered a new reality where shortages of skilled labour are projected to persist, particularly in high-demand areas such as IT. Korn Ferry’s acquisition of ICS echoes our commitment to scale our solutions and further increase our focus at the intersection of talent and strategy – wherever and however the needs of organizations evolve.”

Doug Klares, CEO, Infinity Consulting Solutions said: “Now, with Korn Ferry, we will have a world-class global network of colleagues, vast IP and client connections at every turn. Our track record of success and deep interim professional solutions expertise, combined with Korn Ferry’s expansive organisational consulting credentials, will give us even greater opportunities to deliver client and colleague impact. We’re excited to be joining Korn Ferry and look forward to what the future holds.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to Korn Ferry’s adjusted earnings.

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More than a third of job seekers drop out of recruitment procedure

According to research published by Sterling, the majority (78%) of job seekers are dropping out or considering dropping out of the recruitment procedure due to lengthy and complex processes, exacerbating the skills crisis.

The data, which comes from a global survey of more than 1,200 HR professionals and perspectives from more than 3,700 recent job seekers, revealed that a third of those that dropped out said the hiring process was too complicated and 22% expressed an issue with the background screening process.

There is clearly a disconnect between employers and candidates as the research found that just 9% of HR professionals believed that candidates would find their hiring process complicated, despite a third of candidates exiting the process for this very reason.

According to Sterling, these results should be cause for concern at a time when skills are in increasingly short supply, with almost half of HR professionals surveyed revealing that they are unable to find enough candidates to fill roles.

Steve Smith, President International at Sterling, commented: “With skills in short supply across most of Europe, ensuring applicants have the best possible experience with a brand is of significant importance. However, this latest data indicates that a significant proportion of the candidate community is dropping out of hiring processes due to the complexity of requirements, suggesting the experience for the end-user isn’t as positive as it could be. There’s been a wealth of speculation that individuals are getting counter-offers which is leading to them dropping out of the hiring process due to opportunities elsewhere. While this may be the case, the insight from applicants themselves suggests there’s more to this issue that needs to be addressed swiftly. In the current economy, it’s simply not a viable option to overlook how important it is to provide an efficient and engaging hiring process for candidates.”

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17.0% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” down from 19.5% in June

According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence fell moderately in July following a larger decline in June.

It marked the third consecutive month of declines in the index, which now stands at a level of 95.7, down from 98.4 in June.

Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said that the decrease was driven primarily by a decline in the Present Situation Index. The Expectations Index held relatively steady, but remained well below a reading of 80, suggesting recession risks persist.

Franco said: “Looking ahead, inflation and additional rate hikes are likely to continue posing strong headwinds for consumer spending and economic growth over the next six months.”

Inflation and surging gas and food prices remained top concerns for consumers and weakened their expectations, Franco went on to note. Meanwhile, purchasing intentions for cars, homes, and major appliances have softened further in July.

Present situation

  • Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions was less favorable in July. 17.0% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” down from 19.5% in June. However, 24.0% of consumers said business conditions were “bad,” up from 22.8%.
  • Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was less optimistic: 50.1% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” down from 51.5% in June, and 12.3% of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” up from 11.6%.

Six-month outlook

  • Consumers’ optimism about the short-term business conditions outlook was mixed in July; 14.0% of consumers expect business conditions will improve, down from 14.6% in June. Conversely, 27.2% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 29.7%.
  • Consumers’ optimism about the short-term labor market outlook was also mixed;15.7% of consumers expect more jobs to be available, down from 15.9% in June. However, 21.4% anticipate fewer jobs, down from 22.2%.
  • Consumers were more pessimistic about their short-term financial prospects. The index found 14.7% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, down from 16.1% in June, while 15.7% expect their income to decrease, up from 15.3%.
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60% of companies said they need more employees to manage their workload

According to poll data released by Express Employment Professionals, companies are becoming more hesitant to hire amid worries about a possible recession and other concerns.

Nancy Reed, an Express franchise owner in Texas said: “In our market, the big fear is a recession. Businesses aren’t confident in the future, and recession talk has employers waiting to see what will happen next.”

According to Reed, employers have been tolerating more absenteeism, tardiness and less experience, but that is changing.

“Now, they are holding off to see what happens,” she continued. “Managers will hire that skilled employee who is ready to come back but are holding off hiring any extra help until they see what will happen with the recession.”

Businesses aren’t panicking yet, but there are signs of cautious hiring, said Chris Cary, an Express franchise owner in Virginia.

Cary said: “In one of our markets, we are not seeing this rear its head dramatically at the moment, but in speaking with business owners and leaders, there is a sense of what is around the next corner with inflation and chatter of a recession.”

According to a poll by Express Employment Professionals that took place in May, 60% of companies said they need more employees to manage their workload but don’t have the capacity to hire them. Of those who lacked the bandwidth to hire additional employees, 48% reported it’s because their company is adjusting its recruiting/hiring strategy. In addition, 42% said their company is waiting to see if the workload will level out before hiring additional employees.

Other concerns: 32% said upper management has not approved hiring of additional staff, and 32% do not have enough money in the budget this year to hire additional staff.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Express Employment Professionals by The Harris Poll and took place between May 3 and May 23. It included 1,003 US hiring decision-makers.

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Revenue for Microsoft as a whole rose 12% year-over-year to $51.9 billion

According to Microsoft Corp., LinkedIn revenue rose 29% in constant currency in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, up 26% on a reported basis to $768 million. However, LinkedIn’s growth was lower than expected as revenue from its marketing solutions advertising business was impacted by a slowdown in advertising spend according to CFO Amy Hood.

LinkedIn’s year-over-year revenue growth in the upcoming first quarter is not forecast to match the fourth quarter’s growth.

Hood made further comment: “For LinkedIn, we expect continued strong engagement on the platform, although results will be impacted by the slowdown in advertising spend and hiring, resulting in low to mid-teens rev growth.”

However, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella noted engagement on LinkedIn remains strong.

Nadella said: “We once again saw record engagement among the more than 850 million members, a testament to how mission-critical the platform is to connect job seekers with jobs, learners with skills and marketeers with buyers.”

Revenue for Microsoft as a whole rose 12% year-over-year to $51.9 billion. In constant currency, the increase was 16%.

CNBC reported revenue fell short of guidance and was the slowest revenue growth since 2020.

Microsoft also noted it had employee severance expenses of $113 million in the quarter, excluding Russia. Separately, the company had scaled down its operations in Russia and recorded operating expenses of $126 million related to bad debt expense, asset impairments and severance.

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Risk of employee burnout on the rise

A new survey revealed that 60% of employees feel that their employers have actively discouraged them from taking annual leave. One in 10 workers also feels unable to ask for mental health leave.

In reaction, HR experts urge employers to prioritise annual leave and promote healthy working habits to avoid burnout.

The Annual Leave Allowances survey from Just Eat for Business shows how office workers use their annual leave allowance, how their employer promotes holiday entitlement, and how time off and flexible working impacts work-life balance.

The survey also found that 1 in 5 office workers cannot take time off work due to staff shortages and reduced resources.

With 44% of workers reporting feeling very burnt out and a third finding that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the most stressful aspect of work, these leave challenges are concerning.

Will Foster, Professor of Leadership at Keele University, commented: “It’s essential that if the ‘espoused’ values of the organisation include employee wellbeing and restorative breaks, then leaders need to allow that to happen and do more than pay lip service. Management must do the hard work of ensuring the structures, roles, responsibilities and staffing levels align so employees can take a ‘true rest’ when needed.”

Anni Townend, Leadership Partner, said: “Annual leave is an important part of a much bigger picture of looking after our life-work balance and of creating a positive work culture.

“Increasingly people are realising that there’s huge value in taking micro-breaks during the day as part of managing employee wellbeing, as well as longer macro-breaks like annual leave. The danger of not doing so is that we lose our ability to switch-off and to disconnect from work. This can impact our sleep patterns and our ability to concentrate, as well as cause extreme mood swings and a weakened immune system.”

Claire Lassier, Senior HR Consultant at Pure Human Resources, weighed in: “Annual leave should never be seen as a perk. Everyone needs a break to maintain their health and wellbeing, and ultimately to maintain their performance levels at work. Some organisations mandate that a set amount of annual leave is taken within each quarter of the year to ensure that employees use leave on a regular basis: others need to limit how much can be taken during their peak periods.

Restricting the amount of discretionary carry over at the end of the leave year and reminding employees on a regular basis to plan ahead and book time off can help ensure that people take time out throughout the year – for the benefit of the individual and the business alike.”

Rosie Hyam, People Partner at Just Eat, also commented: “Given the emphasis on employee well being and work-life balance over the last few years, it’s essential that employers are receptive to flexible working arrangements, and that they allow employees to take time away from work when needed.

“And it doesn’t have to be a big break – organisations may want to carve out some time to ensure that employees can take a break and socialise with colleagues during the working week. This can be done through in-office lunches, socials or team bonding activities.”

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