Category: news

Is this perk the answer to stress and burnout?

Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced in April that they were moving their senior employees onto a ‘flexible vacation’ policy, allowing for time off when needed instead of fixed maximum days per annum. Junior staff will still receive the statutory leave requirements.

The new policy requires all employees to take at least 15 days off, this in an attempt to change a culture that has previously left bankers depleted and exhausted.

This move can be a powerful recruiting tool. A recent Fortune and Harris Poll survey showed that half of employees preferred the idea of having unlimited paid time off to a higher salary.

For the most part, this move is applauded by employees and observers, especially in light of an increasingly burnt-out workforce.

The question is whether this is the great benefit everyone expects it to be and whether it will change the culture in a competitive environment such as Goldman Sachs?

Kiki Stannard, Managing Director at ZEDRA, commented: “It’s well known that employers are determined to keep their best and brightest employees, particularly those who work the hardest and contribute the most. With 24/7 connectivity nearly everywhere globally, finding time away from the demands of a stressful job are becoming more and more difficult. It is often a challenge for those in the highest demand to get a decent amount of time off to rest and recuperate properly –  both physically and mentally –  never more so than in the world of financial services.

It may have come as a surprise to many to read that internationally renowned investment bank, Goldman Sachs, announced that senior staff are being moved to a ‘flexible vacation’ policy which will permit time off when needed and not adhering to fixed maximum days per annum.

Having been hailed as progressive for the industry and designed to encourage a decent amount of time off to support health and wellbeing (there will be a minimum level of time off for junior staff which aligns with the statutory requirement in any event), will there really be any change in culture or attitude at Goldman Sachs – often viewed as fiercely competitive?

In the US, the tech sector has actually been offering unlimited vacation for many years which might sound like a significant benefit where vacation is around ten days plus public holidays.

The reality however can be quite different.

  • The unlimited vacation is only on the basis that the employee’s work is done, or the break will not disrupt the business, often leading to employees logging on regularly whilst they are away
  • Confusion can arise around the use of the policy and different interpretations as to exactly what amount is acceptable as ‘unlimited’ according to who your line manager happens to be
  • There can be an inclination to cancel a day’s leave when something urgent comes up at work
  • Blurring of the lines can be seen where there is a performance issue requiring careful management or additional employee support
  • Does unlimited vacation just mask real sick days?
  • Does unlimited vacation result in a duvet day for anyone who is just not that motivated?
  • How can you shake that Monday morning feeling when you know that not turning up today is ok?

Unlimited holidays can work for some businesses and sectors, but this type of policy won’t work for every company. In today’s environment it might act as a great benefit to entice new, often younger, starters to join a company. It’s always important to engage with staff and key stakeholders to get a better idea of the appetite for such a policy before committing and if there is desire, prepare thoroughly to avoid any negative ramifications to individual staff and company morale.”

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The programme provides a full-time curriculum to train participants in a bid to stave off skills gaps 

SAP SE announced the launch of its Partner Talent Initiative. The initiative aims to identify and train new and existing talent in the SAP Partner Ecosystem in order to support increasing demand within the IT channel for skilled certified professionals.

Participants who complete the programme will graduate with three SAP certifications before re-entering the partner ecosystem as graduates who are ready for employment. The programme provides full-time curriculum designed to certify IT professionals in crucial and high demand areas including  RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud as well as an introduction to SAP S/4HANA Financial Accounting.

Two cohorts have already started the programme and following successful completion, graduates will begin a three-month intensive training program that will equip them with the professional and personal skills needed to become an SAP consultant.

SAP’s partners are in demand as the SAP EMEA North cloud services market is growing at CAGR of 16% which has resulted in a digital skills gap. The new programme is open to both recent graduates and those working in complimentary industries and will help address existing gaps in talent by equipping graduates with the skills and qualifications that they need to find employment in the partner community.

Participants will receive ongoing support and continuous feedback from delegates, instructors and the wider partner team throughout the training period and will also have an executive welcome and kick-off event upon joining. Participants will be given the option of attending a physical graduation ceremony upon completion.

SAP also announced that a business development fund (BDF) incentive to partners who recruit, train and certify new consultants under the Drive2Deliver partner capacity initiative.

The Partner Talent Initiative also includes:

  • Access to enablement content for members of SAP partner ecosystem
  • First-hand practice on live SAP software training systems
  • Expert-led and peer-to-peer learning environments
  • Opportunities to obtain SAP Global Certification digital badges and stay current with ongoing technology advances

Celine Cazali, chief partner officer, SAP UK & Ireland, made comment: “By launching the Partner Talent Initiative, graduates of the program will learn invaluable skills, helping customers and partners successfully become Intelligent Enterprises and provide high-quality services. Through a rigorous curriculum, combined with continuous feedback and support, our programme will equip the next generation of consultants with the mindset, skills and ambition needed to succeed in the channel and beyond.”

Paul Cooper, chairman, UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), also commented: “We welcome the creation of the Partner Talent Initiative as it will help address a potential skills gap in the future. Our most recent member research highlighted that many organisations are concerned a lack of available skills will impact the speed their organisation moves to SAP S/4HANA. A thriving partner ecosystem with more certified talent will be essential in supporting customers’ SAP S/4HANA journeys and developing the next-generation workforce.”

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Lack of well-being benefits for SME works 

A recent survey revealed that 65% of SME employees are hesitant to take sick leave when working from home.

The survey, conducted by HR Software provider Breathe, looked at the current state of well-being among SME employees. The survey was conducted across 1,264 UK SME employees, and the respondents were asked a series of questions regarding sick leave, mental health, and remote working. The goal of the survey was to establish whether the pandemic had a lasting effect on the working world and the impact of hybrid working.

According to the data, there is an ongoing pattern of presenteeism, with 65% of respondents saying they are less likely to take sick leave when working remotely and 42% of respondents feeling the need to prove their productivity while working remotely.

Of the workers who didn’t take sick leave, despite feeling unwell:

  • 32% could not financially afford to take time off work
  • 25% were too busy to do to take time off
  • 21% didn’t want to let their colleagues down
  • 20% felt pressured to work through it

The data suggests a lack of benefits aimed at employee well-being. Seventy-two percent of SMEs do not offer well-being days despite 35% of workers feeling that well-being days would be helpful.

The survey also found that only half of SMEs offer flexible working, even though 67% of the respondents believe that WFH supports work-life balance and overall well-being

Another finding was that 54% of SME employees work overtime when WFH. Forty-four percent of employees struggle with feeling ‘seen’ by their employers. A further 47% said they were less inclined to take a lunch break when working from home.

The survey also found that:

  • 41% of workers felt that their symptoms weren’t severe enough to take sick leave
  • 36% of SME workers reported mental health issues in the past three months
  • 12% of workers have taken sick leave for mental health reasons
  • 67% of SME workers say working from home improves their work-life balance, but 54% report they are still more likely to work longer hours than usual
  • 48% of SME employees are offered flexible working whereas 27% are not offered it but would find it the most useful benefit

Balancing a company culture in a hybrid working world is a challenge, and SME leaders need to address toxic traits in their existing culture, like overworking and presenteeism, to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Rachel King, UK General Manager, Breathe, commented: “The benefits for mental and physical well-being that come from a flexible approach to work patterns have been widely discussed but are still so important. Flexible working can positively impact physical, mental and financial well-being. That said, working from home has proven effective for many people, but crucially not for all. It’s often the case that people find themselves working longer hours and taking less sick leave, under pressure to be seen as super productive when working remotely. Employers should look for ways to tackle the ‘always-on’ ethos and habits that have crept into remote working culture. Focusing on creating a culture that supports flexible working as standard can benefit teams and improve productivity if handled intentionally.”

Lizzie Benton, Company Culture Coach & Founder at Liberty Mind, added: “As a business, your attitudes, behaviour, and beliefs will all ultimately present to people what you truly think about employee well-being. If people are feeling unseen and pressured to work through illness, that’s really not a good sign. Now is not the time to ignore your culture and the true ripple effect it has on your people. After two years of momentous life changes, employees across the UK are considering whether where they work is adding to their life or taking something away. That’s why it’s important to put your people first when making decisions that impact them both personally and professionally. Creating a positive healthy company culture is ongoing work and it’s a choice that will benefit your business in the long run.”

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Search engines combine forces to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in the US

On Tuesday, 14 June, Adzuna announced their acquisition of the US job search engine Getwork.

The Getwork team, under the leadership of Brad Squibb, will be working alongside the Adzuna team, intending to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in North America.

Getwork links job seekers with vacant roles at North American companies by indexing millions of verified jobs daily directly from tens of thousands of employer career sites.

Adzuna, with headquarters in London, UK, Indianapolis, IN, and Sydney, AU, uses AI-powered technology to match people to jobs. The company has recently launched in Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Mexico. Their operations now cover 20 markets globally.

The two companies will operate as independent brands with their own established communities.

Doug Monro, CEO, and Co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Adzuna acquiring Getwork will help us supercharge our growth in North America. The Getwork team’s stellar reputation for great service and delivery has led them to be trusted by an impressive roster of household name companies in the US. It’s also a great fit as their team and mission are so aligned with ours. The US enterprise market is crying out for strong alternatives to existing offerings and we’re looking forward to combining Adzuna’s marketing expertise, global footprint and programmatic job matching technology with Getwork’s deep industry knowledge and reputation to deliver even better for our customers. The US is the fastest-growing part of our business and this acquisition will accelerate our profitable growth trajectory.”

Brad Squibb, President of Getwork, comments: “Adzuna is a truly global business, operating across 20 countries, which creates an exciting opportunity for us to scale into new markets with the help of a brand that has already paved the way for international expansion. We can’t wait to join Doug and the team on this journey.”

 

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Salary increases on the rise but workers feel they deserve more

Although salary increases are rising, only 33% of Australian employees are happy with their current benefits. This is according to recruitment company, Hays.

Hays believes that benefits can help bridge the salary expectation gap and aid staff attraction. According to their latest Salary Guide, 35% of employers have improved benefits and working practices to entice more staff.

The data also showed that allowing more than 20 days’ annual leave is one of the most sought-after employee benefits. This year’s data shows that the benefit is desired by 55% of job seekers, compared to 30% last year. The most desired benefit, according to Hays, is training, at 57%. Interestingly, while 87% of employers offer training as a benefit, only 23% provide more than the minimum legal requirement for leave.

Next on the list of top five benefits are:

  • ongoing learning & development (53%)
  • mental and physical health and wellbeing programs (38%)
  • formal career paths (38%)

Flexible working is not on the list of highly prized benefits, likely because although it was a top benefit pre-pandemic, it is now the expected norm.

Professionals are advised to consider the complete value exchange – even if salaries are not meeting expectations, workers should consider whether the benefits they receive enhance the complete value exchange they receive for their skills and experience.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, commented: “With a salary expectation gap evident, offering the benefits employees value can help reward and retain top talent in a competitive labour market.”

“The pandemic prompted many people to prioritise their work-life balance and mental health, to care for their health and wellbeing they now want a job that offers more than customary annual leave.”

“If a person’s time is as valuable as money, additional annual leave can add significantly to their overall package.”

“For employers looking to modernise their benefits portfolio to attract, reward and retain staff, it’s important to reconcile your offering with what employees’ value, training and additional annual leave are obvious improvement points. So is the provision of formal career paths, which 38% of employees want but only 20% of employers offer.”

“For jobs that can be performed outside a central workplace, skilled professionals expect to work in a hybrid arrangement,” he said. “After more than two years of hybrid working, it’s no longer considered a benefit that can attract and engage staff but rather a minimum ordinary entitlement.”

“If your salary increase falls short of expectations, consider what else you can ask for. In particular, think of your long-term career objectives. Additional benefits such as training, formal career paths and mental and physical health and wellbeing programs, for instance, could lead to a promotion and higher compensation long-term than a small raise here and now.”

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Jobs board focuses on roles at companies that ‘do good’

Last week member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed on new plans to create more jobs in sustainable industries.

The new jobs website, Jobs For Good,  is aimed at people who want to find jobs in sustainability industries where they can make a social impact. There are already 1,200 roles live on the website.

According to PWC’s latest reports, one in five people are looking to change jobs, with 68% of these wanting a more fulfilling job. Further, with over 70% of millennials wanting employers with a strong environmental agenda and 10% of workers saying that they would take a pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible company, it’s clear that there is a growing demand for jobs in companies that are ‘for good’.

In the UK, the ‘impact industry’ is worth £50 billion, employs 35,000 people, and has grown 127% since 2018.

The new jobs board only features jobs in companies that “do good” in that they positively impact people or the planet and are run responsibly. These can be in areas such as renewable energy, food production, health and wellbeing solutions, etc.

On the site, job seekers can search by job type and impact area without needing to sign in. They can then read about the companies’ ‘do good’ credentials before applying for the job online.

Job sectors include IT, marketing, product, sales, and admin roles, and companies are vetted for their ‘For Good’ credentials before they can add jobs to the website.

Olivia Spaethe, CEO of Jobs For Good, commented:  ‘Originally we built Jobs For Good in response the ‘Great Resignation’ and people looking for more fulfilling roles in sustainable companies. We’re really encouraged to see the UK Government and OECD agreeing to invest and focus more on this area too. We’re here to plug an important gap between sustainable start-ups looking for new workers, and those workers looking for the right do-good company to work for.’

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Twice as many job seekers in the city compared to same time last year

According to job seeker data from job aggregator, ClickJobs.io, 35.4% of all job seekers in the last month were applying for roles in the capital, putting London in the lead for job applications in the UK.

Year on year, these figures show a huge spike. During the same period last year, 19.7% of applications were for jobs in London. The next city on the list, Birmingham, only accounted for 3.7% of applications. Manchester and Leeds followed at only 2%.

The spike comes as no surprise as offices reopen post-pandemic and people begin to return to the city. While this is good news for London-based businesses, it could negatively impact hiring employers in other cities and regions.

Joe Boll, CEO at ClickJobs.io, commented: “At CilckJobs.io we believe it is essential to understand how job seekers are applying for the latest jobs across our portfolio of websites to ensure we can offer the very best solution to mirror these trends. This new data shows a huge increase in demand for jobs in London which is good news for the capital but could impact other regions looking to attract talent.

We manage millions of jobs every week which means we can quickly see how the market is changing and what key trends are happening across employment in the UK.”

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Fundraiser takes inspiration from The Queen’s Baton Relay 

Recruitment company, The Best Connection employment group has announced that they are launching a company-wide baton-relay charity fundraising campaign entitled Tour de Best Connection.

The campaign is inspired by The Queen’s Baton Relay and will comprise two baton journeys. The journeys will start in Glasgow and Truro on Friday 17th June and finish on Thursday 28th July at the company’s head office in Bromsgrove. This is the date for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

The business is challenging its employees to pass the baton across the whole branch network throughout the UK.

The batons will travel around 800 miles each and can be transferred through any physical activity, including walking, running, cycling, or swimming, provided they reach their next destination.

The event will celebrate the company’s workforce and achievements over the last three decades. The money raised by the individual branches throughout the event will be donated to a local charity of their choice.

The company has pledged that at the end of the relay, they will match the amount raised across the network and donate this to a national charity selected by the company’s employees.

Neil Yorke, Director of The Best Connection, said: “Tour de Best Connection was inspired by The Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games which this year will be hosted in Birmingham where our inaugural branch was established 31 years ago.”

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Launch in response to increased demand for contractors

Recruitment business Camino Partners announced this week that they have launched an interim finance division. The new division has been set up in response to the increased demand for contractors across their key markets.

The interim desk will place finance professionals into both the Camino Partners and Camino Search brands.

Managing Director Harry Hewson has set up the interim desk in reaction to the increased demand for contractors across their key markets.

The new division will be headed up by Sam Nelan, Joe Hamblin, and Jordan Hopewell.

Harry Hewson, Managing Director of Camino Partners, commented: “The pandemic has seen a paradigm shift in how businesses operate, and the way employees now want to work has changed rapidly. Many professionals are placing higher value on working from home and flexible working, to fit around their lives. We are also seeing that many companies are going through periods of restructure or growth. Contract work offers Interims more flexibility and autonomy, whilst allowing high quality finance professionals to effect change in an impactful manner. We have launched this desk to support our network.”

Sam Nelan, Talent Partner at Camino Partners, commented: “We’re excited to be launching the new division; we’re already working with exceptional talent and some extremely impressive businesses”.

Joe Hamblin, Talent Partner at Camino Partners, added: “Placing interim roles offers a great opportunity for us to have a positive impact on rapidly-scaling businesses.”

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Hiring spike in May, latest data reveals

According to the latest statistics from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), jobs spiked again in May despite the ever-increasing skills shortages.

This data, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggesting that the economy will stagnate, has raised further concerns for the UK’s economic growth.

The data provided by Bullhorn showed that contractor jobs increased by 34% between May 2021 and May 2022. Permanent roles also showed an increase of 25%, year on year. Looking at month-on-month comparisons, job numbers for permanent roles increased by 16% between April and May 2022. Contract roles were up by 19% during the same period.

The data also showed a 44% increase in the number of permanent placements in May 2022, compared to the same month last year.

As resources continue to dwindle in the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that there are now more jobs than unemployed people.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, commented: “The UK’s labour market is reaching breaking point and this latest data suggests hiring demand is unlikely to slow anytime soon, which is a concern given the latest OECD forecast. In recent months we’ve seen record breaking vacancy numbers reported by the ONS and the first ever instance where there are more jobs than people out of work. In a post-Brexit and Covid-hit economy, the strength of the labour market will be paramount to the UK’s ability to become and remain a global powerhouse. If this is to be achieved, the country’s policy makers need to implement an international approach and bolster global opportunities. This includes creating an attractive entry route into the country for highly skilled self-employed professionals and refocusing international trade deals on skills, the workforce and the mutual recognition of services and professional qualifications as well as tariffs and goods.”

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