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New survey: Younger employees are reluctant to commute post-pandemic

Data analysing how far people are willing to commute in 2023 questions whether businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing the best talent pools in the post-commuting era.

The latest survey on commuting habits, carried out by recruitment experts, Forward Role, compares data they carried out nearly a decade ago when 86% of the UK worked from the office five days a week.

In 2014, 72% of respondents were willing to commute more than 20 miles to work – In 2023, the figure dropped to just 26%. Only 1 in 100 of 2014 respondents said they would only be willing to travel 10 miles or less for their commute. This has rocketed up to more than a third (34%) of people in 2023. On the other end of the spectrum, more than 1 in 6 people (16%) were willing to commute over 40 miles to work in 2014, but in 2023 it was ten times less at just 1 in 60 (1.5%).

The survey revealed that 25-35-year-olds were the least likely to travel more than 40 miles for work in 2023 (<1%), while over 55s were the most likely (33%). In 2023, respondents are more likely to travel between 30 and 60 minutes for work, but less likely to commute longer than this than they were in 2014.

Negative attitudes towards commuting have accelerated due to the pandemic and a 6% price hike in train fares in March – the biggest increase in a decade.

In 2014, 28% of employers offered home working options to their staff. In 2023, the figure jumped to 79% of respondents working from home at least once a week, with 1 in 20 working completely remotely. 34% would prefer to work from home “twice a week.” The survey revealed 66% of respondents felt pressure to work from the office more often than they currently do.

Brian Johnson, Managing Director at Forward Role, said, “The pandemic has had a lasting impact on the UK jobs market, putting flexibility and remote working right at the top of the list for both those established in the workforce and those entering it. Employers who can recognise the new landscape have a chance to capitalise on it — but only if they’re willing to compromise.”

The Forward Role study is available here

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Senior managers top the poll for working the longest unpaid hours

The average UK worker carries out over 139 hours – the equivalent of 18 days of unpaid overtime a year and half of UK employees regularly working extra, unpaid hours according to a new survey.

The research from HR software provider, Ciphr, reveals millions of employees are regularly shortening their lunch breaks and finishing late to keep ahead of their workload.

The survey polled 1,000 UK workers to discover how much unpaid overtime employees worked on average. It revealed, more employees work unpaid hours than employees who receive overtime pay (49% compared to 23%). Among those who worked unpaid overtime, the average time clocked up each week is just over three hours (184 minutes). Over a five-day work week, that’s around 37 minutes extra per shift. One in nine (11%) of those surveyed are posting five additional, unpaid hours a week.

Employees most likely to work the longest extra hours unpaid are senior managers (averaging 4.1 hours a week) followed by 25-34-year-olds (3.5 hours), remote workers (3.5 hours), and those working in legal services and education (4.1 hours and 3.9 hours).

While many employees expect a degree of unpaid work, few are aware of how those extra minutes (over and above contracted hours) can add up.  Shortening or skipping lunch appears to be the most common way employees overwork. In the week of the survey, 36% of respondents took a full lunch break every day – while 23% failed to have a full lunch break at all.

If this pattern of overworking, through breaks and after hours, is left unchecked long term, it could impact employees’ mental well-being, further leading to resentment, especially if the unpaid overtime is due to big workloads, understaffing, or unrealistic targets.

Claire Williams, chief people officer at Ciphr, says: “If an individual thinks they are doing too many unpaid hours, then it’s vital that they address this with their employer as soon as possible. Doing a bit of extra work occasionally is one thing – and it is relatively common practice to work additional hours, at times, to fulfil your role – but feeling like you ‘have’ to do that extra work regularly because it is being expected of you is quite another. The reality is that there are upsides, as well as obvious downsides, to people working extra hours. It doesn’t always need to be perceived as a negative and it can – and should – generate goodwill and flexibility from employers in return.“

Ciphr has created an unpaid overtime hours calculator that employees can use to estimate how many extra hours they are potentially working for free a year

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The gala awards ceremony will take place on 21 September in London

More than 20 distinguished experts from the talent acquisition industry convened on Thursday, 10 August, for a day of intense deliberation and spirited discussions – the TIARA Talent Solutions Awards judging day! The occasion marked the judging of the prestigious TIARA Talent Solutions Awards, where the industry’s best were determined across 11 distinct categories, culminating in the crowning of the much-coveted title of Talent Solutions Provider of the Year.

Throughout the day, the venue hummed with lively debates and exchanges of insights as the panel of judges, comprising leading figures in the talent acquisition field, pored over submissions and deliberated to determine the most deserving winners.

A full roster of the esteemed judging panel can be found on the official awards website. The judges showcase the collective experience and expertise that underpinned the decision-making process. The inclusion of a diverse array of perspectives ensured a comprehensive evaluation of the finalists and reflected the industry’s commitment to recognising excellence across various dimensions of talent solutions.

Winners will be announced at a grand awards ceremony scheduled to take place at the splendid Pan Pacific London on Thursday, 21 September. The event promises to be a celebration of innovation, dedication, and achievement in the realm of talent acquisition.

Tickets for the awards ceremony are available for purchase on the official website, providing an opportunity to join the industry’s luminaries in celebrating excellence in talent solutions.

For those seeking to stay updated on the event and the latest developments, the official awards website will serve as a reliable source of information and news. As the countdown begins to the glittering awards night, the anticipation and excitement continue to build among the talent acquisition community.

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EAPs play vital role beyond mental health counselling

Towergate Health & Protection has unveiled findings from one of its prominent employee assistance program (EAP) providers, highlighting a growing need for comprehensive information and guidance beyond just mental health counselling to bolster overall employee wellness. This shift underscores the importance of employers ensuring that their workforce gains access to advice and information spanning areas like legal matters, divorce, childcare, housing, neighbourly conflicts, and wills.

Over the past year, requests for guidance from employees through the EAP surged by 25%. Among these requests, the foremost reason for EAP engagement was for counsel on employment-related matters, constituting 27%. This encompassed inquiries concerning employment rights, compensation disputes, human resources concerns, sources of workplace stress, and employment law matters. The subsequent prominent demand for advice was regarding divorce and separation, constituting 22% of the advisory calls. Other queries encompassed seeking assistance on childcare, housing, and legal actions.

David Williams, Towergate Health & Wellbeing’s Head of Group Risk, remarked, “While many employers may traditionally associate EAPs with providing therapy for mental health challenges such as melancholy and anxiety, counselling represents just a facet of the assistance an EAP can extend. The requirement for counsel and insights in diverse spheres is expanding, notably in realms like divorce, separation, and housing.”

Towergate Health & Protection is firmly committed to ensuring that employers are well informed about the full spectrum of support offered by EAPs and that this is effectively conveyed to employees.

While employees and their employers may be cognizant of the therapeutic services afforded by EAPs, the breadth of support available as part of this benefit may not be entirely clear. The array of subjects on which employees can solicit guidance via an EAP includes consumer disputes, landlord-tenant issues, wills and estate matters, automotive concerns, immigration, elder care, personal injury, and more. This support encompasses advice and insights from trained legal professionals who can also facilitate connections between employees and solicitors or relevant specialists.

By providing access to such comprehensive assistance, employers can empower employees to address challenges both in their professional and personal lives. Additionally, providers are progressively integrating EAPs into broader well-being applications, enhancing employee accessibility.

David Williams emphasized, “When companies uphold the well-being of their workforce across all dimensions—mental, physical, social, and financial—they cultivate a content, healthier, and more engaged workforce that feels esteemed. Relieving employees of burdens through the specialized support accessible via an EAP is an effective means to achieve this.”

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Japan’s ageing workforce faces challenges in employment

More than half of Japan’s population aged between 60 and 74 years old has experienced prolonged unemployment despite their desire to work, as the country grapples with a shortage of labour. A recent survey conducted by Recruit Co. and reported by Kyodo News sheds light on this issue. The study, which involved 6,000 individuals and 600 companies surveyed online in February and March of this year, unveiled that 37.7% of elderly respondents expressed a strong interest in securing employment, a trend that has been on the rise since 2016.

In contrast, 32.0% stated their lack of interest in pursuing work opportunities, while 30.3% held a mixed view on the matter. Among those who had sought jobs over the past five years, 53.7% expressed a strong desire to work, but unfortunately, were unable to find suitable employment at the time of the survey. Within this group, 24.0% were still actively seeking job opportunities, 21.8% had abandoned their job search after encountering unsuccessful attempts, and 7.9% had recently embarked on the journey of seeking employment.

The study further disclosed that 11.5% had successfully secured employment, and 34.8% had opted not to actively search for work. When it comes to companies’ attitudes toward hiring older individuals, a significant 66.5% of respondents conveyed a lack of enthusiasm for employing them as full-time staff members.

Among the companies surveyed, the prevailing explanation for this reluctance was a neutral “no particular reason” response at 30.3%. The second most frequent rationale, cited by 29.6%, was that these companies deemed their current workforce sufficient. Additionally, 23.8% of respondents expressed concerns about the health and physical strength of older employees as a deterrent to hiring them.

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Building new skills for existing employees was identified as the top talent issue

UK executives estimate 41% of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years according to a new survey.

The IBM Institute for Business Value, in cooperation with Oxford Economics, report “Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world” is based on an analysis of over 3,000 global C-Suite executives across 20 industries and 28 countries (December 2022 and January 2023). The global study provides insights into the challenges and priorities of business executives and employees in an ever-changing technological landscape.

Building new skills for existing employees was identified as the top talent issue, according to surveyed executives, followed by technological illiteracy. The survey highlighted that 46% of UK executives are currently investing in reskilling their employees internally.

However, the study found a disconnect between the priorities of employers and employees regarding work priorities. With AI primed to take on more manual and repetitive tasks, UK employees reported engaging in ‘impactful work’ as the top factor they care about. Whereas, executives ranked ‘impactful work’ as one of the least important factors to their workforce. Both employees and executives agreed that flexible work arrangements were an important factor beyond compensation and job security.

The study provides recommendations to help leaders address their talent challenges in the AI era and future-proof their organisations – with a focus on skills and operating models.

Andi Britt, Senior Partner, UKI Talent Transformation Leader, IBM Consulting, said:  “As we embark on a future where AI becomes an integral part of the workforce, our task is to adequately equip our employees for this key technology shift. Our research reveals that improving technology literacy for employees is a top talent issue, according to business leaders. It is clear from the survey that impactful or meaningful work is now a higher priority for UK employees – a trend which is not yet fully recognised by their business leaders. Bridging this gap will be crucial in ensuring that AI and automation are harnessed in a way that enables employees to redirect their time and energy to meaningful and impactful work within the organisation.”

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Raise in salaries to address tight labor market challenges

In a bid to navigate an unusually tight labor market, CEOs of various U.S. companies spanning diverse industries have unveiled plans to raise wages by at least 3%, according to a recent report from the Conference Board. With unemployment dipping to 3.5% from June’s 3.6%, companies have been grappling with the difficulty of recruiting and retaining employees. The number of available jobs has outstripped the pool of job seekers, as highlighted by the Labor Department.

To counter these challenges and attract and retain talent, companies have taken the proactive step of increasing hourly wages by 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. This represents the fifth consecutive month of such pay hikes. However, even in the face of inflation, real hourly earnings have only risen by 1.1% over the past year, amidst the most significant inflationary period in four decades.

Richard Hermanns, CEO of HireQuest, underlined the persistent upward pressure on wages, underscoring the “constant shortage” of workers. He recounted a recent incident while traveling through Minneapolis when he observed a restaurant at the airport being closed until 2 PM due to inadequate staffing. HireQuest, a provider of temporary staffing solutions, stands as a testament to the prevailing workforce scarcity.

CEOs from a spectrum of industries, including financial institutions, cinemas, and transportation firms, have employed various strategies, such as technology integration and layoffs, to cope with escalating labor costs. Notably, during Q2 earnings calls, numerous top executives discussed these tactics.

UPS, for instance, managed to curtail compensation and benefits by $205 million in Q2 through a reduction in management staff by 2,500 on a year-over-year basis. This maneuver helped mitigate a 6.5% surge in average union wage rates during recent labor negotiations, as elucidated by CFO Brian Newman.

Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, acknowledged the strategic importance of front-loading wage inflation to align with Teamsters leadership goals, even though it exerted some pressure on the company’s margins. She foresaw manageable inflation after a year of pressure.

Transportation company TFI International recently negotiated a 3% average annual salary increase for a five-year period, following a 15% reduction in shipping costs on a year-over-year basis. TFI’s CEO, Alain Bédard, highlighted this as a strategic move to balance escalating labor expenses.

ARKO, a convenience store operator, grappled with a 6.5% surge in personnel costs during Q2 compared to the same period last year, as per CFO Donald Bassell. He noted that reduced overtime was contributing to improved quality of life for employees, and the utilization of temp services helped mitigate these costs.

Cinemark Holdings, the operator of cinemas, witnessed a 12% spike in global salaries and wages on a year-over-year basis during the quarter, but strategic efforts such as higher attendance and streamlining managed to reduce these costs as a proportion of revenues by 1.6%. CFO Melissa Hayes Thomas also mentioned that minimum wage increases in some states played a role in the pressure on wage rates.

Principal Financial Group, a key player in insurance and retirement asset management, enjoyed enhanced performance due to the increase in pay and retirement savings across several companies. This bolstered the company’s revenue, as highlighted by Principal CFO Deanna Strable. However, labor market challenges remained a headwind, leading to salary hikes and increased costs in light of inflationary pressures and the ongoing war for talent.

As U.S. companies grapple with an intricate labor landscape, these strategic wage increases are anticipated to aid in attracting and retaining skilled employees. The coming months will unveil whether these measures succeed in easing the strain on industries striving to thrive amidst turbulent labor market dynamics.

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Book your place at the conference and enter the TIARA TA Awards today!

As the talent landscape continually evolves, the importance of staying ahead of the curve in Talent Acquisition is more important than ever. TALiNT Partners is gearing up to host a landmark event that promises to capture the learnings from 2023’s multifaceted talent challenges and provide a glimpse into what lies ahead in 2024.

Over two dynamic days, this summit will bring together TA & HR leaders and delivers a robust agenda encompassing keynote speakers, expert-led roundtable discussions, and a prestigious awards ceremony.

The event is meticulously designed to cater to a wide range of interests and challenges faced by HR and Talent Leaders. Day 1 addresses strategic challenges, ranging from leveraging data for informed decision-making to navigating the complexities of hybrid, remote, and return-to-office work models, and securing C-Suite buy-in and investment in TA capability.

Further discussion will revolve around the trends in total talent management, including internal mobility, skill-based hiring, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) improvements. The day culminates with an exploration of the Talent Agenda for 2024, providing attendees with valuable insights to guide their forward strategies.

Day 2 explores specific operational challenges, diving deep into subjects such as crafting a compelling candidate experience and a robust employee value proposition (EVP) that resonates in the new economy. The significance of seamless onboarding will also be highlighted, illustrating how talent acquisition is intricately linked with talent retention and development.

In alignment with the current emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, participants will explore strategies to drive measurable results and gain buy-in for DE&I initiatives. Technology’s role in talent acquisition takes center stage with discussions on building the right tech stack and innovation in assessment methodologies.

The event’s agenda is further enriched by the presence of distinguished keynote speakers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Tarsha LaCour, Chief People Officer at Dallas Mavericks, will offer her insights into people-centric strategies that drive success in talent acquisition. Marcus Sawyerr, Founder of EQ Community, will lend his perspective on community-driven approaches to talent management.

Participation in the event offers a multitude of benefits. From building insight-led narratives for informed decision-making to enhancing the capability to craft effective Talent Acquisition strategies, attendees stand to gain a transformative experience. The event provides a unique opportunity to showcase thought leadership, advance the role of resourcing, and amplify voices at executive committee and C-suite levels.

It is complimentary for delegates to attend the conference. Register to attend here.

After the conference, the TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards will take center stage, celebrating excellence, innovation, and achievement across Talent Acquisition and Resourcing. Eight categories, including Employer Brand, Candidate Experience, TA Team, and DE&I, among others, will recognize exceptional efforts by employers in these crucial areas. The awards not only provide a platform for recognition but also offer a benchmark for industry best practices. We encourage organizations of all sizes and sectors to participate.

To learn more and start your entry click here.

“Talent & TIARAS was a fun event that struck the right balance between hearing from TA experts and getting to network and share ideas with other TA practitioners.” – Senior Director, TA Operations & Assessment, Spectrum and attendee at Talent & TIARAs, 2022.

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Enhanced personalization and targeted outreach efforts

LinkedIn has unveiled two new tools enhanced by AI capabilities, aiming to empower talent acquisition professionals in their search for suitable job candidates and strategic outreach efforts, according to the company’s recent announcement.

The first tool, incorporated into LinkedIn Recruiter, is the Likelihood of Interest feature. This innovative tool employs AI algorithms to pinpoint potential candidates who are more inclined to engage with recruitment specialists regarding available positions. Additionally, the AI-Assisted Messages tool leverages generative AI technology to craft personalized InMail messages directed at candidates.

LinkedIn’s Talent Blog recently featured an entry by Bruce Anderson, a content marketer and editor, who noted that a significant 74% of hiring professionals anticipate that integrating generative AI into their recruitment processes will streamline repetitive tasks, enabling them to dedicate more time to higher-value strategic endeavors. These expectations are gradually coming to fruition, Anderson observed.

Emphasizing the importance of personalization in LinkedIn recruitment, Anderson highlighted that while effective, tailoring messages requires dedication and time. Recruiters adopting personalized InMail messages have observed a notable 40% surge in acceptance rates.

Through the AI-Assisted Messages tool, recruiters have the capability to compose distinct messages by drawing from a candidate’s profile details, encompassing skills, experience, and their Open to Work status. This information is then merged with pertinent company details and information about the open role, such as job title, responsibilities, location, and salary. Customization options are available, enabling recruiters to fine-tune the AI model’s selection of fields and even edit the message content directly.

The second tool, the Likelihood of Interest feature, equips hiring professionals with the ability to identify candidates who are highly or moderately likely to display interest in an available position. This indication is prominently displayed on a candidate’s profile card within the LinkedIn Recruiter platform. The AI-driven tool assimilates and interprets various LinkedIn data points, such as Open to Work status, acceptance of InMail messages, affiliations with companies that have undergone recent layoffs, and demonstrated interest in the hiring company.

Once suitable candidates are identified, recruiters can promptly send them customized messages, streamlining the outreach process and enabling recruiters to allocate more time to cultivating robust candidate relationships, as highlighted by Anderson.

In the current landscape, generative AI programs are gaining traction within the realm of human resources. Prominent industry players like Microsoft, IBM, and Google Cloud have introduced tools that facilitate HR-related tasks like formulating job postings, identifying potential candidates, and managing employee inquiries. Despite this technological progress, the significance of personalization in the recruitment process remains paramount, particularly in the pursuit of recruiting success.

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Offering adaptable work schedules can mitigate burnout risks

In a revealing development, approximately 47% of workers are prepared to resign from their current positions or initiate a job search if confronted with a compulsory full-time return-to-office policy, as per a report from the Integrated Benefits Institute published on August 3rd. This non-profit organization, focused on health and productivity research, highlights the shifting dynamics of workplace preferences.

While many employers are currently maintaining flexible work arrangements, some have begun implementing either full-time or part-time return-to-office mandates, revealing a divergence in organizational strategies. The report underscores the pronounced influence of flexibility on employee well-being, engagement, and commitment. Carole Bonner, a researcher at the Integrated Benefits Institute, emphasizes that offering adaptable work schedules can mitigate burnout risks and amplify employee productivity. Companies that prioritize flexibility tend to observe improved attraction, retention rates, and the influx of top talent.

The report sheds light on the landscape of flexible work arrangements, with around 85% of employers already providing or planning to offer some form of flexibility, ranging from full remote to hybrid models. Paradoxically, while only 15% of remote-capable employees express a desire to return to the office, 22.5% of employers with remote-capable staff are eager to have their employees back on-site full-time. This discrepancy stems from various considerations, including concerns about productivity, the usage of vacant office spaces, workforce creativity, and community.

The study delves into employee subjective well-being, unveiling that hybrid work arrangements have the most positive impact. Employees adhering to full-time on-site schedules exhibit lower levels of happiness, while those participating in office-first models with one or two days of remote work showcase the highest well-being ratings.

To address these nuances across various work arrangements, the Integrated Benefits Institute recommends fostering engagement and community-building through virtual means, such as online social events, mentorship programs, and wellness activities.

Maintaining flexible work options is crucial for retention, as indicated by a recent report wherein 50% of workers admitted considering job changes if their companies eliminate hybrid or remote possibilities. Job satisfaction and productivity are predicted to wane significantly. This trend is echoed in another survey focused on talent acquisition, revealing that candidates prioritize remote work, higher compensation, and improved work-life equilibrium.

Despite the evolving landscape, the labor market is witnessing a notable proportion of workers opting to remain in their current roles. This shift can be attributed to a newfound emphasis on stability, community, and a supportive organizational culture, according to leaders in talent acquisition.

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