Category: news

UK vacancies up 48% year-on-year

The locations with the highest rates of jobseekers have been revealed in a new study. London, Manchester, Birmingham, and towns on London’s commuter belt topped the list. The study results indicate that as offices reopen and daily commuting re-commence, workers are searching for roles closer to home.

The research by job search engine Adzuna also revealed that every advertised London-based job ad received an average of 65 views during April – indicative of high job churn in the capital city and centre of the Great Resignation in the UK.

Second on the list of jobseeker activity was Manchester, with over nine views for every job listing. Birmingham was third at over seven views per ad.

Edinburgh, Scotland, and Cardiff, Wales, also featured on this list, with view rates of 2.5 and 1.83, respectively. Northern Ireland, however, didn’t feature on the list – possibly showing that the Great Resignation has not reached them yet.

Further findings for April 2022 included:

  • Advertised vacancies in the UK were up 48% year-on-year, to 1,298,581.
  • Over half a million vacancies were on offer across London and surrounding areas.
  • The average advertised salary in London and surrounding commutable areas was £45,515.
  • The average advertised UK salary was £36,587 in April. This is 3% lower than 12 months ago (£37,898).
  • The number of advertised vacancies has exceeded the number of job seekers for the first time.

The study also revealed a growing interest in jobs within commuter towns. Slough and Heathrow experienced the fourth-highest jobseeker activity level. While traditionally, workers in these locations would have commuted into London, they are now looking for jobs closer to home. Job ads, on average, received over four views per posting in these areas.

There was also high jobseeker demand in other commuter towns around London:

  • Chelmsford (2.47)
  • Reading (2.45)
  • Guildford and Aldershot (2.07)
  • Luton (1.88)
  • Crawley (1.87)

The commuter belt towns accounted for a fifth of the list of top 30 UK towns and cities with the highest jobseeker activity.

Looking across the UK, England had the highest activity from jobseekers, with an average of 3.6 views per job ad. Rates were much lower across the rest of the UK with Scotland at 0.26, Wales at 0.11 and Northern Ireland at only 0.03.

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at Adzuna, comments: “London is at the core of the Great Resignation in the UK, but our data reveals the trend is spreading out fast. In particular, jobs in commuter towns are seeing high interest levels driven by a renewed interest from Brits to spend more time at home. As offices have reopened and commutes have restarted, workers are looking for close to home options that will continue to give them the flexibility they got used to over the pandemic and various lockdowns, be that picking the kids up from school, or simply working flexible hours. The return-to-office is a huge driver of the current high movement between jobs, and companies offering fully remote options, or even much publicised ‘work from anywhere’ policies, are stealing a march on the competition and coming out on top.”

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Despite efforts there is still massive room for improvement in UK management and reporting

In research released today, findings reveal a lack of focus on progressing diversity in the workplace. In the study conducted by SD Worx, it was found that while 68% of UK companies are committed to removing unconscious bias in the recruitment process, many have failed to implement a reporting system to track progress on meeting ED&I objectives.

The survey revealed that only 26% of UK companies evaluate managerial commitment to achieving ED&I-related objectives. A further 32% admitted having no systems allowing employees to report discrimination.

The UK ranked third in its commitment to removing unconscious bias at 68% when it comes to ranking. Ireland ranked first at 74%, with Belgium coming in second, at 69%.

As far as rankings for equal access to training, the UK is slightly lower than other countries, with 64% of companies investing in equal access to training and development. Ireland (72%), Belgium (71%), and Poland (69%) topped the list.

While 64% of UK companies include transparency about ED&I goals and actions to attract a diverse workforce in their mission statement and corporate values, only 60% of the UK companies surveyed said that they promote ED&I in job advertisements, social media, and their websites.

The survey also revealed that countries vary in their level of focus concerning educating and involving managers in their ED&I policies. For example, in the UK, 60% of companies stated that they actively involve their managers in ED&I policies, and 60% provide internal training on the topic.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead at SD Worx commented: “It’s no longer enough for businesses to say they prioritise diversity and inclusion. Instead, they must prove their commitment to achieving a more diverse workforce, both internally within their business and externally to attract talent.”

“There is more awareness than ever before regarding diversity in the workplace and it’s a deciding factor for many when it comes to searching for a role or staying with a business. A diverse workforce brings new experiences and perspectives and an inclusive environment allows individuals to thrive. If businesses aren’t already putting ED&I as a top priority, it’s essential they act now to do so.”

Jurgen Dejonghe, Portfolio Manager SD Worx Insights, added: “It’s important that companies start investing in an active reporting system about their actions concerning diversity, equality and inclusion. On the one hand, that data offers a strong basis for optimising the diversity policy with concrete and consciously controlled actions. On the other hand, such a system also provides clear evidence whether companies are effectively putting their money where their mouth is and not making false promises to (future) employees.”

For ED&I initiatives to be successful, change needs to come from the top, with proper rollouts and reporting system to track their progress.

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Can employers help by scrapping outdated payday cycles?

According to a recent survey over 2,000 British people, one in four people are skipping meals over their rising cost of living worries.

With inflation at record highs, and increasing financial pressure, especially on ‘lower income’ workers, employers are urged to scrap outdated payday cycles which exacerbate stress.

Steve Tonks, SVP EMEA at WorkForce Software commented: “48% of the UK population frequently feel monetary stress, with financial anxiety being a leading cause of poor mental health for three fifths (60%) of employees – with the rising cost of living soaring it is no surprise that the fear of food poverty is growing. With grocery price inflation reaching 5.9 per cent, the highest level since December 2011, it is inevitable that the most affected by these hikes will be low-wage, hourly workers – many of whom are frontline.”

“For these employees, lunar pay cycles can be a particular pressure point– as there can be up to eight weeks of elapsed time between when hours were worked and when payment is received. As a result, many workers are forced into high-interest payday loans to make it through the month- an issue that is only being exacerbated by rising inflation.”

“Earned Wage Access (EWA) is a simple yet highly effective way to improve the employee experience, while helping workers to better manage their finances both in the short and long term.”

“Employers have a responsibility to help break outdated pay cycles, now more than ever. But, EWA shouldn’t just be a ‘nice-to-have’ during times of economic upheaval. Instead, it should be viewed as a long-term CSR goal for organisations, supported by ongoing education and advice on money management.”

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London has the highest hiring demand despite increased cost of living

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey has found that employers in the UK plan to increase headcount massively in the third quarter of this year. Based on responses from 2,030 UK employers, the survey looks at intentions for increasing, maintaining, or reducing workforce numbers in the next quarter.

Despite aggressively recruiting in the months post-pandemic, businesses are still struggling to fill vacancies.

According to the survey, UK’s employment outlook has tripled in the last 12 months. The Q3 outlook has reached a new high of +35%. This is a 22%-point increase from the third quarter of 2021.

The survey found that:

  • Banking, finance, insurance, and property are at the top of the list, increasing by 14% since the last quarter to +49%
  • London employers are also the most optimistic, increasing 10% in hiring confidence, moving up to +41%
  • The IT and technology industries are similarly committed to recruitment, increasing by 7% to +49% in the next three months
  • Manufacturing employers are also high on the list – the hiring intent is up by 27% to +38%
  • The hospitality sector was down by 9% to +25%.

Chris Gray, UK Director at ManpowerGroup, says: “These record hiring plans demonstrate the continuation of an employment trend, which sees businesses keeping their feet firmly on the gas, despite the familiar challenges with the UK labour market. Despite a shrinking workforce and with a large proportion of inactive workers, employers are still keen to recruit fresh talent to help them deliver their services, and to surf the wave of growth for as long as possible.

“We are seeing an active labour force confident enough to switch employers in the search for higher salaries, across both permanent and temporary categories. This is being driven by the rising cost of living and the need to chase higher wages to combat a dwindling disposable income. Demand for staff still outstrips supply, so the choice for candidates remains plentiful.

“On the other hand, we are seeing businesses work hard to bring in new talent but struggling to retain existing employees. Companies find themselves caught between a rock and hard place, in an effort to strike a balance between hiring new talent and being mindful of the needs and pressures felt by their existing employees.”

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Verbal communication and teamwork also top of list

A new study on skills in the workplace, commissioned by LMS provider Digits, has revealed the most important skills that workers expect from their managers. Of the 2,048 working-age adults polled, 51% of men and 45% of women agreed that leadership skills were the most important skills for managers.

Next on the list was verbal communication and teamwork, at 35%, followed by empathy at 30% and problem-solving at 29%. Written communication was at the bottom of the list at only 8%.

Just 10% of the respondents did not have any specific skill requirements for a manager.

Ranked by popularity, the most important skills needed by managers are:

  • Leadership skills (48%)
  • Verbal communication skills (35%)
  • Teamwork skills (35%)
  • Empathy (30%)
  • Problem-solving skills (29%)
  • A strong work ethic (21%)
  • Good time management (18%)
  • Conflict resolution (15%)
  • Written communication skills (8%)

Leadership skills include a variety of skills, hard and soft, and the term can mean different things to different people.

Bradley Burgoyne, Head of Talent at Digits, believes that the core leadership skills of a manager include:

  • Vision setting
  • Empathy and listening
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Coaching skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration skills

When analysed by age, the survey results revealed that opinions on managerial attributes differed depending on where people were in their careers, with 56% of people over 55 believing that leadership skills were the most important, compared to only 28% of 16 to 24-year-olds.

Other important attributes across the age groups were:

  • A strong work ethic is important to 25% of 16 to 24 year-olds
  • Verbal communication skills are preferred by 36% of 24 to 34 year-olds and 44% of over-55s
  • Teamwork skills are very important to 36% of those aged 35 to 54 years old

Burgoyne commented: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.

“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”

“The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.

“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

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Businesses called on to look at maternity pay policies and working models

The 2022 Parental Leave Study, conducted by Fertility Family, has found that one in five women are delaying having children due to work. The new study also revealed that half of new mothers need flexible working hours compared to less than two in five fathers. The belief is that flexible working hours would combat the increasing cost of childcare.

The study demonstrated that mothers struggle to balance work and family life after maternity leave. Twenty-four percent agree that maternity leave should last longer. And

As inflation hits new highs of 6.2%, 27% of women believe that maternity pay should be higher. In comparison, 15% of men want higher paternity pay.

The survey of employees at 116 UK companies also found that only 11% of mothers are happy with the parental leave policies at their companies and their company’s support of new parents.

The study also revealed that 21% of women would appreciate longer paid paternity leave for fathers. Fifteen percent of men feel the same. When asked whether working from home was a policy that new parents would appreciate, 46% of men and 44% of women agreed that it would.

With flexible working hours (45%) and remote working (45%) being the most popular wishes from both males and females, companies are called on to embrace employee-focused working models and increased maternity and paternity pay rates.

Gill McAteer, Director of Employment Law at Citation, commented: “Those who feel supported by their employers, and are clear about what their entitlements are, will feel much more comfortable making plans to start a family. Employees who are unsure of their workplace’s policy can often feel disengaged and stressed, which may lead to them putting off plans to have children as they feel like they are not ready.”

“Parental leave policies should be clear on employee entitlements and be available to everyone, with the aim of creating a supportive working environment. For employers looking to enhance their policies, they may consider adopting a family-friendly approach, with flexible or hybrid working, which would be well received by many of those who have families or are planning to do so.”

Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents at Talking Talent, says: “The pandemic has led many people to re-examine their careers, futures and the way they want to work. Any companies not offering the right support and company culture could find their high-talent individuals eschew them in favour of more forward-thinking firms – which will be disastrous for long-term company success.”

“Now is the time for bold and honest conversations. Businesses must be ready to listen and create real change, especially given that the pandemic has transformed people’s thinking about the companies they work for, whilst also shifting family priorities.”

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Identify fraud poses major security risks for businesses

The US government has reported that North Koreans are hiding their identities in order to get contract jobs in the global technology sector and subsequently warned that such workers pose major security risks to businesses.

The US Department of State, the US Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued the advisory for the international community, the private sector, and the public to warn of attempts by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, a.k.a. North Korea) IT workers to obtain employment while posing as non-North Korean nationals. It’s said that there are reputational risks and the potential for legal consequences, including sanctions designation under US and United Nations authorities, for individuals and entities engaged in or supporting DPRK IT worker-related activity and processing related financial transactions, the advisory stated.

The Government stated: “The DPRK dispatches thousands of highly skilled IT workers around the world to generate revenue that contributes to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, in violation of US and UN sanctions. These IT workers take advantage of existing demands for specific IT skills, such as software and mobile application development, to obtain freelance employment contracts from clients around the world, including in North America, Europe, and East Asia.”

In many cases, DPRK IT workers represent themselves as US-based and/or non-North Korean teleworkers. The workers may further obfuscate their identities and/or location by sub-contracting work to non-North Koreans. Although DPRK IT workers normally engage in IT work distinct from malicious cyber activity, they have used the privileged access gained as contractors to enable the DPRK’s malicious cyber intrusions. Additionally, there are likely instances where workers are subjected to forced labor.”

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Half of workers spend time on video calls now than a year ago

According to Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work Report, workers in the US are overwhelmed by their notifications with almost two-thirds (63%) of US workers continuously checking their emails outside of work hours — the highest percentage across the board in the international study.

The software company’s research team surveyed workers from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. At 62%, workers in the U.S. were the most likely to report feeling the need to reply to emails straight away. This rate was even higher among Generation Z and millennials. The US participants reported that they’re overwhelmed by the breadth of their digital interactions with colleagues with 34% stating they struggle to respond to important messages, with the rate being even higher for millennials and Gen Zers.

Just under half (41%) of respondents reported that they spend more time on emails now than a year ago with 43% stating that they spend more time on video calls than one year ago.

More than half (52%) reported that more efficient meetings could effectively reduce the number of notifications, and 48% of respondents said clearer responsibilities could also limit the number of notifications. Gen Zers, millennials and those in C-suite roles were most likely to emphasize the importance of well-outlined expectations.

Debbie Walton, Editor at TALiNT Partners commented: “The move to working from home means that there is no option to display an ‘out of office’ or to switch off from work. I have made the decision to remove all work apps from my cell phone so as not to be bombarded by endless notifications after hours. It’s supported a healthier work/ life balance.”

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Economic activity decreases again

According to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) from the ONS, its estimated that for the period of January to March 2022 there was a decrease in the unemployment rate, while the employment and inactivity rates increased.

Even though the market is contracting, the employment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 75.7%, however this is still below pre-pandemic levels. According to figures, the increase in the employment rate was driven by the movement of people aged 16 to 64 years from unemployment to employment. However, there was also a record-high movement of people from economic inactivity into employment with total job-to-job moves also increasing to a record high of 994,000, driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during the January to March 2022 period – the Great Resignation continues…

The estimated number of payrolled employees for April 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 121,000 on the revised March 2022, to a record 29.5 million.

The unemployment rate for January to March 2022 decreased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7% and for the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo commented on the skills shortages: “The skills shortages in the UK are reaching concerning levels and this latest data shows the scale of the pressure on employers and the staffing sector as demand continues to outstrip supply. We’ve seen some encouraging signs from the Government, including the highly skilled immigration visa which was announced by the Chancellor earlier this year.

“However, we are concerned that the absence of the Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech is an indication that the immediate skills crisis has slipped off the priority list for the Government. At a time when the job market is growing at unprecedented rates and competition is rife, more appropriate regulation is needed for the modern labour market.”

Economic activity 

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in January to March 2022 and this recent inactivity is believed to be driven by those aged 50 to 64 years.

The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down.

Kate Meadowcroft, Employment Partner at legal business, DWF, commented on the UK Labour Market figures regarding increased pay: “Undoubtedly the cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation will have a knock on effect on the labour market.  ONS figures have previously shown that although wages have risen, once you consider inflation pay is actually falling. Employees will be seeking out the most attractive rewards packages in order to combat the financial repercussions of the turbulent economy.

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Delays due to difficulties in finding quality candidates

According to 58% of HR managers, delays in hiring are negatively affecting business performance.

In Talent Work’s survey of 400 HR leaders, it was found that recruitment is taking double the time to hire talent when compared to 2019. Twenty-one percent of respondents agree that it is taking three times as long.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents agree that the delays are due to difficulties in finding quality candidates.

When looking at 2022 priorities, employer branding was noted as the key priority for HR in 2022. Thirty-one percent plan to relaunch or develop their employer brand, while a further 20% have already done this. Only 12% of respondents said they didn’t have time to focus on their employer brand.

Other priorities were employee retention at 21% and changing processes to allow speedy hire at 20%.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents believe that brand awareness impacts their hiring ability, and 42% don’t believe they have a strong awareness as an employer or don’t measure their brand awareness.

Neil Purcell, CEO, and founder of Talent Works, said: “These statistics clearly show that 2019 thinking isn’t going to work in the 2022 employment market, which is the most competitive we’ve ever seen. Companies need to get strategic about how they can speed up hiring to accelerate business performance, and as the research indicates, effective Employer Branding is the most widely recognised way of doing this. It’s great to see that companies are beginning to think differently in such an oversubscribed market, but over one in ten companies surveyed were still unaware of the Employer Brand concept, which shows that there is still work to do.”

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