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Latest in the Region: EMEA

Appointment of women CEOs doubles globally

Only 8% of the UK’s CEOs are women, according to the eighth annual Route to the Top report released by provider of executive search and leadership advisory services, Heidrick & Struggles. The survey analysed the profiles of 1,095 CEOs at the largest publicly listed companies across 24 markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, UAE, UK and the US.

The percentage seems low, but the share of newly appointed women CEOs has more than doubled globally to 13% over the first half of 2021; this compared to the last six months of 2020 which was 6%. The increase appears to indicate more progressive and inclusive policies inside the world’s top businesses. D&I continues to be brought into sharp focus, as made evident by the results shared at Talint Partners’ Benchmark Summit at The King’s Fund in London on 18 November.

While only 8% of UK CEOs are women, this is a 3% increase on last year and 2% more than both the European and global average (6%). At 14%, Ireland leads the world with the highest number of female leaders at the top of the corporate ladder.

Sharon Sands, partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ London office and co-lead of the CEO & Board of Directors Practice commented on the findings: “In the UK, the percentage of CEOs with cross-industry experience has risen to 34% in 2021 from 13%, as was found in the 2020 report. This shows that the skill set required is not-necessarily industry specific and can be transferred as required. Companies are also increasingly looking internally to fill available C-suite roles. At Heidrick & Struggles, we are strong believers in succession planning and the importance of developing a pipeline of diverse talent working their way up through the ranks.”

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69% of workers admitted to showering during work hours

New research from IvoryResearch.com has revealed the most popular work-from-home pastime – and it’s not work.

Since working from home, employees and employers have become somewhat relaxed in terms of the usual rules from the corporate environment, like dress code, longer lunch breaks and working flexible hours. But how have workers been filling the hours they’re not on video calls or sending emails?

One of the most common responses from those polled, with two thirds of respondents admitting to having sex while on the work clock! Surprisingly midday fooling around wasn’t the most unusual answer as one respondent admitted to taking a secret holiday without their employer knowing.

Other answers included setting up new businesses during work hours and creating OnlyFans content to make extra money. Many people also began online trading and investing in bitcoin, while a few even studied for a qualification for a new job.

On the tamer front, respondents admitted to visiting the hairdresser, binge watching entire Netflix series’, and some admitting to be completely hungover! Some even said they did actually work.

In contrast, some activities people admitted to meant leaving their desk for perhaps a little too long. These included; getting a bikini wax, going to football games, going to the gym and even online dating during work hours.

The top 10 most popular skiving activities include:

  1. Having sex – 76%
  2. Napping – 74%
  3. Scrolling on social media – 72%
  4. Showering – 69%
  5. Online shopping – 65%
  6. Cooking – 57%
  7. Tanning – 58%
  8. Going for a walk -55%
  9. Cleaning the house/ room -51%
  10. Hair salon/ hair cut – 48%

Maria Ovdii, research expert from Ivory Research, commented: “Our research has uncovered some very interesting truths about the UK workforce! From the subliminal to the ridiculous, people definitely didn’t hold back in these revelations. Perhaps managers need to surprise employees with a few additional meetings or calls!”

 

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80% of industries reporting record job vacancies

According to the latest labour market stats from the ONS, October saw 29.3 million employees, up by 160,000 on the revised September statistics. However, it was noted that it’s possible these figures may change while furloughed staff, who were made redundant, work out their notice period. But responses to the ONS survey suggest that redundancy numbers are likely to be a small share of those still on furlough when the scheme came to an end.

The Labour Force Survey estimates that for July to September 2021 the employment rate increased 0.4 percentage points on the quarter, to 75.4%. ONS reported that the increase in employment was because of a record high net flow from unemployment to employment. Total job-to-job moves also increased to a record high, largely driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during the same period. The rise is also driven by an increase in part-time work and an increase in the number of people on zero-hour contracts, driven by young people.

The unemployment rate decreased 0.5 percentage points to 4.3% while the inactivity rate remained unchanged at 21.1%.

But we have yet to see the full effects of the end of the furlough scheme and the relevance of zero-hour contracts in these figures. David Head, Director at TALiNT Partners commented: “Zero-hour contracts, if implemented ethically between employer and employee, are perfect because they allow flexibility in the workforce and allow businesses to expand and contract whenever necessary. However, having vast numbers of people on zero-hour contracts will inevitably mask the true numbers of the unemployed.”

The latest figures show that the number of job vacancies in August to October 2021 continued to rise to a new record of 1,172,000. This is an increase of 388,000 from pre-pandemic numbers of January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the 18 industry sectors showing record highs.

During the quarter, annual growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.8% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.9%. Annual growth in average employee pay has been affected by temporary factors that have inflated the headline growth rate. These factors are now waning and will have a smaller impact on growth rates, according to the report.

James Reed, Chairman of REED commented on the continued increase of job vacancies: “This ongoing rise in job vacancies is a positive sign of the economy’s continued revival. Rapid job creation means there are plenty of opportunities to go around, and not just for those recently off furlough, but also for others who have faced long or short-term unemployment as well as those already in work who are seeking a new challenge.

“After experiencing a cautious labour market during the pandemic when job opportunities were restricted and workers were less incentivised to move, there has never been a better time to look for a new role than now.”

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The series of TALiNT Partners’ awards continued with the TIARA Recruitment Awards – UAE hosted in Dubai on 4th November and resulted in a resounding success. Ken Brotherston, TALiNT Partners’ MD, shares his experiences of a great week spent exploring Dubai and workforce trends in the region. 

It’s been over 10 years since I last visited Dubai so I was more than a little interested to see how much it has changed since I was last there. I was also looking forward to the three events we had scheduled for the week as I was hoping they would give me some insight into the talent challenges in the region and how they compared to our experiences with other markets.  

On a physical basis Dubai just keeps getting bigger; the rate of new buildings in the last decade is astonishing, as is the continuing speed with which new ones are going up. The limited time I did have by the pool (honest!) was certainly not spent in quiet contemplation, given the constant cacophony of pile drivers and dumper trucks; and if the scale of construction is a sign (*and it generally is) then there is no lack of confidence about Dubai (and the wider UAE’s future). 

But what about from a people perspective? Our three key sessions gave a wide ranging perspective: the first, at London Business School’s campus in the Dubai International Financial Centre, brought together the Head Of Staffing for LinkedIn for the region, Susana Correia, Ron Thomas, a highly experienced CHRO and one of the local market’s foremost commentators on workforce trends, and Michael Morcos, Vice Chair of the Board Practice  at Korn/Ferry, the world’s largest organisational consulting firm in a discussion with a group of executive MBAs. The key takeaway from this session was undoubtedly a confirmation that capable senior execs (and especially those with transformations and/or project management capabilities) are in more demand than ever before and, as employers become ever more flexible, on how and where their key execs work with them – it is opening up entirely new talent pools.   

Our second session of the week was our Talent Conference, bringing together key employers, staffing solutions providers and HR tech firms to look at trends across the wider market. Peter Hogg, Talent Acquisition Director, Schneider Electric demonstrated the power of creating an internal talent market place whilst Ghenwa Habbal, Head of Talent Management, Ford Middle East & Africa discussed how to use a digital capability to create a total talent approach.  

Darren Grainger, MD of NES Fircroft emphasised the importance of strategic supplier partnerships; Jonathan Rook, Managing Director of Sova Assessment highlighted the possibilities of digital assessment, not least for some of the large nationalisation programmes going on across the region.  

It was also very powerful to hear Nihal B. Hammad, Director, Human Resources, Albatha Healthcare Group, talk about diversity in the region and whilst it is important to balance D&I initiatives with local customs and practices, progress is being made. No doubt some might say not fast enough but that’s a discussion for a separate blog. 

Our final event of the week was the culmination of our TIARA staffing campaign to recognise the achievements of a range of staffing firms and solutions providers in the region and it was fantastic to see some of the impressive work being done by so many firms across the region and in particular to celebrate our Recruitment Industry Leader of the Year, Aws Ismail, of Marc Ellis Group who judges commended for his investment in establishing a strong team, an open and supportive culture and for his support for his local community through an incredibly difficult year.  

The MENA region, and the UAE specifically, is continuing to go from strength to strength. As we look at new ways of working combined with, for example, nationalisation programmes, this will help to open up new markets in which to trade or sell services and create a larger pool of educated and engaged talent. And as the region works towards a longer-term strategy of relying less on an economy based on fossil fuels, the energy and dynamism of the region will create a lot of exciting opportunities for some time to come.  

By Ken Brotherston  

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Finance industry least likely align with graduates’ social responsibility goals

CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, conducted a survey on the career outlook of more than 15,000 current university students as well as graduates aged 18 to 25, across 15 markets.

The results found that globally, 58 percent of respondents still feel confident about their future career prospects following the pandemic. Traditionally stable sectors, such as finance, remain attractive for graduates navigating these uncertain times with respondents across all 15 markets putting finance as one of the top five most valuable majors for finding a career. Medicine/science was also seen as stable and attractive, followed by healthcare and then education.

Margaret Franklin, CFA President and CEO of CFA Institute commented: “It is incumbent on companies to adapt to the new realities, such as hybrid workplaces, in order to attract and retain the young talent we need to help lead us out of the pandemic.”

“Worryingly, however, graduates currently don’t see the finance industry as making a positive social impact. This issue is only going to increase in importance, and industry leaders need to make sure we are on the front foot in educating students about the positive impact an investment career can have for people and our planet.”

 

Graduates are reassessing their career paths

Many graduates believe their future career will be as good or better than their parents’ generation, despite COVID-19. The survey results showed that those studying accounting and finance were particularly confident, with 80% believing their prospects are as good.

Despite this confidence however, 46% of the respondents reported they are reassessing their career paths considering the pandemic with top concerns now including low pay in their preferred sector (26%), lack of jobs in their preferred sector (25%) and working in a sector that doesn’t fulfil or interest them (26%).

 

Further education is key in a job market in flux

Developing work-related skills during and after their degrees was another concern for students. Those surveyed shared personal insecurities about this with 25% saying they feel underqualified for the job they want, and 22% saying they don’t feel prepared for the working world, post-graduation.

Students and graduates are seeing the benefit of further education. Nearly 87% of respondents feel that upskilling and post-graduate qualifications are important in the current job market, and 57% believe postgraduate qualifications/professional certification will give them an edge when looking for a job.

This is causing a significant uptake in further studies, with nearly half of graduates planning to prolong their time in education.

Peter Watkins, who leads the University Affiliation Program at CFA Institute in Europe, Middle East and Africa commented: “Graduates’ strong confidence in higher education is good news for universities but we should be clear about their motives. Graduates are clearly focusing on work-readiness, professional skills, and boosting their job prospects; higher education and credentialling institutions need to ensure their offerings meet this demand.”

 

Making a positive impact

We know Gen Zs are looking for a sense of belonging and to work in an industry that aligns with their values. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) respondents said it’s an important part of their career choice. Of concern is that only 8% of respondents consider a career in investment management as one in which they could make a positive environmental and societal impact. This shows again that the finance industry needs to more to educate students around the positive impact they could have to attract talent.

Watkins added: “Graduates may be unaware of the remarkable global trend towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and the career opportunities a specialism in sustainability and ESG could offer them in the investment industry.”

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75% of companies have suffered confidence-damaging cyber-attacks

A new report by FTI Consulting indicates that more companies are coming under scrutiny for their business practises and behaviour.

The top three areas of investigation worries are: business conduct and the treatment of customers, sustainability and ESG practices, and the relationship with public bodies and government contracts. According to the report, a quarter of UK respondents identified each of these areas as major concerns. The services sector and financial sector were the most likely to report experiencing regulatory or political scrutiny over the past 12 months (23% each).

Potential emerging crises

 According to The Resilience Barometer the nature, severity and potential trajectory of these threats are forcing companies to embed resilience on more fronts:

Growing cybersecurity threats: 75% of companies surveyed suffered a cyber-attack in the past 12 months, with a rise in phishing attacks among the most prevalent type with 25% experiencing a loss of customer/patient data, and a further 23% reporting a loss of third-party information.

Class actions and mass consumer claims: 13% of respondents experienced these in the past 12 months, and 12% expect this to continue in the next 12 months.

The “Great Resignation”: Over the last 12 months, 28% of companies surveyed have experienced a shortage of talent and skills, and 72% have reported increased mental health issues in their workforce since the start of the pandemic.

Edward Westerman, Global Investigations Initiative Leader at FTI Consulting commented: “The ever-changing landscape will put the onus on companies to take a proactive stance regarding investigations. Leveraging new technologies and data and analytics can help companies efficiently manage an ongoing investigation and help mitigate the risk of future crises.”

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Luton has best business survival rate

  • Fasthosts reveal the top cities in the UK for start-up businesses by looking into a large variety of regional metrics from business survival rates to the cost of office space.
  • Luton is the UK’s top city to start a business right now, study finds.

The arrival of the pandemic saw a 12.3% increase in new businesses – the highest increase on record.

By analysing average download speeds, business birth and death rates, five-year survival rates, office renting costs, and average working productivity across the nation, Fasthosts’ conducted a survey that revealed the top 15 cities for business opportunities.

Based on the benchmarks, Luton was crowned as the best all-round UK location to start a new business with an overall index score of 3.375. The city proved to have one the best rates of production, office prices, and business survival rates out of any other UK city.

In second place was Reading which boasted a super high productivity rate – even higher than Luton – but falls short at office costs and internet speeds. The Bedfordshire town ranks marginally higher than fellow southern start-up hotspot Reading (3.312).

In the battle of the capitals, Edinburgh outperformed Central London by the slimmest of margins, to rank as the survey’s fourth best city for overall enterprise opportunities, while the English metropolis took fifth.

The top 15 UK cities to launch a business can be seen below:

Ranking City Average download speed (Mbit/s) Business Death rate Business Birth rate 5 Year Survival Rate Cost of Office Space per sq. ft. (£) Productivity level
1 Luton 63 1040 1455 410 22 102.97
2 Reading 54 930 1145 435 38 126.9
3 Nottingham 69 1410 1510 20 14.88 86
4 Edinburgh 63 2540 2885 1150 35 104.8
5 Central London 51 5750 5190 32895 112 132.3
6 Liverpool 62 2445 3110 805 23 91.7
7 Portsmouth 55 845 1275 320 16.9 94.3
8 Coventry 58 1410 1620 605 18.5 91.6
9 Wolverhampton 61 1110 1245 380 16 84
10 Bristol 60 2370 2895 1140 35 97.6
11 Birmingham 58 5970 7870 2080 34 91.5
12 Newcastle upon Tyne 56 1105 1295 455 24 90.9
13 Stoke-on-Trent 53 810 965 385 16 85.5
14 Northampton 44 1275 2000 520 13.6 93.6
15 Bradford 49 1875 2305 945 14.6 86.2

Michelle Stark, Sales and Marketing Director at Fasthosts commented: “Even in a vastly increasing digital world, choosing the right city to launch a business is an important decision. And it’s great to see such a variety of cities across the country among the top 15 from Portsmouth to Edinburgh and Bradford to choose from. It’s important to be strategic when deciding in your business location and we urge all start-ups to check out our rankings before choosing their desired location for business.”

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Continued skills shortage to blame

Three quarters of hiring managers have reported that the cost of recruiting workers has increased since January this year according to talent sourcing specialist, Talent.com. This increase comes amid the continued skills shortages.

The survey found that hiring expenditure decreased for just 8% of survey respondents, while the remining 17% have not yet witnessed any notable change.

Talent.com’s research supports ONS data which shows that the average pay growth also jumped 8.8% across the UK for the three months between April and June 2021, representing the highest rise since records began 20 years ago.

Noura Dadzie – VP Sales UK & International Markets at Talent.com, commented: “There’s no doubt that the main factor behind the increase in recruitment budgets is the mass skills shortages we’re witnessing across the UK. Available talent is limited in almost every sector, so recruiters are having to not only increase remuneration to attract resources, but also think of new and innovative ways to find applicants from the get-go. While our survey doesn’t breakdown exactly where this increased investment is being channelled, we do know from another poll over half (57%) of recruiters have turned to job boards and job aggregators to source candidates amidst a skills shortage, so investment in these two areas is likely to have increased. We do know from our conversations with hirers that many are also moving funds into increasingly sophisticated tech tools to help them look outside of the usual channels to find talent. The rise of job aggregators and programmatic platforms, in particular, is enabling recruitment professionals to save both time and headaches and is one area that more businesses are budgeting additional finances for.”

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68% of white men ‘don’t feel they need more D&I education’

A study by Dynata has suggested that one in three employees fear that an unintended consequence of increased awareness around D&I would be losing their role.

The research polled over 1,300 workers from the UK and nearly 10,000 from countries such as France, Germany and the USA. It explored the attitudes and opinions of employees, managers and people leaders surrounding EDI programmes in organisations.

The study stated that, while one in three employees rated accountability and progress reporting as the most important element of a successful D&I strategy, the same amount also feared that the consequences of such reporting could endanger their chances of working for D&I-centric organisations.

A total of 68% of white men who responded to the survey believe that they don’t need any further education about the importance of D&I, yet a massive 46% believe that a greater emphasis of D&I may lead to their losing their own job.

According to the study, 66% of respondents noted that creating a safe environment and paying employees fairly for their work were the most desired and important outcomes of any D&I initiative.

The benefits of doing so, included greater feelings of confidence, productivity and belonging among workers.

It appears that there is a ‘significant’ gap between senior leaders and workers in measuring the success of D&I within organisations.

  • 60% of bosses believe that they are creating a ‘culture of belonging’
  • 41% of workers perceive their managers are, in fact, creating a culture of belonging

“A diverse workforce which brings together different perspectives, ideas and ways of thinking is essential for innovation in business, just as it is in wider society,” commented Samuel Kasumu, former advisor to the Prime Minister and Managing Director at Inclusive Boards.

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Greene King named biggest winner of the year!

  • 160 guests attend live Gala Dinner at the IET London
  • 11 companies crowned winners with 6 highly commended
  • Greene King wins hat trick of awards, triumphing overall as the TA Team of the Year

 Winners of the 2021 TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards were revealed at a Gala Dinner for 160 guests at the IET in London on the 22nd of September. The event was attended by Talent Acquisition, HR and business leaders from some of the UK’s leading employers.

“The TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards are the latest addition to TALiNT Partners’ highly respected TIARA awards programme,” commented Ken Brotherston, co-host of the Awards and Managing Director at TALiNT Partners.

“After 18 months of turmoil, it was amazing to see the examples of innovation, resilience, business partnership and agility delivered by our finalists this year, and we were delighted to be able to recognize that work through the TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards,” added Debra Sparshott, co-host of the Awards and Programme Director at TALiNT Partners. 

The TIARAs are recognised for the rigour of the process and the quality of the judging panel and are seen as a genuine and meaningful accolade for winners. An impressive and influential panel of judges from companies including LinkedIn, Nestle, Jaguar Land Rover, Facebook, MSCI Inc as well as wider business leaders such as Lord Chris Holmes, deputy Chair of Channel 4, and the broadcaster and journalist Trevor Phillips came together to discuss each entry and decide the winners.

“Our judges’ deliberations were balanced, lively, occasionally controversial but always insightful and thoughtful. Their range of experience brought an amazing diversity of different perspectives,” commented Ken Brotherston.

Greene King was the biggest winner this year, winning the Lorien Creativity in Talent Acquisition Award, Early Career Pioneer Award, and the overall winner’s winner trophy – the TA Team of the Year.

“In deciding this year’s TA Team of the Year Winner, we wanted to see a team who had moved the needle, raised standards and taken a risk. After the last 18 months, we cannot ignore the human element, and Greene King approached their work in a genuine and authentic way and truly is a beacon for the industry,” said Chris Holmes, Judge and Deputy Chair, Channel 4. He also spoke powerfully about the importance of ‘looking after the talent who look after the talent’, recognising the many challenges employers have faced during the pandemic and the critical role TA teams have played across so many industries.

The TIARA Talent Acquisition Awards 2021 campaign was supported by partners eArcu, Horsefly Analytics, Lorien, Retinue Talent Solutions and Sova Assessment.

The full list of TIARA Talent Acquisition winners and highly commended finalists is as follows:

The Lorien Creativity in TA Award 

  • Winner: Greene King
  • Highly Commended: Barchester Healthcare

The Best Recruitment Supplier Partnership 

  • Winner: Kraft Heinz

The eArcu Candidate Experience Award

  • Winner: McDonald’s
  • Highly Commended: Checkout.com

The Best Use of Tech

  • Winner: HSBC (Partner: SMRS)

The Retinue Talent Solutions TA Operational Achievement Award

  • Winner: Serco
  • Highly Commended: Essex County Council
  • Highly Commended: North Yorkshire County Council

The Early Careers Pioneer Award

  • Winner: Greene King
  • Highly Commended: Essex County Council

The Horsefly Analytics Best Business Partnership

  • Winner: North Yorkshire County Council

The Sova Moving the Dial in Diversity & Inclusion Award

  • Winner: BBC

The Excellence in Onboarding

  • Winner: Essex County Council
  • Highly Commended: Slalom

The Attraction Campaign of the Year

  • Winner: L’Oréal

The TA Team of the Year

  • Winner: Greene King
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Talent Solutions

The Great Escape and The Great Resignation result in mass exodus of workers
According to a new report by Kincannon & Reed, the disruption and upheaval caused by the pandemic during the last two years has resulted in a dramatic ripple effect across many industries, including those that ensure a safe, secure and abundant food system. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, implementation of safety equipment and protocols, along with the fact that stay-at-home orders upended standard operating procedures and forced on-the-spot decision making for all levels of the workforce. This, coupled with endless Zoom calls and dealing with on-edge customers and consumers, and simply supporting teams manage the ‘new normal’ made for an environment that business leaders have never seen before. It’s enough to make a person throw in the towel. And many have.

The pandemic has forced members of the workforce to take stock and re-prioritize their lives and careers – leading to a mass exodus of staff that the HR industry has dubbed “The Great Resignation”.

Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media, has called it the ‘Great Escape.’ Older workers have also taken advantage of early retirement as part of the normal employment work cycle. According to the New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, roughly two million more people than expected have joined the ranks of the retired during the pandemic.

With skills shortages and The Great Resignation hammering the market, questions we should be asking are: How should company leaders manage an unexpected exodus? How can they attract new talent while also retaining the great leaders?

Kincannon & Reed’s Carolyn Schubert, Managing Director, and Jim Gerardot, managing partner, say leaders should consider five key points as they navigate this constantly evolving environment:

1. Prepare Talent for Leadership

“Many senior leaders retire for various reasons,” said Ms. Schubert. “It’s a double whammy for an industry that has also been a victim of the Great Resignation. The problem is the industry hasn’t done a very good job of succession planning and preparing others within their ranks to take on leadership roles. Companies need to put a solid succession plan in place to train, keep and promote talent.”

2. Treat Recruits Like CEOs

Ms. Schubert says the fact that there simply aren’t a lot of people changing jobs has created a talent war. “To attract and retain the best of the best, you must be forthcoming with candidates and let them know what’s possible beyond the job you’re recruiting for,” she said. “Act like you’re recruiting for a CEO job because the candidate you’re interviewing could be your next one.”

“During the recruiting process, share your financials, strategic vision and long-term goals; give candidates an opportunity to interact with board members,” said Ms. Schubert. “Make them feel important and let them know they’ll be a part of the organization in a larger way.”

3. Show Them the Money

Mr. Geradot says that today’s candidates are looking at total compensation – short and long term. “They are seeking and comparing specifics on benefit packages, relocation incentives, signing bonuses, as well as long-term incentives – all considerations when looking to attract top candidates in today’s market,” he said.

4. Be Transparent

“Be fully transparent about company culture, structure, and benefits, and the future,” said Mr. Geradot. “The current war for talent means the brightest prospects are inundated with opportunities, so they’re being selective and doing their homework to better understand a company before they step foot in the door (or log onto Zoom) for an interview.”

5. Prepare to Sell Yourself

There was a time when companies, particularly legacy companies, had the attitude: “The top candidates will want to work for us,” said Mr. Geradot. But that’s not the case anymore.

“Instead of potential employees having to sell companies on the value they can bring, the tables have turned,” he said. “Companies are in the hot seat – having to prove themselves – and start-ups seem to have a leg up on speaking to culture, values, purpose, and perks.”

 

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Manpower Group recently launched Talent Solutions, combining three of its offerings. TI sat down with Talent Solutions to learn more about the launch of their Talent Solutions Brand in 2021 and how it came about. Here’s what they had to say.  

TI: Can you tell me a little more about Talent Solutions (size, number of employees, locations served etc)? 

With 40+ years of experience delivering client-focused, technology enabled, innovative workforce solutions to the market, Talent Solutions delivers expertise to organisations across the talent lifecycle.  

We manage over £10 billion of spend in our Managed Service Programmes; we deliver 250+ Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions to clients around the world; and we’re supporting some of the world’s largest organisations on their journey towards Total Talent Management. 

Our ability to capitalise on new thinking, new workforce models and new possibilities has made us the most recognised and respected workforce solutions provider in the world – as benchmarked by leading industry analysts. 

Across the UK, we have over 550 people working for Talent Solutions, with offices in Altrincham, Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Southampton, as well as client sites throughout the UK. 

TI: ManpowerGroup recently launched Talent Solutions (combining three of its offerings). What was the company’s reasoning behind that? 

Talent Solutions combines three of ManpowerGroup’s global offerings – RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing), TAPFIN MSP (Managed Service Provider) and Right Management – providing innovative solutions and end-to-end, data-driven capabilities across the talent lifecycle through one brand.  

TI: What opportunities does the new offering bring to the group? 

This new combination of offerings will leverage deep industry expertise and a strong understanding of what talent wants, delivering new solutions to address organisations’ complex global workforce needs. 

TI: Were there any challenges when it came to launching it? 

Talent Solutions was introduced in the UK on the 31st March 2020, a week after the UK was put into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we took the decision to adjust our plans in the UK, taking a much lower-key approach to the introduction of the new brand.  

Whilst this wasn’t how we envisioned sharing the new brand, it was appropriate given the difficult times everyone was facing. Since then, we have been working on raising awareness of our new brand and the value we can bring to our clients.  

TI: What makes this offering unique? 

With the combination of RPO, TAPFIN MSP and Right Management, Talent Solutions is able to provide seamless delivery of end-to-end workforce solutions that help clients to navigate risk, cost, efficiency and quality while facing changing and uncertain markets.  

Employer brand 

TI: How has the company been developing its employer brand in recent years? 

With the launch of Talent Solutions, we’ve introduced new imagery which focuses on learnability and the opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds to progress in the organisation. Across the wider business, we highlight the breadth of opportunity for new experiences across the organisation, whether that’s with our different ManpowerGroup brands, or working directly with our clients across the UK. 

TI: What role does employer brand play in the attraction and retention of talent? 

An effective employer brand strategy is one of the most important aspects of a successful recruiting function and we believe that this will become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To build a compelling employer brand, you should focus on being authentic in sharing communication of your purpose and the connection that you develop with your candidates, and being consistent in your communication and approach with every candidate. 

Attracting and retaining talent 

TI: What are you looking for in a potential member of staff for your team? 

Whilst knowledge of the industry is an important attribute, with any new employee, we look for individuals with high levels of learnability and adaptability. This increases the likelihood that they can adapt to new opportunities and changing environments and job requirements. 

Given the size of our organisation and the different brand structures, it’s also vital that a potential member of staff demonstrates a positive attitude to team working. A collaborative approach helps to drive better results in our business. 

We also don’t just recruit those with experience working for recruitment organisations, considering the relevance of their external knowledge to our market and the market of our clients. 

TI: How does the company go about attracting emerging talent? 

We have a wonderful Talent Team that operates across ManpowerGroup, helping us to attract the right talent for our organisation. In 2021, we also launched our internal talent academy, designed to bring people with no experience of recruitment into the business, put them through an initial training programme and support them as they start their career with ManpowerGroup. 

TI: How does the company use training and development to retain staff? 

We’re very fortunate that ManpowerGroup puts a considerable amount of investment into training and development to help employees progress in their careers.  

As well as having access to an extensive library of online training, we also offer our employees access to Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships as well as leadership programmes with organisations such as Harvard Business School and INSEAD. 

Outsourced hiring 

TI: What benefits does outsourced hiring bring to a company? 

Run correctly, outsourced hiring can offer companies a number of benefits. At Talent Solutions, we focus on providing customers with greater predictability and flexibility of costs, a more efficient recruitment process, an improved candidate experience and importantly, improved talent quality.  

TI: How do you ensure you’re delivering maximum value to your clients? 

Across ManpowerGroup, we focus on the 4 B’s – Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge – when working to develop effective talent strategies and deliver maximum value for our clients. Each stage involves: 

  • Build – Invest in learning and development to grow your talent pipeline 
  • Buy – Go to the external market to find the best talent that cannot be built in-house in the timeframe required 
  • Borrow – Cultivate communities of talent outside the organisation, including part-time, freelance, contract and temporary workers to complement existing skills 
  • Bridge – Help people move on and move up to new roles inside or outside the organisation 

Enhancing hiring 

TI: Where do you think improvements are needed in the hiring process? 

One of the areas that we see most frequently which needs improving is how organisations manage their silver medallists through the hiring process. Whilst that individual may not be the best candidate for the specific role businesses are hiring for at the time, companies could benefit from reviewing whether there are any other suitable roles for them in the organisation. If nothing is available, then they should be kept on file (subject to data restrictions) for any future relevant roles. 

Crucial here, as with all hiring, is getting the candidate experience right. This is often something which is neglected in our busy work environments. Candidates are ultimately consumers too, so even if they’re not the right fit to work in your organisation, they may still be a customer, but only if you treat them with respect throughout the process. Introducing technology at the right stages of the hiring process can help you to streamline the process more effectively, allowing more time to provide the human touch.  

TI: How could technology be used to enhance hiring further? 

From Robotic Process Automation, to our Talent Solutions PowerSuite, which creates the flexibility to tailor our offerings to meet evolving client and candidate needs, we’re continuously developing our technology capabilities and working with our partners to provide clients and candidates with the best technology to support their hiring processes.  

Some of the key areas where we see further opportunities to enhance the hiring process using technology are through improved use of chatbots, On-Demand Interviewing and Search and Match technology. 

Hiring trends 

TI: What hiring trends has the company been witnessing recently? 

The most obvious trend having an impact on hiring at the moment are the talent shortages we’re seeing across the board. We’re seeing a continued increase in hiring intentions, with a 30 year high of +32% (ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, Jan 2022). However, in many cases, clients are unable to meet their hiring needs due to a shortage of talent. We’re working closely with our clients to help them find the skills they need, by thinking differently about their talent strategies.  

TI: How do hiring trends and patterns differ across the countries you operate in? 

Operations in each country are assessing the changing trends in every location to make sure they are aligned to the customer needs.  

TI: What is Talent Solutions doing to counter skills shortages in certain sectors? 

Talent Solutions has a number of different solutions to support clients facing skills shortages. We support our clients to develop talent pipeline management, to ensure they have the individuals they need, when they need them. This can be done through a range of techniques including bridging their current employees into other areas of the business through training or providing Employed Consultants. Employed Consultants are highly skilled specialists who are permanently employed by Experis (part of ManpowerGroup), and then supplied on an interim basis.  

We also work with clients to build Train to Fit programmes, taking individuals who already have a range of technical and functional skills which are valuable to their business, and have the aptitude to develop further. We create a training programme in partnership with the client, helping individuals advance their knowledge to the right level and meet the needs of the role over an agreed period of time.  

On top of these solutions, Talent Solutions also has the benefit of skills development programmes across the wider ManpowerGroup business, including the MyPath programme in Manpower, which helps associates upskill and develop along their career path. MyPath associates are provided with personalised guidance, career development, training and continuous access to jobs – helping them to achieve their ambitions and meet employers’ needs today and in the future.  

Diversity and inclusion 

TI: Are companies doing enough to be truly diverse and inclusive? 

There is always room for improvement in this area. But it’s clear that businesses are waking up to the need to be truly diverse and inclusive. It’s now on the agenda for every leadership team, with many businesses taking big steps towards active inclusion, rather than just paying lip service. At ManpowerGroup, we created seven steps to conscious inclusion in the workplace: 

  1. Change yourself first 
  1. Leadership has to own it; don’t delegate it 
  1. Flip the question – ask, “Why Not?” 
  1. Hire people who value people 
  1. Promote a culture of conscious inclusion: programmes alone don’t work 
  1. Be explicit; when and where?  
  1. Be accountable; set measurable and achievable outcomes 

Managed correctly, one of the potential opportunities to come out of recent turbulence could be the removal of some of the barriers to the workplace for more diverse groups. For example, the increased acceptance of remote working and flexible hours could help businesses to become more inclusive for those with care responsibilities. 

TI: What is Talent Solutions doing to support improvements in this (both internally and for clients)? 

We’re working with our clients to share advice around implementing the seven steps to conscious inclusion. We’re also advising them on strategies for reaching and attracting diverse groups when advertising for new roles. 

We’ve also recently strengthened our commitment to inclusion and diversity globally, committing to: 

  • Reaching our primary global diversity goal of 40% female leadership by 2024 
  • Investing in our inclusive culture to retain and develop diverse talent 
  • Advancing employment security for the long-term; reskilling, upskilling and improving wellbeing and employability for all 

In the UK, we’ve also launched our Supplier Diversity Initiative, a commitment to developing relationships with diverse suppliers who enhance the solutions we offer to our clients. We will be supporting diverse suppliers to accelerate their growth and ability to succeed in the marketplace, as well as helping others to become more diverse and inclusive. The result is optimal client solutions and partnerships within a world of diverse and high-performing talent. 

Looking to the future 

TI: What are your plans for the company over the year ahead? 

As building talent increases in importance in workforce planning and development, we will continue to support our clients and candidates through the further development of our Academy offerings – ensuring that we are upskilling individuals for the jobs of the future and providing the skills that our clients need to grow and progress. 

Using our expertise in ESG, we’ll enhance our support for clients around Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, helping them to improve in these vital areas at the same time as accessing potentially untapped talent pools as part of the strategy for overcoming skills shortages.  

In response to ongoing volatile market conditions, we’ll also continue to increase the flexibility of our solutions, using our Centres of Recruitment Excellence (CoRE) to ramp requirements up and down as needed and supporting across the Total Talent Management lifecycle. Our Agile RPO solutions will continue to expand, meeting the need for short to medium term support for internal recruitment teams. 

We will also continue to work with our new and existing clients to help them meet changing workforce requirements post COVID-19.  

TI: What outsourced hiring trends do you expect to see in the year(s) ahead? (Will there be an increase in in-house hiring?)  

With the increased pace of change in customer demands impacting upon workforce strategies, we anticipate an increased need for businesses to speak to external experts for advice to help them continue to run their organisations as efficiently as possible. This will provide them with an outside in perspective from people who have a view of the wider market.  

Understandably, we also expect to see demand for flexibility from candidates continue, as many will have experienced the potential benefits during lockdown.  

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Pandemic has exacerbated gender inequality

A detailed report, produced by Sharon Peake, founder and CEO at Shape Talent, has exposed why women in the workplace across Britain and Europe have been so severely impacted by COVID-19.

Sharon Peake, founder and CEO at Shape Talent, said: “The fact is: pre-existing gender inequalities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the hard-earned gains in women’s equality in the workplace, particularly at leadership levels, have been eroded. Women, the world over, are exhausted by the impact of gender bias.”

Predictions by The World Economic Forum expect that the gender pay gap is not going to close for another 136 years, as a direct impact of the pandemic. This is an increase of 36 years on the previous Global Gender Gap Report, which predicted 99.5 years.

Peake explained: “Since time began, gender equality has been viewed as a women’s issue and the focus has been on how to ‘fix’ women. This report does not exist to tell us how unacceptable this is – it is here to provide business leaders with the insight that can focus their strategies on sustainable change and ultimately accelerate gender equality.”

The paper outlines the three barriers that are summarised below:

  • Societal barriers: Subtle and often unspoken cultural cues and messages that reinforce the ways that men and women ‘ought’ to think, behave and feel
  • Organisational barriers: The hurdles experienced in the workplace and a combination of systemic obstacles, cultures and norms which disadvantage women
  • Personal barriers: A diverse range of hindrances, including how women present in the workplace and how they manage the work-family interface.

The paper lists eight guiding principles companies can adopt to counteract the barriers; these are:

  1. Link inclusion and diversity to business strategy
  2. Set the tone from the top
  3. Make inclusion part of cultural change programme
  4. Take an evidence-based approach
  5. Engage men
  6. Build and accelerate the pipeline
  7. Enable a level playing field
  8. Narrow the focus
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Mobile makes up 80% of the working population, says Bersin Report

Research and advisory group, The Josh Bersin Company, has revealed that 80% of the current working population is “deskless”, this according to its latest report called The Big Reset Playbook: Deskless Workers.

This latest report is based on insights from the company’s ongoing Big Reset executive working groups. The report focuses on the recommended practices needed to create optimal work experiences for “deskless” employees in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, transportation, and other sectors.

The report also revealed that based on current research by multiple sources, it’s in fact hourly workers who take the lead in resignation statistics.

Josh Bersin commented: “Because so little attention has been given to the working and personal needs of deskless employees, companies are now seeing mass resignations, unionisation efforts, and scores of unfilled jobs.”

The seven critical components of deskless work according to The Big Reset Playbook are:

  1. Promote and enable human connections and time for creativity. Deskless workers are the closest to the customer, but a mere 6% of manufacturing companies and 7% of consumer companies design jobs to allow people time to rest, reinvent, and innovate, compared to 21% of technology firms and 29% of professional services companies.
  2. Train managers to better coach deskless workers. Many companies fail to adequately support managers in the training and development of their people. Just 11% of hospitality companies invest in developing leaders at all levels, compared to 75% of pharmaceutical companies.
  3. Make the commute easy and establish belonging at work. Because remote work is not feasible for deskless workers, they need extra support with easy and safe commutes. A sense of belonging is especially important in light of the current resignation trends and skills shortages. Leaders need to demonstrate that they are actively listening to employees and taking actions as appropriate.
  4. Support the deskless worker’s entire life. Work flexibility is often not an option for deskless workers, so they need backup for taking care of families and support for balancing finances. The vast majority live paycheck to paycheck, and only 13% of the 2.7 billion deskless workers worldwide have paid sick leave.
  5. Help deskless workers build fulfilling careers. Deskless workers – especially those who may be in jobs ripe for automation – need pathways to future-proof careers.
  6. Create a deskless-first culture. A sense of belonging and community is critically important for deskless workers, yet many are often disconnected from the overall corporate mission and values when communication channels are designed for deskbound employees.
  7. Provide tools and services geared for mobile. Deskless workers are often left behind with no access to communication, tools, or resources. Mobile-first or adaptable approaches should be implemented.

Josh Bersin, global HR trends analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, commented on the findings: “As we go into the second winter season of the pandemic, hybrid work continues to be especially important, and much work remains to be done to design a new paradigm. In parallel, we must not forget the 80% of employees around the world have a work reality that is drastically different from their managers. Work strategies must keep in mind the needs of shop floor employees, restaurant servers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers.

“Many things have changed since March 2020, and deskless workers are at the receiving end of many of the most difficult work challenges. In some industries such as transportation or hospitality, large numbers of people were furloughed or laid off. Healthcare employees had to face extreme health risk in coming to work. Designing a new work reality for these deskless workers is a lesson in empathy, listening, learning, and communication.”

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