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Employers are prioritising plans to improve productivity

Since the start of the pandemic, rising financial stress due to an uncertain economy has created a downward spiral on employee wellbeing that has impacted employee performance. A study by borofree revealed that an average of 3.05 working days were taken off by workers in Great Britain last year due to the financial stress felt by employees.

The study examined the plans that companies across the UK now aim to implement in order to improve employee productivity, financial wellbeing and increase morale in the workplace as business recovery begins to take shape.

The research, which was conducted online by YouGov, highlights that HR decision makers are feeling optimistic about building stronger employee productivity as the economy settles into a ‘new normal’ with over half (57%) believing that employee productivity is set to  increase over the next 12 months.

Action taken from businesses to increase employee wellbeing over the next year will be critical for them to regain strong post-pandemic productivity growth and recover from a challenging 18 months. In fact, 83% of HR decision makers surveyed revealed that their business will be prioritising plans to improve employee productivity over the next year. Improving pay and working conditions for employees is high on the agenda for companies looking to regain lost morale due to the pandemic, with almost a third (31%) stating that this will be a business priority for them this year.

Across Britain the study highlights that employers are searching for new ways to increase productivity. The research shows that wellbeing is now a vital part of ensuring that teams remain productive, with over one in five (23%) companies looking to introduce new or improved health and wellness benefits for employees to improve morale and productivity over the next two years.

Despite financial worries among the UK workforce being a cause of emotional stress, the study shows that offering financial wellbeing initiatives as part of a businesses’ productivity recovery plan is still being overlooked. Whilst financial stress is a contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace, only 12% of HR decision makers are looking to introduce personal finance coaching and training to employees to improve morale and productivity amongst teams within the next two years.

Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, comments: “Whilst it’s great to see that businesses are prioritising incentives to build stronger employee productivity following a challenging 18 months, it’s critical that they do not overlook initiatives to promote better financial wellbeing amongst teams.

Our findings show that financial stress can lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace and the effect of this will hit a company’s bottom line. For employees that seek a certain degree of financial security from their employer such as being able to absorb an unforeseen financial shock, only one in ten (10%) businesses surveyed have stated that they are looking to introduce earnings on demand and paid weekly options for employers within the next two years and just over one in ten (14%) confirmed that they’ll be introducing salary advance facilities (e.g., a loan a company can give an employee from their future salary).”

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Gender pay gap in the UK is 16.01%

New research from William Russell revealed the countries around the world that are the most empowering countries for women to live and work – and the UK didn’t make the list.

To score countries and rank them, the team at William Russell looked at a number of factors to create the Female Empowerment Score including:

  • Gender Pay Gap
  • The proportion of women who achieve tertiary education
  • The length of paid maternity leave
  • Female representation in government

The 10 best countries for female empowerment: 

Rank Country Female Empowerment Score 
1 Iceland 7.64
2 Finland 7.62
3 Ireland 7.22
4 Belgium 7.12
5 Denmark 7.04
6 Canada 6.83
7 France 6.77
8 Norway 6.73
9 Sweden 6.67
10 Lithuania 6.64

 

  • Iceland topped the list as the most female-friendly place to live and work, with a female empowerment score of 7.64. This Nordic island nation is well known for its progressive views and welcoming culture with more than half of adult women having achieved tertiary education such as a university degree.
  • Finland took second place with a score of 7.62. Finland has achieved excellent representation for women in its government, with 50% of all ministerial positions occupied by women.
  • Ireland takes third place, with a female empowerment score of 7.22. Ireland has a relatively low gender wage gap of 7.99% and a very competitive 182 days of paid maternity leave for new mothers.

The research also revealed the following:

  • The average gender wage gap around the world is 28%, the UK is above that with 16.01%.
  • The length of paid maternity leave is different all around the world, the average is 6 days. The UK is less than half of that with 42 days, Slovakia gives the most with 238 days.
  • The % of women who achieved tertiary education in the UK (47.7%), is higher than the global average (40.7%). Israel is at the top with 88%.
  • The global average for the proportion of women in ministerial positions is 34.44%. The UK is beneath that with 23.81%, whereas Belgium comes out on top with 57.14%.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Over half of employees feel undervalued

Research released by Firstup, a digital employee experience company, revealed that employees are unhappier in the workplace now more than ever post-pandemic. The survey showed a mounting dissatisfaction among employees across the UK, US, Germany, Benelux and the Nordics, with talent feeling undervalued, uninformed, and un-unified.

Lack of communication from leadership was cited as a main contributing factor to unhappy employees with almost a quarter of respondents to the survey agreeing that better communication will lead to increased productivity and work satisfaction.

Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO of Firstup, said: “Businesses need to provide more valuable working experiences or remain responsible for the career reboot of the decade that some are calling The Great Resignation of 2021. This research is a clear and urgent call to action – an organisation’s employees are its most valuable asset with employee satisfaction having a direct impact on the bottom line. Business, HR and Internal Comms leaders must act now to stem this workforce dissatisfaction and engage their teams with personalised information that helps them do their best work.”

Research from the 23,105 workers found that 56% don’t feel valued in their role and 38% want employers to ‘create better lines of communication between executives and employees’.

It appears that remote workers seem to feel these complaints most keenly, with a growing tension between desk based and deskless workers. It found that 25% of respondents felt they get more attention from their employer when they are physically at the office, only 30% of deskless workers think that their employers listen to them, and 39% of desk-based workers felt that their deskless colleagues could learn from them about ‘how to communicate with colleagues and ‘how to work as a team’.

The great temptation

This comes off the back of research from Reed.co.uk which found that almost three-quarters of Britains are actively looking for a new job or are open to opportunities. The survey, which canvassed 2,000 employers attempting to attract new talent and retain restless employees, suggests that businesses will need to adapt their offering to align with new employee priorities that have been shaped by the pandemic.

Salaries remain a top driver with 39% of respondents stating that they would stay should their employer offer a high salary. Flexible working hours is also at the top of the list. Other suggested incentives from the survey included: more annual leave (25%), a promotion (21%), and 18% asked for increased training and development opportunities.

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, said: “We are in the midst of a sea change in the labour market, with it very much having shifted from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market due to the sheer – and record-breaking – number of job opportunities available.

“After a challenging 18 months for jobseekers which gave rise to a culture of uncertainty in the labour market, workers are now mobilised by the prospect of new and exciting opportunities with better rewards. Employers must find creative solutions and adapt to the new market conditions following the pandemic in order to maintain the resurgent economy’s trajectory.”

Following LinkedIn’s recent research highlighting 6.8 times the number of recruitment roles posted on its site in June compared to the same time last year, is the Great Resignation spreading to the staffing sector?

“There is a lot of potential for ‘revenge resignation’ for all those who were put on furlough through successive lockdowns, in the wider economy but particularly in recruitment, but it’s less likely to impact employers who offer flexibility and authenticity with a client-centric culture,” said Tim Cook, Group CEO of nGage, who will be speaking on this topic at the World Leaders in Recruitment conference on 5th October.

Commenting on the growing debate about the Great Resignation, TALiNT Partners Managing Director, Ken Brotherston said: “In general it is always wise to treat dramatic headlines or simple phrases with a large pinch of salt. My general rule of thumb is this: does the person promoting the headline have an interest in it being true? If so, approach with caution.”

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Net employment outlook at third strongest in Europe

According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, employers across Ireland anticipate the highest level of hiring in 17 years, for the fourth quarter according to The Net Employment Outlook for Ireland stands at +34%, the third strongest in Europe. The powerhouse area behind this positivity is the manufacturing sector – up 53 percentage points from the previous year to +39% for Q4 2021.

Transport and logistics is also poised for headcount growth, with employment outlook rising to 39% for the coming quarter. The retail sector also intends to hire significantly, bouncing back with the promise of continued government employment supports for the industry remaining in place until March 2022.

Elsewhere, the finance and business service sector remains strong, up ten percentage points on last quarter to +20%. However, the construction industry is being hit by limitations to supplies and hiring plans and has contracted 19 percentage points from last quarters record high, yet the employers in the sector remain optimistic with a hiring Outlook of +20%.

  • Nationwide, employers in all industry sectors report positive hiring plans for Q4.
  • From a regional perspective, employers in Dublin are reporting positive hiring intent with an outlook of +39%, with Munster being the most positive province for the next quarter at +44%.
  • Larger-sized organisations (250+ employees) are reporting the strongest hiring confidence for Q4 with an employment outlook of +39%.
  • Currently 69% of employers are struggling to fill roles. This leaves us with a significant talent gap where employers need to be investing in recruitment drives, upskilling and retraining programmes as long-term solutions to filling roles.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Recruiters report difficulty in sourcing candidates

A survey conducted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) reported that nine in ten recruiters (88%) say that labour shortages are one of their biggest concerns for the remainder of 2021, while skills shortages are a major concern for two in three (65%).

With shortages hitting every sector of the economy and many staffing companies reporting the tightest labour market they’ve ever experienced, the REC is calling on business and the government to take urgent action to solve the problem.

Recruiters have a significantly higher number of roles to fill than before the pandemic, with three in five (58%) having at least 30% more vacancies than pre-pandemic. Of the 191 recruiters surveyed, almost all (97%) said that it was taking longer than usual to fill those vacancies, compounding the problem. Half (50%) reported that it now takes more than a month to find suitable candidates.

Recruiters reported several factors were affecting their ability to source candidates. The top reason was skills shortages (cited by 65% of respondents), followed by the new immigration rules (57%) and their clients not being able to offer competitive salaries (53%).

In response, the REC has set out a number of asks for both government and business to help solve this crisis:

  • Set up a cross-government forum including the Business, Education and Work and Pensions departments, as well as business organisations. This would restore the importance of workforce planning in the economic debate between business, government and other stakeholders, not only focusing on skills.
  • Broaden the apprenticeship levy and increase funding for training at lower skill levels. This would improve progression and transition opportunities for lower-skilled and temporary workers who need them most, and encourage business to do more here in the UK, not less.
  • Allow flexibility in the point-based immigration system and a visa route for lower-skilled workers, which would allow firms in the worst-affected sectors like logistics to access staff at times of pressing need.
  • Increased focus from businesses on workforce planning, staff engagement, attraction and retention policies. Firms need to raise workforce planning up to the senior leadership level, and work with key professional partners like recruiters to boost performance, productivity and staff wellbeing.

This also follows recent research from British Future, which found increasingly positive public attitudes towards immigration. Two thirds of the public (65%) agree that employers should be allowed to recruit from overseas for roles in shortage – showing that a more flexible immigration system would be popular as well as helping businesses to fill crucial vacancies.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

“Worker shortages are a huge problem for employers and their recruitment partners, across all industries and regions. Vacancy numbers are far higher than pre-pandemic, and it is taking much longer to fill them. This is putting the recovery at risk by putting capacity constraints on the economy, as last week’s GDP figures showed. In our survey, recruiters also highlighted a wide range of factors that have combined to cause these shortages – this is a complex problem with no one easy fix.

“As such, we will only solve these shortages through a collaborative approach. We’re glad that multiple government departments are coming together in a joint forum to tackle the issue, but to be effective it must also include business and industry experts. Government must allow more flexibility in the immigration system so firms can hire essential workers like drivers from abroad, and also improve training opportunities for lower-paid and temporary workers. Meanwhile companies need to focus on how they will attract and retain staff through improved conditions and facilities, not just pay.”

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Job vacancies rise to over one million to set new record

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that employment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with August payrolls showing a monthly increase of 241,000 to 29.1 million. The number of job vacancies in the three months to August has also risen above one million for the first time since records began in 2001.

Speaking to the BBC, ONS deputy statistician Jonathan Athow, warned that well over a million are still on furlough and the recovery is not even, with London still down, young workers disproportionately affected, and sectors like hospitality slower to recover. The biggest rise in job vacancies was in the food and accommodation sectors, up by 57,600 in August.

While the overall unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 4.6% in the three months to July, this is against the backdrop of acute talent shortages. Various trade bodies, including the British Chambers of Commerce, blamed Brexit and Covid for declines in labour supply and warned that ‘the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages’.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said: “The Government has convened a cross-department forum to tackle these shortages, but this will only be effective if industry experts are involved as well. Government must work with business to improve training opportunities for workers to transition into the most crucial sectors and allow some flexibility in the immigration system at this time of need. And while businesses are raising salaries in many sectors, they must think more broadly about how they will attract and retain staff through improved conditions, facilities, and staff engagement, working with recruiters, who are the professional experts in all of this.”

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo, added: “The fact that pay has returned to pre-pandemic levels at last is a positive sign for the economy, however, we are seeing employers simply needing to increase remuneration as staff shortages continue to impact hiring activity. The increasing dearth of talent that businesses across the country are reporting is a real concern to the recruitment sector.”

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Employing older adults improves diversity in business 

A new study has shown that 10% of over 70s are choosing to go back to work or delay retirement as a result of the pandemic. This is a trend that could see billions of pounds poured back into the economy.  

According to the results from the study called “Back on Track”, by Retirement Villages Group slowing down is the last thing on the minds of older adults with one in three (36%) over 70s saying that they have spent the last 16 months reflecting on their life goals, leading to an increased desire to now make up for lost time in both their personal and professional lives. 

Going back to work, whether for financial reasons or in pursuit of a more purposeful and active lifestyle, has become important to many with 7% looking to return to work and 3% wanting to delay retirement.   

With skill shortages in mind, Retirement Villages Group has calculated that 10% of over 70s heading back to or staying in work could add as much as £1.8billion to the UK economy each year. Also importantly, as the older generation are overlooked during talent acquisition processes, this promotes a much-needed shift in perspective when it comes to the value and experience older candidates bring to a business.  

The study showed that continued employment for the older workforce comes with many personal benefits such as improving financial or mental health. Among those that have or plan to go back to work, over half (52%) agree that the main motive is to boost their finances, while a third would like to alleviate boredom and a 21% would like to continue to contribute to society.  

Over one in three (39%) said that seeing more age diversity in the workplace would give them greater confidence to consider working opportunities themselves. Yet, encouragingly, the research also found that one in four (27%) older adults believe the pandemic has led to a more widespread view that older people have valuable life skills that society can benefit from. 

Will Bax, CEO of Retirement Villages Group, commented: “Today’s research confirms that older adults have a critical role in ensuring the ongoing diversity and vibrancy of our society and economy. The pandemic has brought this reality into sharp focus, with many people over 70 forced to isolate for prolonged periods, curbing the active, independent and sociable lifestyles they would normally lead and temporarily separating them from communities. 

“It’s vital, as we unlock from the pandemic, that we continue to reappraise how we view the great contribution of people over 70 to our culture and economy. Independent, positive ageing matters – not only to the long-term health and wellbeing of individuals, by keeping people out of hospitals and care homes for longer – but also to our society which is enriched by older people playing an active part. 

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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First in-person TIARA ceremony of 2021 

Winners of the 2021 TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards were revealed at a gala lunch for 120 guests at the Kings Fund in London today, attended by CEOs and founders of some of the UK’s leading HR and Recruitment Technology companies.

“As we emerge to a post-pandemic economy, business model transformation is a given,” said Ken Brotherston, MD of TALiNT Partners. “This, combined with an acute shortage of talent across every area of the job market, including recruitment itself, has created a perfect storm for HR Tech to show its value.” 

“The 35 Talent Tech Stars shortlisted this year are solving the talent challenges that employers and recruiters must address in a constantly evolving market,” added co-host Alex Evans, Programme Director of TALiNT Partners. “The winners demonstrated the value and impact of their solutions to a respected panel of judges, making a TIARA Talent Tech Star Award a powerful endorsement.” 

The judging process for the TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards is designed around the expectations of buyers and investors, based on key performance metrics, case studies and testimonials. An impressive and influential panel of judges from companies including LinkedIn, ManpowerGroup, SThree, Thames Water, AMS and the FCSA was chaired by Martin McCourt, former Dyson CEO and now Chairman and Non-Executive Director of companies including Weber, HeadBox, Lightfoot, FreeFlow Technologies and The learning Curve Group. 

“The 2021 Talent Tech Star Award finalists represent challengers, disruptors and transformers across the spectrum of business growth, from high potential, early-stage start-ups to scaling SMEs,” said Martin McCourt. “What they all have in common is great focus, execution, and ambition. They have also validated game-changing innovation and excellent customer service with some solid case studies and testimonials. 

“It was difficult for the judges to choose winners from such strong shortlists and even harder to choose a Champion of Champions from 13 very strong contenders. It has to be exemplary to inspire others to aspire to greater ambition and impact. That’s what transforms industries.” 

Odro was the biggest winner this year, winning the Talent Tech Customer Service Award, Leader of the Year for CEO Ryan McCabe, and ultimately crowned TIARA Champion of Champions to top a game-changing year for the video tech specialist. 

“It has been a great year for Odro, with big client wins including Hays and a £5m growth investment from BGF,” said Alex Evans. “Winner of this year’s Customer Service and Leader of the Year awards, Odro has demonstrated excellence, leadership, and growth to make it a worthy Champion of Champions for 2021.” 

The TIARA 2021 Talent Tech Star Awards campaign was supported by partners Deloitte, Marriott Harrison and Optima Corporate Finance. 

“Optima Corporate Finance is delighted to sponsor the Talent Tech Leader of the Year Award,” said Optima founder Philip Ellis. “This year more than ever, strong leadership was required as businesses had to combine the implementation of their vision with the challenges of lockdown. All of this year’s finalists demonstrated strong leadership in adapting, transforming and driving growth.”

“Marriott Harrison is delighted to be part of the TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards and to recognise the significant value HR and RecTech solutions bring to the recruitment industry and the wider economy,” said Chris Mooney, Partner at Marriott Harrison. “We commend the innovation and impact shown by this year’s finalists for Candidate Experience Solution of the Year.”

“Achieving scale in a challenging economy is doubly impressive and finalists for this year’s award have adapted and transformed to build strong foundations for growth,” said Kiren Asad, Director, FA – Advisory Corporate Finance, Deloitte LLP. “Deloitte is proud to partner with TALiNT Partners and the TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards to recognise and support scale in HR Tech.” 

The full list of TIARA Talent Tech Star Award winners and highly commended finalists is as follows: 

The Workforce Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: Pixid 
  • Highly Commended: TalismanTech 

The Contractor Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: My Digital 
  • Highly Commended: Parasol Group 

The Candidate Experience Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: 360 Resourcing Solutions 
  • Highly Commended: TribePad 

The Recruitment Marketing Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: Paiger 
  • Highly Commended: TalismanTech 

The D&I Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: Arctic Shores 
  • Highly Commended: Get Optimal 

The Compliance Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: My Digital 
  • Highly Commended: People Group 

The Onboarding Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: CA3 & Eli Onboarding 
  • Highly Commended: LearnAmp 

The Learning Solution of the Year 

  • Winner: Clear Review 
  • Highly Commended: Hoxo Media 

The Talent Tech Customer Service Award 

  • Winner: Odro 
  • Highly Commended: Clear Review 

The Talent Tech Scale Up Award 

  • Winner: Sonovate
  • Highly Commended: Paiger 

The Talent Tech Innovation Award 

  • Winner: Mercury xRM 
  • Highly Commended: Idibu 

The Best Talent Tech Company to Work For  

  • Winner: Firefish Software 
  • Highly Commended: TribePad 

The Optima Talent Tech Leader of the Year 

  • Winner: Ryan McCabe, CEO, Odro 

The Talent Tech Champion of Champions 

  • Winner: Odro 

Register for updates on the TIARA 2022 Talent Tech Star Awards campaign at https://talenttech.tiara.talint.co.uk/register-for-2022-updates/ 

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Collaboration and communication are key skills  

According to new research from LinkedIn, 87% of UK business leaders stated that young workers have been plagued by a “developmental dip” because of long periods of time working from home during the pandemic.  

250 C-level executives in the UK (from companies with 1,000 employees and more and with an annual turnover of £250+ million) who were surveyed for the study, found that almost 30% of business leaders feel that onboarding from home has been a challenge for young employees. A further 42% of leaders believe that young people’s ability to build meaningful relationships with colleagues while working remotely has been difficult. 

Out of practice  

A complementary survey of young professionals showed that they agree. 69% of young people (aged 16 – 34) believe their professional learning experience has been impacted by the pandemic. More than half of those asked to return to offices feel their ability to make conversation at work has suffered, and 71% say they’ve forgotten how to conduct themselves in an office environment. 84% of young workers ultimately feel “out of practice” when it comes to office life, especially when it comes to giving presentations (29%) and speaking to customers and/ or clients (34%).  

Missing out 

Business leaders say the key development experiences that young people have missed out on during the pandemic include learning by “osmosis” from being around more experienced colleagues (36%), developing their essential soft skills (36%), and building professional networks (37%).  

Skills to succeed 

Business leaders believe that for hybrid working to be a success, collaboration (59%) and communication (57%) are the two most important skills employees need. Nearly half (49%) of leaders say working closely with experienced team members is the best way for young people to catch up and build these soft skills.  

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said:  It’s positive to see leaders recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on young people as they consider their future workplace policies. To help young people develop the skills they need to succeed, companies must understand where the skills gaps are, introduce mentoring schemes and bolster learning experiences that cater for a hybrid workforce to help younger workers get back on track.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Starting salaries for permanent candidates rise 

KPMG and the REC’s latest UK Report on Jobs was compiled by IHS Markit and was based on responses to questionnaires completed by approximately 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.  

Due to a sharp rise in economic activity in the last few months, along with a solid demand for staff, a considerable increase in permanent placements took place, while the number of temporary placements also rose.  

The report revealed a decrease in candidate availability, which isn’t new news considering skills shortages. The reduction in candidates, according to the report, meant there was a dramatic increase in starting salaries for permanent staff and a large increase in salary for short-term positions.  

 Availability of workers falls  

The availability of candidates dropped to a record low this month and, according to the report, underlying data revealed that unprecedented falls in permanent candidate numbers and temp staff supply had driven the latest deterioration in overall availability. The declines were widely associated with a reluctance among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic, fewer EU workers, furloughed staff and skill shortages. 

The combination of Brexit and COVID-19 and the resultant skills shortages have led to increased competition for staff amid the dwindling labour supply. This placed upward on starting salaries. A notable finding in the report stated that salaries for newly placed permanent staff increased at the fastest rate seen in almost 24 years.  

Increased competition for staff amid shrinking labour supply placed further upward pressure on starting pay. Notably, salaries for newly-placed permanent staff increased at the fastest rate seen in nearly 24 years of data collection, while temp wage inflation was the second-quickest on record. 

Regional and sector changes  

All four regions monitored in England, recorded faster rises in permanent placements when compared to the latest survey period. The increase was led by London. Unprecedented upturns were also seen in the North and South of England. London registered the fastest rise in temp billings during August.  

The private sector continued to record much stronger increases in vacancies than the public sector halfway through the third quarter. The steepest increase in demand was signaled for permanent staff in the private sector.  

Claire Warnes, Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, commented on the survey results:  

“Candidate shortages continue to plague businesses, who are all recruiting from the same pool of talent and struggling to fill gaps. While record high permanent placements and higher starting salaries mean it remains a job seekers market, recruiters and employers have seen the most severe decline of candidate availability in the survey’s history and will be thinking about how to attract and retain new staff.  

“This crisis isn’t going away, and the winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of September – while potentially bringing more job hunters to the market – could also add fuel to the labour shortage fire. Many businesses will have changed their business model during the pandemic, and so significant numbers of staff returning from furlough may need reskilling to rejoin the workforce in the same or another sector. 

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC also commented: “Recruiters are working around the clock, placing more people into work than ever as these figures show. Switching the entire economy on over the summer has created a unique demand spike, and a short-term crisis. 

“But it would be a mistake for businesses to think of this as only a short-term issue. A number of factors mean that the UK labour market will remain tight for several years to come. Business leaders should be looking now at how they will build their future workforces, in partnership with recruiters, including the skills and career path development.”

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Talent Solutions

COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and workplaces are reopening, but recent research reveals that three-quarters of UK workers fear going back into the workplace because it poses a risk to their health and safety. David McCormack, CEO of employee benefits and outsourced payroll provider HIVE360, says employers should take a simple seven-step approach that will support effective management of the workforce’s return to work.

Seventy three percent of workers admit they fear a return to the workplace. Responsible employers need to take action to support workers and ease their worries, to ensure they feel secure and comfortable whenever in the workplace, and know they have their employer’s support and commitment to maintain a safe environment.

The foundation to this is our seven-step return-to-work action framework:

  1. Communicate: Ensure workers know it’s ok to feel anxious about the return to the workplace. Encourage them to talk about their feelings so you can reassure them and take any additional action to ease any worries.
  2. Stay in touch: Make a point of checking in with staff regularly and ask how they are coping.
  3. Be flexible: For those feeling uncomfortable about being in the office, give them the option to continue working from home some days each week. For those anxious about a busy commute to work, be open to an early or late start and finish time for the working day.
  4. Be safe: People are counting on their employers to help them get back to work safely, and by putting employee health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of the return-to-work planwill help reduce any stress or anxiety:
  • Be COVID-19 aware, safe and secure. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe place of work as well as general legal duties of care towards anyone accessing or using the workplace
  • Carry out a risk assessment of the entire workplace and implement measures to minimise these risks
  • Create a clear policy of behaviour in the workplace and share it with all employees. Policies should include the rules on wearing facemasks, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising, with the relevant equipment available to all. Include clear instructions on what people should do if they or someone they live with feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
  1. Be caring: With concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on society and the economy, mental health is a growing problem, but people continue to feel uncomfortable speaking about it. This is unlikely to change, so make time to show you are an employer that recognises and understands by introducing and communicating the tools, support and measures available to them to help address any fears. Give them access to specialist healthcare resources, information and health and wellbeing support.
  2. Encourage work/life balance: Poor work/life balance reduces productivity and can lead to stress and mental health problems, so build-in positive steps to help the workforce achieve it by encouraging sensible working hours, full lunch breaks, and getting outside for fresh air and exercise at least once a day.
  3. Tailor solutions: Show that you understand that everyone’s personal situation is different and that you will do your best to accommodate it. Remind people of their worth as an employee, and the positive attributes they bring to the team.

Added benefits

Employee health and wellbeing support and benefits are a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Onboarding and career progression, reward and recognition policies, training and development, employee benefits, work/life balance initiatives, financial, mental health and wellbeing support, are all essential components of an effective employee engagement strategy. Together, they improve and maintain a positive working environment.

HIVE360 is an expert in recruitment agency PAYE outsourced payroll. Our HMRC-compliant solution guarantees a speedy, transparent service, with no nasty fees for workers. It also delivers efficiency gains from payroll, digital payslips, pensions auto-enrolment and pay documentation support.

HIVE360 goes further. Our unique, customisable employee pay, benefits and engagement app Engage is provided as a standard element of our outsourced payroll solution. It gives workers access to an extensive range of health and wellbeing benefits and employee support services, including:

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With vacancy numbers hitting all-time highs in the UK since before the pandemic hit, online talent sourcing specialist, Talent.com, has warned employers that a lack of diversity in recruitment adverts themselves could hinder hiring strategies.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that there are more job vacancies now than before the pandemic as employers look to bolster resources as restrictions ease and business demand finally increases after more than a year of uncertainty. However, Talent.com has warned that an audit of hiring process – including job adverts and descriptions – is needed to ensure they appeal to modern-day diverse audiences.

Values and “must-haves” for job seekers have changed dramatically in the last few years with the workforce placing large emphasis on things that matter as opposed to higher pay. There is far more focus on sustainability and diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the Black Lives Matters movement has served to accelerate the much-needed evolution of hiring practices and other business policies.

Without a more diverse approach to hiring practices, businesses could see limited hiring success in the second half of 2021.

Noura Dadzie, Vice President of Sales UK and International Markets at Talent.com said: “With unemployment levels dropping as vacancy numbers rise, the war for talent is accelerating exponentially. The challenge for hiring managers now is not just to get in front of the right people before the competition, but perhaps more importantly, have the right content to push to these audiences. Job seekers are placing greater emphasis on diversity initiatives and employment culture in a post-pandemic world, but as businesses attempt to replace lost resources, too many are falling into the trap of pushing out pre-Covid ads and job descriptions that are arguably out-dated and irrelevant.

“Job seekers are more likely to apply for a position if they can easily identify with the job description and advert. If these do not reflect the diversity of the new talent landscape, employers will be on the back foot – a less-than-ideal scenario in a growing economy.”

Should you have interesting news stories to share, please send them to the Editor Debbie.walton@talintpartners.com

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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The combination of the large-scale downsizing of recruitment teams last year and the huge hiring surge this year has led to a significant increase in the number of companies using project RPO.

For a report commissioned by talent outsourcing and advisory firm AMS, Aptitude Research surveyed 342 TA and HR leaders at director level and above to understand the key drivers of project RPO.

Some 42% of survey respondents said needing help to face a hiring surge was the biggest reason for using project RPO. A similar percentage (40%) reported that their recruiting teams had been downsized in 2020.

“The challenge for many employers globally is that hiring hasn’t just increased slightly, many TA teams are dealing with significant spikes in hiring, while doing so with fewer internal resources in a highly competitive talent environment,” said Maxine Pillinger, Regional Managing Director for EMEA at AMS.

“We’ve been working with our RPO clients globally on a project basis for years, but now we’re seeing an increased level of demand for a partner to help them meet their short-term demands while they still support the ‘business as usual.”

Multiple secondary drivers

The second largest driver of firms’ decisions to opt for project RPO was reducing the time taken to fill vacancies, with 75% responding that with project RPO they were able to reduce their time to fill to less than 30 days.

Expanding into new markets (31%), supporting high growth (27%) and having fewer recruiters and resources (23%) were the other main drivers.

The report outlined that while traditional RPO partnerships often lasted more than two years, project RPO engagements are most commonly for less than six months, and for more than 70% of firms they are for less than six weeks.

But as is outlined in a new TALiNT Partners white paper, this lower level of commitment, combined with the current high demand, has led many RPO providers to become increasingly choosy about which projects they take on.

The report, entitled: The art of saying ‘no’ and the rise of ESG’, presents insights from an event co-hosted by TALiNT Partners and Cornerstone-On-Demand, with views from leaders at Gattaca, IBM, Lorien, Reed Talent Solutions, PeopleScout, KellyOCG, Hudson RPO, Green Park Interim & Executive Ltd, Aston Holmes, Armstrong Craven, Manpower Group Talent Solutions, LevelUp HCS, Datum RPO, Group GTI, RGF Staffing, Page Group, Resource Solutions and Comensura.

Providers get picky

A number of guests at the event said the high level of demand in today’s marketplace meant they were having to push back on some clients, either turning down work or tempering expectations about when projects could start.

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director at Lorien, said: “The market is exceptionally busy, especially on the tech and professional side. We’re starting to notice more urgent requests from customers looking for recruitment team augmentation or a head to manage workload. Sometimes the ask is just for a price rather than a detailed proposal, which can indicate they may not have a clear idea of exactly what they need, just that they know they need help”.

Several providers said the sector’s own talent shortages have become a barrier to taking on all the work currently on offer. “The market challenge is always quality of workers in recruitment to support growth and enable the flexibility for new offerings. We haven’t learned from past downturns and upturns in demand,” said Adam Shay, Global Marketing Director of Resource Solutions. Nick Greenston, CEO of Retinue Talent Solutions agreed, adding that the industry has focused on growing outsourced juniors instead of attracting and retaining more experienced talent.

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New study finds that only 46% of businesses invest in anti-bias training for hiring managers 

A new report by global emerging talent and reskill provider, mthree, reveals that 54% do not use deliberately neutral job descriptions, and only 37% anonymise CVs by removing all potentially identifying information such as name, age, and educational history.

Less than a third (31%) said that they request diverse shortlists from recruiters and 9% of those surveyed do not currently have any anti-bias hiring practices in place at all. Of those that do, 88% have noticed some improvement and 49% said there has been a significant improvement.

“It’s really disappointing to see that so many businesses are still not using some of the most tried and tested anti-bias hiring practices,” said Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree. “Lots of businesses are struggling with a lack of diversity, particularly on their tech teams, and implementing even just one of these tactics could make a real difference. In order to see the biggest difference, businesses should look to tackle bias at all stages of the recruitment process.

“If chosen carefully, recruitment consultancies and other talent partners can be an invaluable tool in the quest for diversity, as they should have their own comprehensive strategies in place to ensure inclusivity. Businesses must ensure that those responsible for recruitment are able to recognise their own unconscious biases, and given the tools to approach the process as objectively as possible, to ensure candidates do not face prejudice at the interview stage.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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