Tag: Covid-19

Talent shortages reported across all industries  

Research by Right Management, global career experts have revealed that four in five employers admitted to hiring new recruits who would be better suited to a different role in the business than they were originally hired for, with 16% going as far as to admit that most employees would be better suited in an alternative role. 

The trend appeared to be more prevalent in London with 82% admitting ‘at least some’ would be better suited elsewhere whilst a shocking 21% deemed ‘most’ new hires to be in unsuitable roles.  

It’s come to light in the current market that the pandemic has afforded employees the time and space to reflect on their working lives, and to consider whether their current employer is aligned with their goals and values – something that many have never had the luxury of doing before. This new perspective led to many employees leaving their jobs, triggering the apparent ‘Great Resignation’. Naturally this exacerbated challenges for organisations that are already struggling to hire because of a reduced talent pool – a result of Brexit, an ageing workforce and inactive workers. 

Large businesses with more roles to fill reported having more employees in unsuitable roles, (81% at least some, 17% most). 

Talent shortages are reported across all industries, and this comes as COVID-19 restrictions are lifting and the UK enters recovery mode, with the number of roles advertised at an all-time high. 

The research reported that employees leaving a role are more likely to take another within the organisation, if possible (26%), with 22% leave to join a competitor business. 

Tim Gilbert, Right Management’s UK Managing Director, commented:“There are a number of factors which could cause people to be hired into the wrong role. Businesses are often under immense pressure to deliver, and this pressure can lead to a rushed hiring process, as leaders look to avoid burnout among current staff. 

“The reduced pool of talent available could lead to a ‘softening’ of the recruitment process. The hiring process itself may not reflect the changes that the UK labour market has experienced; for example, businesses could look to prioritise soft skills and the right cultural fit rather than focusing solely on specific technical skills and experience.” 

He continued: “Recruiting poorly can be very damaging for a business and draining on often-stretched resources, not to mention for the morale and confidence of the colleague in question. It is also very costly – the wrong hire can cost three times the first year’s salary.” 

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Employers told to voluntarily report ethnicity pay  

Ever since the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations were introduced in 2017 the industry has been discussing whether the UK Government would introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting requirements for UK employers. Over the years, there have been several calls to action and lobbies for the Government to do so but pleas have fallen on deaf ears as last week, the Government confirmed that “at this stage” it will not be introducing a mandatory requirement for UK employers to report on their ethnicity pay – much to the dismay of many industry bodies, regulators and employers.  

Considering the sharp focus on DE&I post COVID-19, this decision is somewhat disappointing as Laurie Ollivent, Senior Associate, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters commented: “Whilst the Government hasn’t ruled out introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting in the future, it is clear that we should not expect it as a legal requirement in the UK anytime soon. But what the Government has said is that for those employers who choose to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gap, they are supportive of the recommendation that employers should publish accompanying action plans and a diagnosis which explains any pay gap and addresses any disparities, and once employers are equipped with a trustworthy, consistent standard for reporting, they should take meaningful action to identify and tackle any causes of disparate pay. In other words – employers need to focus on their narratives. Whilst we accept there are challenges to ethnicity pay reporting beyond those employers face with gender pay reporting which means that the data alone will only ever be a blunt tool to identify potential disparities, the expectation of a narrative without further guidance on what this should look like and the requirement for employers to tackle any causes of disparate pay and report on progress may be off-putting for some businesses considering whether to voluntarily report on their data at this stage and risks halting progress on voluntary reporting rather than encouraging it.  

Simon Kerr-Davis, Counsel, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters also made comment: “The Women and Equalities Committee report from early 2022 highlighted the increase in employers choosing to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gaps. The report states that in 2021, 19% of UK employers voluntarily reported on ethnicity pay – up from 11% in 2018. Whilst this sounds promising and is a large increase, many believe that mandatory reporting obligations are needed – much in the same way as gender pay reporting obligations – for other businesses to follow suit and really drive and achieve change across UK business. 

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The sector continues to report widespread skills shortages

According to a new collaborative report from APSCo and Broadbean Technology, the number of job applications in the healthcare industry have fallen consistently since April 2021, putting added strain on an already under-resourced sector.

According to the data, the number of professionals applying for vacancies in healthcare dropped 35%, 24% and 32% in Q2, Q3 and Q4 2021 respectively. With the sector reporting widespread staffing shortages as COVID-19 continues to place pressure on the medical profession, this suggests that, despite the U-turn on vaccine mandates which is under consultation, the number of healthcare professionals looking for work is dwindling to a worryingly low number. The Home Office has added various healthcare professionals such as carers to the skilled visa list, it seems in a bid to entice healthcare professionals from abroad to work in the UK.  

Across the regions, London reported the greatest demand for healthcare staff, holding the lion’s-share of vacancies last year, followed by the West Midlands, Surrey, Essex, West Yorkshire and Kent.  

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo commented: “It’s no secret that the healthcare arena is facing a significant shortage, but to see such a sustained decline in applicant numbers is concerning. While we believe that the recent announcement of plans to scrap the vaccine mandates for the sector may help bolster staff numbers, our data suggests that resources remain at a worryingly low level. With demand for medical staff set to increase as the Coronavirus continues to put pressure on healthcare, application numbers are likely to continue to drop. APSCo is working closely with its members and in its government lobbying to ensure the country has access to the skills it needs across all sectors, including healthcare.” 

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These are the most extreme market conditions in living memory

According to Core-Asset Consulting’s “Industry Trends and Salary Guide” there is an enormous shortfall of candidates in Scotland with pressure to significantly increase salaries and perks making grim reading for financial services sector businesses.

Factors causing huge employment gaps in certain sectors are, according to the report, an exodus of international staff due to Brexit, COVID-related career changing and the climate crisis. These have left the industry at an “uncertain crossroads”.

Now in its seventh year, Core-Asset Consulting’s salary guide, a forensic review of salary levels is also a gauge of market sentiment, activity and the themes that are impacting financial services across Scotland.

The guide reports that despite some of the most extreme market conditions in living memory, the Financial Services Asset Management Services industries have remained broadly resilient, with roles such as Business Analysts, Solutions Architects and Regulatory Risk in the highest demand.

However, with vacancies up 52% and applicants down 5% on the previous 12 months, this year’s report has highlighted a burgeoning staffing crisis across multiple sectors caused by the perfect storm of Brexit, increased remote working, the cutting of intern and trainee programmes, and the reluctance of many to relocate for work.

The report found that candidates actively applying for roles was down 35%, while conversely recruiters are having to up the ante to source 57% more candidates than in 2020.

Betsy Williamson, the founder and MD of Core-Asset, said that the latest edition of the annual report, which is eagerly anticipated across the sector, makes alarming reading for its audience.

She commented: “With a predecessor as turbulent as 2020, it was clear that 2021 was going to be another year of unpredictable change within financial services, and the sector is now at an uncertain crossroads with huge hurdles to overcome.

“The reduction in available labour is connected with the UK’s exit from the European Union and the exodus of overseas nationals returning to native soil – with more than 200,000 EU citizens leaving the UK during 2020.”

“Additionally, thousands of workers placed on furlough at the height of the pandemic have since switched careers, leaving massive employment gaps in certain industries, while rising demand across sectors like Fintech and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has been driving salaries to unprecedented levels.”

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50% of workers are relying on savings following resignation  

According to the collaborative learning platform 360Learning, nearly 40% of workers across the UK who have either quit their jobs in the past year or are thinking about leaving said that they had asked their bosses for pay rises, more growth opportunities, or more fulfilling work but had been turned down.  

Instead of leaving their jobs for better positions, however, over 50% of workers surveyed said they are or will be relying on savings to make ends meet with some stating that they’re being financially supported by their partners (21%) or family (15%), while Universal Credit and retirement benefits are the chosen route for others.   

When asked why they had quit or were planning to quit, 23% cited feeling burned out or stressed; 21% said they were unfulfilled, yet only 13% said it was because of low salaries. This compared to the US where low salaries were the main reason (22%) people changed jobs compared to burnout (18%) and lacking fulfilment (18%). Another 11% of respondents said they resigned because they wanted to work remotely and their employer would not allow them to do so.  

Learning and development continues to be important to workers with 72% of respondents in management roles quitting because they felt they lacked the adequate training and support to help them manage workplace stress better.  

Respondents were asked what training they’d like with responses including being given the opportunity to develop managerial skills, upskill within their role, courses on how to grow within the company and guidance on how to adapt to the changing nature of work.  

According to results, among the managers in the surveyed group, 44% said they didn’t receive adequate training at any point as part of their role. Nearly one third (29%) said they were disappointed with their onboarding training specifically and 38% felt that their onboarding was not tailored to their role.

Of those who said they lacked fulfilment in their current role, one fifth said their job was boring and another fifth said there wasn’t any room for career development. A further 14% added that the job wasn’t teaching them anything new.  

The underlying reasons behind the UK’s Great Resignation 

The survey results come as people apparently quit their jobs in droves – a trend that has been dubbed The Great Resignation although there are many industry leaders who are not sold on the concept…  

Analysis by Deutsche Bank at the start of 2022 found that the UK’s resignation rate is the highest it’s been since 2009, with redundancies at their lowest level since the mid-90s and open vacancies the highest on record. In the US, experts have previously attributed the phenomenon to a lack of adequate childcare, as well as health concerns around COVID-19 however, the survey by 360Learning’s has revealed that it is a different situation in the UK.  

It doesn’t appear to make much of a difference whether someone has children or not as 45% of those surveyed who had quit their jobs, or were thinking about leaving, were childless, whilst for those who had between one to six children, the number was 47%. These findings suggest that the factors behind leaving or wanting to leave a role are more multifaceted than simply childcare.  

The survey results also showed that health concerns were one of the smallest driving factors for quitting a job, with only 11% citing the pandemic as their reason for resignation, for example, because they wanted to work remotely but their employer wouldn’t let them. 

The remote working conundrum  

The arrival of the pandemic was, however, cited as a major concern among 33% of respondents when asked why they wanted to work remotely. The majority (63%) of respondents who have been working remotely said they felt more engaged with their employer after making the switch from working full-time in an office.    

In what could, however, be seen as a positive outcome of the Great Resignation, 33% of those surveyed who have quit their jobs, or plan to, said they plan to start their own business rather than find another role. Almost a quarter plan to go freelance – perhaps to be their own boss, control their hours and stress.    

Nick Hernandez, founder and CEO at 360Learning, said: “It’s clear there is a major disconnect between workers and their employers right now. This disconnect comes down to poor communication on behalf of employers, poor training practices, and a lack of meaningful opportunities for employee growth. Our survey shows that people are craving flexibility and knowledge, as well as the chance to learn with – and from – their peers. When people don’t feel like these needs are being met, they choose unemployment and rely on savings over staying in a job where they are unhappy. This shows us we’re in the middle of a major shift in how successful organizations are engaging and retaining their top talent. We need to give people the chance to learn from their peers and grow in their roles by upskilling from within. For employers concerned about losing staff, or who are competing to secure talent in a competitive job market, this should be a wake-up call to look at how you encourage staff from day one.”  

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APSCo calls for changes to cost timeframe issues for digital RTW checks

According to Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo, while the introduction of the option to obtain a digital RTW confirmation from a certified service provider of Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) is welcomed, there are some concerns in the plans outlined.  

These include:   

  • A lack of clarity around standardised rates or fee caps to prevent SME recruiters from being financially burdened 
  • Limited timeframes to allow for an appropriate preferred supplier selection process 
  • The potential for unnecessary duplication of checks 

Tania Bowes commented: “The move to digital identity checks is something we’ve called for and welcomed when it was first announced. However, when we drill down into the details there are issues that have the potential to negatively impact staffing companies. While there will understandably be costs associated with digital checks, we are concerned that SME staffing firms will be exposed to high fees given that the decision around certified provider usages is often driven by the end-user’s outsourcing provider. This is an additional cost of supply, leading to higher costs for end-users or lower rates for workers, disincentivising the best talent to apply for positions. We have asked that the Home Office introduce low standard rates or caps on fees and other suitable limitations on the IDVT certified providers to prevent staffing firms being unnecessarily financially impacted.  

“Given that applications for certification only opened on 17th January we also anticipate time will be short to run an appropriate preferred supplier selection process to establish new relationships with IDVT certified providers ahead of the new rules coming into force. There may be a problematic period when firms can no longer use the COVID-19 checking processes, but won’t be ready to use a digital solution. This will increase time to hire at a time when skills are already in short supply and has the potential to exclude candidates who aren’t able to complete a face-to-face RTW check. We have written to the Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, calling on the Home Office to address these issues raised and to temporarily extend the Covid-19 RTW check, providing an overlap with the digitalised process, to allow time for businesses to set up their arrangements with certified providers.” 

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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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REC says employers need to rethink hiring processes to mitigate skills shortages 

According to a survey conducted by the REC’s JobsOutlook, business confidence in the UK economy fell by 9%.  

This is the first time since February/ April 2021 that the barometer has fallen into the negative, indicating that confidence in the economy is waning. Uncertainty around rising inflation, labour shortages and the Omicron variant has increased over the past three months and this appears to the be the reason for the drop.  

Business confidence in making hiring and investment decisions continued to improve with a higher proportion of firms saying their prospects were still improving. However, that growth in confidence weakened slightly, falling by two percentage points to net: +11.  

According to the survey, growing uncertainty has led to an increase in demand for temporary workers increasing to net: +15 for the next three months; with demand for the next 4 to 12 months also rising by nine points to net to +14. 

Hiring intentions for permanent staff remained robust at net: +21, both in the short term and in the medium term. 

The survey also reported that in November, shortly after the end of the furlough scheme, 51% of employers had seen no change in the availability of candidates for vacancies.  

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, commented: “While the next few weeks are likely to be bumpy, we anticipate a highly competitive labour market in early 2022. There will be particularly high demand for temporary work, which helps businesses to manage uncertainty and keep people in work during tough times. Firms will have to look seriously at their recruitment process and their offer to candidates to attract the staff they need. Recruiters are ideally positioned to help with this.” 

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Employers to carefully consider vaccination policies

New COVID-19 restrictions came into force on 13 December, effectively sending workers back to working from home, if they’re able. But can the businesses that need employees in the workplace force them to be vaccinated?

Damian Kelly, partner and head of the employment law practice at Lodders Solicitors weighed in: “Other than employers of care home staff, employers have no legislative right to require staff to be vaccinated. In other sectors, employers who try to mandate staff vaccinations are running a high risk of Employment Tribunal claims, including claims for unlawful discrimination.”

“Increasingly, employers are seeing value in introducing Vaccination Policies which, whilst falling short of requiring mandatory vaccinations, encourage their staff to get vaccinated and set out various means by which they will be supported in doing so.”

“For care homes and their staff, The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 were approved on 22nd July 2021, and made it mandatory for a person working or providing professional services in a care home to have the COVID-19 vaccine from the 11th of November 2021.

Damien added: “Employers should give careful consideration to the drafting of a Vaccination Policy and the way in which it is communicated and implemented across their workforces. Important issues for consideration are likely to include timing, confidentiality, time off measures and fair procedures for dismissals should they be necessary.”

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71% of employers believe pandemic will mean continued wellbeing support

The emergence of another COVID-19 variant has meant employers head in to 2022 with yet more uncertainty.

But GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector, offers three employee benefit related New Year’s resolutions that make good business sense during the unpredictability of a pandemic:

  1. Think the unthinkable

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the old ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude as most people have had to face up to the fact that it could. For an employer, unthinkable questions could be, ‘What will happen to the business if we lose a key person?’, ‘Can the business afford to pay out for a death or for long-term sick leave?’ and ‘What sort of help should the business provide?’.

If these questions set any alarm bells ringing then it is probably time to make some relatively inexpensive changes to an organisation’s benefits package or to the insurance in place to protect members of staff and the business against financial loss.

  1. Choose to be a nurturing employer

A valued employee will be engaged and productive which is good for business. Employers who take this approach to staff will have little to fear from the much talked about ‘Great Resignation’. However, if employees are re-evaluating what they want out of life and work, as many are, and if they don’t see their employer as having been particularly supportive during the pandemic, they may look elsewhere.

Three quarters (73%) of employers believe the pandemic will mean long-term changes in the way they support the health and wellbeing of staff, with 71% of employers believing the pandemic will mean a continued uplift in checking in with staff as a way to support them.

  1. Shout it out

If an employer has put measures in place to both protect and nurture its staff, it needs to be bolder in communicating this support so that staff can derive maximum benefit from everything that is in place.

If employees are pointed in the right direction and communications are little and often, then they remember to use the support and help when they most need it.

In addition, developing an external communications strategy is also important in order to win the attention of an organisation’s next generation of employees.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “If a business is doing great things for its people in terms of looking after them in the present and protecting them from unknown future events, then they need to shout about it. This, in turn, drives engagement and appreciation which aids productivity, attraction and retention.

“I’m sure all employers had hoped to be heading in to the new year without the ongoing threat from the COVID-19 virus but as it looks like we could be in for another bumpy ride in 2022, employers would be wise to focus their New Year’s resolutions around their virus-weary staff.”

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