Tag: employer

Is a collaborative approach with employees the answer to labour issues?

With public unionization movements taking place at various Big Tech companies, Microsoft wasn’t to be left out. The tech giant announced last week that it planned to follow an “open and constructive approach” to union organization from its employees.

In their announcement on June 2, 2002, they emphasized that while it wasn’t a requirement for employees to form a union to engage with company leadership, employees have the legal right to create a union.

The company outlined four principles to guide their open attitude to unionization. Among these were that they were “committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.”

Microsoft is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion. This announcement comes on the back of a vote taken at the end of May by an Activision Blizzard subsidiary to form a union.

Right now, the tech industry seems to be lit up by unionization efforts, with Amazon in a heated battle against unionization at some of its facilities, including in New York and Alabama.

In this post-pandemic world, worker power appears to be on the rise in companies across the US, with unions seeing increased activity in numerous sectors. The retail industry is just one example, with Starbucks and REI, where a number of strikes broke out late in 2021.

In what is known as #striketober, workers made demands for improved benefits, including better pay, flexible hours and more time off.

When it comes to unhappy staff, prevention is better than cure. One solution to staving off strike action would be listening to and acting on employee feedback. A Perceptyx survey released in April revealed that employers who did this were 11 times for likely to retain staff than those who didn’t.

Interestingly, fewer employers in the healthcare and retail industries were “listening to employees” than in other industries. These industries have also faced strike and unionization activities, high staff turnover and labour shortages.

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45% believe that employers should not do social media checks 

According to new research, job seekers in the UK and Ireland are concerned about social media background checks. The research from HR and payroll specialists Zellis revealed that 19% of job applicants hide their social media activity in order to pass background checks.

The research was carried out in May 2022 amongst recent job applicants and showed that job seekers across all age groups are concerned that their online activity may lead to missed employment opportunities.

Reports state that 70% of organisations perform background checks on applicants’ social media; however, many applicants do not understand the reasons for these checks. Online background checks are a tool to pick up risk factors, for example, discriminatory language or undisclosed criminal behaviour. On the other hand, it can also highlight positive attributes such as charity work or volunteering.

The research indicates that  45% of respondents believe that organisations should not carry out these checks. Many respondents feared that the company might be looking for too much information. Nine percent thought that social media checks could uncover confidential medical history. A further 12% felt that it could reveal characteristics such as age or sexuality.

The research also found that 27% lied in a job interview about experience or qualifications. Twenty-two percent of these said that not having the right experience for the job was their biggest concern when interviewing for roles.

Ian Howard, Co-Founder of Neotas, commented: “It’s a common misconception that social media searches are used to somehow illegitimately access or hack personal accounts, when in reality they are only used to retrieve publicly available information about a job applicant.”

“Social media background checks are now a vital tool for hirers, helping to review a candidate’s attitude, as well as aptitude, for the role they’re applying for. As a company, Neotas prides itself on helping organisations to understand potential employees better by empowering them to carry out AI driven background checks which help to identify red flags whilst maintaining the personal privacy of job applicants.”

David Crewe, Customer Operations Director at Zellis, said: “The job market has never been as competitive as it is today, but that doesn’t mean hirers can get complacent. Background checks should be commonplace for any organisation, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be mindful about how they feel for candidates.”

“It is crucial to offer candidates reassurance about the process, particularly the steps being taken to eliminate unconscious bias, or information about protected characteristics which should never be used in the hiring process. Background checking is not about catching applicants out or looking into their personal life, but rather about building confidence for the best candidates and ensuring a safe, accepting and positive workplace.”

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Long journey ahead to embed diversity into the complete employment journey  

According to a recent study, one in three UK workers has felt marginalised or excluded at work conducted.

The survey for the forthcoming book ‘Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work’ indicates that there is still a journey ahead for creating diversity in every area of the business – from recruitment to promotions.

While many workplaces in the UK are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation, others are not, and any diversity becomes scarcer in upper management and senior leadership.

Statistics show that:

  • White groups are the most likely to be employed at 79.3%,
  • Men have a higher employment rate in every ethnic group.
  • 41% of LGBTQIA+ job seekers would not apply for a job with a company that lacks diversity
  • The employment rate for disabled people sits at 52.7%.
  • Almost one in five FTSE 100 companies don’t have ethnic minority members.
  • Only two FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO.

Even though the UK has taken positive steps to create equality and diversity, there is much work to be done when looking at the overall picture.

Gerald Doran, Head of Recruitment and HRSS at Kura, has shared his tips for embedding diversity into the hiring process.

Create an equality and diversity policy

Diversity to needs to be enshrined in policy to be taken seriously. Laying out the company’s commitment to equality and diversity and how it will achieve them will ensure that it is enacted across all areas of the organisation.

A comprehensive policy should include

  • The purpose of the policy and the commitment to diversity in the workplace.
  • How diversity in the workplace will be increased
  • How discriminatory behaviour will be eliminated.
  • Details of the measures in place to ensure diversity within the business
  • The behaviours expected of all employees
  • A grievances procedure.

Consider a blind hiring process and an interview panel

Seventy-nine percent of HR employees have admitted that unconscious bias exists in recruitment in the UK. British job applicants with black or ethnic minority backgrounds must submit 60% more CVs to receive call-backs from employers,  even if their skill set matches white jobseekers.

A blind hiring process may eliminate this. Candidates can submit their CV and cover letter in a manner that does not provide any demographic information such as gender, heritage, age, and location.

At the interview stage, these personal identifiers may be revealed. In addition, if the interview panel comprises employees from diverse backgrounds and various levels of seniority, bias can also be removed from the interview process and final decision.

Another option is to use sample tasks to help the recruitment panel look at the candidate’s skills rather than the demographics.

Recognise the benefits of diversity in your workplace

To best understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, look into the benefits that it already offers. For example, women in leadership may be more empathetic. Leaders from different ethnic backgrounds can provide new perspectives for consideration.

Shakti Naidoo, HR Business Partner at Kura South Africa, commented: “At Kura South Africa, we have inductions and monthly sessions where we directly address conscious and unconscious bias.

As well as sessions on addressing conscious and unconscious bias, we created ‘Kura-Queens’, a space for women in the business to meet and discuss any issues around gender inequality in the workplace. Kura-Queens has led to “a team of strong women who support, motivate, and raise each other.”

We have a very equal gender split across all levels of seniority in our business. This gives us a unique, balanced workplace that values differing viewpoints and allows everyone to offer insight based on their personal experiences.

As well as creating equal opportunities for promotions within your organisation, highlighting the achievements of senior leaders from diverse backgrounds is important. They will be role models for other employees as well as prospective employees. We interviewed a number of our women in leadership for International Women’s Day and shared their inspiring words on LinkedIn in order to inspire others.

The UK has made positive steps when it comes to equality and diversity in the workplace but there is still a long way to go. Not only are marginalised groups still underrepresented in the workforce, but they also report feeling isolated and discriminated against. We have faced this challenge head-on at Kura and have a number of initiatives, from our comprehensive equality and diversity policy to Kura-Queens and beyond. Having a truly diverse workplace and recruitment process takes time to enact, but these are great places to start.”

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Internet stats show increasing awareness and demand for change

Recent research about internet search habits has revealed that there has been a consistent increase in diversity and inclusion issues over the last three years. For example, the search for ‘gender pronouns in the workplace’ has risen by 500% between April 2020 and April 2022.

Whether these searches are being conducted by employers trying to be aware of issues or whether it is employees who are trying to find out their rights is unclear.

The data also showed an increase of 58% in searches for ‘unconscious bias at work’ during the same three-year period. There was also a spike in March 2022, which coincided with International Women’s Day. The 2022 theme was based on ‘breaking the bias.’ March was also a big month for diversity and inclusion related with organisations completing their mandatory Gender Pay Gap reports before the Government reporting deadlines.

The data also showed that search results had increased for certain types of discrimination:

  • ‘bullying, harassment, and discrimination at work’ searches grew by 62.5%
  • ‘disability discrimination at work’ searches grew by 51.25%
  • ‘racial discrimination at work’ searches rose by 40.3%
  • ‘age discrimination at work’ searches grew by 30.6%

The same pattern has also been seen in Employee Tribunal Data. According to data from employment law and HR advisory firm, WorkNest, nearly half of the Employment Tribunal Claims received between January 2019 and December 2021 included some form of discrimination, with disability being the protected characteristic most relied upon by Claimants. 

 During the same period, they also saw increases in the following types of claims:

  • Disability-related discrimination claims (17.9%)
  • Sex-related discrimination claims (52%)
  • Race-related discrimination claims (27.3%)

There was also a large spike of racial discrimination claims during 2020, a 42.9% increase, compared to 2019.

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International, commented: “The data reveals that discriminatory issues continue to rise in the workplace; business leaders and HR teams are responsible for tackling these issues to provide a safe and welcoming working environment for all employees to thrive in,”

“We believe that diversity and inclusion must be at the core of an organisation; we want to help employees and employers evolve from a compliance-based model to embracing true cultural change.”

Evidently, issues of diversity and inclusion are not a “passing storm to be weathered.”

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Best locations for digital nomad lifestyle revealed

According to Instant Offices, there are currently 35 million digital nomads globally and it is predicted that one billion people could live and work as digital nomads by 2035.

A digital nomad is a remote worker who travels and works simultaneously. They can work from anywhere, allowing them to spend anything from a few months to years traveling. According to research, 80% of digital nomads prefer to stay in one location for 3-9 months.

The research found that 51% of digital nomads are in digital marketing, computer science, and creative industries.

In a list of the top 80 locations ranked according to factors such as affordability, weather, and broadband speed, popular tourist cities such as London, Paris, and Venice are relatively low on the list. The top 10 digital nomad locations are:

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Thessaloniki, Greece
  4. Dallas, USA
  5. San Antonio, USA
  6. Seville, Spain
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Budapest, Hungary

This trend is increasing, fuelled by advances in technology, remote working, and workplace culture.

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Employers are warned against ignoring value of wisdom and experience

A recent article by Andrea London has highlighted concern that the new world of remote working is resulting in increasing polarisation of the labour market in the UK and an increase in the “generational skills gap” and whether older workers can keep up with technical advances.

She mentions that even if people over the age of 55 don’t have the “skills of the future”, they do have valuable wisdom, experience, skills, and attributes that took years to develop and should not be ignored. These benefits influence all in the workplace, and she warns that companies may not realise the value of an age-diverse workplace until it is too late.

The writer goes on to warn of the likelihood of an increasing number of unfair dismissal incidents, such as the recent Williams -v- Lyons Holiday Parks [2022] case, where Mrs. Williams, a 60-year-old worker, was dismissed because she wasn’t receiving enough “likes” on social media.

According to London, a possible leveller is “proximity bias” – where those we see more often are looked upon more favourably. For example, in a hybrid working model, those in the office, such as more mature staff members, may be more likely to be presented with tasks as opposed to those working remotely. Unfortunately, as businesses adapt, proximity bias may disappear, and the benefits of this may be short-lived.

In her article, Andrea London, partner at Winckworth Sherwood, wrote: “When Mark Zuckerberg in 2007 (in)famously said to a room full of budding entrepreneurs that “young people are just smarter” – he maybe did not realise the damage his narrative would cause – that youth has become synonymous with technological skill and to be “old” is to be technically illiterate. This is a misguided belief – but unfortunately, in our increasingly technological workplaces, this is an increasingly held viewpoint.”

“Despite the legal protections; ageism and its legal counterpart; age discrimination remains challenging for employers. What is really needed is a change in attitude and perception – such that age is part of any diversity and inclusion programs – but this will take time. Employers who are increasing their technology or operating any hybrid workplace model need to be aware that whilst in theory the future looks bright, they wouldn’t be there save for the past and should remember how they got there and whom in their workforce, assisted with that progress.”

The older workforce are an untapped talent resource as reported on in TALiNT International. At a time when employers are strapped for experienced professionals, employers should look to the over 55s to plug skills gaps in their businesses.

 

 

 

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43% set to quit jobs for improved working conditions

EY has released their 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, showing that 43% of employees are likely to quit their jobs, motivated by higher salaries, better career opportunities, and increased flexibility.

The survey canvassed over 1,500 business leaders and 17,000 employees across 22 countries and 26 industry sectors and found that employees have significant influence amid a shrinking labour market and rising inflation.

According to the survey, 35% of employees say that their main motivation for quitting their jobs is a desire for higher pay. This is likely due to record inflation numbers in many countries. Twenty-five percent are looking for career growth, while 42% believe that pay increases will address high staff turnover. However, only 18% of employers agree with this statement.

Last year’s survey found that flexible working arrangements were the biggest driver in employee moves. However, with many companies now offering some flexibility, remote work is less of a factor, at 19%. Seventeen percent say they would leave for well-being programs.

When looking at age groups in the various countries, the survey found that 53% of Gen Z employees and millennials in the US are the most likely to quit their jobs this year. In addition, across all sectors, 60% of employees with technology and hardware jobs are eager to leave.

Despite an improved outlook on company culture, many employees are keen to job hunt. In contrast, employers are less confident about company culture. Similarly, while many employees feel that the new ways of working increased their productivity, employers’ confidence in productivity decreased from 77% to 57%.

In looking at growing skills and the talent gap, findings among employers are:

  • 58% agree that it is important to have a strategy that matches talent and skills to business needs.
  • 74% are prepared to hire employees from other countries and allow remote work if their skills are critical or scarce.
  • 21% believe that improving opportunities to build skills will help address turnover.

In respect of flexible working models, the survey shows that:

  • 22% of employer respondents want employees back in the office five days a week.
  • Reluctance to work remotely among employees fell from 34% to 20%.
  • 80% of employees would like to work remotely at least two days per week.

The survey also examines whether new ways of working boost culture and productivity. It reveals that 32% of “optimist” employers have improved culture and productivity by ensuring that their leaders understand company issues, external practices, and strategies. Other drivers of success are hybrid work, investing in on-site amenities, enhancing workplace technology, and empowering employees.

Liz Fealy, EY Global People Advisory Services Deputy Leader and Workforce Advisory Leader, commented: “This latest survey shows that employees around the world are feeling empowered to leave jobs if their expectations are not met. As employers have increasingly provided flexible work approaches, higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, particularly given rising inflation and available unfilled roles.”

Roselyn Feinsod, EY Work Reimagined Leader, commented: “We are seeing a top third of companies successfully navigating these divergent positions on pay, career opportunities and flexibility. They have moved from ‘resistance’ to ‘renaissance’ and that’s a win-win for their companies and their workforce. Organizations have to work to retain their employees, instill trust and provide a package that takes into account total pay, career path and flexibility to balance market concerns and risks.”

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Employers’ confidence in the UK economy declines as inflation reaches record highs

New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook survey advises of a decrease in employers’ confidence in the UK economy during the first quarter of 2022 as inflation numbers reach their highest levels in 30 years.

Although the measure of business confidence increased slightly in January, it soon fell back to the same levels as those in the final quarter of 2021.

But despite the decreasing confidence, most employers are still positive about their ability to hire. The survey found that UK businesses’ confidence in hiring was at net: +8 (1% lower than in the last quarter of 2021).

According to the survey, employers’ intentions to hire permanent workers have significantly increased by 9% over the past three months, despite the negative economic outlook. However, these intentions may be due to the current challenges in filling vacancies.

More findings from the survey include:

  • Medium-term hiring intentions rose by 7%
  • Quarter-on quarter, hiring intentions for temporary agency workers remained positive even though the numbers declined by 14% in the short term and 8% in the medium term.
  • In March, 18% of employers said that the increase in National Insurance contributions would reduce their ability to invest in their business.
  • 15% of employers said that the National Insurance contributions would discourage the creation of new roles.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, commented: “Businesses are seeing tax rates and uncapped energy costs rise, as well as pressure on salaries from staff who are seeing their own bills go up. So it is no surprise that firms are more concerned about the outlook. But British firms are resilient and investment in staff and growth remain on the agenda when employers think about their own business. We expect to see employers’ hiring plans decouple further from their economic outlook over the coming months as they face a tight labour market. Firms will need to find new, creative ways to attract candidates, as well as keep hold of the talented staff they have. Recruiters will play a vital part in helping them to do so.

“More employers are switching their hiring intentions towards permanent staff, as the urgent need for contingency staff to cover Covid absences decreases. But temporary workers remain vital to managing uncertain and fast-changing markets.”

All indications are that resilient British companies remain intent on growing despite a negative economic outlook.

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70% of employers agree that Ukrainian workers could ease UK labour shortage

In a new survey commissioned by UK career and jobs site Reed, research has shown that four in five UK businesses are willing to hire Ukrainian refugees with six in ten hiring managers stating that the government should make it easier for refugees to enter the UK.  

According to the research, UK employers believe the leading benefits of hiring Ukrainian workers are: 

  • An increase in Ukrainian workers could ease UK labour shortages (71%) 
  • The potential to increase workforce diversity (33%) 
  • The potential to increase cultural diversity (29%) 
  • Access to skilled and qualified candidates (27%) 

The language barrier is the biggest challenge, say 59% of recruitment decision-makers with other concerns including uncertainty about the Ukrainian workforce’s skillset (36%) and uncertainty about productivity (36%).  

In response to the research, Reed.co.uk has made some of its career advice pages available in Ukrainian to assist refugees in transitioning into the UK workforce.  

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, commented:  “If Ukrainian refugees are to settle in the UK successfully, finding them employment will be the crucial next step to fully integrating them into society for the period that they remain here.  

“It’s encouraging to see such a positive response to this refugee crisis from UK employers. The majority are enthusiastic about the prospect of hiring Ukrainian workers and have identified a range of benefits they can bring to the UK workforce.”

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Inclusive working policies potentially adds £40 billion to GDP  

According to a new study by LinkedIn, greater workplace flexibility could help open up new employment opportunities for 1.3 million people in the UK with disabilities, caring responsibilities, and those based in rural locations. For those who may struggle to commute or work regular hours, the opportunity to work from home or work flexible hours has the potential to improve workforce inclusion while adding a potential £40 billion to GDP.

The research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) was commissioned by LinkedIn in a bid to understand the potential for hybrid working to improve workforce inclusion. The research highlighted an “Inclusion Gap”, which revealed that employers are currently missing out on hiring people who would be able to work if working conditions were adapted to meet their needs.

Research from LinkedIn has found that for the majority (86%) of employers in the UK the pandemic has triggered a rethink of flexible and remote working, meaning that there is a real opportunity for businesses to design new policies with inclusivity at the core to make work equitable for all.

TRANSFORMING ACCESS TO THE WORKPLACE 
According to the study, flexible working could potentially unlock employment opportunities for around 600,000 people living with disabilities. This means that there is potential to add £20.7bn to the UK economy. Furthermore the next largest dividend of £10.6bn would be gained from employees from households with dependent children (around 284,000 people), followed by adult informal carers (around 306,000 people) and those based in rural locations (around 104,000 people), potentially adding £6bn and £2.9bn to the UK economy respectively.

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “The pandemic has instigated the greatest workplace change in a generation, prompting businesses of all types and sizes to re-evaluate how they operate.”

Nina Skero, Chief Executive at CEBR, said: “Our analysis highlights the enormous potential hybrid working arrangements hold for inclusivity in the UK labour market. The hybrid office model will, by no means, remove all the structural barriers faced by the highlighted demographic groups. Nonetheless, it does provide optimism for a more inclusive workforce. Realising this potential comes with its own challenges, however, and the onus falls on businesses to take initiative to ensure that inclusivity forms a key part of their agenda.”

LinkedIn Changemaker and disability inclusion consultant, Martyn Sibley, said: “Disabled people face many barriers in daily life. Workplace barriers are the most disabling for two reasons – because work provides us with financial independence and is also fulfilling mentally. Flexible working can help remove some of these barriers and create new employment opportunities, which is extremely positive for disabled people, employers and society as a whole. As companies consider what the future of work looks like, I’m hopeful that they will use this moment to redesign work to make it more inclusive for all.”

Steve Ingham, CEO at PageGroup, said: “Disabled individuals, which represent nearly 18% of the UK workforce, are more than capable of fulfilling many of the same jobs as able-bodied workers, yet, too often, inflexible workplace policies are a roadblock to accessing roles. The widespread move to working from home helped overcome access barriers in many cases, but companies must now challenge their hiring managers and leaders to explore options for truly flexible working. I’m proud to say that PageGroup has a dedicated team to help bridge the gap between businesses, disability charities and disabled candidates, helping to create more inclusive workplaces. We look forward to continuing to find great placements for people of all abilities – a lack of flexibility must not prevent UK businesses from employing the talent they need.”

James Taylor, Head of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, at disability equality charity, Scope, said: “For many disabled people, flexible home working is something they have been requesting for years with varying degrees of success depending on the employer. Inclusive policies such as flexible and remote working are hugely beneficial for many disabled employees, by allowing people to work in the most effective way for them and contribute their talent, skills and insight. It’s proved to be good for many employers as well, because businesses that are flexible thrive. We have seen the positive results and urge all employers to embrace this sea change and adopt flexible working practices to support more disabled people into work.”

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