Tag: employer

A new survey of 2,000 workers by Robert Walters has found that 75% of 18-25 year olds see the workplace as their number one source of meaning and social connection but 42% will quit if remote working isn’t an option.

Robert Walters’ Guide to Hybrid Working: Obstacles and Solutions claims that ‘the under-researched and under-tested new hybrid working model has resulted in the UK workforce feeling overworked and exhausted’.

It found that, while 63% of companies have adopted or are in the process of implementing a hybrid-work model, 40% of employees think their employer’s hybrid working arrangements need to be improved and 55% do not think it brings balance back to their home and work life – with many claiming that hastily constructed working models have led to more intense working days due to the need to fulfil both face-to-face and virtual meetings.

The report also found that many employees are still in the dark about their employer’s plans for post-pandemic working – with 40% stating they are yet to hear about any vision, and a further 28% claiming that what they’ve heard remains vague.

Workers are very clear about their expectations, with 85% of UK professionals wanting more flexibility as standard to work from home post-pandemic, 78% stating that they would not take on a new job until this was agreed upfront with their prospective employer, and 42% saying they would quit if their employer didn’t offer remote working options long term.

However, with recent studies finding that employees working mainly from home were less likely to receive a bonus, get promoted or receive training than colleagues who spent more time in the workplace, the report urged employers to invest in culture and management.

“Our research shows that the diminishing social capital accessible through the hybrid or fully working from home model could turn the younger staffers into a ‘flight risk’,” said Chris Poole, MD of Robert Walters UK. “Additionally, talent retention is at its highest levels when employers invest time and effort in building and maintaining a workplace culture that prioritises social capital for employees.”

Tactics for boosting productivity and loyalty with hybrid working in the report include the following:

  1. Upskill managers: Remember the adage, “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers”. So, equip your managers with formal training and techniques to maintain productivity and innovation among their hybrid teams. The Robert Walters research suggests 30% of companies in Japan are already investing in such training.
  2. Measure outputs: Organisations are typically good at measuring inputs, but many overlook the outputs. By measuring outputs, employers and employees gain a clear picture of productivity and can adjust their hybrid working arrangements accordingly. This also helps ensure high achievers are identified and rewarded – which improves talent retention.
  3. Empower introverts: Some people feel more comfortable suggesting ideas online, rather than at in-person meetings. Apps such as Slack and Stormboard can enable brainstorming among remote workers.
  4. Seize the moment: Spontaneous creativity can still happen when people aren’t in the same room. Working in a Google Doc allows colleagues to create together, simultaneously. And leaving video chat running while working remotely allows people to share ideas and thoughts as they come up.
  5. Maximise in-person working: Optimise the time people spend together by creating flexible workplaces and spaces that encourage experimentation and collaboration. Consult your people during the office design, and your premises will become an asset that helps attract and retain talent.
  6. Embrace new technology: Keep your eye on emerging tech solutions. For example, Zoom plans to launch a new Smart Gallery feature, using AI to allow three people in a physical conference room to appear on different cameras, giving equal time and opportunity for all participants to contribute their ideas.

A copy of the report is available to download at Symptoms of Dysfunction in Hybrid Working (robertwalters.co.uk)

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Over half of satisfied workers are open to a career move, according to a new survey of over 4,000 workers in the UK, US, France, and China.

A new study from global integrated communications agency Zeno Group found that 58% of satisfied employees report being open to new opportunities, with many actively searching.

The study, entitled: “A New Mindset at Work: The Evolving Workplace in 2021”, is based on a survey of over 4,000 global workers from March to April this year which analysed employees’ expectations for the return to the office, their attitudes toward workplace mobility, and the importance of factors such as purpose, diversity, advancement and work-life balance through the lens of geographic regions and generations.

It found that workers are demanding a new working environment on their terms. Beyond hybrid work and flexibility, which are seen as permanent expectations for the new workplace, the study reveals that professional growth and career mobility rank high among employees’ expectations, followed by interesting work (77%), opportunities to grow (71%) and the ability to move within the company (62%).

Mental health was high on the agenda for 48% of UK employees, with 46% worried that poor mental health, or feeling more stressed or anxious, may come as a result of working remotely and 47% concerned it will lead to poor physical health.

The study also indicated how shifting employee values are shaping their views on the workplace. Out of 37 values, “protecting the family” (75%), enjoying life (72%) and self-reliance (71%) were the top three rising values in the UK while “status” (13%), “power” (12%) and “success” (11%) were the top declining values.

Across all regions, over 70% of employees say they would perform better at their jobs if they had a clear understanding of their company’s mission and values (a 21-point increase from a 2015 Zeno Group study) yet only around 50% of respondents felt their current company had one. Among US Gen Z respondents, 76% would be willing to accept a job earning less money if it was for an employer that shared their personal values and had a strong social purpose.

In the US, UK, and China, nearly 50% of employees consider having a diverse workforce and inclusive company culture one of the most important elements of a purposeful company.

“Senior management teams need to be actively listening to what their employees want and need,” said Jo Patterson, Managing Director at 3 Monkeys Zeno. “In the PR industry there is a particular need to practice what we preach when it comes to employee engagement post-COVID. This has been a watershed moment for all of us, and we now have an opportunity to build workplaces that align with the rising values highlighted in this report like mental health and flexible working.”

“While many businesses have great benefits and growth opportunities for their employees, often communication can prove the missing link between employers and their workforce,” added Jennifer Edwards, UK Employee Engagement lead at 3 Monkeys Zeno. “In the months ahead, retaining and attracting new talent will not only depend on listening to employees, but actively communicating with them in a meaningful way.”

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Concerns about prospects in the post-pandemic job market are driving more young people to stay in education and training despite talent shortages across a range of sectors.

Research from City & Guilds found that 40% of 17-19-year-olds in the last two years of school plan to go to university and 20% now want to stay in full time education for longer than they originally intended. This compares to 13% who say the same for apprenticeships, and 22% who plan to go straight into employment.

While 44% of school leavers choosing university consider this to be the best way to get a job, and 39% believe they will get paid well if they have a degree, recent research from Incomes Data Research found that both a graduate and a fully qualified degree-level apprentice could expect to earn the same salary upon completion of their qualification (£32,500).

Data from the ONS indicates that 37% of all graduates are unable to land graduate level jobs and data from City & Guilds Group’s Skills Index report (supported by the British Chambers of Commerce) suggests that only 18% of employers intend to recruit graduates to fill skills gaps in the next 12 months as businesses prioritise new recruits who are work-ready.

C&G’s report also found that employers are twice as likely to take on apprentices or trainees to fill skills gaps (36%), as opposed to graduates (18%).

“For many young people, the idea of university being the golden ticket to a great career is ingrained from an early age,” said Kirstie Donnelly, CEO of City & Guilds. “But as the jobs landscape continues to reel from the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit, it’s more important than ever before to understand that this isn’t the only option available to them.

“Ahead of results day, it’s important that young people understand the full range of options available to them and which types of jobs are likely to be available when they finish their studies. As part of this, we need to ensure that young people have access to robust and up to date careers advice that considers the genuine needs of the local labour market so they can make smarter choices about their career paths.”

Results anxiety

Research of 1,001 UK students aged 16-22 commissioned by FutureLearn in July found that 41% of young people are worried their exam results will have a lasting impact on their ability to get a job in the future; and 31% are worried bad exam results will impact their chances of earning enough money in the future.

It also found that 41% are worried they would not be able to get into university and 25% that they would not be able to get a job if their grades were not as they had hoped.

The research indicates that home life, not just school life, is affecting young people’s confidence levels with pressure from parents compounding a need to be seen as achieving by peers and virtual networks. Self-love is a top concern with 72% believing they would be disappointing themselves.

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A new survey reveals that 51% of remote workers now reply faster to emails to prove they’re working – and 95% of HR workers feel most trusted to be at their desks.

A survey of 1,015 office workers commissioned by Furniture At Work through Opinion Matters highlights changes to habits and routines as remote workers seek to reassure their employers that they’re working.

It found that 20% of UK workers now have Teams on their personal mobile phone and 29% ensure Teams never goes onto an ‘away’ status. It also found that 51% have started replying to messages faster to remind colleagues they’re working; 47% have been checking in regularly with calls and emails; and 49% now send emails either early in the morning or late at night.

The survey confirmed that 10am to 11am every day is the most common time for UK workers to take a break, with 22% doing this, and Monday is the day when workers are most likely to feel productive, with 24% saying this is the day when they get the most work done. Friday is the least productive day for 36%. However, those aged 16-24 chose Wednesday as their most productive day (26%), with 22% saying Monday was their least productive day.

A spokesperson for Furniture At Work said: “With so many extending their working days when working at home, it remains to be seen how this could translate into office working. It’s important for employers to understand that their staff are having to adapt to a second major change to their working lives in 18 months. Given that 11% of the workforce still don’t feel trusted by their employer to complete their set hours in a week, considering a flexible working policy could help make a smoother transition and reassure workers that you’re not rushing them back to a place where you can see them.”

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New research from City & Guilds Group reveals that 54% of employers say they can’t get the skilled workers they need, but only 14% would consider recruiting or retraining older workers.

C&G’s research found that adults aged 55+ are the least likely to have undertaken formal workplace training in the last five years, with only half (53%) having done so. This compares to 67% of 35–54-year-olds and 83% of 18–34-year-olds.

Over a third (38%) of respondents aged 55+ report having last received formal workplace training over 10 years ago, or never at all; 47% think they have all of the skills they need to succeed in the workplace; and 20% said the last workplace training they received was not useful for their current job day to day.

City & Guilds Group’s recent Skills Index report calls on employers to harness the valuable experience of older workers to fill skills gaps but only 14% of businesses said they would consider turning to recruiting or retraining older workers or retirees to tackle skills shortages.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds Group, commented: “We are all living longer, healthier lives than previous generations, meaning more people will also need to work until they are at least 70 to ensure they have enough saved to retire. But we risk consigning a generation of valuable workers to the scrapheap, just when many industries are crying out for more workers post Brexit and as we unlock society after the pandemic.

Kevin Rowan, Head of Organising Services and Learning at the TUC added: “Access to learning opportunities are an important feature of good quality work and fulfilling lives, including maintaining good mental health. Older workers being disadvantaged or prevented from learning is both economically and socially damaging, short-sighted and counterproductive. We need genuine lifelong learning for all.”

Staff shortages threaten employer confidence in hiring

In the three months to June, employers’ confidence in their ability to hire new staff and make investment decisions rose to a net level of +33 – the highest level ever recorded by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s JobsOutlook survey, which began in mid-2016.

The REC’s latest survey also found that business confidence in the UK economy rose by six percentage points to net: +17. This is the second rolling quarter in a row the barometer has been in positive territory.

“But a number of factors including the ‘pingdemic’ are causing serious staff shortages now,” said Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC. “We have the opportunity to shift perceptions around flexible working once and for all and make it a positive option. Government and employers urgently need to join forces to create a skills system that delivers the staff the country needs.”

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Older workers are more at risk of redundancy than younger workers as the furlough scheme begins to taper off, according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation.

The think-tank’s Living Standards Audit 2021 explored the impact of the pandemic on the millions of workers furloughed since March 2020 and was released last week alongside the most recent HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) statistics.

The latest figures revealed that only one in five of those who were furloughed in February were still furloughed in May, and there was a sharp fall in the number of people on furlough in May, with 2.4 million using the scheme at the end of the month, a 1.2 million drop from the 3.5 million furloughed at the end of April.

However, the Resolution Foundation warned that older workers made up a disproportionate number of those still on the CJRS.

Its analysis found that of those aged 55-64 who were furloughed in February, more than a quarter (26%) were still furloughed in May, compared with only 6% of those aged 35-44 and 16% of those aged 18-44. Overall, it found those aged 45 and over made up more than half of all workers on furlough in May, a significant jump from 38% in the first lockdown.

‘Parked’ on furlough
Karl Handscomb, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Reopening the economy has led to a surge in people returning back to work from furlough, particularly young people in sectors like hospitality and leisure.

“But not everyone is back working. Over one in four older workers who were furloughed during the recent lockdown have remained parked on furlough during the reopening, and now face a higher risk of unemployment as the scheme starts to be unwound.

“It’s crucial that the Government does all it can to prevent rising unemployment among workers of all ages this Autumn when the furlough scheme ends.”

This view was echoed by Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, who said:  “Older people are returning to work far slower than younger people. Furlough numbers for the under 25s dropped like a stone as hospitality businesses reopened, but the older you were, the less likely you were to return to work, and furlough numbers for those aged 65 and over fell just 16%.”

Men, travel professionals also at risk
She added that other groups also remained vulnerable to job losses. “Men are slower to come off furlough too, and men have overtaken women using the scheme for the first time since the very earliest days of furlough. This owes much to the fact that so many have returned to hospitality businesses, and far more women work in these roles than men.

“In some industries, furlough is still widespread, most notably airlines at 57%, hotels at 57% and tour operators and travel agents at 51%, and in these industries the numbers on furlough dropped far more slowly than elsewhere.”

While the furlough scheme will continue until September, the changes to employer contributions that came into effect last week are likely to prove a trigger for some employers to make redundancies.

Starting from the beginning of July, employers have had to contribute at least part of the 80% of wages paid to furloughed workers. Their contribution is currently 10% (with the government paying the remaining 70%) though this will increase to 20% in August and September, before the scheme winds down.

Coles warned: “For those still stuck on furlough, there’s the risk their employers will be seriously reconsidering whether they can afford to keep them on now they are shouldering 10% of their wages – alongside pension and NI contributions. These questions will become even more pressing when the scheme tapers again in August.”

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Following lobbying from recruitment sector bodies, the Home Office has announced a further delay to the resumption of physical Right to Work checks.

Since March last year, temporary measures have been in place that allow employers to check potential employees have the right to work using video calls and by accepting scanned documents rather than originals.

However, these measures were due to come to an end on June 21 and from that point employers would have been required to return to conducting in-person checks.

Both the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) had called for this to be pushed back following the announcement of a four-week delay to the easing of the UK lockdown.

The REC estimated that more than 300,000 people a week could be delayed from starting work if the Home Office did not allow digital Right to Work checks to continue during the extended lockdown period.

Last week the Home Office announced an extension of digital Right to Work checks until 1 September, in line with the delay in the lifting of the remaining restrictions.

“This will ensure employers have sufficient time to put measures in place to enable face to face document checks,” it said in a factsheet.

Permanent change next step?

In response to the announcement, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said: “This is a sensible decision that will keep the jobs market moving. We’re pleased government has listened, and we look forward to working with the Home Office on the next logical step – a permanent digital system.”

Both the REC and APSCo have previously called on the government to put in place a permanent digital solution, arguing the success of the systems put in place during the pandemic proved such systems were workable on a long-term basis.

This has also been backed by specialist background screening and identity services firm Sterling.

Steve Smith, Managing Director for EMEA at Sterling, said: “Getting the Right to Work share code process in place over the course of the pandemic has been incredibly valuable for employers. In some instances it has streamlined RTW checks and has the potential to make some procedures more robust. In fact, we’ve witnessed organisations build digital and biometric identity checks into their screening programmes which decreased the potential for identity fraud, and any steps to drive compliance should certainly be welcomed and embraced more broadly.

“While there are circumstances that will necessitate in-person verification in the future, we would be disappointed to see the hard work that has gone into the digital solution over the last 18 months go to waste. It is our hope that the government and the Home Office use this extension period to consider how a hybrid approach to in-person and digital checks could work.”

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Despite the gradual nature of the reopening of the UK economy, both businesses and workers are becoming increasingly confident about their prospects for the second half of the year.

This was the finding of a report published last week by recruiter Robert Half and software company Burning Glass.

Its researchers surveyed 300 senior UK executives of private and public organisations of various sizes in April and found that overall business confidence levels had increased by 10% compared with January, with 28% of employers saying they felt ‘very confident’ and 58% ‘somewhat confident’ of growth this year.

The report also included the findings of data collected via online surveys of employees between April and May 2021 and found that almost half (47%) of workers felt more optimistic about their career prospects than they did 12 months ago.

Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half, said: “Our newest employment market data shows a shift as we move into what we hope will be the latter stage of the pandemic cycle, and a return to a more confident and secure labour market for employees and employers alike.”

Skills gap emerging
However, the report also concluded that significant reskilling was needed to help employees adapt to the changing business needs brought about by the pandemic. In particular, Weston said Robert Half had seen an increase in demand for candidates with hybrid and digital skills.

Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, explained: “The pace of skill change globally continues to accelerate. Tech, digital and data handling skills continue to be in ever-increasing demand across all sectors. The development and use of hardware, software, e-commerce apps and cloud-based collaboration platforms, as examples, are no longer solely the preserve of dedicated IT departments as virtually all areas of business are becoming highly dependent on the use of technology in their day-to-day operations.

“From a business perspective, all managers need to foster a culture of constant learning for workers to remain agile, adaptable and sufficiently skilled in order to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation.”

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Finance, farming and transport hit hardest by pay cuts, according to Randstad research

Randstad’s latest analysis of the salaries of over 9,000 UK and Ireland workers, and data from 700 placed jobs, highlights the roles, industries, and demographics with the highest salaries or biggest drops over the last year.

The losers

According to the 2021 Randstad salary guide, Irish finance professionals were hit hardest, with part qualified group accountant seeing salary decline of -8%, followed by finance manager (-6%) and part qualified management accountant (-6%). In terms of sector, those working in agriculture and transportation saw the largest decreases in salary for new roles – reduced by 44% and 43% respectively. The East of England saw the biggest fall in remuneration as a region, with 28% changing jobs with a pay cut compared to just 14% in London.

The older demographic saw the biggest decline, with nearly half (48%) of 55-64-year-olds surveyed reported a decrease in their salary.

The winners

Demand for developers and specialist tech roles pushed their salaries up by 9%, according to Randstad’s Employer Brand Research (REBR), with the East Midlands the best region to find qualified tech workers. Despite the tech boom in the East Midlands, the West saw higher than average vacancies (up 11% overall) while the East fell to 2% below average.

HR assistant salaries rose by 6% in the North East and by an average of 4.5% across the North West, with salaries for other HR-related roles rising by nearly 3% on average across the country. London saw the biggest rise, with 15% of Londoners, across all sectors, received a pay increase of between £2,000 and £5,000 – and a further 15% reporting a pay rise of over £30,000 when switching jobs.

The three highest ranked roles by salary rise were: Software Developer (9%) followed by Marketing Assistant (7%) and HR Manager (5%).

Rise of the marketing assistants

With firms focused on competition, differentiation and positioning themselves for the upturn, marketing is in higher demand. Pay rises for marketing assistant roles now vary from a 1.5% increase to 13% in Yorkshire, to over 18% for newly qualified marketers based in the North-West of England. All marketing function roles in the UK have seen an average 5% increase on 2020 figures.

“With organisations over the past 18 months seeing a long list of changes — from new privacy policies, the accelerated digitalisation of brands, altered consumer behaviour due to the pandemic — marketers are working harder than ever, essentially, being asked to do more and with less,” said Adrian Smith, Senior Director of Operations, Randstad. “Acknowledging the importance of the central marketing function and the role it plays in supporting business objectives, the more junior marketers are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Not all about salaries

A new study by borofree highlights The importance of company benefits to attract and retain talent during a major talent shortage across all sectors has been highlighted in a new study from Borofree, a UK salary advance start-up that helps people avoid debt by providing free access to a proportion of their next pay cheque in advance.

The online survey of 2009 employed adults, conducted by Censuswide between 28th May – 2nd June 2021, found that 68% believe company benefits and perks have an important role in driving staff recruitment and retention. However, one in five of UK employees have had their packages reduced or cut completely in the last 12 months – including 28% of 16-24 year olds and 29% of those aged 25-34 years. As a result, 15% of 16-24 year old’s have considered leaving their job.

The study claims that employers are too focused on the short term and not enough on long term perks, with 25% of employees stating that they don’t think the perks being offered are relevant or tailored to them – such as fertility treatments or sailing trips – and 15% revealing they have never received any perks from the company they currently work for.

Benefits packages that provide financial wellbeing support are in highest demand, with pensions the most popular for a third of respondents but 18% want the option of being paid weekly and 14% want an interest free loan. “Too many companies approach company benefits as a PR exercise, failing to consider what’s going to make a real difference to their employees workplace wellbeing and happiness,” said Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree. “Evidently, the fads and outrageous corporate packages are no longer ticking the boxes for staff, who are looking for perks that are both relevant and useful for them.”

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Rising divorce rates most likely to hit small firms with brain drain

Employees of SMEs who have gone through a relationship breakdown are four times more likely to leave than those at large companies – and UK SMEs are nearly three times more likely to let the employee go post-relationship breakdown. In fact, 2.3% of SME employees were let go within the year and the redundancy rate per number of employees in 2020 was 0.8% (ONS Labour Market Statistics).

The 2021 Divorce in the Workplace study, conducted by Rayden Solicitors from 133 UK companies, found that divorce created a period of ‘breakup trauma’ – and 4 in every 5 UK employees who had been through divorce or relationship breakdown stated that it had an impact on their ability to work.

Most damningly, it found that 57% of SME employees stated that insufficient support post-relationship breakdown caused them anxiety, depression, or stress; 30% said their productivity suffered; and 16% had to take sick or unpaid leave post-relationship breakdown.

How can SMEs improve their support?

With SMEs accounting for 99.9% of the business population (6 million businesses), according to the Federation of Small Businesses, and 60% of all private sector jobs in the UK (a total of 16.6 million), according to the UK Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, it’s in the interests of UK plc’s recovery to diffuse this time bomb.

According to the study, employees identified the following key areas for improvement to ease the process of going through a divorce in the workplace:

  • More support for mental wellbeing (42%)
  • Offer compassionate leave (32%)
  • Provide recommendations for external support (27%)
  • More privacy on the matter & better protection from HR (6%)
  • Wider workplace culture improvements (11%)

Commenting on the findings, Senior Partner at Rayden Solicitors Katherine Rayden, said: “SMEs need to be sensitive to the fact that divorce can affect their staff beyond their personal lives. Providing the appropriate support will put employees in a better position to cope with their divorce. It’s in the best interest of both the business and its people for SME employers to meet this need.”

Kirsten Keen, HR expert at Cluer HR, added: “If that person is a valued, respected member of the business, it surely goes without saying that it’s in the business’s interest to support that person through their difficult time – continuing to get the best from them and ultimately, retaining talent. It can be as simple as being flexible – allowing employees to attend solicitor meetings and court hearings in work time. Offering counselling services to staff – not just for issues that relate directly to work, but for personal issues, such as relationship breakdowns. Nurturing a culture whereby people talk about their homelife and are open about problems can also be helpful.”

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