Tag: job ads

Pregnant worker sacked after job posted online

An employment tribunal recently heard the story of Sintija Gaikniece, a pregnant worker who was shocked to find her own job advertised online just before she was fired from her position at VPZ, a vape shop in Forfar, Scotland. Gaikniece was dismissed in June of last year after her bosses claimed that customers had complained about her behavior. However, she became suspicious when she received no evidence of these complaints and later discovered that the company had already posted a job advertisement to replace her before officially terminating her employment.

According to the legal proceedings, Gaikniece began working for VPZ in January 2022 and discovered her pregnancy only two weeks into her employment. She stated that her bosses had promised to discuss maternity arrangements but never followed through with the discussions. Gaikniece believed that the company had conspired to terminate her to avoid paying for her maternity leave. As a result, she filed an employment tribunal appeal, which she won, leading to her being awarded £17,500 in compensation. Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, Gaikniece expressed her belief that the company had planned her dismissal and already had a replacement ready.

Gaikniece recounted her probationary meeting in late June where her boss informed her that there were complaints about her customer attitude but provided no specific details. She was told that she hadn’t passed her probation and was given the option to leave immediately if she wished. Gaikniece accepted the termination, signed on for Universal Credit, and began her legal battle.

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for VPZ stated that the company, as the UK’s leading vaping retailer employing over 450 individuals nationwide, promotes an inclusive culture to foster the development and success of all employees. They highlighted their commitment to equal opportunities and their comprehensive paternity and maternity policy, which offers benefits and flexibility to staff members. The spokesperson acknowledged the tribunal’s judgment but mentioned that the company would be appealing the decision and, due to ongoing legal proceedings, refrained from further comment on the case.

The case of Sintija Gaikniece sheds light on the challenges faced by expectant mothers in the workplace. Research conducted by Culture Shift indicates that more than a quarter (26%) of expectant mothers hesitate to disclose their pregnancy due to concerns about potential stigma from colleagues and managers. The percentage rises to almost half (46%) for those who have been employed for less than six months when they become pregnant. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination ranked as the fifth most common discrimination claim from 2020 to 2021. The claims mainly revolved around sham redundancies, offensive comments directed at pregnant employees, failure to implement flexible working options, and being overlooked for promotion.

In the United Kingdom, there are legal protections against maternity discrimination, with the primary law being the Protected Period outlined in the Equality Act 2010. This period begins when a woman’s pregnancy commences and ends at the conclusion of her additional maternity leave period or when she returns to work after pregnancy, whichever is earlier. These laws aim to safeguard the rights of pregnant individuals during this critical time in their lives.

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Innova Solutions settles immigration bias claims

Georgia-based IT staffing firm Innova Solutions, formerly known as American CyberSystems Inc., has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice following allegations of immigration-related bias. The Department of Justice revealed that the company had advertised two positions in a manner that discriminated against certain applicants based on their citizenship statuses.

According to the Department, one of the allegations against Innova Solutions involved a discriminatory advertisement that exclusively targeted US citizens and lawful permanent residents while excluding US nationals, refugees, and individuals seeking asylum. The department further noted that the advertised position required access to materials subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and Export Administration Regulations.

The Department explained that employers are required by law to obtain special authorization from the US government for certain workers if their roles involve accessing export-controlled items. However, under these regulations, US nationals, asylees, and refugees possess the same privileges as US citizens and lawful permanent residents, and no authorization is necessary for employers to share export-controlled items with these workers. Consequently, the Department concluded that Innova Solutions had no justifiable reason to exclude these individuals from the hiring process.

The company faced another allegation for posting a separate job advertisement that specifically targeted workers with temporary work visas, according to the Department.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division emphasized that employers must not engage in unlawful discrimination based on an individual’s citizenship status during the job advertising process. The Department expressed this sentiment in a press release.

As part of the settlement, Innova Solutions has agreed to provide training to its recruiting and human resources staff regarding the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision. The company will also conduct a comprehensive review of its policies to ensure compliance with relevant laws and will be subject to monitoring and reporting requirements imposed by the Department. Additionally, Innova Solutions will be required to pay a civil penalty.

In response to the settlement, Innova Solutions released a statement to Staffing Industry Analysts, asserting its commitment to inclusive hiring practices and denying any unlawful discrimination or violation of the law. The company, identified as a Minority Business Enterprise, confirmed that it is collaborating with the IER (Immigrant and Employee Rights) to ensure ongoing compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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Seek Maintains EBITDA Forecast Despite Revenue Revision

Australian job board, Seek, released a trading update and revised revenue guidance today. The group’s third-quarter trading momentum suggests that full-year revenue may be slightly lower than previously anticipated, with an estimated decrease of AUD 15 million (USD 10.1 million), due to the ongoing moderation of job ad volumes. However, Seek expects this to be balanced by lower than anticipated operating expenditure. The new full-year revenue forecast for 2023 is approximately AUD 1.245 billion (USD 840.9 million), compared to the previously published forecast of AUD 1.26 billion (USD 851.0 million) in February 2023.

Despite this revision, Seek maintains its EBITDA forecast of approximately AUD 560 million (USD 378.2 million) and net profit after tax of approximately AUD 250 million (USD 168.8 million). Seek also unveiled its Investor Day presentation today, highlighting a focus on growing placements and optimizing yield, with an estimated AUD 2 billion (USD 1.35 billion) revenue opportunity by FY 2028. The company expects strong revenue growth in Asia from 2023 to 2028 and a strengthening performance in its Latin American businesses, while keeping options open in attractive North-East Asian markets. Seek shares closed at AUD 23.98 (USD 16.20), down 0.95% on the day but still 27.69% above the 52-week low of AUD 18.78 (USD 12.68) set on 3 October 2022. The company’s market cap is AUD 8.59 billion (USD 5.80 billion)

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London remains a hiring hotspot

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Labour Market Tracker has revealed that in the last week of July, the number of active job adverts in the UK hit a new record high for this year at 1.85 million

The number of new job adverts posted each week has been relatively stable during late June and July, at between 180,000 and 200,000 per week. However, in the last week of July, 182,000 new postings were recorded. This is 22% below this year’s highest figure of 234,000 new postings recorded at the beginning of March.

The increase in active postings indicated that job adverts are being left open for longer as employers across the country still struggle to attract candidates for their vacancies. Clearly, despite labour shortages, rising inflation, and energy costs, there is no sign that the jobs market is shrinking.

In terms of the types of jobs advertised, there was an increase in adverts in the last week in July for:

  • actors and entertainers (+13.0%)
  • driving instructors (+12.4%)
  • dancers (+11.1%)
  • water and waste (+9.5%)

Probation officers saw the biggest weekly decline in active job adverts at -10.4%). The health and social care sector also showed notable decreases:

  • hospital porters (-8.3%)
  • childminders (-6.6%)
  • paramedics (-5.3%)

London saw an increase in job postings in the week of 25-31 July –  three of the top ten hiring hotspots in the capital city. The local area with the highest increase in job adverts was Newry, Mourne, and Down in Northern Ireland (+8.3%), followed by Haringey and Islington (+7.1%) and Chorley and West Lancashire (+7.0%).

At the bottom end of the scale, five out of the bottom ten local areas for growth in active job postings were in Scotland. Moray (-9.8%), Orkney Islands (-6.6%), and Highland (-5.1%) saw the biggest drops.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said: “This new data shows the continued strength of the jobs market, despite any wider economic uncertainty. The number of job adverts being posted each week is stable. It’s a great time to be looking for work as a jobseeker, as employers are having to think more about the pay, benefits, conditions and development opportunities they offer both new starters and current staff as they compete for talent.

“There is a danger that with costs soaring, employers will have to reprioritise – as there is still no viable support package for businesses to meet these rising costs. We know that employers’ confidence in the broader economy has started to drop. Government must play its role, both in supporting people and businesses through the current crisis, and also by working with industry to create a sustainable labour market. We need a long-term workforce strategy that encompasses skills, immigration and makes childcare and local transport part of the infrastructure of our labour market.”

John Gray, Vice President, UK Operations at Lightcast, said: “Whilst the economic headlines appear to be very gloomy at the moment, with the Bank of England forecasting inflation of more than 13% and a contraction in GDP until the end of 2023, this bleak picture does not appear to have dented employer hiring activity as yet. Not only have we just seen another 180,000 new job postings being placed in the last week of July, but the total number of active job postings is now at a record high of more than 1.8 million.

“This situation of a contracting economy, high inflation, yet employer hiring activity hitting record highs, is highly unusual. Whilst we are likely to see a slowdown in hiring activity, the big questions hovering over the labour market in the coming months are how significant this slowdown will be, and whether we will also start to see employers laying off staff. So far we are not seeing any signs of either, and the labour market remains surprisingly tight given the adverse economic circumstances we are hearing about.”

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Salary secrecy culture is detrimental to hiring

New research commissioned by Reed.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading jobs and careers sites, has revealed that that 78% of jobseekers are less likely to apply for a job vacancy that does not display a salary.

Amid labour shortages and a cost of living crisis, a culture of salary secrecy is limiting hiring managers’ ability to secure the best talent. The research revealed that 22% of jobseekers will only apply for jobs with a listed salary, with recruiters admitting that they still either don’t include the salary, or only sometimes include it, on nearly half of all job ads.

Money talks, but employers remain silent

With more than 42% of companies currently finding it more difficult than usual to generate applications, the research indicates that there is a clear need for businesses to update their salary transparency protocols.

With jobseekers stating that salary is the number one reason to apply for a job, almost two-thirds (62%) of hiring managers believe a lack of salary transparency on job ads has no negative impact on applications, and less than half (46%) of employers have a salary transparency policy. There seems to be a disconnect between hirers and candidates despite data from Reed.co.uk showing that ads that display salaries receive 27% more applications than those that don’t.

Furthermore, almost half (48%) of all jobseekers say the absence of a salary on a job advert negatively impacts their perception of the hiring company with a quarter (26%) reporting that the word “competitive” in a salary description is likely to put them off applying for the role.

Transparency enables greater diversity

Improving salary transparency could contribute towards solving the nation’s hiring challenges, as well as widening the candidate pool for employers.

A high proportion of hiring managers found that providing salary details delivered more applications (42%), greater relevancy of applications (38%), and saved time in the recruitment process (35%).

More than a quarter (27%) also said showing salary generated more applications from diverse candidates. This is supported by data from the study which found that women (81%), disabled (81%), LGBTQ+ (81%), and black people (87%) were much less likely to apply for a role without a salary being shown, compared to the national average (78%).

Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk made comment: “You wouldn’t shop in a supermarket that doesn’t list its prices, so why should we expect people to sift through job ads that don’t advertise salary? From our research, it’s clear that jobseekers want to apply for roles at businesses that are open about what they pay.”

“Not only will [revealing pay] generate more applications, you’ll likely improve relevancy and save time in the process. You’ll also be able to attract from a wider talent pool and avoid any negative impact to your employer brand. Businesses need to be more open to salary transparency or risk losing out on the best candidates.”

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