Tag: skills

Study reveals 63% offer flexible working

Mercer’s research shows that Malaysian employers are placing a greater emphasis on skills and financial well-being compared to their regional and global counterparts. The study found that 63% of companies in Malaysia offer flexible working options for all employees, which is significantly higher than the Asia average of 50% and the global average of 56%. In addition, 35% of Malaysian employers are adjusting pay or providing cost-of-living adjustments to those earning below the market median, compared to the Asia average of 20%.

However, when it comes to total well-being initiatives for all employees, companies in Malaysia are slightly lagging behind. Only 35% of Malaysian employers are redesigning work with well-being in mind, while just 21% have provided on-demand access to virtual mental healthcare. On the other hand, Malaysia is doing better than Asia in investing in financial wellness programs, with 18% of companies offering such initiatives compared to 14% in Asia.

The study also found that more needs to be done to provide job security for gig/freelance workers, as 71% of Malaysian employers do not have such initiatives compared to an Asia average of 46%. However, Malaysian companies outperform their Asian counterparts in understanding talent development needs, with 61% of companies in Malaysia compared to 56% of Asian firms. Finally, the study found that 47% of Malaysian employers reported that their upskilling and reskilling programs were effective at preparing talent to move into new areas, compared to an Asia average of 33%.

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1 in 3 workers do not have the necessary foundational skills required to enter most jobs

Amid the latest Amazon tech layoffs, Pluralsight has published a report highlighting the strain felt by managers trying to maintain control. Although most tech managers are under pressure to cut costs, Pluralsight’s data shows that 72% of team leaders plan to invest in upskilling their existing workforce. The report states that 100% of those surveyed believe in prioritizing the development of their current staff instead of hiring new talent. Gary Eimerman, Pluralsight’s Chief Product Officer, emphasized the shift in focus towards maximizing employee potential and the importance of continuous upskilling to remain competitive in the long run.

As the economic uncertainty of 2023 places a burden on tech team managers, the domino effect of tech layoffs leads to teams that are palpably strained. Pluralsight data suggests that managers in data analytics, IT, and software engineering are finding their team members taking on more responsibilities, with 67% of respondents confirming this. Moreover, 47% of those surveyed admitted to performing additional duties outside of their job description.

Reinvestment in upskilling remains the preferred method of survival for companies as the effects of tech layoffs continue to ripple through the industry. Pluralsight’s data shows that about half of the respondents agreed that the uncertain economic times call for new tech skills. In 2022, the tech skills gap narrative took center stage, with researchers positing that 1 in 3 workers do not have the necessary foundational skills required to enter most jobs.

Gary Eimerman, Chief Product Officer at Pluralsight said: “Organizations and individuals alike are being asked to do more with less in the face of reduced workforces and larger economic pressures. For longevity, companies will need to emphasize “continuous upskilling” to “sharpen their competitive edge.”

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Time to rethink strategies to get over 50’s back to the office

With skills shortages still impacting the economy, the government is pushing ahead with plans to get over 50s back to the office through a ‘midlife MOT’.  This drive, however, is likely to hit roadblocks unless workplaces go through an MOT, too, warns workplace creation business, Unispace.

Unispace believes that workplaces are not aiding this demographic’s attraction and retention.

In a study of 3,000 office workers across Europe, Unispace discovered that 78% of those over the age of 45 would make significant improvements to the office environment. Access to free lunches (67%) and enhanced amenities (57%) were on top of the list from this demographic.

A further 45% agreed that they missed the social aspects of working in an office. The findings indicate that to encourage more over 50s back into work, businesses will need to rethink how the entire workforce uses the office to create the social environment that many in the older demographic desire.

Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO, EMEA at Unispace commented: “With skills shortages still impacting the UK despite the tough economic climate, the plans to encourage those who retired early back into work is a move that many will welcome. However, we cannot overlook the fact that there are reasons why those that fall into this group left in the first place. While the current ‘MOT’ plans are focused on re-engaging the over 50s, the role that the office itself plays is crucial. The older segment of the workforce places a clear value on more from the workplace than just having a location to work from.

“While the older workforce clearly values better amenities in the office, it is the social interaction element that today’s firms can ill-afford to ignore. The ability to socialise with peers is a big driver for this age group, but in order to provide this for returning retirees, firms need to encourage others to also make greater use of the workplace. How we all interact with the office has evolved significantly in a short space of time and if they are to be truly used as the valuable attraction and retention tool that they should be, workspaces need their own MOT.”


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Recruitment strategies to attract the best talent

Even with the expected business slowdown in the coming months, recruiting employees with the right skills will be more challenging than ever. This is according to a new guide from global recruitment firm Monster.

Recent research from Monster has revealed that 87% of UK companies plan to hire in 2023; however, good employees are becoming harder to find.  A further 81% of organisations struggle to find candidates with the skills they need.

To overcome this, Monster suggests a policy of proactively hiring, by communicating differently, across the entire ‘candidate life cycle’.

  • General awareness
  • Passive search
  • Active search
  • Application
  • Onboarding

Employer branding helps to build a ‘good reputation’ before candidates consider changing jobs, helping to keep them front of mind when candidates are triggered to seek new work.

Organisations also need to develop and maintain a good careers site to attract candidates in the ‘active search’ phase. The career portal should include information that candidates want to know before joining, including company values and culture.

With 70% of job applications in 2021 completed on a mobile device, the application process must be straightforward and optimised for the appropriate platform.

The guide suggests a multi-channel approach to highlight the availability of jobs.  Effective use of social media is essential to the recruitment strategy, considering that 57% of job seekers use social media to research a potential employer.

Current employees should also be considered in the hiring strategy. The guide suggests that an effective candidate retention strategy will lower hiring costs. The strategy should include the following:

  • a feedback loop, providing actionable feedback to employees
  • a referral programme
  • skills analysis, including understanding current employees’ skills before recruiting externally.

Claire Barnes, Chief Human Capital Officer at Monster, commented: “Recruiters need to engage with talent whenever and wherever they can find it – online, offline, in-person or remotely.  It’s important to present a compelling proposition including consistently and constantly building brand awareness of a kind that appeals to candidates at every stage of the job seeker journey. The entire user experience from research to job offer must be a very positive one.”

Download the Always Be Recruiting guide at https://learnmore.monster.com/UK_always_be_recruiting


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“Do you get paid for training?” is top result

In an analysis of Google search data by LMS provider Digits, the most searched for employee training-related questions in the UK over the past 12 months were revealed.

Digits’ study showed that some of the most frequent queries about employee training stem from uncertainty around who is responsible for paying for the training and whether people will be paid while they are in training.

According to the research, the most Googled questions about employee training during the last 12 months in the UK are:

  • Do you get paid for training at work? – 480 average monthly searches
  • What is training and development? – 480
  • What employee training is required by law UK? – 210
  • What is off-the-job training? – 210
  • What is on-the-job training? – 210
  • Do I get paid for mandatory training UK? – 170
  • How often do day staff require fire training? – 140
  • What is staff training? – 140
  • Why is staff training important? – 140
  • How often do night staff require fire training? – 110
  • Should I be paid for mandatory online training UK? – 110

Thirty percent of the top 10 most frequently asked questions about workplace training and development mentioned the word ‘paid’. A further 22% of the top 108 questions contained the words’ pay’, ‘paid’, or ‘charge’.

While it isn’t possible to identify who is asking the questions, the wording can sometimes reveal whether the searchers are employers or employees. For example, people using the words’ employee(s)’ or ‘staff’ (which appeared in 34%of the top 108 training-related queries) are more likely to pose ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions. These are likely on behalf of their company or as part of their job to enhance their broader knowledge of planning and improving workplace training.

On the other hand, people using the words ‘I’, ‘my’, or ‘you’ (appearing in 24% of the top 108 training-related queries) are likely to be employees looking for answers to questions that affect them personally. These people ask ‘do’, ‘can’, or ‘should’ questions to find more ‘definitive’ answers.

Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits, commented: “Digits’ latest research sheds light on the types of questions that UK workers and their leaders want answers to and the information that they are lacking about staff training. What it highlights to me is that people do want to understand more about what training and development involves and how to make it work for them, which is great because training should benefit employees and organisations equally.

“It also shows that HR and L&D teams have a real opportunity to spearhead knowledge sharing within their organisation. Thanks to this new research, we know the most popular training questions that employees are asking. So, it’s up to employers to be more proactive in communicating the answers to these questions to their workforce.”

“If you were employed after 6 April 2020 your written terms must set out the training that you have to complete, including training your employer does not pay for. If you started before that date, you need to request clarification from your employer. It is, however, standard and best practice that employers pay for your time to complete this (eg your training is completed during your usual paid working hours, or you receive additional pay for the hours in which you complete this outside of your usual work pattern).

“If you’ve been asked by your employer to undertake some training that’s going to develop your skills and help you do your job better and more efficiently – then, again, it is best practice to be paid for the time that you spend on that training (in addition to your employer funding the cost for the training) as it’s also going to benefit the organisation that you work for. To ensure that you are paid for that time, the training should, ideally, happen within your usual working hours.

“It can be slightly more nuanced for employees that are enrolled on long programmes of training, such as degrees or MBAs. These types of training usually require a bit of give and take from both parties, and employees would typically be expected to use a certain amount of their personal time (unpaid) alongside any paid study time.

“It is common and healthy for employees to approach their employers with requests to undertake training, attend a course, or get a qualification in something that may or may not be relevant to their role. It’s then for both parties to work together to agree who will fund the training and what aspects of the training time will be paid or unpaid. Separately, it’s worth noting, that you do have a legal right to request time off from work to undertake study or training under Section 40 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, which employers have a duty to consider.

“In most instances, it’s important that both you and your employer get all the details and conditions set out in a learning agreement. This agreement should detail who is funding the training and what time off will be paid or unpaid, plus things like if travel expenses to attend the training and associated learning materials are covered. It should also include a clause about when an employee may have to repay the costs of their training if they leave the organisation within a certain timeframe before or after completing their course, which can also act as an effective retention method for employers.”

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Government has received only 27 applications for temporary work visas

In response to the Government’s announcement regarding the granting of temporary visas to workers in the transport industry, Marian Khaliq, Partner and Head of Immigration at law firm Bishop and Sewel, said that the Government’s hostile post-Brexit immigration policies are responsible for prolonging the shortage of HGV drivers.

Khaliq said: “The Government was forced to act quickly after the shortage of HGV drivers recently resulted in fuel shortages, panic buying and the closure of some petrol stations.

“Other sectors, such as the food industry, have also been affected by labour issues, resulting in shortages of food supplies to supermarkets and restaurants, leading to fears of some foods being unavailable at Christmas.

“To deal with this, the Government will be issuing 4,700 ‘Seasonal Worker’ visas for drivers in the food haulage sector (expiring on 28 February 2022) and 5,500 ‘Seasonal Worker’ visas for poultry workers (which will expire on 31 December 2021). In both instances, the period of visa free access offered appears far too short to incentivise workers to come to the UK.”

Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week that the Government had only received 27 applications. Other visas in the temporary seasonal worker category are usally granted for six months. Currently it’s estimated there is a labour shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers – triggered by an exodus of foreign nationals during the pandemic, coupled with post-Brexit immigration rules, and self-isolation requirements. The huge number of driver vacancies has been compounded by more general labour shortages affecting meat packing and fruit picking jobs – jobs previously done by EU nationals ­– which have impacted stock levels in supermarkets and fast-food chains.

Mariam continued: “The retail industry warned the government that, unless it took immediate measures to alleviate an acute shortage of haulage drivers, significant disruption was inevitable in the run-up to the Christmas season. In our new post-Brexit world, it is likely we will see the same labour shortage issues occur in other industries, unless the UK Government ceases with its inherently hostile attitude towards immigration.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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The gap between supply and demand in the labour market is widening and the situation is unlikely to improve without government intervention, recruiters have warned.

Alongside publication of its latest monthly Labour Market Update, produced with the CBI, recruitment specialist Pertemps said that skills shortages were spreading across more and more sectors and now threatened to derail the UK’s economy recovery.

As well as the much-reported shortage of drivers, hospitality and IT staff, Pertemps said there was now a “drastic shortfall” in candidates for roles such as butchers, bricklayers and welders.

“While the job market is improving, we are experiencing shortages in sectors, such as hospitality, driving, IT and administration, which requires us and recruitment companies like us, to be creative and innovative to attract and secure candidates from wider talent pools to avoid slowing our economic recovery,” said Pertemps chair Carmen Watson.

“To ease acute shortfalls in certain trades, the government should also immediately update its shortage occupation lists to include jobs ranging from butchers and bricklayers to welders. In the longer term, firms must continue to strengthen inclusion while investing in skills and automation. The government can help by ensuring that the qualifications it funds include those in short supply.

‘Holistic’ approach needed

“What we need is a holistic approach to these challenges with recruiters working closer than ever with clients and talent pools, with government liaising with us and taking advice on where they can help. This is about keeping our economy moving forward and not about business versus business or the pursuit of profit at all costs.”

Pertemps’ view was backed up by data from job board network Broadbean Technology, which revealed that the number of people applying for jobs had fallen for three consecutive months.

According to Broadbean’s data, the number of applicants per vacancy in the UK was down 24% between May and June, following a 9% decline between April and May and a 15% drop from March to April.

The issue was most pronounced in hospitality and catering – the industry suffered the biggest fall in application numbers, with a 78% decline in the number of applications per vacancy in the first six months of this year.

Logistics and supply chain and retail also fared badly, with the number of applicants down 77% and 75%, respectively, during the same period.

Applications at odds with vacancies

The fall in applications was in stark contrast to vacancy numbers, which have continued to move in the opposite direction. Broadbean data reported that jobs were up 10% between May and June, while the most recent Office for National Statistics figures showed that job listings had risen above pre-pandemic levels.

Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, said: “The UK job market is becoming increasingly competitive as a shortage of talent continues to be exacerbated by the spikes in hiring that most businesses are reporting. We’re currently witnessing multiple clients experiencing record low levels of job applications, leaving frustrated recruiters unable to fill critical positions.

“In fact, the applications per job that we recorded in May and June hit record lows, unseen in the last five years. It’s unlikely that we’ll see any improvement on this situation as we enter the mid-summer months, with many jobseekers now postponing their job search until September.”

Photo curtosy of Canva.com

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City & Guilds warns that 22 million people don’t have the skills they need for future roles

The new Skills Index report from City & Guilds Group and Emsi is calling on education organisations, businesses and Government to focus on future jobs and skills as demand continues to outstrip supply.

Analysing data collected by the British Chambers of Commerce, the research found that only 54% of businesses said they can recruit the skilled individuals it needs and 28% cite the mismatch between skills they need and those gained through education.

The research also found that 61% of working age adults (equivalent to more than 22 million people) don’t feel they are equipped with all the skills they will need to unlock new opportunities over the next five years or even remain employable. In addition, 30% have not received formal workplace training in the last five years and 64% have not received any training in the past year – despite 41% of employers saying changing customer behaviours or expectations are most likely to change the skills they need in the future.

“Covid-19 has radically disrupted the labour market displacing almost a million people from their jobs, yet paradoxically employers are telling us that skills gaps remain a chronic issue for them,” said Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds Group. “Solving this skills mismatch requires a shift in mindset from the individuals themselves as well as employers and the UK Government. It is no longer possible to leave full time education at 18 or 21 and never reskill again, we will require people and businesses to upskill and reskill throughout their working lives.”

Fifth of workers ‘hiding in their job’

A survey of 500 recruiters conducted by LinkedIn in May found that 46% have seen a rise in the number of people “sheltering” in their current job. A separate LinkedIn study of 2,025 job seekers found that 21% of UK workers been too worried about pandemic uncertainty to concentrate on career progression.

“It’s understandable that people are feeling anxious about the prospect of moving jobs during a pandemic, particularly if they have good job security, a steady income, and their employer has treated them well over the past year,” said Adam Hawkins, head of search and staffing at LinkedIn.

However, as talent shortages create a candidate’s market, Hawkins expects career progression to become more of a priority with employers expected to offer training as well as flexible working.

Rise in job ads for skilled occupations

REC’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker reported a total of 1.63 million active job adverts in the UK in the first week of June, up 300,000 on the previous quarter and a similar level to early March 2020, pre-lockdown.

Teaching and other educational professionals (+17.8%) was the occupation with the highest weekly increase in active job postings in the first week of June. This is likely to reflect seasonal demand, as teachers moving schools in September have to resign by 31 May. There was also growth in adverts for other skilled roles such as welders (+6.6%), metal working machine operatives (+3.7%) and other skilled trades (+3.5%). Demand for bar staff continued to rise (+4.0%) as more people returned to pubs and restaurants.

“By far their biggest worry right now is the shortage of candidates for jobs,” said REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry. “The pandemic has made existing skill and labour shortages in the UK worse. Governments and business need to work together to ensure access to training opportunities and unemployment support so that there are pathways for everyone into growing sectors.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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