Tag: survey

Skills crisis not yet over, experts warn

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has revealed that UK vacancy rates declined between May and July 2022. But even with the decline, background screening and identity services firm, Sterling, has cautioned firms not to neglect hiring efforts with skills still in short supply. Data shows that neglect may be detrimental to organisations’ long-term hiring strategies.

According to Sterling, even though vacancies are down, the hiring market in the UK is still candidate-led, and the country remains critically short of top talent. In light of this, businesses need to rethink their hiring process to better match the job seeker’s needs.

Based on a global survey of more than 1,200 HR professionals and more than 3,700 recent job seekers, Sterling’s research revealed that 78% of job seekers are dropping out or considering dropping out of the recruitment process due to long, complex screening requirements. A third of the respondents who dropped out said the hiring process was too complicated, while 22% had concerns about the background screening process.

Steve Smith, President of International at Sterling, commented: “With so much uncertainty and with skills still in short supply across most of Europe, this is the time to ensure that you have the right processes in place to secure the talent that you need to continue successfully operating your business. Particularly in a competitive recruitment environment, ensuring applicants have the best possible experience with a brand remains of paramount importance and will be for the foreseeable future.

“When it comes to candidates dropping out of the hiring process, there’s been a wealth of speculation that individuals are getting counter-offers and they are pursuing opportunities elsewhere. While this may be the case for some, the insight we’ve gained from applicants themselves suggests there’s more to this issue that needs to be addressed swiftly. In the current economy, it’s simply not a viable option to overlook how important it is to provide an efficient and engaging experience for candidates throughout the entire hiring process.”

ONS labour response: Decline in jobs doesn’t mean the skills crisis is over

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) commented: “The post-pandemic hiring spike we experienced was bound to come to a halt at some time, but with recession fears looming and on-going Government uncertainty amidst a leadership contest, this drop is a concern for the country’s economy.

“Our own data supports the idea that permanent recruitment is slowing as the impact of the skills shortages over the last few years plays out. However, what our statistics are also indicating is that more businesses are turning to contract professionals as they struggle to fill resourcing needs. The data – provided by the global leader in software for the staffing industry, Bullhorn – revealed that the number of contract roles in the UK grew by 13% in July 2022 when compared to pre-pandemic figures (July 2019). In comparison, the number of permanent jobs dropped by 23% in the same period.”

“This reliance on the non-employed segment of the workforce simply isn’t sustainable at a time when the UK’s attractiveness as a destination to work for international contractors is dwindling post-Brexit. And with the impact of Off Payroll still being felt in the temporary recruitment market, the longer-term availability of these resources and ability to tap into skills in a cost-effective manner is at risk. We urgently need some stability from the Government and a clearer direction on the regulation of the employment market to ensure that the UK can manage through the difficult times ahead.”

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Twice as many job seekers in the city compared to same time last year

According to job seeker data from job aggregator, ClickJobs.io, 35.4% of all job seekers in the last month were applying for roles in the capital, putting London in the lead for job applications in the UK.

Year on year, these figures show a huge spike. During the same period last year, 19.7% of applications were for jobs in London. The next city on the list, Birmingham, only accounted for 3.7% of applications. Manchester and Leeds followed at only 2%.

The spike comes as no surprise as offices reopen post-pandemic and people begin to return to the city. While this is good news for London-based businesses, it could negatively impact hiring employers in other cities and regions.

Joe Boll, CEO at ClickJobs.io, commented: “At CilckJobs.io we believe it is essential to understand how job seekers are applying for the latest jobs across our portfolio of websites to ensure we can offer the very best solution to mirror these trends. This new data shows a huge increase in demand for jobs in London which is good news for the capital but could impact other regions looking to attract talent.

We manage millions of jobs every week which means we can quickly see how the market is changing and what key trends are happening across employment in the UK.”

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What can companies do to retain talent instead?

As the frantic search for talent continues in the UK, new research has shown that 95% of UK employers are focusing their recruitment efforts on bringing back former employees to fill vacant roles.

Organisations can reduce recruitment and training costs and increase productivity by bringing back “boomerang employees” to fill job vacancies. But this raises a question of what organisations could have done to retain these employees in the first place.

In a recent survey of over 2,000 leaders around the world by HCM vendor Ceridian, the indication is that succession planning provides just such an opportunity for employers, but they might be missing the gap:

  • 88% of respondents report that their company uses succession planning
  • 74% of respondents say that they often or always hire external candidates for leadership roles instead of promoting from within.

Even though 53% of employers provide learning and development opportunities to retain talent in the UK and Ireland, only 38% give flexibility in job roles and responsibilities. A further  42% are pursuing DEI strategies to ensure that they gather different perspectives.

The key to retaining talent and attracting the “boomerang employees” will be to identify key workplace issues and use the tools and technology available to align talent decisions with employee ambitions and company goals.

Steve Knox, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Ceridian, comments: “Staff retention has become a pain point for businesses with employers looking at increasingly innovative ways beyond pay and benefits to retain employees. With 95% of employers seeking ‘boomerang’ employees to fill their recruitment gaps, one proactive solution is to encourage retention strategies which would see fewer employees leaving organisations to begin with.”

“When key people do leave it’s vital to provide remaining employees with clear career development and ensuring plans are in place for succession when key people do leave are both vital. Ceridian’s 2022 Executive Survey highlights some common succession planning pitfalls, for example where firms might fail to put in place impactful succession planning strategies that put their people and their career development first. With over one third of employees saying career advancement opportunities would convince them to leave their current role, there is much at stake for businesses which don’t give key people a clear career development plan.

“In turn, a data-driven, holistic talent strategy that develops an organisation’s current workforce and positions key people as future leaders, as well as hiring new talent simultaneously to fill the talent pipeline, helps the business’ overall resilience and longevity, as well as bringing a variety of wider benefits to the organisation.”

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Job market appears to be slowing down as we head deeper into 2022

Recent data from Broadbean Technology indicates that job numbers are beginning to slow following the spike in vacancies during the first quarter of this year.

Vacancy figures were down 55% between March and April 2022, and the data also suggested that job application numbers continue to decline. The statistics suggest that the lack of resources agrees the UK is impacting job market growth.

Further information from Broadbean also shows a 37% decline in the number of vacancies year-on-year between April 2021 and April 2022. This could be due to the hiring spike reported last year when UK businesses prepared for Freedom Day in 2021. Similarly, applications decreased by 75% month-on-month and 75% year-on-year.

Looking at the data by sector, the following industries saw significant drops in applications

  • Application numbers in the IT sector fell 72% between March and April of this year
  • The logistics sector saw a drop of 77%
  • Building & construction were down 75%

With talent shortages reported across all three of these sectors, these numbers come as no surprise.

Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, commented: “The UK’s skills crisis is continuing to be a focal issue, and for good reason as our data shows that these shortages are impacting almost every business, across every sector. While the sudden rise in recruitment activity received a warm welcome at the beginning of 2021, we are beginning to see signs of vacancy numbers slowing down over a year later. Given the dearth of available resources, there’s a high chance that this drop in new vacancies is simply a sign that businesses cannot fill roles they’ve had open for some time and are unlikely to add any more roles if they cannot meet the current operational needs.”

“For employers and recruiters, now is a critical time. Businesses need to rebuild and nurture dwindling talent pools, utilise innovative technology and maximise partnerships with external talent suppliers in order to find the resources that are needed. Difficult times are ahead for the UK economy, and we need a recruitment market that can best support economic growth.”

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Dealing with distance in a post-pandemic workplace

Focusing on employee mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a recent survey commissioned by Cigna among US adults has shown that employers need to pay attention to feelings of loneliness among their employees.

The survey of almost 2,500 respondents conducted by Morning Consult showed that employees experiencing loneliness were less likely than their colleagues to say that they could work efficiently and perform to the best of their abilities. They were also more likely to say that they were “mentally somewhere else” while at work during the last three months.

In 2020, an analysis by Cigna showed that loneliness costs employers more than $154 billion per year in lost productivity caused by absenteeism.

Productivity isn’t the only negative result. The survey also found that employees experiencing loneliness were three times more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs than their peers. A further 30% of lonely employees admitted feeling unwell or sick while at work in the past three months.

While the circumstances surrounding the pandemic may have led to more flexible remote working arrangements for many, isolation and loneliness were also side effects of the new working situation. Together with exhaustion due to blurred boundaries between work and home life, these feelings have added to the stress of many employees.

Cigna highlighted three areas that employers could focus on to address issues with workplace loneliness:

  • Regular activities that bring employees together, both in-person and virtually, such as town hall events, volunteer events, and employee resource group meetings.
  • Providing employee benefits that support mental and emotional well-being while remaining mindful of the barriers that may prevent employees from accessing the help they need.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives could also go a long way to creating a safe and welcoming environment for employees.
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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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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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