UK employment rate hits record figures

GrowthFigures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the number of people in employment in the UK has reached a record 32.7 million.

Although the country is facing a period of uncertainly, the 76.1% employment rate experienced between November 2018 and January 2019, is the highest since records began in 1971.

Unemployment fell by 35,000, taking it down to 1.34 million – putting the rate below 4% for the first time since 1975.

The figure is 112,000 lower than it was a year ago, giving a jobless rate of 3.9%. This is well below the EU average of 6.5%.

During the same period, the number of men in employment increased by 77,000 to a record high of 17.32 million. The number of employed women rose by 144,000 – taking it to a record high of 15.40 million. It was also the largest increase since 2014.

The UK’s highest regional employment rate was in the south west of England (79.9%), while the largest estimated increase in workforce jobs was in the south east (59,000).

In December, London (91.5%) had the highest estimated proportion of people working in the services sector, while the East Midlands had the biggest proportion of production jobs (14.5%).

Much of the jobs growth in recent years can be attributed to the fact that older Britons are staying in the workforce for longer. This is particularly the case as changes to the state pension age has resulted in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65. The ONS also said that the number of people in retirement has dropped to the lowest level in 25 years.

The government however argues that the rise in employment is down to its pro-business policies. Alok Sharma, the employment minister, said:

“Our jobs market remains resilient as we see more people than ever before benefitting from earning a wage.”

The positivity surrounding the UK’s job market is likely to come as a surprise to many. Whether you’re for or against the UK leaving the EU, there’s no doubt that the process is causing disruption and concern to both businesses and job seekers.

For now however, it appears as though Brexit is not dampening companies’ hiring spirits. Speaking about the current situation, Tej Parikh, a senior economist at the Institute of Directors commented:

“Businesses have been steadfast in bringing on board new staff and in creating vacancies, despite questions over the future path of the economy. But with uncertainty around Brexit reaching a crescendo, firms are becoming more and more cagey over their hiring decisions.”

John Philpott, the director of the Jobs Economist consultancy, continued:

“Nobody seems to have told the labour market about the mood of Brexit-related economic uncertainty which has gripped the UK since last autumn. These record-breaking jobs numbers seem extraordinary and suggest that only a recession-inducing hard Brexit is likely to have a noticeably negative impact on the UK’s employment situation.”

While we await to hear the outcome of Britain’s future, employers and job seekers can continue to enjoy the growing employment rates.

If you would like help finding great candidates or your next role, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Choralis.

 

 

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How to avoid making a bad hire

Recruitment is difficult to get right and sometimes no matter how thorough you are throughout the process, a candidate you thought would be the perfect fit, isn’t.

While this can and does happen from time-to-time, if you’re regularly left doubting your hiring decisions, it’s advisable to take a good look at your recruitment process. Bad hires shouldn’t be a regular thing and putting the wrong people in the wrong job is incredibly costly to your business.

According to an in-depth report carried out by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), a bad hire for an employee earning £42,000 can set you back £132,015 by the time the issue has been rectified.

Below we have highlighted some of our top tips to help you make successful recruiting decisions time and time again.

Be honest right from the start

If you’re struggling to find good candidates, don’t be tempted to embellish the job spec or make the job sound better than it is at the interview. Honesty is crucial and there’s no point telling someone they will be doing things they won’t be, hiding heavy workloads and promising promotions if you can’t offer them. It won’t take your new employee long to work out the truth and before you know it you will find yourself looking for a new recruit all over again.

Use a recruitment agency

A lot of companies don’t want the added expensive of using a recruitment agency to help with hiring. Believe it or not however, by doing so, you could actually be saving yourself thousands of pounds in the long-run.

Agencies will already know of candidates which saves time, they have access to all the top job boards, they sift through applications and highlight the best ones and even meet candidates before putting them in front of you. Crucially, they also deal with placing people in jobs day in and day out so they know exactly what to look for in a candidate.

Listen to your team

In order to be successful in their role, your new recruit needs to fit in with your current team. If you have a very loud and outgoing team for example, a shy person might feel intimidated and threatened. Alternatively, if your team is of a quieter nature and tends to put their heads down and get on with their work, a naturally chatty person is probably going to be a distraction. The best way to handle this situation is to introduce the person you are interviewing to the team. This allows both sides to determine whether or not it’s the right cultural fit.

Look outside the interview

A lot of what people say and do during an interview is for show. Obviously candidates are looking to impress you and are therefore going to say all the right things. If you really want to know what they will be like to work with, think about how they have acted outside the interview room. Have they been easy to liaise with when it came to setting up a meeting? How did they treat the agency you’re using? How did they interact with your receptionist when they entered the building? All these things say a lot about a person and can really help you to figure out if someone is right for the company or not.

If you would like more advice about recruitment and how to ensure you hire the right person for your roles, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to help.

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Heavy workloads and lack of development is taking a toll on employee happiness

stressed at workAccording to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) UK Working Lives survey, many of us feel overworked and are lacking opportunities to progress in our careers.

More specifically, it was found that overall happiness is being dragged down by a lack of training and development among lower-skilled workers and middle managers are experiencing high levels of stress.

One in four (43%) low-skilled or casual workers believe that their job doesn’t offer good opportunities to develop their skills and more than a third (37%) say they haven’t received any training in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, a third (35%) of middle managers say they have too much work to do, with 28% claiming their work has had a negative impact on their mental health.

Across all levels of seniority, it was found that 62% of employees want to reduce their hours. Speaking about this issue, chief executive of the CIPD, Peter Cheese commented:

“We need to ensure that we’re designing our jobs flexibly and in ways that best utilise the skills of the workforce, implementing positive health and wellbeing strategies and tackling workplace cultures of stress and giving voice and support to our people.”

He continued:

“Alongside that, we need to give those looking to develop their skills the ability to do so, through workplace learning and wider investment in skills development to make sure we’re making the most of all the talent that people have.”

What can employers do about unhappy employees?

Among its recommendations to improve workforce happiness, the CIPD has suggested that employers should offer clear routes for progression, increase the provision of flexible working arrangements, conduct audits to identify the causes of stress and advertise support services to all staff.

For further advice, you can have a read of our blogs:

How to make your company a happy place to work

What’s really affecting employee productivity?

How to retain top employees

What to do if you’re struggling with your workload

Most of us want to have a long and successful career which is why a lot of us find ourselves trying to juggle unrealistic work demands. Desperate not to be seen as being unable to cope, it’s easy to take on extra hours, work from home after hours and worry about how we’re going to get everything done.

Below is some advice which can help you to gain back control and start enjoying your job again.

Talk to someone

Keeping quiet about an impossibly heavy workload is unfortunately only going to exacerbate the situation. If you broach the subject early, the situation is much easier to deal with and adjustments can be made promptly.

Chances are that your boss simply doesn’t know that you’re feeling overwhelmed and if you keep quiet, they’ll continue piling on the work thinking you’re coping.

Ask for a meeting where you can explain to the people involved why their expectations are unrealistic and set some new ones together. Again, make sure you do this at the beginning rather than waiting for deadlines to be missed before explaining this as people will be a lot more understanding if you’re upfront.

Be organised

If you have a heavy workload, prioritising your tasks and organising yourself is vital. You will feel a lot calmer and will get more done if you know exactly what needs to be done and by when.

More information can be found about this on our blogs:

How to stop procrastinating and be more productive at work

Eight ways to boost workplace productivity

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The importance of soft skills in the workplace

soft skillsWhen screening candidates during the recruitment process, most companies will look at qualifications and experience. While these are of course very important, something that organisations often overlook is soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to any job or industry. They’re usually self-developed and more often than not, part of our natural personality. They make up a combination of many things including social skills, character traits and employment qualities.

Some examples of the soft skills an individual may possess include:

  • Good leadership skills
  • A positive attitude
  • Good work ethic
  • Good at communicating
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Enjoy and be good at team work
  • Flexibility/good at adapting to new and different situations
  • Resilience
  • Good negotiation skills
  • Time management
  • Confidence
  • Work well under pressure

Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Hard skills (qualifications and experience) are very important in certain jobs. A doctor, pilot or accountant cannot carry out their job without the correct knowledge or training for example. Other jobs, such as those which are customer-facing, rely more on soft skills because these are the traits that enable us to bond with other people.

When recruiting, business owners should place equal importance on hard and soft skills. It’s also worth noting that while training can be used to develop a person’s hard skills, soft skills are more likely to be something we’re naturally good at or not.

If you’re torn between a candidate who has fantastic people skills and communicates excellently but doesn’t have as much experience as you’d like and a candidate who ticks all the boxes but doesn’t have the same charisma, you’re better off going with the candidate with the right soft skills because you can’t expect someone to be something they’re not.

Below we have listen some more reasons why soft skills really shouldn’t be overlooked in the workplace.

You can’t train someone to have a good work ethic 

Every employer wants staff who are driven and while this is a difficult skill to quantify, employees typically display a strong work ethic or they don’t. While work ethic is largely an innate skill, it can be learned with proper training and motivation. Some employees may simply be feeling de-motivated because they’re not getting the recognition they need or they’re struggling with their role but are too scared to ask for help.

Team work

The ability to work well within a team is another important soft skill. Some employees may naturally feel comfortable working within a group, while others may have problems and prefer to work alone.

It’s crucial that this is identified from the very beginning because if the role involves a lot of team work, someone who doesn’t possess these skills isn’t going to be suitable. Similarly, if someone is incredibly outgoing and wants to be in the limelight all the time, they’re not going to do well in a job where they’re working independently at a desk all day.

Every organisation needs good problem solvers

Being able to make quick decisions, think on your feet and solve simple problems are important employee traits. Even simple problems such as a copier being out of toner can grind an office to a halt if no one displays these simple skills.

At least one employee needs to have the ability to take charge of situations and guide others if they have difficulties in this area. The employees who display these decision-making skills are often excellent candidates for promotion to management level.

If you would like help finding your next great candidate, please feel free to contact Choralis Consultingand we will be more than happy to help.

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Nine in 10 UK workers say they’ve been affected by mental health issues

mental health According to research carried out by the consultancy firm, Accenture, an incredible 90% of UK workers have experienced mental health issues.

The survey which was carried out in October 2018 through the YouGov Omnibus service, revealed the different ways in which employees have been affected by mental health challenges. Two-thirds (66%) of those questioned said that they have personally experienced problems while 85% said someone close to them has suffered.

Among those who have struggled with their mental health, three out of four (76%) said that their challenges have affected their ability to enjoy life. 30% said that it was so bad that they are occasionally, rarely or even never able to enjoy and fully take part in everyday life.

The managing director and mental health lead for Accenture, Barbara Harvey warned that these figures show that the UK’s mental health crisis is much worse than it was originally thought. She commented:

“We’re used to hearing that one in four people experience mental health challenges, yet our research shows that the number of people affected is in fact far higher. It’s clear that mental health is not a minority issue; it touches almost all employees and can affect their ability to perform at work and live life to the fullest.”

One positive to come from the findings is that people are finally starting to feel more comfortable when it comes to discussing mental health. 82% of those questioned said that they are more willing to speak openly about the issue than they were even just a few years ago.

Despite this, there are fears that employers still aren’t creating an open culture about mental health and that they don’t do enough to address the struggles their employees may be facing.

Just one in four (27%) respondents said that they’ve seen a positive change in the way that employees speaking openly about mental health at work and only one in four (20%) say there has been an improvement in workplace training to help manage their own challenges, or to help them support colleagues.

Among those who have experienced a mental health issue, 61% didn’t speak to anyone at work about it. Worryingly, 51% feel that raising a concern about this topic might negatively affect their career or prevent them from getting promoted. 53% also believe that opening up about a mental health challenge would be perceived as a sign of weakness.

For employees who haven’t felt able to open up about their struggles, more than half (57%) say this led to them feeling stressed out, alone, lacking confidence and being less productive. Among those who did open up in the workplace, 81% said they experienced a positive reaction of empathy or kindness.

Overall, organisations which have an open and supportive culture around mental health saw reductions in stress levels and feelings of isolation and an increase in confidence.

Speaking about the responsibilities employers have when it comes to addressing mental health issues, Harvey continued:

“It’s time for employers to think differently about how they support their employees’ mental wellbeing. It’s not only about spotting the signs of declining mental health and helping employees seek treatment when needed. Employers need to take a proactive approach by creating an open, supportive work environment that enables all their people to look after their mental health and support their colleagues. The payoff is a healthier happier organisation where people feel energised and inspired to perform at their best.”

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Survey reveals that employers are struggling to provide a good candidate experience

Candidate ExperienceAccording to the Good Recruitment Benchmark Report, employers continue to struggle to provide a positive candidate experience during the recruitment process.

Unsurprisingly, candidates who are rejected at the CV or telephone-screening stage receive notably weaker messages in terms of content and timing compared to those who get further along the process. Just 70% of organisations say that they provide every single unsuccessful candidate with a rejection message.

What’s more, it’s feared that this figure could actually be much lower. Ken Brotherson, managing director of TALiNT Partners, the company who conducted the report, commented:

“The organisations we worked with are highly engaged and want to find out what they are doing wrong so they can fix it, but we know that’s not true of most organisations. We estimate that the figure for candidates who are being offered feedback could actually be much lower.”

When candidates were asked how they rate employers when it comes to candidate experience, only 46% of companies received average scores in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The business services sector fared the best with 71% of respondents rating organisations above average.

Despite the poor effort made when it comes to providing a positive candidate experience, the majority of businesses say that they realise that the way they treat even unsuccessful applicants reflects on them as an employer and that rejected candidates are both ambassadors and potential customers.

Offering an explanation as to why so many businesses may be struggling with their candidate experience, Brotherson explained that organisations are opening up their application processes too widely. With so many job seekers applying to vacancies, it makes it almost impossible for companies to get back to every single applicant.

Another issue is how simple job hunting has become thanks to the Internet. With many online job sites offering a ‘one-click’ application process, it means that desperate job seekers are applying to any role that’s vaguely suited to their skills and experience. In recent years, it’s not unusual for a single opening to get thousands of applicants only for orgnaisations to find that very few, if any of them are actually suitable for the role.

Brotherson says that an effective method of reducing the number of unsuitable applicants is to be honest with candidates about what the role will entail.

“A lot of employers who are trying to attract jobseekers might focus on talking about their mission statement, their values and their culture, but what jobseekers will really be interested in is the job itself. There’s a danger that employers might be losing sight of that.”

He continued:

“Offering candidates an honest perspective of what is expected of them in a role is a far more effective approach. Employers should not be afraid to show people the reality of a role, to show a job with warts and all. Tell people something that they might find challenging or difficult in a role and you’ll find that you might attract candidates who have the level of adaptability and resilience needed.”

To find out why providing a positive candidate experience is a key part of recruitment, head over to our blog page.

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5 simple ways to improve your job search

cv writing

phasinphoto@freedigitalphotos.net

Job hunting is never fun nor easy. If you’re unemployed you have the pressure of trying to find something as quickly as possible and while you can afford to be choosy if you’re still employed, it can be incredibly difficult to find the time to apply to roles and attend interviews without your employer getting suspicious.

Below we have listed five simple ways to improve your job search so that it’s quicker and less stressful.

Update your social media profiles

Most recruiters will check you out on social media before they even invite you in for an interview so make sure they’re going to like what they see.

You should assume without certainty that your LinkedIn page will be looked at so use this to your advantage. Just like you would with your CV, ensure that your profile is up to date with all your latest jobs, qualifications, experience and achievements.

It’s well worth spending some time asking people to write a recommendation for you as well. Having good quality testimonials on your profile will show recruiters that you’re a trustworthy professional which will reinforce the skills and strengths on your CV and make you even more appealing to them.

Don’t forget to have a thorough check through your personal social media accounts as well because recruiters may take a look at these to get a feel for what kind of person you are. Whether it’s opinionated tweets or drunken Facebook photos from years ago, it’s best to delete them or change your settings to private so only people you’re connected to can see them.

Use Twitter

Recruiters are constantly tweeting about jobs they need to fill which means that Twitter is a seriously untapped resource for job seekers. To make sure you’re in the know about these leads, create a Twitter job search list which includes recruiters, hiring managers, company hiring handlesand job search websites.

Be organised

If you’re actively looking for a new role, it’s so easy to lose track of which jobs you’ve applied for and who you’ve spoken to. The great news is that there are a number of free tools out there such as JibberJobberwhich can help you to stay on track of all of this. From the jobs you’ve applied for to interview dates, you can log absolutely everything related to your job search.

Look for hidden opportunities

Not all vacancies are posted to job boards so by sticking to this method alone, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities. It’s always worth sending a speculative email if there’s a particular company you want to work for – just make sure you do your research and send it to the right person. It’s also worth telling your personal network of friends and family that you’re on the lookout for new opportunities and ask them to keep their ears open. If you’re not currently in a role, it’s also worth including on your LinkedIn profile that you’re in the market for a new job.

Use a job agency

One of the best ways to find out about hidden opportunities is to sign up to a recruitment agency. They tend to work with the same clients for many years so will often hear about vacancies before they’re even advertised. Being sent through by an agency that a company knows and trusts is also like having your very own personal recommendation which means that you may be more likely to secure the role.

If you would like help finding your next job, please don’t hesitate to get in touchwith Choralis Consulting. 

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The UK’s job hopping habits – infographic

People don’t just change their jobs more often these days, we’re not averse to changing careers altogether either. Whether this comes down to ‘grass is greener syndrome’ or the fact that technology has made us open to more opportunities than ever before, the infographic below reveals the UK’s job hopping habits.

job hopping infographic

 

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Why providing a positive candidate experience is a key part of recruitment

recruitment

Image source:
Ambro@ freedigitalphotos.net

The recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) have said that employers must pay more attention to their recruitment process if they are to provide a positive candidate experience.

The announcement came shortly after a joint survey revealed that 67% of HR and hiring managers said that attracting the right people to their roles is an extremely important part of recruitment. Despite this, only 20% admitted to ensuring that candidates receive a high quality experience and just 14% rank communicating their brand to applicants as a priority.

With 42% of employers saying they are instead focusing on reducing the cost of recruitment and 39% being more concerned about reducing the time it takes to hire, REC’s Chief Executive, Kevin Green commented:

“An over-emphasis on cost and time to hire risks over-commodification of the supply chain. This can often lead to unintended consequences such as a poor candidate experience of the recruitment process.”

This may offer some explanations as to why so many employers complain about not being able to attract high quality candidates. Especially when you consider the fact that a whopping 88% of job seekers who were questioned by Monster said that they are more likely to buy from or use a company that gave them a positive candidate experience – regardless of whether or not they were offered the role.

Additionally to this, the survey also found:

  • 97% of candidates would refer others to the organisation if they had a positive experience with them
  • Even if they were unsuccessful with the first job they applied for, 95% would re-apply if another role came up at a later date
  • Half of candidates will tell their social connections about a positive experience with a company

Whether you’re struggling with the sheer volume of applications, your recruitment team is pushed for time or you’re trying to cut back on costs wherever you can, creating a positive candidate experience isn’t always easy but it is possible when you incorporate the following guidelines.

Communication

Throughout the entire recruitment process, communication is vital. If you don’t have time to call or email every applicant you’re dealing with, direct them to a company career site or dedicated social media page which explains your recruitment process.

If you want it to be more personal but you simply can’t dedicate the time to it, employ a recruitment agency to help you. They can liaise directly with the candidates and do everything from letting them know they’ve been unsuccessful to setting up interviews and offering them the job.

Expectation Management

With some recruiters receiving hundreds of applications for every job posting, sometimes it really isn’t possible to address each and every one individually. Setting clear expectations from the beginning can help to prevent any bad feelings however.

  • Send an automated ‘Thank You’ message so the candidate knows their application has been received
  • Advise how long it’s likely to take to receive a response. If you can’t get back to everyone individually then let them know that if they don’t hear from you within ‘x’ days then their application has been unsuccessful
  • Provide information on the next steps. For example, first interview, second interview, any tests that will be undertaken and references

If you would like any help or further information about recruitment and providing a positive customer experience, please feel free to contact Choralis Consulting and we will be more than happy to help.

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Motivating different types of employees

Work colleaguesMotivating different personalities can be incredibly demanding and the reality is that most teams in the workplace are going to comprise of all different types. Taking the time to understand what motivates these different personality types not only ensures a more harmonious working environment, it also makes you a better manager and encourages your employees to be the best versions of themselves.

The defender

Defenders crave security, predictability and stability. They thrive in well-established organisations and they want set routines and for their role to be clearly defined.

They like regular communication and continuity. Tell them in writing what you expect from them and reward and value their loyalty.

The friend

This person seeks belonging, friendship and fulfilling relationships. They value organisations that have a strong team ethos, excellent social activities and opportunities for helping others.

They’re also likely to be spontaneous and energetic, warm and talkative. You will probably have noticed that they like to be the centre of attention too.

If you’re struggling to get them to focus on the task in hand, tell them how impressed others will be if they complete the job and allow them to be spontaneous so they can address different situations as they see fit.

The star

This person seeks recognition, respect and social esteem. They like visible perks, clear hierarchical structures, job titles and plenty of opportunities to shine.

This person is motivated when they feel supported, consulted and involved. They want a good social working environment and thrive on public praise, awards and status. Involve them in projects and regularly review their targets and goals. They value positive feedback and love public praise so when they reach targets, reward them in a visible way.

The director

This person seeks power, influence and control over people and resources. Their goals are to be in a management or leadership role with opportunities for promotion and good career prospects.

They crave responsibility and the ability to influence others. They will be motivated by a job title that reflects power and providing them with further training or coaching to help them advance in their career will also provide them with a boost.

The builder

This person is driven by money, material satisfactions and above-average living. They like their performance to be linked to rewards and are drawn to high-paying professions and visible routes to promotion.

They are motivated by money and material perks. They feel most energised when they have a clear career path so organise regular progress reviews and increase responsibility. You can engage their competitive side with games, sporting activities and competitions.

The expert

This person actively seeks out knowledge, mastery and specialisation. They like roles that require specialist knowledge and skills and are motivated by environments where personal development leads to formal recognition of expertise.

This type of employee is very much motivated by training and development, especially when this is linked to promotion. They like ambitious targets and being a guide or mentor to others.

The creator

This person seeks innovation, creativity and change. They enjoy solving problems and working for dynamic and innovative organisations. They want to be involved in generating ideas and adding originality to projects.

Recognise their creativity by rewarding them for innovation. They will get bored if they’re in a routine for too long and will therefore become demotivated quickly. Provide a stimulating working environment and give them plenty of opportunities for brainstorming ideas.

The spirit

This worker craves freedom, independence and autonomy. They want a job where they can control their own time, make their own decisions and use their discretion.

Delegate responsibility and allow them to work autonomously. Support them to understand their values and clarify their vision for their work. They can be demotivated by rules, restrictions and procedures. Create clear boundaries to give them the freedom they need but avoid micro-managing them.

The searcher

This person seeks meaning and purpose and they want to make a difference. They’re motivated by learning, caring-orientated roles and projects, often with customer-facing opportunities. Their top motivators are praise and regular feedback. Give them significant, important work and offer plenty of variety.

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